The 6th Annual Soil & Nutrition Conference is our most ambitious effort yet, with more than 27 speakers scheduled over the course of the event. The conference will engage farmers, researchers, nutritionists and food system advocates for a multidisciplinary conversation exploring the potential to improve food quality through regenerative agriculture that builds soil, crop and ecosystem health. We bring together some of the leading thinkers and practitioners outstanding in their fields to share with you their insights and personal experience, so that we can continue to grow the movement to increase quality in the food supply! Below are a few of this year's featured speakers, with more profiles to come soon!
Farmer, author, and impassioned
advocate of healthy soil biota
Maybe you’ve read one of Joel Salatin’s many books, such as his bestselling You Can Farm, or seen him in the documentaries Food, Inc. or Farmageddon. A vocal proponent of ecological and locally-focused farming methods, looking to and mimicking "nature's template" as a guiding principle, and of course, earthworms - "We’re really in the earthworm enhancement business," Joel likely needs little introduction. We are very excited to welcome him to this year's Soil & Nutrition Conference.
Oregon State University
Farmer, educator, researcher, creator of the Culinary Breeding Network
Advancing Eco Agriculture
Crop health consultant, founder of Advancing Eco Agriculture
Regenerative farmer, consultant, educator
Johnny’s Selected Seeds
veteran plant breeder, agroecologist, and organic seed production specialist
Montana State University
Researcher, Assistant Professor
Roxbury Farm, Hudson Valley Farm Hub
Farmer, Associate Director at Hudson Valley Farm Hub
Professor emeritus of Behavioral Ecology, Utah State University
Author, researcher and pioneer in behavioral ecology
Center for Mind Body Medicine
Nutritionist, educator and researcher
VT Center for Integrative Herbalism
Clinical herbalist, educator, author
Educator, health advocate, author
Simple Soil Solutions
Regenerative farmer, founder of Simple Soil Solutions
Spiral Path Farm
Tobacco Road Farm
Agronomy consultant, Bionutrient Food Association, Forster Soil Management
FairShare CSA Coalition
NOFA/Mass, The Natural Farmer
Carbon Analyst for NOFA/Mass, editor of The Natural Farmer
NOFA/Mass, Many Hands Organic Farm
Executive Director of NOFA/Mass, farmer
Peace Meal Supper Club
Jones Family Farm
Founding member of Shell NanoLab
Visiting scientist at Utrecht University
Crop Services International and Flowerfield Enterprises
Director of Sales, Soil Consultant
Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine
Cornell Cooperative Extension
Organic vegetable specialist
Executive Director of TheGoodLand
Co-owner of Creation View Images
Sky Factory Farm,
Sustainability Research Institute
Quantum Biology Research Lab, Innovative Biophysical Technologies
Co-founder of QBRL and IBT, author of "Quantum Biology: Healing with Subtle Energy"
Clinician, assistant adjunct professor at NCNM
Cornell Soil Health Laboratory
Extension Associate in the Dept of Crop and Soil Science
Note: It is with great regret that Jean-Martin Fortier has had to cancel his appearance at the 6th Annual Soil & Nutrition Conference. Although we are disappointed that he will not be joining us, we wish him well, and hope to see him speak at a future S&N Conference.
Polyface Farm in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley is a multi-generational, pasture-based and "beyond organic" enterprise. At Polyface, Joel follows the guiding principles of transparency, grass-based agriculture, individuality, valuing community, following nature's template, and embracing earthworms. Says Joel, "We're really in the earthworm enhancement business. Stimulating soil biota is our first priority. Soil health creates healthy food."
Featured in Michael Pollan's book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, Joel is widely-known throughout the alternative and sustainable farming world for promoting ecologically friendly and economically viable farming strategies and methods. He is the author of numerous works, including: Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal: War stories from the local food front, Folks, This Ain't Normal: A farmer's advice for happier hens, healthier people, and a better world, and The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer.
