I am really looking forward to the MOFFA, the Maryland Organic Food and Farming Association’s 27th Annual Winter Meeting on Saturday February 17, 2018 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm at the Maryland Department of Agriculture Building, 50 Harry S. Truman Parkway in Annapolis. The meeting is open to the public. Snow date is Feb. 24, 2018.
Dr. Kris Nichols, Soil Microbiologist, KRIS Systems Education and Consulting Services, will join our great lineup of speakers.
Dr. Kris Nichols is a leader in the movement to regenerate soils for healthy food, people and a planet. She is currently the founder and principle scientist of KRIS (Knowledge for Regeneration In Soils) Systems Education & Consulting Services and a sub-contractor with Soil Health Consulting, Inc. Her current focus is to address current and future agricultural needs by exploring the similarities between the soil and gut microbomes by looking at the carbon key. Kris builds upon a soil health foundation to identify biological methods for agricultural production and tools and practices to reduce pest issues, soil erosion, fossil fuel use, and greenhouse gas emissions. These systems are resilient and adapt to climatic uncertainty by increasing nutrient and water use efficiencies; improving pollinator activity and food security; and providing long-term solutions to agricultural economic viability, food insecurity, and the loss of ecosystem services. Kris continues to develop and evolve methodology and tools farmers, home-owners, and students may use to examine and appreciate their soil. Throughout her career, Kris has given over 250 invited presentations to a wide variety of audiences, authored or co-authored more than 25 peer-reviewed publications, been cited or interviewed for more than 50 magazine or newspaper articles, highlighted in five books, and has numerous videos on-line. Dr. Nichols was the Chief Scientist at Rodale Institute from July 7, 2014-January 12, 2018 where she oversaw approximately fifteen research trials on organic agriculture, including the Farming Systems Trial®, the longest-running side-by-side U.S. study comparing conventional chemical agriculture with organic, biologically-based methods and the initiation of the Vegetable Systems Trial. She was also instrumental in obtaining funding for these projects including recently being primarily responsible for the receipt of a ~$6 million, six year project to explore the impacts of agricultural management practices on water quality in the Delaware River Watershed. Prior to joining Rodale Institute, Dr. Nichols was a Research Soil Microbiologist with the USDA, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in North Dakota for 11 years and a Biological Laboratory Technician with ARS in Beltsville, MD for 3 years. During her time with USDA, she focused on mycorrhizal fungi and the investigation of glomalin – a substance produced by AM fungi. Glomalin contributes to nutrient cycling by protecting AM hyphae transporting nutrients from the soil to the plant and to soil structure and plant health by helping to form and stabilize soil aggregates. Kris received Bachelor of Science degrees in Plant Biology and in Genetics and Cell Biology from the University of Minnesota in 1995, a Master’s degree in Environmental Microbiology from West Virginia University in 1999, and a Ph.D. in Soil Science from the University of Maryland in 2003. In recognition of her work, Dr. Nichols has received several awards including the 2012 Conservation Research Award from the International Soil and Water Conservation Society.
Keynote Speaker Ben Friton of Can YA Love & Forested will discuss the History of Agriculture and Going Back to the Fundamentals of Thriving Ecosystems. Friton leads seminars and lectures around the world focusing on restoring ecosystems using biomimicry. He has worked in densely populated communities and has patented vertical garden systems and currently is trying to develop the most ecologically beneficial agricultural systems possible.
Join farmers, consumers, advocates, and researchers at this public meeting and potluck lunch.
MOFFA Board Member, Claudia Raskin said: “We will have information you can use, dynamic presentations and workshops for farmers, gardeners, and folks who are interested in organic food, food justice, and more. You can learn something new or share your experience. Our organic potluck lunch is Legendary! Book sale! Auction!”
Hear from Farmers and Activists:
- Nick Maravell Facilitator, Public Policy Update – with Mike Tabor, and Alexis Baden-Mayer
- Susan Frick Payne, from the Maryland Department of Agriculture, will discuss the Maryland Healthy Soils Consortium.
- Rachael Childress Nagle, Fermentation – Microbes & How they Impact Our Health
- Eric Rice, Willow Oaks Craft Cider, Opportunities & Questions – Hard Ciders & Beyond
- Mike Klein, Simplifying accounting, tax preparation and taxes for the farmer
- Roger Williams, George Washington Carver Agricultural Institute and New Incubator Farm Training Initiative at Tufts, Are Value-Added Farm Products a Good Choice for You?
- Erik de Guzman & Meghan Ochal, Dicot Farm, Dominic Hosack, THEARC Farm, Peter Scott, Fields 4 Valor, Panel Discussion: New Voices in Organic Agriculture
Learn from University of Maryland Extension Specialists and Scientists:
- Cerruti RR Hooks, UMD, Can spiders contribute to organic pest management?
- Alan W. Leslie, UMD, Controlling weeds in organic vegetables with living mulches
- Andrew G. Ristvey, UMD, Extension, Growing Hops
- Gerald Brust, UMD Extension, Using plant biostimulants
- Neith Little, UMD Extension, What is urban agriculture?
- Galen Dively, UMD, Organic insecticides: what works and what doesn’t
Check the MOFFA events page, marylandorganic.org/events, for he agenda.
Attendees please bring a dish to share for the Potluck Lunch, one of the highlights of the meeting. You are encouraged to donate an item for the Auction to support MOFFA. Members may bring display materials. Table space will be available in exchange for auction item donations.
Registration 1s $20 for non-members and $5 for members. Membership is $25 for one year, $45 for two years and $12 for students. Registration is at the door or online.
More information and Registration at https://marylandorganic.org/events/