- Name: Carlos Warren
- Company Name: First Light Farmer (FLF)
- Company position: Founder and General Manager
- Mailing address: PO Box 142, East Bethany, NY 14054, USA
- Birthdate: 1942 ~ 74 years old in September 2016
Been lots of places and done lots of things – the vast majority of which, I’m quite proud of.
Chronilogical Historical Narrative:
Born in Michigan and our family moved to Freeport, Texas in 1951 at age 9. Two years later, relocated to 302 Yaupon Street in Lake Jackson, Texas. One older brother and a younger sister.
Mom was an elementary/Jr.high grade school teacher and Dad began his career with Dow Chemical Company with a B.S. degree in Organic Chemistry in 1946 – originally in Midland, Michigan – then was transferred to the Freeport, Texas Division.
Dad was employed by Dow Chemical Company for 36 years and became their 12th full Research Scientist in the company’s long history.
For Dow, dad produced 44 patents – the last being his invention of Gel Permeation Chromatography – a way to measure plastic molecules, that resulted in the manufacturing capability (via Waters & Associates) to commercially-produce plastic films, such as the original product – Dow’s Saran Wrap.
Point? I grew up in a very educationally and scientifically oriented home. Dad and I “invented” (to me) lots of stuff. By age twelve, I was an experienced “Junior Inventor”.
Dad was highly dedicated to organic chemistry – exemplified by his being an avid organic gardener – one of the few gardening/composting experts in the world at that time – who used a microscope to define the quality of his compost and garden dirt (‘product-soil’ in agricultural terms). Dad regularly ‘visited’ the microbiological community in his garden and compost at 400x and 1K magnification.
He began teaching me how to compost when I was four years old. Can still remember that my first responsibility was tossing the horse poop balls from his wheelbarrow screen – back onto the pile as Dad shoveled manure to make compost piles.
At five years old I was put ‘in charge’ of weeding our one-acre vegetable garden… I learned quickly what mulch was for. At six years old, my duties included telling Mom when there was a pheasant in the garden so she could shoot it with a single-shot .22 caliber rifle from the 2nd story window – a small, moving target at 400+ yards without a scope and she rarely missed – she was “Annie Oakley” to me. Roast pheasant – YUM!
Been composting, organic gardening and raising ‘backyard’ livestock ever since – with only a short hiatus between several career/location changes.
My school grades at Lake Jackson Jr. High and at Brazosport High School in Freeport, Texas were OK – nothing exceptional during public schooling – spent a lot of time adjusting to gardening in coastal Texas sand – and learning how to fish in saltwater surf.
First transportation at age 14 was a pedal-start Cushman scooter and first car at age 16 was a ’51 Chevy 2-door coupe, both purchased with yard-mow money (started with Dad’s reel-type push mower, then bought my own gas-powered mower).
Once mobile, I gained experience in how to locate and obtain an expanded variety of composting feedstocks within a much larger geographical range – and began learning (with Dad) how to build motorized equipment (choppers & shredders) to reduce feedstock particle size.
Junior & Senior years were spent at Allen Military Academy in Bryan, Texas, following in my brother’s footsteps. Changed my life for the better. Graduated with straight A’s – 6th in my class, with National Honor Society membership.
While living in Bryan, I learned how to garden organically in ‘red dirt’ during my installation of a ‘community’ garden at the Academy, with like-minded Cadets – while initiating my first formal composting training class.
Then to Texas A&M University for one year – a tumultuous year with enrollment of the first “MAggie’s”, but enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1960 when the draft ‘called’, near the end of the Korean Conflict.
Sent to South Korea as an E2 in the Adjutant General’s Corps and assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division’s Charlie Company, stationed near the DMZ. Got shot at multiple times. Fortunately, all missed – but some, not by much. Yes, I shot back.
During that tour of duty I visited many places in Korea and Japan – learning how those populations produced their food and forage crops (with “honey-wagons” – much differently from U.S.-style gardening.
Spent my off-duty time in the city of ChunChon, attending a local (no, not the ‘class’ on-base) karate school. I learned quickly, since the locals all desired to kick American butt. So I took my study very seriously and so went back to the States with a 1st Degree Black Belt in ChiDoKwan karate, earning my exam under THE 10th Dan HeadMaster at Seoul University – very much enjoying the opportunity to demonstrate how well I learned to kick Korean butt.
Upon return ‘stateside’, completed active military service at Ft. Riley, Kansas where I installed a composting operation and Chef’s Garden at the Officer’s Mess Hall. ~
Then to Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas majoring in Physical Education. Founded the Sam Houston Karate Club. Joined the United States Karate Association. Also founded the SHSU Garden Club and trained many students and town citizens in how to compost and garden organically.