Joel has become the voice of clean, local, healthy eating and urges people to take a closer look at our food: What's in it, where is it coming from and how did it get to the table? Entertaining, enlightening and thought-provoking, Joel's message is for all of us – to seek wholesome, seasonal food raised organically, procured locally, and prepared lovingly.
Farmer, educator and author specializing in organic and biologically intensive cropping practices, Jean-Martin's award-winning book, The Market Gardener, has inspired thousands of readers worldwide to reimagine human-scale food systems. His message is one of empowerment in order to educate, encourage and inspire people into pursuing a farming career and lifestyle.
Together with his wife, Jean-Martin runs Les Jardins de la Grelinette, an internationally recognized 10-acre micro-farm in Quebec, Canada. With 1½ acres cultivated in permanent beds, the farm grosses more than $100,000 per acre with operating margins of about 60 per cent, enough to financially sustain his family. The focus at la Grelinette has been to grow better, not bigger, in order to optimize the cropping system, making it more lucrative and viable in the process.
As an educator, Jean-Martin places a strong emphasis on intelligent farm design, appropriate technologies and harnessing the power of soil biology as key components of successful farming.
Professor emeritus of Behavioral Ecology in the Department of Wildland Resources at Utah State University. He is an author, researcher and pioneer in understanding foraging behavior and how behavior links soils and plants with herbivores and humans.
For 40 years, Fred's team did research that laid the foundation for behavior-based management of livestock and wildlife. Work that inspired researchers in diverse disciplines, including animal behavior and welfare, wildlife damage science and management, veterinary science, ruminant and human nutrition, chemical ecology, plant ecology and horticulture, landscape restoration ecology, and pasture and rangeland science and management.
These efforts led to the formation in 2001 of an international network of scientists and land managers from five continents. That consortium, known as BEHAVE, is committed to integrating behavioral principles with local knowledge to enhance environmental, economic and cultural values of rural and urban communities.
John Bagnulo, MPH, PhD
"I see a nutritionist as part farmer, part cook and part doctor. You have to understand more than just the basics in all of these fields to be able to truly help people."
A naturalist and a nutritionist, a farmer and a forager, and an educator and researcher, John has an MPH from the University of North Carolina and a Doctorate of Human Nutrition and Food Science from the University of Maine. John has worked as a researcher, a university associate professor, and a consultant for the past twenty years.
Currently, he serves as a core faculty member for the Center for Mind Body Medicine and as the Director of Nutrition for Nutritional Medicinals. In addition to his passion for increasing the public's knowledge and awareness around the subject of how food and agriculture influence patterns of health and disease, John is an adventure traveler and climber having spent considerable time in many of the Worlds remote mountain ranges with indigenous cultures.
John also co-produces with Mark C. Pettus an excellent podcast: The Health Edge. The duo bring their years of professional experience in the fields of health science and care to sift and synthesize the latest research developments, presenting it as "news to use" for people who feel stuck in their health journeys.
Selena Ahmed, PhD
As a researcher and an Assistant Professor at Montana State University, Dr. Ahmed's interests are at the intersection of the ecological, cultural, and health aspects of food systems. Her research examines the effects of environmental and management variation on multiple dimensions of agro-ecosystems in the context of global change and links to livelihoods, dietary quality, and food security.
She leads the Agro-ecology and Phytochemistry Group of the Food and Health Lab at MSU in collaboration with Dr. Carmen Byker Shanks. This work includes local, regional, and international projects that seek to inform evidence-based management plans and outreach to promote environmental and human wellbeing. Since 2003, Dr. Ahmed has been assessing food production and consumption systems as case studies to explore complex human-environment interactions.
Dr. Ahmed's research is grounded in socio-ecological and chemical ecology theory and incorporates a range of social and natural science methods. She measures multiple dimensions of food systems including crop quality (phytochemical and sensory), ecosystem services, and socio-economic and health outcomes.
