Speakers 2020

Rattan Lal

Professor of Soil Science and Director of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center, Ohio State University.


Rattan Lal, Ph.D., is a Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science and Director of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center, The Ohio State University, an Adjunct Professor of University of Iceland, and visiting professor at PUCV, Chile. He has been awarded seven honorary doctorate degrees from Norway, Germany, Spain, Moldova, India, Chile and USA. He was President of the World Association of Soil and Water Conservation (1987-1990), International Soil and Tillage Research Organization (1988-1991), Soil Science Society of America (2006-2008) and the International Union of Soil Sciences (2017-2018). His professional research interests include soil carbon sequestration for food and climate security, conservation agriculture, principles and practices of soil erosion control, eco-intensification of agroecosystems, soil restoration, and sustainable management of soils. He authored 950 journal articles, authored/edited 100 books, mentored 360 researchers from around the world, has a 145 h index, 97,000 total citations, and is editor of the Advances in Soil Science, and Encyclopedia of Soil Science. He has worked on six continents, travelled to 105 countries, and made on average one keynote international presentation per month since 1980. He is laureate of the 2018 GCHERA World Agriculture Prize (Nanjing, China), 2018 Glinka World Soil Prize (Rome, Italy), 2019 Japan Prize (Tokyo, Japan), and 2019 IFFCO Prize (New Delhi, India).

Caroline Halde

Assistant Professor in Agroecology, Université Laval


Dr. Caroline Halde is an assistant professor in agroecology at Université Laval. She grew up on an organic dairy and grain farm near Montreal, QC. She received a B.Sc. in Agronomy from Université Laval, a M.Sc. in Agriculture from Dalhousie University, and a Ph.D. in Plant Science from the University of Manitoba. She has completed her postdoctoral studies in weed ecology at Cornell University. She now leads the Agroecology Lab, with multidisciplinary research interests in soil health, nutrient cycling, agronomy, and ecology. She co-designed the Summer School in Agroecology at Université Laval.

David Montgomery

Geologist and Professor in Geomorphology, University of Washington


David R. Montgomery is a MacArthur Fellow and professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington. He is an internationally recognized geologist who studies landscape evolution and the effects of geological processes on ecological systems and human societies. An author of award-winning popular-science books, such as Growing a Revolution: Bringing our Soil Back to Life (2017), The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health (2015) and Dirt: The Erosion of Civilization (2007) he has been featured in documentary films, network and cable news, and on a wide variety of TV and radio programs, including NOVA, PBS NewsHour, Fox and Friends, and All Things Considered. His books have been translated into nine languages. He lives in Seattle, with his wife Anne Biklé and their black lab guide-dog dropout Loki. Connect with him at www.dig2grow.com or follow him on Twitter (@dig2grow).

Corine Singfield

Farmer and Researcher for the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems in British Columbia


Corine Singfiled has been a farmer for almost two decades. She has a deep commitment to creating integrated and closed loop agricultural systems that merge production and ecosystem functions. In the past, she has managed farms and led the creation of farm education programs. She now works for the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems as a researcher in organic and regenerative agriculture. Her research focuses on the integration of crop and livestock systems. She is looking at low-till and no till methods for restoring depleting soils using intensive rotational animal grazing.

Louis Robert

Agronomist for Quebec's Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ)


Louis Robert is an agronomist with more than thirty years of experience in agriculture in Quebec within the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Quebec (MAPAQ). His expertise is in soil management, cropping practices, fertilization, crop rotations, farm manure management and alternative crops. After bringing to light the influence of the pesticide lobby in research, he was dismissed from his position at MAPAQ in 2018. He returned to his job 10 months later, receiving an apology from the Prime Minister of Quebec, François Legault.

Nicole Tautges

Cropping Systems Scientist and Research Director at UC Davis's Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility

Nicole is a Cropping Systems Scientist and Research Director at UC Davis's Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility. Nicole has conducted on-the-ground agricultural research in wheat, corn, beans, forage, and grazing systems, as well as working with Kernza, a new perennial grain crop. Her research focuses on increasing the diversity of crop rotations and landscape cover in agricultural production systems using a variety of techniques, including the incorporation of legumes, organic soil amendments (e.g. compost), and grazing into row crop rotations. She is especially interested in research linking soil microbial communities and activity to nutrient cycling and agroecosystem functioning, particularly in terms of productivity and economic outcomes for growers.

Mark Shepard

CEO of Restoration Agriculture Development

Mark Shepard is the author of Restoration Agriculture, a book written about New Forest Farm, a 110-acre perennial agricultural savanna, one of the first in the USA. NFF is a planned conversion of a typical row-crops grain farm into a commercial-scale, perennial agricultural ecosystem using oak savanna, successional brushland & eastern woodlands as the ecological models. Trees, shrubs, vines, canes, perennial plants & fungi are planted in association with one another to produce food (for humans and animals), fuel & medicines. Mark’s adapted keyline water management system is foundational to NFF and he currently helps others establish water systems of their own.

Ryan Boyd

Farmer and Owner, South Glanton Farms (MB)

Ryan is a family farmer who is passionate about soil health, forage efficient cattle and no-till cropping systems. Ryan operates a mixed farm just north of Forrest, Manitoba with his wife Sarah, daughter Piper, son Bingham, and parents Jim and Joanne Boyd. He was recently awarded a 2019 Nuffield Farming Scholarship, allowing him to travel the world to learn more about grazing systems with ruminants and their agroecological benefits.