Married a graduating Senior following my Junior year and left college to earn a living in professional martial arts with the Ohio Judo & Karate Association where I also practiced and taught fencing, boxing, judo and aikido.
Cleveland, Ohio presented my first experience gardening and composting in the difficult northern climate on the edge of Lake Erie – with its eerie weather patterns and hard, clay dirt.
Thirteen years later, a 4th Degree Black Belt with five training locations. A USKA Regional Director and Chief Instructor with many state championship titles. Had also trained nearly half of my martial arts students how to compost and garden organically.
During those years I became an instrument-rated private pilot, owned my own SEL Beechcraft Debonaire aircraft and bored lots of holes in the sky – so had opportunity to compete in many distant martial arts competitions and visit many major plant nurseries and attend many gardening conventions in a wide geographical area.
Retired from martial arts in early 1976 and soon thereafter graduated with a degree in Hotel Management and as a certified Chef from a famous Hotel/Restaurant Management school in New York City.
Began a hospitality management career in 1977 with Ramada Inn at the Cleveland-Hopkins, Ohio Airport and was quickly promoted to Assistant General Manager. During that tenure, installed a Chef’s garden on the property and self-learned how to process both pre-consumer and post-consumer food waste, advancing my composting feedstock ‘recipes’.
Then a one-year stint as General Manager of the Chief Gall Resort near Mobridge, S.Dakota, on the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation (not far from Custer’s last stand) – where the only ‘law’ was provided by the Bureau of Indian Affairs office 85 miles away in Bismark, N.D. Not even S.D. State Police could enter the Reservation without permission (which was rare). By boss operated a hotel management firm in Minneapolis/St.Paul, Mn. So was pretty much “on my own” – with a western revolver – open-carry in a tie-down holster. My martial arts training came in very handy on multiple occasions. Had to replace at least one of the bay windows in the 24-hour bar about once a month, penetrated by either a bar stool or Indian.
Having ‘full control’ of the operation on the Reservation allowed me to develop a fresh game menu supported by a large composting and organic gardening operation that continued even through the very cold & windy winter by converting a storage unit using artificial lighting. Fresh fish and game were often delivered live to the restaurant by local tribesmen (for cash) – so my composting experience included learning how to ‘mortality compost‘ both small and large animal carcasses – from quail to deer – which if alive, were killed and butchered behind the restaurant composting facility.
But the reservation Indians were very disappointed that the federal government built only the resort – and not a casino with it. Only a month after concluding my one-year contract (which I elected not to renew), the local American Indian Movement (AIM) group burned the resort down ’cause they wanted a casino instead of a resort. Got shot at there too, both by firearm and bow – but didn’t shoot back, although I often carried 12ga. shotgun along with my a sidearm after AIM began shooting windows in the resort to drive customers away. Things got pretty crazy there… Oh yeah – heard later that the government rebuilt the resort – with casino.
Back to Texas (Irving – a suburb of Dallas) as a Ramada Inn Assistant G.M. and Security Director. Became TCLOSE certified (Texas A&M) as a law enforcement Officer and Deputized as a Dallas County Constable Special Officer.
Then to Dunfey’s Royal Coach Inn in Dallas, Texas as Food & Beverage Manager – again permitting installation of a composting operation and Chef’s Garden.
Followed by a 3-year stint as Rooms Division Director for Waterwood National Resort 30 miles east of Huntsville, Texas – during which, was promoted to Resort Chief Accountant. The resort bordered Lake Livingston and being in a pine forest, had great soil to garden in. The composting operation processed more free fish carcasses (provided by fish-cleaning stations at marinas) and pine needles (Forestry Service) than I had ever seen in my life. The combination made wonderful compost.
Then two years as Vice President, Research and Development for Houston-based Corporate Lodging where I set new Texas records for occupancy rates (97.3% annual). The operation was headquartered in an apartment complex on Westheimer Street and was my first experience designing and installing a ‘community garden’ for apartment residents and setting-up a food waste collection system for the composting operation.
After 2 years, the company owner sold the company at a very high profit to a California firm, which initiated the extended-stay lodging industry based on my work. Proud of that, and the United Who’s Who registry of Executive and Professionals in 2003 that resulted from that achievement.
