Sunday, June 18, 2017

Event - Living Soils Symposium Montreal

The Living Soils Symposium will take place October 31, 2017, at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. The subtitle of this event is, "restore the climate feed the world".

Creating living soils is part of a rapidly expanding movement towards growing healthier foods while restoring our climate and ecosystems.

This three-day bilingual event will bring together scientists, academics, food producers, students, government delegates, NGOs, activists, entrepreneurs, and consumers, to discuss the crucial role of living soils in addressing some of the world's most pressing environmental and social justice issues. These issues include:

  • Climate Change
  • Food Security
  • Water Scarcity 
  • Biodiversity loss
  • Public health
  • Public safety
Land management practices that regenerate soil health have the potential to store billions of tons of carbon annually, restore biodiversity, combat desertification and water scarcity, produce higher yields of healthier foods, and alleviate political instability and mass migration.

A civil society initiative, the Living Soils Symposium Montreal aims to demystify the scientific, practical and political aspects of practices that regenerate soil health. This event will facilitate cross-pollination among attendees of diverse sectors that relate to soils in order to foster innovation.

Most agricultural soils have lost 50 to 70 percent of their original soil organic carbon pool (Lal, 2003).

Depletion of soil organic carbon pools has contributed 78 gigatons of carbon to the atmosphere (Lal 2004) and is, therefore, a major contributor to human-induced climate change.

Land-use change such as deforestation, intensive agricultural methods, and warmer temperatures are all factors that cause soil carbon loss and accelerate desertification.

12 million hectares of productive land become barren every year due to desertification and drought (UNCCD, 2014), an area roughly the size of England.

More than 40% of the global population is affected by water scarcity (UN Water, 2014).

Leachates from excessive fertilizer applications are polluting surrounding water bodies and causing their eutrophication, harming plants and animals.

Degenerative agriculture depletes soil nutrients, which contributes to the 793 million people worldwide suffering from malnutrition, by drastically reducing yields and producing nutrient-deficient foods (FAO, 2015 & 2013).

Land degradation is largely contributing to mass migration, as 135 million people are predicted to be displaced by 2045 as a result of desertification (Global Humanitarian Forum, 2009).

Confirmed Speakers


Meet the scientists, practitioners, and entrepreneurs who will be sharing their knowledge at the Living Soils Symposium Montreal.

Elaine Ingham, Founder, President and Director of Research, Soil Foodweb Inc. Dr. Ingham is currently Founder, President and Director of Research for Soil Foodweb Inc., a business that grew out of her Oregon State University research program. Behind her user-friendly approach lies a wealth of knowledge gained from years of research into the organisms which make up the soil food web. Her goal is to translate this knowledge into actions that ensure a healthy food web, for it to promote plant growth and reduce reliance on inorganic chemicals. Elaine also offers a pioneering vision for sustainable farming, improving our current soils to a healthier state, without damaging any other ecosystem.

Jean-Martin Fortier Owner, Les Jardins de la Grelinette, Production Director, Ferme des Quatre-Temps, Author, The Market Gardener. Jean-Martin is a farmer, educator and author specializing in organic and biologically intensive cropping practices. His award-winning book, The Market Gardener, has inspired tens of thousands of readers worldwide to reimagine human-scale food systems. His message is one of empowerment in order to educate, encourage and inspire people into pursuing a farming career and lifestyle. In his new farming project, Ferme des Quatre-Temps, he has set out to further demonstrate how diversified small-scale farms, using regenerative and economically efficient agricultural practices, can produce a higher nutritional quality of foods and more profitable farms.

Cameron Stiff Director of Finance and Development, Compost Montreal. Cameron is the Director of Finance and Development at Compost Montreal, a socially responsible enterprise promoting the ecological treatment of organic waste to convert it from a liability into a resource. Prior to this, he promoted and supported campus sustainability initiatives at universities across Canada as part of the Sierra Youth Coalition's Sustainable Campuses Project. He has worked on food systems, urban agriculture, climate and sustainable transportation initiatives at Concordia University, where he was recognized as a Sustainability Champion in 2011, and founded and directed Greening Duluth, a community sustainability organization in his neighborhood in the Plateau Mont-Royal from 2007-2011. He founded the Canadian Youth Delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2006. He is the secretary of the Urban Agriculture Laboratory, an organization supporting urban agriculture initiatives in Montreal and beyond, and president of the Hudson Food Collective, which promotes sustainable food systems and organic agriculture in Hudson, Quebec. He is currently completing a bachelor in sociology at Concordia University, where he was an ambassador for the social economy as part of the CHNGR program in the 2016-2017 academic year. He is passionate about the transformation of cities towards sustainability and the role that soil and compost can play in that process.

Odette Ménard Engineer and Agronomist, Advisor in Soil and Water Conservation, Ministère de l'agriculture, des pêcheries et de l'alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ). Odette is an agricultural engineer from Ste-Hyacinthe in Quebec who has become the first woman to be admitted into the Conservation Hall of Fame of the Soil Conservation Council of Canada (CCSC). Along the years, Ms. Ménard has had a major role in the promotion of soil conservation in the southwest region of Quebec. She has participated actively in many councils, associations and clubs focused on soil health and conservation.

