Mimicking Mother Nature

Guardian Soil Solutions Distributes Sustainable Agriculture Products from Performance Nutrition in Florida

By Alyssa Sanchez

In the winter strawberry capital of the world, farmers in Plant City, Florida, trade conventional farming methods for more organic, holistic practices. Guardian Soil Solutions, a nutrition farming consultation company based in Plant City, helps farmers return to farming basics and in turn, achieve healthier crops, higher yields and optimal soil health.

Citrus grove in Polk County, Florida.

After attending college and serving in the Marine Corps, Josh Young, owner of Guardian Soil Solutions, joined his family’s agriculture chemical company where he consulted with and sold chemicals to Plant City farmers. He also farmed himself, and became proficient in growing many crops.

Young said he always felt there was a different way to do things, a way to farm without the use of harsh chemicals. After many stages of trial and error, Young and his family started one of the first organic strawberry farms in Plant City.

“When we grew organics we were told what not to do, but there was no one guiding you on what to do and how to grow this organic, natural way,” Young said. “So that’s kind of how Guardian Soil Solutions was born.”

At a conference in Las Vegas, Young met Graeme Sait, a renowned leader in sustainable agriculture. Sait introduced Young to the idea of nutrition farming, a sustainable approach to soil and plant management. Through the nutrition farming methods, Young’s program replenishes soil nutrients, puts organic matter back into the soil and helps improve the overall health of the soil.

“Healthy soil equals plant, animal and human health,” Young said.

Inspired by and armed with this new knowledge, Young shut down his chemical company and started his nutrition farming consultation company, Guardian Soil Solutions, to teach farmers to grow crops without the use of harsh chemicals.

Young, with his partner Justin Taggart, is excited to work with Performance Nutrition as a distributor of environmentally sustainable soil amendments, crop protection and fertilizer products in Florida. Becoming a distributor of Performance Nutrition products allows Young to further grow the Guardian Soil Solutions mission to help the American farmer and improve soil health. Both companies share similar goals, to help farmers achieve healthy plants, productive soil and high yields.

“Everything they do lines up with what we are doing,” Taggart said. “Taking care of soil.”

Young said he is most excited to introduce Nutrol, NutriSmart-B, Prudent 44 and Prudent RX to farmers in Florida.

Young recommends Prudent 44, a concentrated phosphite fertilizer, to help control phytophthora, a citrus disease. For powdery mildew disease, Young said Nutrol, a bio-pesticide and tank buffer, serves as a strong alternative to a traditional fungicide. Prudent RX, a micronutrient solution formulated with amino acids and other Performance Nutrition products, is used to correct mineral deficiencies caused by environmental stress. NutriSmart-B is an OMRI listed, organic soil inoculant that fixes nitrogen from the atmosphere, unlocks P, K and Si from the soil and helps make micronutrients more available to the plant.

“What Performance Nutrition is offering for me are some non-toxic ways to control pest problems you might encounter throughout the season,” Young said.

In just the past six months, Guardian Soil Solutions has consulted with nearly two dozen farmers working with approximately 1,000 acres of crops including strawberries, citrus, turf and vegetables.

“So far I have had really good success. We are six weeks into the season and have not had to use a toxic fungicide yet, where everyone else has dumped on three or four chemical applications, and I feel good about my growth, root development, flower development looks nice. It’s a journey,” Young said.

While his main customers grow citrus, strawberries and other row crops, with the help of his contacts at Performance Nutrition, Young also has plans to expand into turfgrass consulting.

Though the partnership between Guardian Soil Solutions and Performance Nutrition is recent, Young has had a relationship with  Don Pucillo, President of Performance Nutrition, and John Flynn, Southeast Territory Manager, for a few years now.

“Josh is passionate about the work he does and his knowledge about Florida agriculture will help build strong relationships with the growers,” Pucillo said. “We are excited to work with Guardian Soil Solutions because we share the same beliefs about healthy soil and healthy crops. It’s going to be a good partnership. ”

Young said, “Our program’s ultimate goal is to mimic mother nature.”