"Soils of the world must be part of any agenda to address climate change, as well as food and water security."
- Dr. Rattan Lal
To prove the business case while inspiring others with living proof that carbon farming benefits farmers, the community and our environment
To share our work amongst multiple stakeholders and collaborators in order to most rapidly advance the global soil carbon research and verification standardization process
To have multidisciplinary, verified science to support our farming practices; to work collaboratively as part of a growing body of farmers, researchers, businesses, policy makers and NGOs; to help support global work towards carbon drawdown objectives
Our research program was founded in 2018. Spearheaded by Farm Director Asher Wright, and Research Coordinator Shaylan Kolodney, we collaborate with a group of scientists and researchers from various universities and labs around the country. Below is a brief description of the researchers involved with the farm.
Michigan State University
Our approach is to integrate cropping system modeling and geospatial tools such as remote sensing or sensor data to understand the long-term sustainability of agricultural systems and to improve decision-making across a broad spectrum of stakeholders, from the smallholder farmer in the developing world to the industrial producer and policy maker at all scales.
OpenTEAM and Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture & the Environment
Dorn Cox serves as Research Director for OpenTEAM (Open Technology Ecosystem for Agricultural Management) and project Lead at Wolfe's Neck Center. WNC is a nonprofit research and education center, a working organic farm, and leader in Regenerative Agriculture. Dorn lives and works on his family's 300-acre certified organic farm in New Hampshire. As a co-founder of the FarmOS software platform, the GOAT (Gathering for Open Ag Tech) and Farm Hack community, he is passionate about sharing open source agricultural tools, ideas information and inspiration to accelerate innovation and quantify environmental services from regenerative agriculture. In 2018 his work as a NACD Soil Health Champion was recognized with the inaugural Hugh Hammond Bennett award for excellence in conservation given by the National Association of Conservation Districts, and in 2019, Dorn was awarded the Food Shot Global Ground Breaker prize.
Charlie is the Director of the GIS Center for Interdisciplinary Research at Skidmore College. As a member of the faculty, Charlie teaches GIS and remote sensing courses, and focuses on connecting students with a diverse array of applied, real-world research projects. Charlie has a background in Wildlife Biology and Spatial Ecology (M.S. University of Vermont). He is broadly interested in leveraging the latest technologies in geoinformatics and data science to help solve pressing ecological dilemmas. His current research is focused on optimizing sampling designs for mapping soil carbon, national-scale analyses of grazing system resiliency, and remote sensing of invasive species in the Adirondack Park, NY. Research highlights include a spatially-explicit count of the number of trees on earth (3.04 trillion) and building tools and techniques to support large-scale mapping of soil carbon (stratifi web tool).
Kris Covey is an Assistant Professor in the Environmental Studies and Sciences Program at Skidmore College where he studies terrestrial ecosystems and their role in climate and life. An Applied Ecologist, and a Biogeochemist, Kris works to integrate his research into solutions for managing human dominated landscapes for multiple values. After designing the global study that provided the first robust estimate of number of trees on earth (3.04 trillion), Kris turned his focus to large-scale soil carbon mapping using a novel combination of existing technologies.
In 2020 Kris Co-Founded The Soil Inventory Project (TSIP) along with Bruno Basso. Together with private, industry, academic, and foundation partners they are building a distributed national-scale soil inventory system to inform soil management and markets. Through a novel combination of app-based automated sampling design, and distributed soil sampling tools allowing anyone to collect near surface soil samples, TSIP is building regional scale models capable of linking individual producer practices to measurable outcomes.
University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture
My research goal is to understand ways to build resilient agroecosystems by adopting prudent and sustainable soil management practices. To achieve this goal, I closely study conservation management practices including cover cropping, no-tillage, crop rotations, biochar amendment, organic farming, and use of nitrogen efficiency enhancement products. My research uses routine soil physical, chemical and microbial analyses, as well as advanced isotopic, spectroscopic, chromatographic and wet chemical techniques to study changes in soil properties and processes in managed systems in response of natural and anthropogenic disturbances. Two major research areas my lab is currently focusing are quantification of soil health and greenhouse gas emissions from agroecosystems.
Woods End Laboratories Inc., University of Maine School of Food and Agriculture
My approach is to integrate regional soil eco-physiography maps with actual local soil analysis in a manner that supports appropriate soil health assessment. Included in traditional soil analysis are biological attributes such as aerobic microbial respiration, presence of amino-N (organic-N) compounds and micro-aggregate stability.
