Speakers and Events on Farming, Forests, and Food Systems

View Videos from the Soil Health Speaker Series — Fall 2020 – Spring 2021

Soil health and carbon sequestration series

 Beyond Stopping Emissions:
How Healthy Soil and Plants Can Restore Climate Balance

Coming on March 31: Sharon Gensler on Healthy Soil, Healthy Gardens: Small Scale Practices for Soil Improvement and Carbon Sequestration

Jointly presented by the Westhampton Public Libray, Climate Action Now and Grown in Westhampton

Maintaining living plant cover is one of the essential practices of building soil health. This talk will provide practical guidance on using cover crops in a small-scale, non-mechanized, no-till context to improve soil health both for growing more nutritious food and for sequestering atmospheric carbon into the soil to help heal climate change.

Sharon Gensler is a homesteader/organic grower/educator. For more than 38 years she has used no-till & cover crop soil building practices on a small scale. She does workshops and writes the Homestead Reflections column in the Northeast Organic Farming Association Massachusetts Chapter (NOFA/MA) newsletter.

The talks are free, but registration is required.

Previous Events in this series

Lawns into Meadows: Growing a Regenerative Landscape ~ Owen Wormser

September 1, 2020

In a world where lawns wreak havoc on our natural ecosystems, landscape designer Owen Wormser encourages another approach. Meadows create wildlife and pollinator habitat. They’re low maintenance and low cost. They have a built-in resilience that helps them weather climate extremes and they can sequester loads of carbon. They’re also really beautiful all year long. Owen will explain how to plant an organic meadow that’s right for your site, share advice and answer questions.

The Magic & the Mysteries of Climate, Soil, Plants & Trees  How soil and plants help create our amazing climate and how we can help them restore it ~ Kate O’Connor

October 6, 2020

Presented by Kate O’Connor, long-time homesteader, educator, musician & member of Climate Action Now. Kate has a passionate interest in getting people excited and hopeful about the potential for helping heal climate change by removing damaging atmospheric climate gasses and storing them in plants and healthy soils.

Agricultural Climate Change Mitigation ~ Eric Toensmeier

December 1, 2020

An overview of agriculture as a source of emissions and its potential to reduce emissions and sequester carbon. Part of a “balanced breakfast” of climate change mitigation that includes transformation of transport, industry, electricity and other sectors. Eric Toensmeier is the Director of the Perennial Agriculture Institute, Senior Fellow with Global Evergreening Alliance, former Senior Fellow with Project Drawdown, author of The Carbon Farming Solution.

Getting to Know the Soils of Massachusetts and Why It Matters
~ Ralph Baker, Ph.D.

January 5, 2021

Soils are nature’s foundation – intricate and biologically rich; sustaining us if we treat them wisely! Unknown to many, the soils of our state vary greatly from place to place. This talk will provide an introduction to the range of soil types around us, and explain how soil characteristics affect its suitability for plant growth and other ecological services they provide.

Ralph Baker worked for 26 years investigating and cleaning up toxic organic chemicals in soil and groundwater before co-founding TerraTherm, Inc., a hazardous waste remediation firm. Now retired, Dr. Baker serves as Board Secretary for the Nashua River Watershed Association, and chairs its Climate Impact Committee. He chairs the Fitchburg Trails Committee, serves on the Fitchburg Conservation Commission and as Clerk of the Fitchburg Greenway Committee.

Carbon Farming: Impact of Agrochemicals on Soils and Climate ~ Ed Stockman

February 2, 2021 – 7:00 – 8:30 pm

Ed Stockman is a biologist, 4th generation farmer, and co-founder and education director of Regeneration Massachusetts.

He was the NOFA/Mass Organic Extension Educator and served in Ecuador as a volunteer and trainer. His on-farm project—Organic Agrosystems Research—conducts applied agricultural research in Plainfield, Massachusetts.

Ed co-founded Mass Right to Know GMOs and served as the education director. Ed is a grandfather concerned with a changing climate.

Kiss the Ground film

Kiss the Ground is a full-length documentary (narrated by Woody Harrelson) that sheds light on regenerative agriculture which has the potential to balance our climate, replenish our water supplies and feed more people.    This revolution in how we grow our food and care for the soil is the solution — right beneath our feet! — to many intractable problems threatening the very survival of civilization.

Mina Liang (AmherstINDY) reported on an October showing, “Amherst Residents See Solutions Beneath Their Feet At Outdoor Film Screenings Of ‘Kiss the Ground’” (10/16/20).