February - April 2021

Join the Vermont Healthy Soils Coalition and Littleton Food Co-op 

for a six event deep dive into building healthy soils and resilient communities focused on the

Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and North Country of New Hampshire!

 

Register for the series now to stay up to date as the series is planned and to receive links to the webinars.

Please check back to this website and RSVP to our Facebook event page to learn more.

Six Webinars

Wednesday, February 10

Wednesday, February 24

Wednesday, March 10

Wednesday, March 24

Wednesday, April 7

Wednesday, April 21

all webinars will take place

from 6:30 to 8:00 pm

The series will reflect the priorities of the communities of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and the North Country of New Hampshire as determined by a community survey that found a strong interest in regenerative practices skill sharing. The series will cover topics such as the connections between soils, climate, food, and human health; Abenaki land, stewardship, and current projects; building soil and community composting; social justice issues related to land, agriculture and food; and how to partner with a diversity of plants, animals, and others for healthy and resilient ecosystems. Participants and speakers will have opportunities to share skills, ideas, and resources and collaborate to implement projects in their own community. 

 

Speakers and facilitators at each event will be based in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and the North Country of New Hampshire and will be discussing local projects, sharing climate-appropriate skills and tips, and highlighting resources and ideas available in these regions and beyond!

With Deep Gratitude To Our Sponsors and Partners

Contact the organizing team at vermonthealthysoilscoalition@gmail.com to add your logo to this important series.

The 2021 Soil Health and Community Resilience: Stories from the North series is a proud grant recipient of the

Cooperative Education Fund - A Project of CDF.

The Cooperative Education Fund supports cooperative research, sponsors cooperative education events and scholarships, and develops cooperative education materials and programs. The Fund provides about $100,000 in grants annually. The Fund is a project of the Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF), a public charity headquartered in Washington, DC that promotes and develops cooperatives to improve economic opportunities for all.

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Vermont Natural Resources

Conservation Districts

Orleans County, VT

Essex County, VT 

Caledonia County, VT

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Panelists + Resources

February 10 

Connections between Soil, Climate, Food, and Resilience

Residents of northeastern Vermont and northern New Hampshire face common threats from intersecting crises of lack of connection, public health, climate change, economic distress, and social dislocation. These regions also share an abundance of environmental and cultural resources to create practical solutions to restoring health to our ecosystems and communities. Please join speakers: Stacey Doll, Kenya Lazuli, and Grace Gershuny & 200+ registered participants & 30+ partner businesses and organizations, for stories and discussions about building healthy soils and resilient communities. Come learn about local projects aimed at expanding the region's capacity to thrive in the face of escalating uncertainty. This session will also feature Migrant Justice’s Milk with Dignity Campaign.

View the Recording of Connections between Soil, Climate, Food, and Resilience

View the auto-generated transcript from the Event (apologies for any inaccuracies)

Access the Chat from the Event

Take the Post-Event Survey

Speakers:

Stacey Doll, Littleton, NH, is the Executive Director of Root to Rise whose mission is to encourage community and personal discovery of ecological and social systems through experiential permaculture learning and provide opportunities to shift from theory to practice and embodiment.  She is also the Community Resiliency Planner at North Country Council Regional Planning Commission and Economic Development District guiding an Economic and Community Recovery and Resiliency Plan for the North Country of New Hampshire.  Stacey is an educator, a planner, a community networker, a yoga teacher, an outdoor enthusiast and an avid gardener.  She believes anything worth growing, in the garden, in life and in community, starts with developing rich, organic, diverse soil.

 

Websites for Stacey's work:  Root to Rise - www.roottorise.net and North Country Council www.nccouncil.org

Other recommended resources that have inspired my work:

  • Need to Grow (film) about building soil and hope with patience and persistence

  • Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective (film) - a documentary featuring some of my colleagues and peers in the permaculture movement

  • Braiding Sweetgrass (book) by Robin wall Kimmerer - a beautiful book of weaving Indigenous knowledge with scientific education and experience

  • The More Beautiful World our Hearts Know is Possible (book) by Charles Eisenstein - a great book challenging the stories, and soil, the have cultivated a life of competition and consumerism and insights on shifting those stories and soil to ones of belonging and collaboration

  • Change Here Now: Permaculture Solutions for Personal and Community Transformation (book) by Adam Brook - a great book for applying permaculture and regenerative practices to transforming the composition of social systems and community soil

  • Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Shaping Worlds (book) by Adrienne Maree Brown - another great book for redesigning existing systems to be more regenerative and inclusive

  • The Transition Town Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resiliency (book) by Rob Hopkins - a book that describes a process to engage the local community in becoming more resilient to our changing climate and challenges

