Join us for a Northeast Healthy Soils Network webinar on measuring healthy soils and ecological outcomes. Register now for the June 4 (1-3 pm EST) event.
Equitable access to reliable measurement and evaluation tools is essential to creating financing mechanisms, informing policy-making, and identifying the limits of soil health practices. Practitioners from across the region will provide insight into a diversity of approaches and perspectives on measuring healthy soils and associated outcomes on farms in the Northeast. We’ll explore the gaps in our collective understandings of soil health, learn about important opportunities behind farmer-driven inquiry, and discuss new research projects to link soil health, ecosystem services, and farm viability.
Healthy soils are celebrated for their potential to enhance beneficial environmental outcomes—from increasing climate resilience to stabilizing yields, increasing stormwater infiltration, reducing nutrient runoff, and mitigating the drivers of climate change. However, both farmers and researchers increasingly recognize these outcomes as being context specific. The ecological benefits of healthy soils are influenced not only by dynamic soil biology, but by soil texture, landscape characteristics, the nuances of management timing, and weather patterns.
Regional efforts aim to understand the characteristics of healthy soils and link them to the social and ecological health of communities in the Northeast, for example farmer-driven certification programs, citizen-science learning communities, and rigorous science-based research at the farm and watershed scale. Practitioners balance what can be measured with what can be inferred or estimated, while keeping sight of holistic perspectives on how healthy soils impact farm viability, community and environmental health.
Welcome & opening remarks
- Taylor Ricketts, Director, Gund Institute for Environment, University of Vermont (UVM)
- Heather Darby, Extension Professor, Agronomy Specialist, Gund Fellow, UVM
- Briana Alfaro, Soil Carbon Field Researcher, Soul Fire Farm; Farmer & Owner, Sun Heart Farm
- Julie Davenson, Executive Director, Stonewall Farm
- Joshua Faulkner, Research Assistant Professor, Gund Affiliate, UVM Extension
- Ellen Griswold, Policy and Research Director, Maine Farmland Trust
- Sarah Bay Nawa, Research Coordinator, Pasa Sustainable Agriculture
- Eric Roy, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science, Gund Fellow, UVM
- Brandon Smith, Northeast Regional Team Leader, Soil Health Division, NRCS
The Northeast Healthy Soils Network is organized by a coalition of university, NGO and farmer partners to bring together research, policy, and farmer perspectives to address pressing healthy soils issues. Our intent is to connect activities and initiatives from across the northeast region and to create dialogue among a variety of perspectives.
The Gund Institute for Environment catalyzes research, and develops real-world solutions to global issues, connecting leaders in government, business, academia, and beyond. Based at the University of Vermont, the Gund Institute's more than 200 faculty, global affiliates, post-docs, and graduate students collaborate to understand the interactions among ecological, social, and economic systems. The Gund Institute focuses on global issues at the interface of four pressing themes: climate solutions, sustainable agriculture, health and well-being, and resilient communities.