I then became the Assistant General Manager of the 17-story Savoy Hotel, under renovation for sale, in downtown Houston at 101 Main Street – where there was no land available to garden – so established a Chef’s Garden in 25-gallon half-barrel containers – and learned how to compost in the same containers – on the building roof. My first experience gardening in an almost constant high wind condition.
After the Savoy Hotel sold, I became the Food & Beverage Director of the newly-renovated Harley Hotel in Houston on a 90-day contract. Leona Helmsley had purchased the North Houston Ramada Inn to turn it into the Houston Harley (her husband’s name) and I had the honor of orchestrating the no-expense-spared Grand Opening in the 1,000-seat main ballroom – after which I retired from my career in the hospitality industry – to start my entrepreneurial career.
As owner/Managing Director of Mason, Moore & Chase, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas I traveled a contracted circuit from Miami, Florida to California, representing new product manufacturers, test-marketing wares (to establish pricing and packaging) at large conventions, exhibitions, state fairs and so-on, and also represented a host of talented inventors – which led me to establish Guardian Lifestyle Group, Inc., a consulting company that focused on assisting inventors to develop new products – which I continued part-time, until retiring in 2005.
During those years of traveling extensively on an established contractual ‘circuit’ from ‘coast-to-coast’, I was able to spend up to a week at a time, sequestered in an RV Park in between events. Those days were spent visiting community and private gardens and composting operations in many cities with diverse soils and climate conditions (in addition to fishing). At many of those RV locations, I taught classes and developed the format for later formal courses to certify students in organic gardening, earthworm breeding, composting and raising ‘backyard’ livestock. It was at this time that I established Organic Recycling Group, a network of gardening/composting practitioners with whom I communicated mainly via email.
In 1981, retired from the new product development industry and moved to Lake Placid, Florida to aid my Dad, who had developed kidney cancer – one surgically removed and was sent home with 90-day terminal prognosis. But dad beat the cancer with high doses of vitamins (especially ‘C’) and a host of mineral supplements plus a healthy organic diet developed with Doctors in Mexico. He did not receive either chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Even though Dad was ill, he and I again ‘teamed-up’ with gardening and composting – great therapy for him, and a wonderful re-learning experience for me, as dad had significantly expanded his understanding of the nutrient-cycling and disease control of product-soil microbiology. During that time I became involved in his experiments using Root Tubes to water and fertilize fruit, avocado and nut trees with microbial inoculations and make organic ‘recipes’ to feed the microbial populations in tree and garden plant rhizospheres and also use as foliar sprays.
After his recovery, Dad and Mom moved back to Austin, Texas and he was not diagnosed with cancer ever again. My sister is in the process of accumulating Dad’s notes to write a book about that diet and his experiences in the fight that he won. Dad died at 87, from a stroke, 18 years after winning his bout with kidney cancer.
I stayed in Florida and became Manager of a peat-extraction ‘farm’. Learned to operate heavy equipment (drag-line, bulldozer, etc.) and learned how to weld in order to design and construct large soil-processing and composting equipment “from scratch”.
The owner (Hubert Crowell) and I invented the Frame Technique of binless pile composting, to ‘get around’ HOA (homeowner CC&R’s) that prohibited having compost bins on resident properties. I still extensively use and train others in the Frame Technique that produces stand-alone piles – along with a myriad of other bin methods.
In those years at the peat farm, I learned a lot about the differences between soil and product-soil (dirt) – and how to make professional-level plant-specific potting media and planting dirt mixes based on direct observation of the microorganisms that I cultured (in vitro) to perform the natural nutrient-cycling and disease-control processes. During my tenure, also started a full-scale plant nursery on the property ‘from scratch’.
Began installing vegetable gardens on/in (double-dig method) straight Florida ‘sugar sand’ with mixes of peat that I dug from the ground and blended with clay, compost and minerals into fine, plant-nutritious planting dirt mixes of my own formulation. With my very high-grade compost and liquid compost (back then called “compost tea”), experienced the joy of watching plants produce enormous harvests from my labors.
In 1991 began studying advanced soil microbiology under world-class scientist mentors (including Dr. Elaine Ingham of Soil FoodWeb fame), which I applied to learning more about making higher-quality liquid compost under my SoilGuy brand – labeled Liquid Microbial Concentrate (LMC).
During my tenure in Florida I studied and learned the importance of a variety of other tests to additionally determine the superior quality of my compost – which included deeper analysis of microbial populations for the purpose of disease control and the ability of the microbial community to develop a high percent of amphorous Humus in aged compost. Also learned how to test for the full range of plant nutrients, pH, moisture and porosity, and how to test intensively-managed compost for microbe diversity as well as density; performing CO2/O2 tests and to qualify compost propagation ability, based on the percent of humus content (Humus is not compost – but rather the final microbe-produced product of it).