As a clinical herbalist, herbal educator, author and garden steward specializing in holistic Western herbalism, Guido works and teaches at the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism and is a professional member of the American Herbalists Guild. He is the author of The Wild Medicine Solution: Healing with Aromatic, Bitter and Tonic Plants.
Guido's teaching style focuses on conveying the interconnections within the human organism and between the organism and its surrounding ecology with a constant eye to the amazing beauty such study reveals: at any level, and in many different "languages", herbs mirror people, the plant and animal kingdoms grew up together as complements. Such a relational awareness provides meaning and context, critical elements to understanding and also to healing.
Lane Selman, M.ENT
Lane Selman grew up on a citrus farm on Florida's space coast where her Sicilian great-grandparents settled in the 1920s. She has a Bachelors degree in Agronomy and a Masters in Entomology, both from the University of Florida. She moved to Oregon in 2001 and since 2005 has been an agricultural researcher at Oregon State University working with dozens of organic vegetable farmers in the PNW on collaborative research projects. In 2012, Lane created the Culinary Breeding Network to increase communication and collaboration between plant breeders, seed growers, fresh market vegetable farmers, produce buyers and chefs to improve quality in vegetables with a focus on public and independent open-source organic breeding work. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
John is the founder of Advancing Eco Agriculture, a leading crop health consultant and designer of innovative soil and plant management systems. Growing fresh market vegetables since 1994, John witnessed intensifying disease and insect pressure on crops which gradually failed to respond to the usual pesticide treatments. His mission is to provide support to the world's farmers and globally impact our food supply. He founded Advancing Eco Agriculture in 2006, which has quickly become a leader in the area of soil and plant nutrition.
John is an internationally-recognized speaker on the topic of biological agriculture and plant immunity. He has a unique ability to simplify and clearly explain very complex concepts in the areas of soil and plant health. He skillfully discusses the larger social and environmental impacts of food, agriculture, and ecology. Through intense study, the knowledge gleaned from many industry leaders, he began building a comprehensive systems-based approach to plant nutrition - a system solidly based on the sciences of plant physiology, mineral nutrition, and soil microbiology.
Kathleen DiChiara, FDN-P, BNI-P, CHC
An educator, health advocate, author and mother of three, she is a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner, an Integrative Health & Nutrition Coach and author of the best-selling book, "The Hidden Connection: Discover What's Keeping You from Feeling Happy, Healthy and Symptom-Free".
She received specialized training in the biomedical approaches and supplemental interventions to autism after her son was diagnosed with PDD-NOS. Kathleen is also professionally trained as a raw food chef and is board certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.
After years of struggling with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, severe degenerative arthritis, chronic pain syndrome and a myriad of other ailments, Kathleen made it her personal mission to spread the word about the power of healthy food and the astounding ways in which food can positively transform your life. Her knowledge of nutrition has been carefully developed through years of both professional and self-study.
Vail is a regenerative farmer and holistic grazing mentor, and is the founder of Simple Soil Solutions™, Grazing Power™ and ABC Beef™. She grew up working on farms, climbing mountains and enjoying nature. Her deeper understanding of our food and farming systems instilled a passion for healing our soils as a way to rejuvenate our ecology, economy and health.
Vail intensively researches how we affect soil biology and how that impacts productivity and economics. Learning many ways to repair damaged soil biologically has led her to understand how animals and humans play a vital role in soil regeneration. She is now building her own farm in Nelson County, VA into a living example of and training center for permaculture design, holistic management and biological farming.