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Kenya Lazuli, Corinth, VT, is Co-Founder of Radical Imagination. Her work is centered around creating space for Black, Indigenous and all people of color to commune with one another and the land. Her projects include running an arts residency, hosting skillshares and workshops and feeding residents and visitors from her unruly garden.  Kenya owned and operated an educational urban farm in Portland, Oregon and taught the basics of building soil health, caring for bees, ducks, and goats prior to moving back to her home in Vermont. Her current work is focused on the Every Town project with the primary goal of permanent land access and stewardship for BIPOC in Vermont.

www.radicalimaginationprojects.com

@radicalimaginationprojects

Resources Kenya likes:

  • The Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust 

  • The principles of a Just Transition 

  • Vermont Releaf Collective 

  • Susu Community Farm 

  • Conscious Homestead

  • Farming while Black by Leah Penniman

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Grace Gershuny, Barnet, VT, is widely known as an author, educator and organic consultant. In the 1990's she served on the staff of USDA’s National Organic Program, where she helped write the regulations. She learned much of what she knows through her longtime involvement with the grassroots organic movement, where she organized conferences and educational events and developed an early organic certification program for the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA). A reformed market gardener, Grace still grows her own veggies and chickens in Barnet, Vermont. 

Books written by Grace:

The Soul of Soil

Organic Revolutionary: A Memoir of the Movement for Real Food, Planetary Healing, and Human Liberation

Grace's website with book information

Most current statement about what motivates Grace right now

Books/authors that have inspired Grace:

Leah Penniman: Farming While Black

Judith Schwartz: Water in Plain Sight

Eric Toensmeier: The Carbon Farming Solution

David Montgomery & Anne Bikle: The Hidden Half of Nature

Too many to list!

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Get Involved and Learn More about the Milk With Dignity Campaign from Migrant Justice

  1. Milk with Dignity Action Kit (a lot of background info about the program as well as how to get organized and some action steps)

  2. 2020 Milk with Dignity Report! (Recently published report documenting the impacts of Milk with Dignity in its first 2 years)

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February 24

Partnering with Plants

Join Michael & Nancy Phillips of Heartsong Farm (Groveton, NH), Evan Perkins of Small Axe Farm (Barnet, VT), and Jan Enthoven of Karmê Chöling: Shambhala Meditation Center (Barnet, VT) as they share mycelium secrets, perennial passions, and mindfulness practices garnered from decades of dedication to working the land. 

Stories will range from growing medicinal herbs and organic apples in the North Country of NH, to embracing no-till farming on a high slope in the NEK, to community-oriented regenerative farming supported by diverse approaches. Share in conversation around why mycelium is at the heart of soil health, how to foster reciprocity in your work with plants, and some ideas about what you can do this season to deepen your partnership with plants. 

View the Recording of Partnering with Plants

View the auto-generated transcript from the Event (apologies for any inaccuracies)

Access the Chat from the Event

Take the Post-Event Survey

Speakers:

Michael & Nancy Phillips - Groveton, NH 

Michael Phillips is renowned for helping people grow healthy fruit using herbal protocols. The community orchard movement that he helped found at GrowOrganicApples.com provides a full immersion into the holistic approach to orcharding. His Lost Nation Orchard is part of a medicinal herb farm in northern New Hampshire. Michael is the author of The Apple Grower and The Holistic Orchard, which received Garden Book of the Year honors from the American Horticultural Society. His work has been compared with Sir Albert Howard and J.I. Rodale’s classic books on organic gardening. He teamed up with his wife Nancy to write The Herbalist’s Way, to explore the many paths whereby herbalists find their green niche. Michael’s latest, Mycorrhizal Planet: How Fungi and Plants Work Together to Create Dynamic Soils, will rock you!

www.LostNationOrchard.com

www.GrowOrganicApples.com

This article provides an overview of the holistic approach which absolutely embraces soil life

A "fungal plunge" into the critical role of mycorrhizal fungi and plant health.

Link to the farm bookshelf

Nancy Phillips has been living and loving the land at Heartsong Farm for 35 years, where she and Michael nurture the vegetable, fruit  and herb gardens as well as ethically wildcraft medicine in the meadows and woods. Nancy is a passionate herbalist, holistic health coach, yoga instructor, natural foods cook, and avid gardener who loves sharing these teachings and practices with others. She delights in guiding people on their path to finding more peace, joy, and vitality. As we heal and nourish ourselves we have more to give and are better able to support and care for our families, communities and world. So… she encourages you to take steps to care for yourself, it leads to more peace, love and balance on the planet!

https://heartsongfarmwellness.com/ 

A few books she recommends: 

  • Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

  • How to Move Like a Gardener by Deb Soule

  • Wild Remedies by Rosalee De La Foret and Emily Han

  • The Organic Medicinal Plant Farmer by Jeff and Melanie Carpenter

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Evan Perkins, Small Axe Farm, Barnet, VT

Small Axe Farm is an off-grid, organic market farm with a focus on no-till regenerative agriculture.  We grow on a steep slope in the hills of Barnet, VT.  We offer a full selection of vegetables in our main season, plus salad greens, microgreens & shoots during the winter months.  We sell to local coops, a local grocery store chain, direct to customers via our online farm store & we offer a Summer CSA. 

