Healthy soil provides a foundation for all agricultural production systems, and regenerative practices are used to build and strengthen that foundation. Rodale Institute has been focused on soil health since its inception in 1947 with a mission of Healthy Soil – Healthy Food – Healthy People. This 1.5- day workshop is designed to explain the relationships between soil biology and healthy soil and the roles of management practices in soil health. The world of soil biota will be illuminated through the use of microscopic pictures and videos.
Different biological communities will be described in lecture and discussion sessions focusing on the links between biological functions, soil functions and above ground productivity. Details linking farming system practices (crop rotation, cover crops, compost, and reduced tillage) to the creation or destruction of healthy soils will be provided. Case studies will be discussed to illustrate how these regenerative practices enhance the entire system. Practical and easy to use tools for assessing soil health will be presented. Participants will have time for hands on learning opportunities as they use these tools. And finally, detailed instructions will be provided on how to create, purchase, and use these tools.
The goals of this workshop are:
1. Provide participants with the knowledge about why soil health is important.
2. Describe how soil biota produce healthy soil.
3. Define the roles of management practices and their impacts on soil health.
4. Define a set of measurement matrices for healthy soil.
5. Provide tools for monitoring and assessing soil health against the matrix.
This class is conducted by Rodale Institute's Chief Scientist Dr. Kris Nichols and her team of researchers. It is recommended for farmers, gardeners, landscape professionals and environmental education professionals.