David Forster is a soil and farm consultant focusing on economically and environmentally regenerative agriculture. His soil consulting business, Forster Soil Management has been helping conventional and organic growers for five years, and he is now the Bionutrient Food Association staff agronomist. With a background in industrial engineering, but a passion for agriculture, he has been intensively studying soil and plant health and agronomy for over 10 years.\0x0D
Jean-Paul is currently the Associate Director of Farmer Training at the Hudson Valley Farm Hub in Hurley, NY, a 1200-acre mixed-crop farm. His work at the Hub includes stewarding the land to organic/ecological practices, hosting research on ecological farming, providing education to the residential "ProFarmers" and staff, and hosting educational events for regional farmers. Jean-Paul Courtens is a native from the Netherlands and has lived in the US since 1986. He studied at Warmonderhof (part of Groenhorst College) which earned him a degree in Biodynamic Agriculture. He is co-owner of Roxbury Farm in Kinderhook, NY, an integrated farm producing vegetables, beef, pork and lamb on 375 acres for an 1100 member CSA utilizing biodynamic principles and practices.
Kurt Beil ND, MPH
Dr. Kurt Beil completed his post-doctoral research at the National College of Natural Medicine where he is an assistant adjunct professor focusing the effects of environmental settings on the human stress response. After obtaining Naturopathic and Chinese Medicine degrees from NCNM, Dr. Beil received a Masters of Public Health degree from the Oregon-MPH program, focusing on Urban Green Space as a Health Promotion tool. Dr. Beil has lectured nationally and internationally about the importance and health benefits of contact with nature, and has contributed a chapter on this topic to the Foundations of Naturopathic Medicine textbook project. He maintains a small clinical practice and spends as much time in Nature as his schedule allows.
Dane Terrill is the Director of Sales/Marketing and Soil Consultant for Crop Services International (CSI) and Flowerfield Enterprises (FE) in Portage, MI. FE is a leader in the small-scale vermicomposting industry, and for the last ten years Dane was employed to develop thier compost tea program. He attended the Sustainable Studies Institute in Corvallis, OR to study compost, compost tea/extracts, soil biology and direct microscopy methods. With his previous experience designing and maintaining an environmentally-friendly golf course, what evolved was an organic lawn care business that brews and applies compost teas to residential yards, gardens and athletic fields, eliminating the need for toxic rescue chemicals and inorganic fertilizers. The interest in compost tea and soil biology from a few local farmers prompted Dane to seek out a strategic partnership with CSI; a soil testing, consulting and product brokerage business started by Dr. Phil Wheeler. The success of this relationship blossomed to the point that Dane brought both businesses under one roof in July 2014. Utilizing the concepts of balancing minerals and bio-activating microbes, he and the staff at CSI/FE specialize in the education and transition of farmers, gardeners and landscape professionals to more sustainable, biological, and organic paradigms.
Jack Kittredge is the Carbon Analyst for NOFA/Mass and the author of the 16-page white paper "Soil Carbon Restoration: Can Biology Do the Job?". Previously, he was the Policy Director for NOFA/Mass for 15 years. Jack also is the editor of The Natural Farmer, the 48-page quarterly journal for NOFA.
Julie Rawson is Executive Director of NOFA/Mass, and has been with the organization since 1985. She is co-owner of Many Hands Organic Farm, in Barre, MA, a certified organic, mixed operation with animals, vegetables, and fruits, and president of Many Hands Sustainability Center which focuses on addict rehabilitation through farming.
Kevin Archer is a multi-media artist focusing on free thought, fairness, and social justice, always in pursuit of the fine art of dissent. He is a certified chef, performing musician, public speaker, and writer. Kevin has worked as culinary director, executive chef, and general manager at several landmark restaurants across the country. He is a frequent presenter at festivals and conferences throughout the eastern US. A nationally recognized humane educator, YES! Magazine includes him among their "Chefs We Love."
Kevin's current project is Peace Meal Supper Club, a series of fine dining events focused on socially progressive themes. Through the use of multiple media forms-word, food, music, and film--these immersive events explore the impact of our eating choices on humans, waterways, soil, animals, and our ethics. His first novel, In Lieu of Heaven, was published in 2004.