Also studied the collection of nutrients and microbe diversity in development of compost leachate for application to vegetable plants – it is wonderful stuff – which most people just let soak into the ground (instead of making provision to collect it) when they water their compost – what a waste (a product not to be confused with the AWFUL leachate produced by commercial composting operations that don’t care about managing microbiology).
Spent several years focused on study of vegetable plant insect pests and diseases. My organic chemistry scientist father had taught me how to mix and apply a wide range of organic and biological pesticides (herbicides and insecticides/miticides).
Quality solid compost, compost leachate and liquid microbial concentrates are surely the organic vegetable farmers and gardener’s ‘best friend’ and much more effective long-term than any synthetic chemical treatments that are toxic to soil and plant microbiology.
As a ‘side-note‘: In 1990, Oldman et al., estimated that since World War II, poor farming practices (mostly due to synthetic chemical treatments and heavy-machinery compaction) had damaged about 550 million hectares (hectare = 2.471 acres (550 x 2.471 acres = 1.359 Billion acres) an area equivalent to 38% of ALL farmland in use in that era. Today, that number of ‘dead’ (no longer able to produce a profitable harvest) acres has greatly increased – with an uncountable number of agricultural acres soon also to become numbered in that ‘mess’.
When dad suffered his first stroke in the mid-90’s, I moved back to Austin, Texas to assist him and our family. Remained in Austin after dad passed away from a second stoke, and until Mom passed away several years later.
While in Austin, worked 5 years as a shift supervisor for Pearson Educational Measurement, to fund the establishment of a private nursery operation for shrubs and trees to take with me to Rockport, Texas when I retired.
Bought 2.5 acres of waterfront property on Port Bay near Rockport, Texas in 2005. No fresh water available, so designed & constructed my house on top of a concrete 50,000-gallon rainwater cistern along with constructing a 75,000-gallon RWH irrigation pond. Being an ARCSA Rainwater Harvest professional, that project won me recognition as the 2009 Texas RainCatcher of the Year in the residential division.
Now I garden, compost, make soil amendments, and a host of gardening products along with continuing compost microbiology research in my private facility with a Microbiotics Lab. Continue to teaching gardening, composting and other food resource certification courses (via classes and by email) that I have developed over many years.
I still make many tons of the highest-quality compost each month that are distributed through the multi-county network of gardening enthusiasts that I mentor. My company bags excess compost that the network produces – which (when available) is sold in local retail garden stores under The SoilGuyTM brand.
In an ‘average’ month my compost research facility would produce several tons of my top-quality Stable, Finished & Mature compost to make the SoilGuy brand of Compost BLEND – plus 300-500 gallons of high quality compost leachate – high in plant nutrients in liquid form.
Currently studying and testing propagation methodology to produce a higher concentration of microbiological “soldiers” – the microbes that have been proven to combat soil and plant diseases – and am learning more about leaf tissue analysis.
The microbial product that I produce is called Liquid Microbial Concentrate (LMC)TM because it far surpasses AACT (Activated, Aerobic Compost Tea) in ability to effectively restore the FULL beneficial microbiological COMMUNITY to gardens and Ag product-soil that have been damaged by synthetic chemical treatments.
Since my facility now has the capacity to make up to 500 gallons of LMC weekly (1,500 gallons diluted for soil application), I look forward to ‘hooking up’ with one of the local ‘clay farmers’ that raise milo (sorghum) and cotton in this area – and SHOW them how well LMC works against milo diseases and Cotton Root Rot (farmers only believe what they can see – and I don’t blame them after being treated so dastardly by the synthetic chemical industry)
I have developed a proprietary formula of fortifying product-soil with the LMC product to ensure that the microbiology applied is able to survive and prosper in its new environment, to rejuvenate product-soil made biologically ‘dead’ from chemical salts toxicity. Someday I’ll seek private investor funding, needed to put that product on the open market – globally…
The machine I invented (with the help of a NASA SATOP Program fluid dynamics engineer) to produce LMC, is called the Aero*ForceTM brand of Microbial Concentrator’^TM^ which I manufacture in 25-gal., 50 and 250-gallon sizes.
I’m having fun – because I’m still sharing and learning. Bet I can learn a few things from you, too.
So consider this an invitation to YOU, to be an author with me on this site – by contributing your questions, ideas, photos and tips/tricks you have learned along the way in your own organic gardening experience – via email to: email@example.com.