Our website is www.smallaxefarm.com where you can find out more about our farm and access our online store.  You can also find us at www.facebook.com/smallaxefarm and at www.instagram.com/smallaxefarmvermont.  

 

Small Axe is excited to be a part of the NoTill Growers Podcast

 

They also were a part of a YouTube video series called "The Good Life". Their 3 episodes about our farm will air this May 2021.  Here is the trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_KY6B9eg6U&t=1s

 

Small Axe was a part of a few podcasts with the UVM Ag Engineering podcast & Andy Chamberlain :

 

Resources for others that they find valuable:  the No Till Market Gardeners Podcast

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Jan Enthoven -  Karmê Chöling: Shambhala Meditation Center (Barnet, VT)

Jan Enthoven descends from a long line of Dutch fruit and vegetable growers. Passionate about the natural world, Mr. Enthoven visited Buddhist farmer- philosopher, Masanobu Fukuoka during his travels through Asia in 1982. Inspired by Mr. Fukuoka’s approach, Jan implemented ecological farming methods on his own farm, which became organically certified in 1983.

Drawn to the Shambhala teachings of Chogyam Trungpa, Jan visited Karmê Chöling in Barnet, Vermont, in 1988 and became Karmê Chöling’s master gardener soon thereafter. Since that time, Karmê Chöling’s organic garden has drawn thousands of visitors, and Jan has mentored many garden enthusiasts. He teaches garden apprenticeships and has written articles for newspapers and magazines.

March 10

Closing Local Nutrient Loops and Building Soil

Listen to the stories of 4 practitioners sharing techniques of cycling local nutrients and energy to improve water quality, increase fertility, and stimulate the local economy and ecology through the lens of building soil. Join the discussion with speakers Tim Wennrich of Meadowstone Farm, Eric Paris of Tamarlane Farm, Donna Pion of Green State Biochar, and Brian Jerose of Agrilab Technologies and learn practical tips for closing the nutrient loop and building the soil sponge.

 

Speakers:

 

 

 

 

 

Donna Pion of Green State Biochar has over 40 years of diverse business experience working for 15 years as the Comptroller at Sterling College and the past 8 years as Business Manager for Vermont Natural Coatings. She has worked for large industrial companies in the mid-west and early on in her career as one of the accountants for the U2 Joshua Tree Tour.

 

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Tim Wennrich - Meadowstone Farm, Bethlehem, NH

We started Meadowstone Farm in 2004 with the vision of making compost from food scraps, but soon shifted priorities as we found producing food was more viable and a quicker turn around.  We slowly added( and dropped) products over the years and currently raise/produce: a market variety of vegetables, pork, eggs, beef, compost, flowers, seedlings, and goat cheese. We sell primarily out of our farm stand, but also run a market style CSA, sell to local groceries and select restaurants.  Everything we do is through the lens of improving soil health which includes minimal till, lots of organic matter and cover crop rotations.  We were certified organic through 2008, but dropped it for a number of reasons and you can find more on our website about who we are and how we grow, www.meadowstonenh.com.  

 

Virtual tour of the farm with UNH Coop-EX

Our Videos of what farmers do when they are bored and creative.

 

Favorite authors Tim consistently refers back to:

  • Noel Perrin - First Person Rural

  • Wendell Berry - The Farm

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Brian Jerose is President/Co-founder of Agrilab Technologies Inc. (AGT) based in Enosburg Falls, Vermont and provides services and equipment including compost aeration and heat recovery (CAHR) systems for farms and commercial/municipal composters.  AGT has implemented CAHR systems in six states and has provided technical assistance and consulting on local, regional and international composting and watershed protection projects.  Brian’s education includes a BA in Political Science from SUNY Geneseo and a MS in Environmental and Resource Engineering from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, in Syracuse, NY.  Brian lives on a small farm in Fairfield, VT with his wife Joanna and daughters Maya and Lucy.

Learn more: www.agrilabtech.com or www.facebook.com/agrilabtech Check out their projects: https://agrilabtech.com/projects

Recommended Resources:

"Building Soils for Better Crops" by Fred Magdoff and Harold van Es really increased my knowledge going back 15-20 years.  While there are many new developments in soil health, that book is a great foundation for anyone interested in this topic. 

While far less focused on soil health, I just completed "Braiding Sweetgrass" by Robin Kimmerer.  Great book that covers ecology, indigenous knowledge and a lot more.