For 30 years, Phil Jones has been a flower, perennial and vegetable farmer while running his farm stand in Chelmsford, MA. Always a student and with an avid attention to detail, he has continued to ask questions and learn. His path has led to water among other things which he has studied and worked with to great success in plants as well as people. He has recently taken many of his insights to an evolving work as a health and wellness coach.
Michael Kandianis, PhD
After completing his education at Cornell and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Michael joined Shell as a physicist specializing in the physics of interfaces and earth materials. He is a founding member of the Shell NanoLab in Houston, and remains a senior scientist in this domain where he actively develops novel spectroscopic tools to understand the dynamics of chemical reactions across a wide variety of environmental conditions. Michael's principal research interests include: self-stabilizing electrochemical processes at interfaces; emergent phenomena; and modeling highly complex non-linear systems. He also collaborates with colleagues at research institutes throughout the world to explore the frontier of interfacial science and currently holds a visiting scientist appointment at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Michael's work is widely applicable to the study of fluid transport in porous media, next generation materials for energy storage, and the reaction machinery underlying biogeochemical cycling in natural environments.
Crystal Stewart, MS
Crystal grew up in the woods of Northern California spending most of her time outdoors communing with nature. She has an International Horticulture Bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, earned with the intention of working on botanic gardens and bringing her love of plants to the public. Upon returning to school for a Masters' degree in horticulture, however, she began focusing on vegetable production and the interface of people with plants as food. She has spent the last 11 years working for universities through Extension, and is now an organic vegetable specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension's Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture program. In addition to conducting research on organic vegetable production, teaching, and offering production consultation, Crystal also enjoys working with farmers to improve their quality of life with and through farming. She has been working with Holistic Management International for the past 7 years primarily working with groups of women farmers throughout the Northeast to balance the social, economic, and environmental aspects of their craft.
Lloyd Willard is a Mechanical Engineer by training and has worked 20+ years in the Medical Industry. Spending several decades studying science and biology has led to an unusual shift in focus to plant genomics. As the Chief Technology Officer of a company involved in GMO trait development, his energy has now turned to natural soil regeneration and crop health for the simple reason that soil health, plant health, and human health are inseparable.
Lloyd is currently the Executive Director of the non-profit organization, TheGoodLand, and part owner of Creation View Images (CVI). CVI uses fixed wing aircraft and drones with spectral and thermal cameras to collect imagery for later computer analysis. These analysis provide guidance in assessing crop health throughout the growing season for improved management of the soil and crops. Lloyd is passionate about the emergence of restorative agriculture practices which leverage natural soil and air microbiome, and the impact that restorative practices can positively improve soil, crop, and ultimately human health.
Faith Reeves has a passion for learning how to produce truly nutritious food while regenerating soils. She is the Farm Manager of the Sustainability Research Institute (SRI) demonstration farm, and has designed, promoted and managed a Business Supported Agriculture (BSA) model for the last 5 1/2 years. She has a certificate in Nutrition Farming® from NTS, a certificate in Permaculture Design, and is a graduate of Elaine Ingham's "Living Soils" class. She is a budding, enthusiastic and self-taught living soils consultant and agronomist. Microbes + Minerals = Magic.
Glen Rein, PhD
Known for pioneering research on the medical applications of non-classical electromagnetic energy, Glen Rein is a leader in Bioelectromagnetics and the emerging field of Energy Medicine. He received his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of London and went on to conduct biomedical research for 25 years at prestigious academic institutions including Stanford and Harvard Medical Schools. His academic career culminated with two publications in the prestigious journal Nature and an assistant professorship at Mt. Sinai Medical School. Glen also has 14 years or corporate experience doing New Venture research and product development for a Fortune 500 biotech company.
