Soil Health

It all starts in the soil. Healthy soils are the foundation of sustainable, regenerative, organic farming and gardening. NOFA-NY’s soil health programming provides technical assistance to organic producers, educates farmers and gardeners on building healthy soils, and advocates for policies that support land stewardship, carbon sequestration, and healthy waterways.

Education

NOFA-NY’s 2023 Winter Conference had a Soil Health Workshop track that featured knowledgeable presenters and practical ideas for farmers and gardeners to improve soil health.

Learn how to unlock support for on-farm soil health projects by enrolling in NY’s Agricultural Environmental Management Program (AEM). Hear from a panel of NY farmers about how enrollment has unlocked opportunities for funding projects that build on farm resilience. Panelists will also share best practices for engagement with local Soil and Water Conservation Districts and navigating NY’s many funding opportunities.

Join us to discuss some of the current challenges facing community composters, including plastics and other sources of contamination, the regulatory landscape, and manure sourcing in the changing dairy landscape. Participants will learn how to make decisions to minimize risk for their own compost piles, what questions to ask of their local composters to ensure they’re receiving a safe product, and what to expect of the compost industry in the years to come.

Laura discusses with participants how all of us, no matter where we stand in the food system, can use resilience thinking to cultivate the health of land, people and community in support of the just transition to a resilient food future.

Watch this interactive workshop to learn more about the pros and cons of your current risk management strategies and how farmers in NY and beyond are using resilience thinking to improve the performance of their operations no matter the weather.

Join us as we take a close-up look at soil, compost, and compost tea under the microscope to see the bountiful microbial life that exists. We’ll look at the impact these beneficial microbes have on the plants and trees above ground. We’ll also discuss ways to increase microbial populations using regenerative practices.

Fertility for our garden soil is all around us. These inputs can be grown, they can be recycled and most don’t cost a thing. We will look at numerous cover crops, how to use them, how to obtain them and how to manage and incorporate them with and without machinery. Multiple uses of natural mulches, both in season and out will be examined for providing added fertility needs. Simple composting techniques and well as home sources of minerals and calcium needs using shells and bones. We will look at several types of soil tests and discuss what they mean.

We also recommend that you check out Understanding Living Soil with Monique Bosch from NOFA/Mass and Soil Microscopy: Zooming in on Healthy Soil from CT NOFA.


Resources

Click here for our management recommendations for vegetable farms and gardens. These recommendations were developed in partnerships with NOFA/Mass and can be used to complement results from the NOFA Carbon Proxy Tests.

Advocacy

NOFA-NY is a member of the National Healthy Soils Policy Network, a group of farmer-centered organizations that advocate for state and federal policies on behalf of sustainable, organic, beginning, minority and/or family farmers. Learn more about NOFA-NY’s policy positions here. To stay connected with NOFA-NY’s advocacy work, sign up for Action Alerts here.