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Soil like ‘living organism’

Dr. Thierry Vrain argues that soil is alive.
Thierry Vrain will present the first lecture Thursday in a series sponsored by the Comox Valley Growers and Seed Savers.

Dr. Thierry Vrain argues that soil is alive.

After a career as a soil microbiologist for the federal department of agriculture, he has become an avid gardener in the Comox Valley, and campaigns for food security and organic farming.

“The soil is an amazing jungle full of life, a finely tuned bio-reactor, a beautiful system designed to perfectly feed the plants,” he begins in a lecture. “The soil is like a living organism with a mineral skeleton.”

Then, he takes you on a trip underground, to meet some of the mesmerizing species he met in his life as a scientist. And then he takes you on a tour of solar (a.k.a. organic) and chemical agriculture.

This lecture is the first of a series presented by the Comox Valley Growers and Seed Savers. You can find the topics of the coming presentations and their schedule at

Vrain’s lecture will take place Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Rotary Hall of the Florence Filberg Centre on Anderton Road in Courtenay.

The lecture is free to members of the CVGSS. A $5 donation is suggested for non-members.

Vrain, or Thierry as his friends know him, worked with plants, nematodes, pesticides and molecular genetics. He retired eight years ago and bought Innisfree Farm in Royston with his wife Chanchal Cabrera ( He writes a monthly column in the Island Word.

— Thierry Vrain