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Soil, Food, and Climate: What’s the connection?

August 8, 2018 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

This panel discussion will describe enlightened farming practices that will help solve the climate crisis by storing carbon in the soil, which also improves soil health, produces more nutritious food, and preserves water resources. If implemented at scale, these practices hold the promise of not only slowing but also reducing present-day and future net atmospheric carbon concentrations. In addition to “Regenerative Agriculture,” this movement has carried a multiplicity of names ranging from “Carbon Sequestration” to “Soil Building” to “Carbon Farming” to “Carbon Fixing.”

And what about cities? Indeed, vacant, marginal and planned green spaces are soil-rich and make up a significant share of the contemporary urban environment. While less advanced in both theory and practice than in farms, the carbon sequestration potential of soil is now being studied and pioneered in urban settings throughout the world.

This event will feature a panel of experts who’ve been exploring and addressing soil-building from a number of different perspectives. After a set of brief presentations, the panel will take questions from the audience. We’ll also talk about the federal Farm Bill, which is our nation’s food and land cover policy, and how the Farm Bill affects farmers in adopting these soil-health-building practices. Attendees will learn how they can support farmers bold enough to adopt new ways of working with the soil through wise consumer choices and advocacy. They will also take away information to make the soil in their own back yards or gardens more nutritious to people and pollinators, while helping to draw more carbon down from the atmosphere.

Local, organic food and entertainment will be provided at the beginning of this event. Donations (recommendation $5) from attendees will be accepted to cover costs.

Moderator: Joseph Robertson, Global Strategy Director,Citizens’ Climate Lobby

Panelists: 1) George Boody, Science and Special Projects Lead, Land Stewardship Project: Soil health, water and climate change.

George Boody was formerly Executive Director of the Land Stewardship Project (LSP) for 23 years. He co-directs interdisciplinary projects that measure and predict ecological and financial benefits from diversified farming systems and assists with federal and state policy initiatives.

2) Kassie Brown, microbial biologist and Executive Director, Renaissance Soil: Partnering with soil microbes for plant, soil, and climate health.

Kassie Brown is the founder of Renaissance Soil, a Saint Paul-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting soil regeneration through education, outreach, and action opportunities. After studying the soil/food web, Kassie decided to make the amazing complexity of life below ground her primary focus.

3) Julie Ristau, Chief Operations Officer, Main Street Project, Northfield, MN: Triple bottom line of regenerative agriculture.

Julie Ristau is Chief Operating Officer of Main Street Project, focused on guiding and overseeing the overall operations of the organization. She co-chairs the Permaculture Research Institute Cold Climate board and is a board member of the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Sustainable Agriculture.

4) James Dontje, Director, Johnson Center for Environmental Innovation, Gustavus Adolphus College: A description of the Nobel 2018 Conference, “Living Soil: A Universe Underfoot.”

James Dontje directs the Johnson Center for Environmental Innovation which serves as a focal point for Gustavus campus and community environmental stewardship efforts. Prior to his undergraduate education at Luther College, James lived on a farm in north central Iowa just south of Blue Earth, MN border. James’ graduate work was in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at the University of Minnesota.



August 8, 2018
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Citizens Climate Lobby


First Universalist Church
3400 Dupont Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55408 United States
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