For years, I've had an interest in soil science. I've read all Dr. Redhawk's soil threads. I've listened to Dr. Ingham's lectures on Youtube. I've read a bunch of different papers over the years. All very good information... sometimes it conflicts, but all very interesting.
For the last year or so, I've been considering taking the Soil Foodweb School course with an eye to opening a second business doing soil consulting. The value I see is having a certification (yes, that means something to clients) and to be attached to a somewhat reputably 'brand'. Plus getting some hand-on training in microscopy and recognition, along with resources to aid in that.
However, the course is $5k USD for the Foundation's courses, and you are approaching $10k USD by the time you have everything done for the Consultant Training Program. That's a lot to shell out! And because it's not from a government-accredited institution, I can't even claim it on my income taxes on it as job training / professional education. If I am convinced I want to start a business following, I could open the business and charge the course as a capital expense. However, the tax class only allows me to deduct 5% per year, so it would take 20 years to write it all off...
Here's my concerns:
1. It seems like every few years, the course gets rebranded and the price goes up. Yes, free market etc.... but this raises some red flags. They've developed a good marketing machine, but I can find relatively little information from folks who have taken it regarding the content and value. Especially in the last few years - most feedback is at least 3-4 years old and from before the more recent and more expensive iteration.
2. I feel like I have a fairly strong knowledge on soil science basics from years of research and reading on my own. What's the incremental value I'm getting for all that money? To commit to this level financially requires me to *know* what I will be able to do at the end. If I spend the money, but receive only moderate incremental value... that would hurt.
3. Ultimately, there's no way to dip your toe in the water and see what you are going to get. At this price point, it's a big risk with an unclear reward.
So... I'm looking for feedback and personal experience with the course. How did it go? What did you get from it?
did you receive no replies at all? Did you find reviews/info about Elaine Inghams course somewhere else? Did you go ahead with the course? I'd be grateful to know whatever you've learn as I'm considering the course but have the same reservation as you outline below.
Unfortunately, I didn't find much else useful, and decided the courses were too expensive for what they claimed to give - even at the periodic 50% off rate they offer now and again.
I do still watch everything they put out on Youtube, and I think Dr. Ingham's methods are valid. I'm just not convinced that the incremental knowledge or certification you get at the end are worth the money you have to pay to get them.