More recently, he founded the Quantum Biology Research Labs (QBRL) in Colorado, with a startup grant from the Fetzer Institute, which now investigates quantum information utilization and storage in biological systems and water, in an attempt to understand self-organized, energy-based healing mechanisms. Glen is the author of the book "Quantum Biology: Healing with Subtle Energy" and is the author or co-author of four patents, 25 papers on bioelectromagnetics and over 40 articles in biochemistry, neuroscience and pharmacology. He is the founder and CEO of Innovative Biophysical Technologies, a new subsidiary of the QBRL, which offers individualized biochemical and biophysical contract research services. He has lectured internationally and has made numerous media appearances on radio and TV. Glen is on a number of scientific and editorial boards including the Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine and Temple University Frontier Sciences.
Erika joined her first CSA in 2006 while living in Berkeley, Calif. She returned to her native Wisconsin to pursue her interests in sustainable agriculture and food policy while completing her Master's degree in Public Affairs at UW Madison. Since joining FairShare in 2012, Erika has managed the Partner Shares assistance program, providing cash assistance for low-income households to join CSA farms, volunteer engagement, fundraising, and overall organizational administration. She is a committed advocate for creating a sustainable and just local food system and is excited to be part of this movement. Her other passions include cooking, eating, and craft beer.
Will Brownback is a second generation vegetable farmer at Spiral Path Farm in Pennsylvania. Since the early 90's, the Brownback family has grown 100% certified organic vegetables for both CSA and wholesale markets. With the help of 40+ employees, Spiral Path Farm grows 75 acres of diverse vegetables each year. Their goal is to continually build vibrant soils that enhance flavor and nutrition.
Seroya is a naturalist, mother, and naturopathic physician who has dedicated herself to understanding the whole. Her studies and practices have involved in depth exploration of the multidimensional self, the world of nature and Gaia, and world spiritual traditions. Her professional practice focuses on integrative medicine including mind-body approaches. She has also worked in academia in the field of natural medicine in the US and Australia, and internationally with service organizations in Central America and Africa. A longtime gardener and former grass farmer, she restored marginal farmland through rotational grazing, established a diverse organic orchard and extensive gardens as part of a complex ecosystem renewal. She is currently the Associate Director of the AIHM Inter-professional Fellowship in Integrative Health and Medicine and is core faculty in charge of the Self-Care curriculum stream.
Bob Schindelbeck, MS
Bob has worked to develop the Cornell Soil Health Laboratory over the last 14 years. He oversees the operation and develops the soil health management planning effort to assist growers and researchers to best use the information. Bob has considerable field experience and has planned, developed and implemented field experiments studying soil physical behavior under different management regimes. His research and extension activities focus on soil hydrology, chemical fate and transport, tillage, soil compaction and soil health. He is a researcher and professor providing teaching modules in Soil Management for Sustainability, Introduction to Soil Science, Water Status in Plants and Soils, Restoration Ecology, and Organic Food and Agriculture Woody Plant Identification and Use in the Landscape.
Says Mark very simply, "Quality of life is a health issue. Good health is food dependent, and good food depends on soil health."
Mark Fulford is a well known, independent farm consultant and educator whose range of topics and expertise encompasses: transitioning from conventional to organic and biological agriculture; soil, crop, and forage nutrition; and preparing agriculture for peak oil, climate change and economic drift. He also teaches non-electric water technologies, hands-on skills in organic orcharding, organic no-till crop production, commercial and small scale composting, as well as fundamental rural skills and small farm food preservation.
Mark addresses audiences from a wide range of backgrounds and philosophies embracing common sense, science and cultural wisdom for the times we live in. His lifelong study of the natural world and immersion in agriculture on his own farm and abroad, grounds his practices in experience. Mark and his wife, Paula, own and operate Teltane Farm in Monroe, Maine.
Bryan O'Hara has been growing vegetables for profit for more than 25 years at Tobacco Road Farm in Lebanon, CT. He speaks throughout the Northeast on economically and environmentally sound vegetable production techniques and is known for providing "mountains of details in a concise, practical and cohesive manner."