Soil is alive!
This January, Russell Ranch Director Kate Scow gave an inspired talk at the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) 2018-2019 International Soils Meeting “Soils Across Latitudes” in San Diego, CA.
Scow was invited to speak as part of the Francis E. Clark Distinguished Lectureship on Soil Biology. Her talk titled “Soil is a Living Thing: Microbial Underpinnings & “Human Overpinnings” of Soil Health” delved into the multi-functionality of agricultural research (environmental, social, and economic) and the necessity for more engaged Participatory Action Research (PAR) within soil health. She shared the platform with Scott Park, a local organic farmer who focuses on soil health and with whom she collaborates.
At UC Davis, researchers are tackling soil health questions through various, interconnected studies: lab and greenhouse studies, short-term field trials, long-term field trials, and studies in farmers’ fields and throughout farmer networks. Scow described two projects that highlight microbial underpinnings and human overpinnings in soil health research: 1) a study conducted at the Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility that measured soil carbon changes over 20 years in three agronomic systems (organic, mixed, and conventional), and 2) a study conducted within the Central Valley that surveyed farmers on management practices and collected soils from farmers’ fields to measure soil health indicators. These projects launched many conversations on soil health between researchers and farmers and brought forth new collaborations and questions.
Overall, Scow’s talk was a call to get the message out there and find solutions to real, user defined problems.
To listen to the full talk, click on the link below- https://scisoc.confex.com/scisoc/2019sssa/videogateway.cgi/id/34669?recordingid=34669
Information on Scott Park’s talk can be found here-