The Hidden Half of Nature, Inside and Out


2 min read

with Anne Biklé Biologist, Avid Gardener & Author


Over the course of some 400 million years, one of the grandest partnerships in the history of life developed between the green-bodied botanical world and vast communities of soil-dwelling fungi and bacteria.  It was a spectacular success.  Plants now grace the planet with greenery, color, and sustenance for all, including one of the Earth's youngest species—Homo sapiens.  

Although our species is young, we too have links to the soil.  Special receptors for taste and flavor pepper every major organ system of the human body.  From our tongues to our lungs, phytochemicals, as well as certain fats and amino acids, activate these receptors unleashing a cascade of activity.  Our gut microbiome also takes cues from these same compounds.  The pleasure we find in a "good" wine and the ability of respiratory cells to sweep pathogens out of our airways are thus intimately connected to the grand partnership between plants and their soil microbiome.  

Agricultural practices, however, all too often interfere with this grand partnership, diminishing the ability of human body wisdom to act on the intelligence embedded in minimally processed foods and beverages.  In short, what we do to the soil on vineyards, farms, and pastures pours into our bodies for better or worse.

Buy 'The Hidden Half of Nature'

Buy 'The Hidden Half of Nature'

Pre-order 'What Your Food Ate'

Pre-order 'What Your Food Ate'

Anne Biklé

Biologist, Avid Gardener & Author

Anne Biklé is a science writer and public speaker focusing on the connections between people, plants, food, health, and the environment. A bad case of plant lust draws her to the garden where she coaxes garden plants into rambunctious growth or nurses them back from the edge of death with her regenerative gardening practices.

She co-authored The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health with her husband, geologist David Montgomery. From garden to gut, the book combines memoir, science, and history to tell the story of humanity’s tangled relationship with the microbial world through the lens of agriculture and medicine. Their latest collaboration, What Your Food Ate, explores connections between soil health and human health and will be published in Spring, 2022.

Her work has appeared in magazines, newspapers, and radio and her soil-building gardening practices have been featured in independent and documentary films.

Anne Biklé


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