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Will Brinton

Founder, Woods End Laboratories

Will founded his soil lab Woods End Laboratory in 1974 while working on Marjorie Spock’s biodynamic farm in Sullivan Maine and while beginning studies for his bachelors in agronomy at University of Maine. Few if any USA universities were willing to support organic farming studies, so Brinton transferred to an international master’s degree program in comparative organic farming science under Nobel Laureate Albert Schatz, then at Washington University St. Louis. In Europe, Will became an intern at several research centers including the fledgling organic research center in Switzerland (the Research Institute for Biological Husbandry or FiBL, now the world’s largest organic farming studies center), the Institute for Biodynamic Research in Darmstadt, Germany, and the Nordic Research Circle in Järna, Sweden, working on soil quality and plant spoilage studies that included sensitive crystallization and tissue darkening. Later back in Maine at Woods End Lab, he was awarded a doctorate in Environmental Science from Unity College for his research on plant response to composts. Will sees the early work on soil biology in Europe as having created the base for what today is called soil health – a movement which Will believes rightfully belongs to the organic farming community. Will’s lab continues to offer soil health testing which was first introduced in the mid 1980’s. His invention of Solvita - a test enabling anyone to measure microbial output visually - is seen as supporting the emerging soil health movement. Will is part of several soil carbon initiatives presently grappling with the decline of soil carbon in relation to global climate issues.