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Eric Paris's family owns and operates Tamarlane Farm LLC, a certified organic grass fed dairy vegetable and beef operation. We transitioned to certified organic farming in 2003, and we began commercial composting in 2005.  Along with owning and operating The Freighthouse Market and Cafe and the Mosaic restaurant we also own and operate Kingdom View Compost, where we currently compost an average of twelve tons of food waste weekly, generated by some 40 or so food waste generators located throughout the NEK, mainly institutions.  We recently installed an aerated static pile system which will nearly double our composting capacity.  

 

The vegetables and beef produced on the farm is found on the menus of the two family owned establishments as well as being offered for sale in the Freighthouse Market.  The food residuals from the two restaurants are returned to the farm to be composted, the compost is used as fertility to grow more food, thus creating a natural food cycle.


 

March 24

Speakers:

Bill Fosher - In his day job as a conservation planner working for the NH Association of Conservation Districts, Bill Fosher works with farmers in New Hampshire to help them improve their soil health through grazing and agronomic practices. In his other life, Bill raises livestock -- primarily sheep, but also cattle, hogs, and poultry -- and has a home garden that keeps getting larger.

 

Bill has been farming for 30 years, using intensive rotational grazing during that entire time, and has seen the positive impact that ruminants grazing on well-managed perennial pastures can have on soil health and the surrounding environment.

[Additional Panelists + Resources TBD]

April 7

Working with the Woods

 

Healthy forests provide critical habitat, thriving soils, and abundance for countless species. Share in a discussion with Sam Perron of NorthWoods Stewardship Center, Grafton County Forester Jim Frohn of UNH Extension, and Michael and Schikoy of Sacred Circle Homestead and Permaculture Nursery about managing forests and their gifts to continue to build soil health and resilient communities for all. Tune in for approaches to reduce forest soil erosion, keep the "right kind of messy", support natural forest processes, and build soil health with hugelkultur.  There will be a feature from folks working on the land towards social and environmental justice, including Calabash Gardens in VT - a regenerative saffron farm - and Mountain’s Way Sanctuary in NH.

 

Speakers:

Sacred Circle Homestead and Permaculture Nursery, LC3 is a small scale diversified homestead and nursery utilizing indigenous wisdom and traditional agroforestry techniques in the Northeast Kingdom of VT.  The mission of Sacred Circle is to work to create an inspiring example and reestablish healthful human presence, to provide affordable access to plant-based abundance, and to pass on the mindful wisdom and skills that promote a reciprocal restoration of balanced living ecosystems.

Check them out: Instagram / Facebook / Youtube

More about Sacred Circle: A recent article: Small Steps to Big Changes
A few recent videos focusing on building soil:

Heeling in Trees For Winter and Micro Hugelkultur Swales

Human Scale Land Design and Management

Small Scale Hugelkultur
 

Recommended books and articles: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, Sprout Lands by William Bryant Logan, Changes in the Land by William Cronon, Restoration Agriculture by Mark Shepard.

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Jim Frohn is the Grafton County Forester for UNH Extension. He worked as forester on private and public lands for a variety of organizations around northern New England for over 20 years, and is now enjoying his role in forestry education. Jim has a BS in forest management from the University of Maine, and is currently working on his MBA at Plymouth State.

Jim's Extension Blog: A Walk in the Woods

Forestry Best Management Practices for Erosion Control

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Sam Perron is a Forester at the NorthWoods Stewardship Center in East Charleston, VT. His projects include forestry consulting with local landowners, management of the NorthWoods Demonstration Forest, and educational programs centered around sustainable management, forest ecology, and land use. Healthy forests start with the underlying soils, and human activity in forests can have a profound impact on soils. NorthWoods strives toward forestry practices that protect soils and ecological function while also supporting human management priorities, such as outdoor recreation, wildlife habitat enhancement, timber harvesting, and other forest-based projects. Sam studied forestry at Warren Wilson College, is a professional member of the Forest Stewards Guild, and is a Vermont Licensed Forester.

 

NorthWoods projects, events, and initiatives: www.northwoodscenter.org

 

Other resources (not necessarily soil specific):

April 21

Don Stevens is Chief of the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk - Abenaki Nation and President of AHA Abenaki Helping Abenaki. Don is an accomplished leader, businessman, writer, and lecturer. Don has served on many boards and commission including the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs and Attorney General Board of Racial Disparities.  He help led the fight to obtain legal recognition, acquire land, and federal settlement agreements for the Abenaki People. He has 30 years of experience in Information Technology, Logistics, and Manufacturing strategies. Don served in the US Army, graduated from Champlain College, and holds several Honorary Doctorate Degrees.

 

Recommended Reading: Seven Sisters by Fred Wiseman

Additional Resources: https://abenakitribe.org/

[Additional Panelists + Resources TBD]

RESOURCES COLLECTED FROM THE 2021 COMMUNITY SURVEY