Episode 08

08. Weaving Fact into Fiction – Alex Woodard of Ordinary Soil

Return to Nature Podcast

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In this episode of Return to Nature, Melissa interviews author and singer-songwriter Alex Woodard about his latest book, Ordinary Soil. After meeting triple board certified MD, Zach Bush, on an island in Fiji right as the COVID-19 pandemic was sweeping the world, Alex was inspired by Zach’s mission of finding root cause solutions for human and ecological health and the importance of the soil microbiome as it relates to health, disease, and food systems. Once he got home, Alex set out to fictionalize the history and science behind our modern day agricultural systems and bring to life the plight of the farmer from the 1800’s up to modern day.

As a singer-songwriter, Alex has toured nationally behind several critically acclaimed albums, earning a few prestigious industry nods while sharing the stage with some of his heroes. His For the Sender book, album, and concert series has garnered praise from Huffington Post (“important, enlightening, and ultimately inspiring”), Deepak Chopra (“a beautiful tribute to the resilience of the human spirit”), Dr. Wayne Dyer (“an inspiring, thought-provoking, and life-changing work”), and Billboard magazine (“one of the year’s most touching, unique releases”), among others.

Alex lives with four horses, two dogs, two chickens, and two beautiful humans on a small ranch near the California coast. He is donating a percentage of the proceeds of Ordinary Soil to Farmer’s Footprint.


  • His musical upbringing recreating popular songs

  • The coworker at a start-up internet company that opened the world of Seattle music to him

  • The fan letter that changes the trajectory of his career

  • How he got his first publishing deal as his work became in service of others

  • Why he chose to self publish his memoirs after experiencing traditional publishing

  • How he met triple board certified MD, Zach Bush, on an island in Fiji on the cusp of the pandemic

  • The Rich Roll podcast interview where Zach shares the history of chemical and mechanical farming that planted the initial seed for Ordinary Soil

  • How his creative process for song writing informs his process for novel writing

  • Why he made up his own songs for the book

  • Creating an interactive experience with reading and music for the book’s release

  • How he researched to write Ordinary Soil and how doctor Zach Bush and farmer Gail Fuller helped

  • The reality of farmer suicide rates and how he explored the topic in the book

  • The necessity for storytelling to connect people to the issues we’re facing rather than relying solely on statistical facts

  • The importance of stream-of-consciousness writing and letting your ideas flow without censoring or editing yourself

  • The speech technique that Wayne Dyer used to make sure he said everything he wanted to while still being in the moment

  • The sequel to Ordinary Soil that he is working on now

  • His experience with hybrid publishing versus self and traditional

  • The factor of luck in success no matter how much talent someone has

  • How creating in service of others changed the trajectory of his career and success

  • How his friendship with Zach Bush motivated him to get Zach’s message out in a creative way through Ordinary Soil

  • The Forbes article he mentions


I feel like compelling storytelling can be so much more impactful than just throwing a bunch of numbers at somebody … or painting this picture of how awful everything is. It can be so much more powerful to communicate that message in a story that you can connect to. ‘Cause it’s real tough to connect to numbers.



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