Below is a list of the online courses that I’m presently developing for subscription – based on my many years of conducting face-to-face ‘class-style’ courses and training distance-learning students via email:
COMPOSTING (Home Gardening & Organic Farming)
BASIC ‘BACKYARD ’ COMPOSTING: Compost For Home/Community Gardening INTERMEDIATE BACKYARD COMPOSTING - SETTING QUALITY STANDARDS ADVANCED BACKYARD COMPOSTING - BEST OF THE BEST PROFESSIONAL BACKYARD COMPOSTING FOR PUBLIC SALE
EARTHWORM BREEDING (Home Gardening & Organic Farming)
BASIC EARTHWORM BREEDING FOR HOME GARDENERS INTERMEDIATE EARTHWORM BREEDING FOR CASTINGS PRODUCTION ADVANCED EARTHWORM BREEDING - LIVE, FOR PUBLIC SALE PROFESSIONAL EARTHWORM BREEDING – LEACHATE PRODUCTION PUBLIC SALE
RAINWATER / GRAY-WATER HARVESTING (Residential)
BASIC RAIN-GREY WATER HARVESTING FOR MANUAL PLANT IRRIGATION INTERMEDIATE RAIN-GREY WATER HARVESTING FOR AUTOMATED GARDEN IRRIGATION ADVANCED RAIN-GREY WATER HARVESTING SYSTEM DESIGN - HOME LANDSCAPE IRRIGATION PROFESSIONAL RAINWATER HARVESTING FOR POTABLE IN-HOME USE
ORGANIC VEGETABLE PRODUCTION (Home Gardening)
ORGANIC PROPAGATION FROM SEED & SEEDLING SELECTION TO PLANT IN-GROUND ORGANIC GARDENING - HOME VEGETABLE PLANT PRODUCTION ORGANIC GARDENING IN CONTAINERS - HOME VEGETABLE PLANT PRODUCTION HOME-GROWN ORGANIC VEGETABLE HARVESTING, CONSUMPTION & STORAGE SMALL-FARM ORGANIC VEGETABLE PRODUCTION FOR PUBLIC CONSUMPTION
CHICKEN BREEDING (domestic)
BASIC BACKYARD CHICKEN BREEDING – FOR EGG PRODUCTION INTERMEDIATE CHICKEN BREEDING – FOR HOME CONSUMPTION ADVANCED BACKYARD CHICKEN BREEDING – LIVE, FOR PUBLIC SALE PROFESSIONAL BACKYARD CHICKEN BREEDING – PROCESSED FOR PUBLIC SALE
RABBIT BREEDING (Domestic)
BASIC BACKYARD RABBIT BREEDING – FOR PETS INTERMEDIATE BACKYARD RABBIT BREEDING – FOR HOME CONSUMPTION ADVANCED BACKYARD RABBIT BREEDING – LIVE, FOR PUBLIC SALE PROFESSIONAL BACKYARD RABBIT BREEDING – PROCESSED FOR PUBLIC SALE
WATERFOWL BREEDING (domestic ducks/geese)
BASIC BACKYARD WATERFOWL BREEDING - FOR EGG PRODUCTION/PETS INTERMEDIATE BACKYARD WATERFOWL BREEDING - FOR HOME CONSUMPTION ADVANCED BACKYARD WATERFOWL BREEDING – LIVE, FOR PUBLIC SALE PROFESSIONAL BACKYARD WATERFOWL BREEDING -PROCESSED FOR PUBLIC SALE
GOAT BREEDING (Domestic)
BASIC BACKYARD GOAT BREEDING - FOR PETS INTERMEDIATE BACKYARD GOAT BREEDING – FOR HOME CONSUMPTION ADVANCED BACKYARD GOAT BREEDING – LIVE, FOR PUBLIC SALE PROFESSIONAL BACKYARD GOAT BREEDING -PROCESSED FOR PUBLIC SALE
HOUSEHOLD FOOD RESOURCE SUSTAINABILITY (PREREQUISITE: ACCREDITED COMPOSTER or ACCREDITED ORGANIC GARDENER) SURVIVING FOOD SHORTAGES FOR HUMAN AND ANIMAL CONSUMPTION PREREQUISITE: ACCREDITED ORGANIC GARDENER PREREQUISITE: ACCREDITED CHICKEN (OR WATERFOWL) BREEDER SURVIVING WATER SHORTAGES FOR HUMANS, ANIMALS AND CROPS PREREQUISITE: ACCREDITED RAIN/GRAY-WATER HARVESTER