NACD Soil Health Champion Jeff Goebel of New Mexico released a children’s book on Oct. 9 called “The One Thing You Can Do to Save the Earth.” Goebel was interviewed on the radio station KBOO for the program “Pathways” produced in Portland, Ore., to explain his background and what led him to write this book. This gave him the opportunity to share his message of soil health with a broader audience, and he challenged them to connect with the earth and treat it as a living system. Goebel states that the book is written for parents and grandparents to read to their children and grandchildren to start this environmental discussion. To hear the full interview, visit KBOO’s website.

Synopsis from Amazon: This children's story is about three young grandchildren, who reflect on the gloomy news of climate change, wars, hunger, poverty and other global issues. They ask their visiting grandfather to comfort them, and their grandfather tells them the story of the earth's past, present and future relationship with humans. The story ends with an optimism that urban and suburban families are not powerless in making a difference, creating a sense of empowerment and hope. The simple solution is a market-based approach that families can utilize when they shop for food, which directs their dollars toward a better, healthier future with the earth and its occupants.


By Jennifer Nelson,

When it comes to farmer outreach methods, “podcast” may not be the first word that comes to mind. However, 26 percent of people listen to podcasts monthly and it’s an ideal format for people who spend a lot of time on the road or in a tractor.

From Cloud to Cab is a new podcast series for farmers in the Mid-Atlantic Region hosted by Jennifer Nelson and Josh Bollinger with the Harry R. Hughes Center for Agroecology. The goal is to offer timely news, updates and different perspectives about a wide range of topics including conservation, agronomy research, emerging markets and quality of life issues.

Starting a podcast is a pretty low-key investment. After recording their first few episodes at a local community college, Nelson and Bollinger set out with $500 in equipment and a few hours to read through the manual and learn how to use it. They bought five microphones and a sound mixer. The sound mixer helps to balance guests’ voices and feed multiple microphones into a single recording.

“It’s the most intimidating piece of this effort - but hey, it comes with a manual,” Nelson said. “You also need a computer and recording software. I use Audacity, which is available for free, and a place online to host the recordings.”

Nelson and Bollinger use Sound Cloud and are registered with iTunes and Google Play. All of this equipment fits snugly into a backpack, so they can take the whole production wherever they need to.

“There is a learning curve,” Nelson said. “But we’re getting the hang of it and having a lot of fun throughout the process!”


A new perennial grain called Kernza was planted in the City of Cold Spring's Drinking Water Supply Management Area

By Dennis Fuchs, Administrator, Stearns County SWCD

Citizens of Stearns County in Waite, Minn., are utilizing a new crop for a variety of reasons. Kernza is a domesticated variety of intermediate wheatgrass and is a new perennial grain with growing interest from restaurants, bakeries and brewers.

The Minnesota Crop Improvement Association and the University of Minnesota Forever Green Initiative contacted the Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) to help identify a farmer interested in growing Kernza for seed production. They identified Brandon Dingmann, who farms land in the City of Cold Spring’s Drinking Water Supply Management Area (DWSMA), as someone interested in trying a new crop.

Approximately 20 acres of Kernza was planted on Dingmann’s farmer this August with assistance from staff from the UM Forever Green Initiative, including Assistant Professor Jake Jungers. Jungers has worked at the UM Forever Green Initiative since 2017. His research is to improve and develop new cropping systems that provide high-value agricultural products, mitigate environmental pollution, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The City of Cold Spring has been experiencing elevated levels of nitrate in their public water supply. Excessive nitrate in groundwater can cause health problems and treatment for drinking water can be expensive. Kernza is a sod-forming grass with very deep roots growing to a depth of over ten feet. It can capture and use nitrate in the soil that may otherwise leach into groundwater.

Dennis Fuchs, Stearns County SWCD Administrator said, “Getting Kernza established in the Cold Spring DWSMA is really exciting and will help reduce nitrate concentrations over time and hopefully provide farmers with new, profitable cropping options.”


By Sean McGovern

On Apr. 3-4, 2018, SARE and the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) hosted the conference "Our Farms, Our Future" in St. Louis, Mo.

“Thank you for organizing what turned out to be my favorite conference,” was one participant’s reaction to this year's programming.

The three-day event featured over 35 different breakout sessions, bringing 110 speakers together to share diverse ideas about the future of sustainable agriculture.

All of the conference materials are online and available for free to the public to allow everyone access to the resources and perspectives shared at the event.

  • Browse the plenary session videos to listen as USDA leaders, agribusiness professionals and farmers discuss what their organizations are doing to create a sustainable future.
  • View the 60 breakout session videos covering topics ranging from soil health to the social impacts of sustainable agriculture.
  • Learn from emerging researchers and scientists about their work in the fast-paced Sustainability in 180 Seconds program.
  • Listen to the Our Farms, Our Future Podcast Series recorded at the conference and featuring new episodes every two weeks.
  • Understand the research being conducted by SARE grantees across the country by seeing the projects that were featured in the poster session.
  • Get inspired by learning about the farmers that hosted tours at the conference. Join the conversation today by learning, exploring and sharing the resources from the event.

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