Investing in the Vitality of Your Farm
The health and productivity of the soil forms the basis for any farm’s success, profitability, and ecological sustainability. Successful farmers need to develop a holistic approach to preserving and building soil health and fertility. Stewardship of the soil is arguably the most important job of any farmer or gardener.
All levels — This course is for field crop, vegetable, and livestock producers. We expect that students will have some experience in managing soils, even if minimal. Farmers looking for more productive soils to increase forage and crop production will benefit from taking this course.
Through this course, participants will:
- Know how soil properties affect growing crops and pasture
- Learn how to “read the land” and improve the four ecosystem processes
- Determine appropriate soil practices to improve soil health
- Begin work on a soil health improvement plan for their farm
The bulk of the course happens on your own time, with discussions, readings, and assignments in Teachable, our virtual classroom. To add to the experience, webinars will be woven into the online interface of the course to allow you to meet on a weekly basis to learn from presenters and ask questions in real time. If you miss one, they are always recorded and posted for later viewing.
Live instruction for the 2021-2022 season will begin on Mon. Feb 21, 2022 from 6:30-8pm Eastern time, and continue for 6 weeks, with the final webinar on Mon. Mar 28.
While we encourage live attendance so you have the opportunity to
engage with the presenters and ask questions, all webinars we will be
posted in our online classroom for students to watch anytime. Once you have enrolled in this course, you will retain access to all
materials indefinitely, and can return to participate in the live
webinars as many times as you wish.
Elizabeth Marks is a certified educator with Holistic Management International (HMI). She serves as a biologist for the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS) in the Hudson Valley (New York) where she works with landowners to improve soil health and biological diversity on their farm or forest. In addition she is an instructor for NY’s Beginning Women Farmer Program and has taught workshops on Holistic Management principles. Elizabeth received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Mount Holyoke College. She lives in Chatham in a net-zero, energy efficient home she designed herself.
StartCLASS: Week 1 Webinar Slides, Join Link, and Recording
StartREADING: Course Text Pages 3-35, 49-67
StartVIDEO: Gabe Brown - Farmer and Soil Health Expert
StartVIDEO: Soil Health 1-Minute Lesson
StartFORUM: Introduce Yourself; Meet Your Fellow Farmers
StartACTIVITY and FORUM: Map Your Soils
StartACTIVITY: Determine Soil Texture by Feel
StartRESOURCE: Estimating Soil Moisture by Feel and Appearance