Pioneer Spotlight: Acknowledging the contributions of sustainable agriculture consultant Steve Diver
Long-time agriculture and horticulture specialist Steve Diver has been an active proponent of the remineralization movement for many years. His scholastic training focused on the areas of horticulture, botany, plant physiology, and soil science, and in the years since, he has become a sought-after expert in those areas of study and the agriculture industry as a whole.
Diver has spent his career thus far working in various agricultural capacities, including an 18-year stint with the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) as a specialist with the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA). With ATTRA, Diver participated in educating farmers and ranchers about sustainable agriculture practices, including remineralization, as well as spending significant time networking with other like-minded organizations such as Remineralize the Earth. Today, he is working with the University of Kentucky as superintendent of their horticulture research farm, aiding them in their mission to tackle the sustainability issues that face our current world.
With the university, Diver primarily spends his days establishing and maintaining research plots for faculty and graduate students. He also conducts demonstration trials for Kentucky farmers, instructing them on the benefits of using cover crops such as living mulches, as well as locally-produced composts and vermicomposts in ongoing potting mix trials. Diver is also in discussion with Joanna Campe of Remineralize the Earth about potential trials involving the evaluation of the effects of various rock dusts in potting mixes on seedling growth and vigor.
Diver is deeply involved in the field of agriculture as a whole, but during his time working at ATTRA, Diver discovered John D. Hamaker (1914 – 1994) and Don Weaver’s seminal book The Survival of Civilization, which inspired a grassroots movement for remineralization that has been facilitated by Remineralize the Earth.
One of Diver’s contributions to the field of remineralization is a white paper entitled “Rock Dusts in Agriculture: Insights on Remineralization and Paramagnetism.” In this white paper Diver discusses the basics of remineralization as a concept and practice; the various uses of rock dust in agriculture; its benefits when combined with composts, including how rock dust minerals interact with and support the life cycle of microbial activity within the soil; the promise of utilizing paramagnetism in agriculture; as well as additional resources available to those with the desire to learn more.
While Diver’s current work allows less time for his own research into the possibilities surrounding the future of remineralization practices locally and worldwide, he remains an active proponent of the movement. When asked what he felt the public should know about remineralization, Diver stated, “Rock dusts are interesting and useful because they can be made from local or regional geological deposits, crushed into rock flours, and used to enhance soil health and crop nutritional vitality in gardening and farming.” (Rock dust is also readily available as a byproduct of the aggregate industry.) He also cautioned that intimate knowledge of the geology in your corner of the world is necessary to produce the best quality rock dust. “For example,” he says, “basaltic and volcanic rock dusts possess a greater array of mineral than sandstone.”
Diver’s advocacy has had a profound impact in fostering the use of remineralization and other sustainable agricultural practices to address food security concerns in the United States and beyond. We at Remineralize the Earth sincerely thank Mr. Steve Diver for his contributions to the remineralization movement and look forward to continuing to follow his career and future contributions to the field.
Shelby Nilsen is a science writer who specializes in articulating complex information to the layperson in a communicative and engaging manner. She advocates for education in the fields of biomedical and environmental science through the power of the written word.
Further information and resources on remineralization can be found in Remineralize the Earth’s online research database. If the science behind the practice has inspired you to give it a try, mail-order businesses that provide access to rock dusts are widespread and easily accessible online. Conduct your own experiment at your home by ordering a sample and apply it to a small area or strip of your garden or farm. Observe the difference in the health and growth of your plants between your experimental rock dust area and the rest of your planting area. If you are in the United States, you can find a supplier near you using the interactive map at RTE’s Resource Directory. Detailed instructions on how to get started can be found in Remineralize the Earth’s own Rock Dust Primer, which you can download for free. We’d love to see your results!