Vivian Kaloxilos, Owner and Principal Consultant, DocTerre, Program Advisor, Living Soils Symposium Montreal. Vivian has had an interest in the health of the environment from an early age. In university, she studied at the School of Environment at McGill which spearheaded her passion for finding concrete solutions to the environment and food crisis we are seeing today, and ecosystem regeneration became the focus of her studies. Outside of school she studied Permaculture and Agroforestry and practiced the application of these concepts, as these practices offer solutions towards mitigating disastrous climate change and world hunger. Special ecological field work training with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in 2011 confirmed that applied field ecology was the direction Vivian wanted to take her skills. After a few years of practicing ecosystem regeneration through permaculture techniques, she went to study privately with Dr. Elaine Ingham of Soil Foodweb Inc in order to train in soil ecology, soil microbial microscopy, applied microbial soil regeneration, and high-quality compost, inoculum, and microbial amendment creation. She has since founded DocTerre, a soil consulting service, and laboratory, and continues to work side by side with Dr. Ingham and other certified soil consultants in the field.

Timothy LaSalle, Regenerative Agriculture Consultant, CEO, Rodale Institute, 2007-2010. Timothy is serving as the International Coordinator for the Open Burning Project for the International Cryosphere Climate Initiative and is Co-Director of the Regenerative Agriculture Initiative, CSU Chico. LaSalle has served as the first CEO of Rodale Institute, Executive Director of the Allan Savory Center for Holistic Management, consultant, advisor, and research coordinator for the Howard Buffett Foundation in Africa on soils and food security for smallholder farmers. He is Professor Emeritus of California Polytechnic State University, and former President/CEO, of the California Agriculture Leadership Program where he arranged educational leadership programs in more than 80 countries with heads of state, ministers, and community leaders.

James Sinton, CEO, The Fair Carbon Exchange. James has been working with Dr. Elaine Ingham for two years to speed the implementation of her soil building and carbon sequestering programs in mainstream agriculture. He combined a career in management consultancy with education. His experience in both fields is centered on the application of “Lean Thinking” in manufacturing, distribution, and service. Working with executives in large and small corporations, including IBM, Kodak, Toshiba, Procter and Gamble and Kellogg’s, he has implemented continuous improvement systems that transform corporate efficiency and effectiveness. This work has covered three continents: Europe, Africa, and the North America. James has created and run 6 companies in Europe and the US, working in the fields of management consulting, agriculture, IT, manufacturing and construction. As adjunct faculty in the Business and Sustainability departments of a local university James has developed “Lean” learning systems that result in high retention levels with a minimum of time and effort on the part of the students and faculty. James is the author of the chapter “Using Lean Thinking Approaches to Speed Sustainable Development” in “Sustainable Development” edited by Ukaga, Maser and Reichenbach, CRC Press 2009. After obtaining a graduate degree in Ecology (M.S. equivalent) from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg South Africa, James founded the government funded South African Seaweed Research Unit that produced sustainably harvested plant growth stimulants which are still sold in South Africa.

Ronnie Cummins, Co-founder and International Director, Organic Consumers Association. Ronnie is the International Director of the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) and its Mexico affiliate Via Organica www.viaorganica.org. OCA is a non-profit, U.S. based network of two million consumers, dedicated to safeguarding organic standards and promoting a healthy, just, and sustainable system of agriculture and commerce. Cummins has been active as a writer and activist since the 1960s, with extensive experience in public education, grassroots mobilization, and marketplace pressure campaigns. Over the past two decades, he has served as director of US and international campaigns dealing with sustainable agriculture issues including food safety, genetic engineering, factory farming, and global warming. In 2015 Cummins co-founded with 60 other global scientists, farmers, and activists, Regeneration International, a network dedicated to mitigating and reversing climate change through regenerative food, farming, and land use. Cummins has published hundreds of articles in the alternative and mainstream press.

Andre Leu, President, IFOAM Organics International. Andre is the President of IFOAM – Organics International, the world umbrella body for the organic sector. IFOAM – Organics International has around 800 member organizations in 120 countries. He is founding steering committee member of Regeneration International, an organization that promotes farming systems that regenerate soil organic matter. He has an extensive knowledge of farming and environmental systems across Asia, Europe, the Americas, Africa and Australasia from over 40 years of visiting and working in over 100 countries. Andre has a degree in Communications and post-graduate qualifications in adult education. He lectures and teaches at universities, institutions, and workshops around the world. He has published extensively in magazines, newspapers, journals, conference proceedings, newsletters, websites and other media, as well as done media interviews.

Michelle Garneau, Professor, Department of Geography, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM). Michelle is the Director of the Research Chair on the dynamics of peat ecosystems and climate change (DÉCLIQUE) at UQÀM. As a professor in biogeography and geomorphology, her objective is to teach the notions of biophysical environment in their entirety in order to expose clearly the inseparable links between the biophysical and human aspects in the context of climate change and their effects on the natural environment, land use and people's lifestyles.

Blain Hjertaas, Regenerative Farmer, Holistic Management Canada. Blain is a third generation farmer on Hjertaas Farm, which was established by his grandfather in 1915. He began in the early 70’s with a high-tech industrial approach to agriculture. After 20 years, he realized this could not work long term. He began seeding grass and custom grazing cows. Along the way, he was exposed to holistic management and that greatly helped speed his learning. Today, his son is involved in the business. The farm has 600 eyes and they custom graze 150 cow/calf pairs. Blain has grown very passionate about the importance of soil health to human and environmental health and his experience speaks for itself.

Click here to find out how to attend.

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