Walter Goldstein became interested in organic and biodynamic farming when he was 19. He studied biodynamics in Europe from 1976 to 1980 in Switzerland, England, and Sweden. He received his MSc and PhD in Agronomy at Washington State University in the USA, studying alternative farming systems for the Palouse region. Thereafter, he served as Research Director at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in Wisconsin for 25 years. In 2011 he founded the Mandaamin Institute (www.mandaamin.org) with friends.
Mandaamin Institute is a non-profit organization devoted to improving cereals. He has selected and bred corn for organic farmers for 51 seasons in Wisconsin and in Winter nurseries in Chile and Puerto Rico since 1989. He presently breeds and tests corn and wheat in Wisconsin on his farm and with colleagues and with other organic farmers. His focus is on fostering cereal plant partnerships with endophytes to convey nutritional density, nitrogen efficiency and nitrogen fixation abilities. The ultimate objective is to select, test, introduce, and commercialize better fit cultivars for making a changing world more sustainable and healthy.
University of Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
The Löffler Lab studies relevant biogeochemical processes in soil, sediment, subsurface and water environments by combining cultivation-based techniques with genetic, biochemical, analytical, meta-omics, and computational methodologies. Research activities specific to soil health attempt to link microbial community composition with specific functions of interest (e.g., carbon and nitrogen turnover and greenhouse gas emissions), identify biomarkers for relevant microbial functions related to reduced greenhouse gas emissions and increased carbon storage capacity in soil, develop tools and guidelines for quantitative assessment of soil health biomarkers, and validate the approaches and apply to various agroecosystems.
Tennessee State University
Matthew Blair is a Plant Breeder and Full Professor at Tennessee State University (TSU) where he and his team conduct breeding and genetics projects on legumes and dicotyledonous C4 crop plants such as cultivated amaranth. The program goals of the Blair lab are to have a major impact on the productivity of small-holder agriculture in the USA through plant breeding research and to engage internationally in collaboration with multiple African, Asian, Latin American and US research groups. The Blair laboratory applies molecular biology research to cultivar and crop development, uses various agronomic and physiological testing techniques for association genetics and plant breeding as well as engages in a participatory manner with foreign aid groups, agriculture sector decision makers and farmer groups to improve crop management in the interests of resource limited farmers. Dr. Blair is co-president of the Amaranth Institute, a winner of the Tony Kleese breeding award and has been funded by FFAR, USDA-AFRI, USDA-FAS, USAID and 1890s Foundation for research into grain legumes such as mung beans, common beans and cowpeas.
We hope to become a leader in collaborative farm-based soil carbon research.
ENABLING MORE RAPID ADVANCEMENT OF POLICY AND PRACTICE
EMPOWERING A SHARED, CALIBRATED AND CORROBORATED INTERNATIONAL SOIL CARBON OPEN SOURCE DATABASE
EDUCATING FARMERS, POLICY MAKERS, ASSET ALLOCATORS AND ORGANIZATIONS ON THE SOIL CARBON SEQUESTRATION CAPACITY OF DIVERSIFIED, PASTURE BASED AGROFORESTRY SYSTEMS IN THE SOUTHEASTERN UNITED STATES
The soil Opportunity
A conversation with Bruno Basso and Kris Covey from the 2020 Climate Underground conference.
Quick Carbon research
This summer a team of Skidmore College faculty and students collected hundreds of soil samples on the farm using their Quick Carbon technique. To learn more about their project check out the video below.
“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”
- Wendell Berry
"A Global Toolkit of Perennial Crops & Regenerative Ag Proactices for Climate Change Mitigation & Food Security"
By Eric Toensmeier
"A Whole Farm & Ranch Carbon and Greenhouse Gas Accounting System"
"Mission: To work for large-scale regeneration of the world’s grasslands to address desertification, climate change, and food and water insecurity."
"Regenerative Organic Agriculture and Climate Change: A Down-to-Earth Solution to Global Warming"
"Empowering everyday people to become activists, equipped with the tools, training, and network to fight for solutions and drive change planet-wide."
"Our mission is to educate people in regenerative agriculture for healthy land and thriving communities."
Education, network building, and policy work to support regenerative agriculture efforts.
"Mission: To advocate for soil restoration as a climate mitigation solution."
"Mission: To harness the multiple benefits trees provide for agriculture, livelihoods, resilience and the future of our planet, from farmers’ fields through to continental scales."