Kris Nichols

Soil Microbiologist and founder of KRIS (Knowledge for Regeneration and Innovation in Soil)


Dr. Kris Nichols is the founder and principal scientist of KRIS (Knowledge for Regeneration and
Innovation in Soil) Systems Education & Consultation. She currently works as a Soil
Microbiologist and Research Consultant with Food Water Wellness Foundation, MyLand
Technologies LLC and Understanding Ag., LLC. Previously, she was Rodale Institute’s Chief
Scientist from 2014-2017 and a Research (Soil) Microbiologist with the USDA, Agricultural
Research Service (ARS) for 14 years. Kris has B.S. degrees in Plant Biology and in Genetics
and Cell Biology from the University of Minnesota, an M.S. in Environmental Microbiology from
West Virginia University, and a Ph.D. in Soil Science from the University of Maryland. Her focus
is addressing current and future agricultural needs by building upon a soil health foundation to
identify biological tools to enhance soil health, water and nutrient use efficiencies, pest and
disease management, and mitigate climate change to provide long-term solutions to agricultural
economic viability, food insecurity, and ecosystem services loss. Kris grew up on a 640-acre
grain farm in SW Minnesota. Dr. Nichols has received several awards including the 2012
Conservation Research Award from the International Soil and Water Conservation Society and
has over 25 peer-reviewed publications as well as been quoted in numerous outreach

Abe Collins

Grazier, consultant, cofounder of LandStream, Inc. and a founding board member of the Soil Carbon Coalition


Abe Collins is a grazier, consultant, cofounder of LandStream, Inc. and a founding board member of the Soil Carbon Coalition. Abe has worked over his life to grow topsoil, shepherd deserts back into prairies, measure landscape function, and build practical tools to equip farmers and ranchers to contract their services growing natural capital and ecosystem services. He has grazed sheep, beef and dairy cattle and lives in Winooski, VT.

Vivian Kaloxilos

Owner & Principal Consultant, DocTerre

Vivian studied at the School of Environment at McGill which spearheaded her passion to find solutions to both ecological and social crises. She has also been studying, observing permauculture and agroecological principles for close to a decade. Her goal was to apply these ecological concepts as solutions towards mitigating disastrous biodiversity loss, increasingly abrupt weather patterns, world hunger and clean water shortages. With ecological field work training with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in 2011, Vivian confirmed that applied field ecology was the direction to go in. In 2013 she went on to study with Dr. Elaine Ingham of Soil Foodweb Inc, training in soil ecology, applied microbial soil regeneration, high quality compost, and more. In 2015, after a few years of getting the hang of the practical aspects of this knowledge, she founded Docterre. Docterre is a consulting service and laboratory which offers regenerative soil services in Quebec and Canada, offering assistance and support in educational, scientific and practical applications of soil regeneration. From 2015 to 2018, Vivian worked with Dr. Ingham part time, training soil life ecologists around the globe. Alongside four brilliant women, Vivian worked to create the “Living Soil Symposium Montréal -- Restore the Climate, Feed the World,” event which took place over three days at Concordia University in 2017. To this day, Docterre continues to collaborate with various actors; honoured to lend support to farmers, ranchers, municipalities, other ecologists, compost companies, businesses and schools from across the province and the country as they transition themselves towards regenerative soil and ecological management systems, and as they wish to understand their own systems. Vivian is also one of a growing number of artists participating in the Art of Regeneration initiative, providing thought provoking and inspiring messages of empowerment and concrete progressive changes through musical performances.

Gillian Flies

Owner, The New Farm


Gillian Flies worked as a human rights investigator, aid worker, election observer and management consultant on four continents before finding her true calling as a farmer. In 2003 she and her husband, Brent Preston, abandoned successful careers in Toronto, packed up their two young children, and moved to a run-down farm outside Creemore, Ontario. Since then, they have built The New Farm into a thriving business and a leading light in the good food movement, providing vegetables to some of the best restaurants in Canada and raising over a million dollars to make local, organic food accessible in low income communities. Gillian is the President of the Canadian Organic Growers and is a leader in the organic and regenerative farming movement. She speaks often on food and farming issues.

Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin

Owner-Founder Regeneration Farm LLC, Founder+ President Regenerative Agriculture Alliance


A native Guatemalan, Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin began working on economic development projects with indigenous Guatemalan communities in 1988. He served as a consultant for the United Nations Development Program’s Bureau for Latin America and as an advisor to the World Council of Indigenous Peoples. He was a founding member of the Fair-Trade Federation in 1994. Before coming to the U.S. in 1992, Regi worked with artisan communities across the highlands of Guatemala, connecting their small enterprises with fair trade networks in Europe, the U.S. and Canada. Regi’s has pioneered innovations in a Regenerative Poultry System that is at the center of a multitude of national and international initiatives. This system is designed to be uniquely aligned with the social, economic and ecological conditions of small farms and marginalized communities and is designed for large-scale and global impact. At the Regenerative Agriculture Alliance, Regi works on system-level strategies designed for global application, currently, his work covers communities in the US (Northfield, MN, Omaha, Mead and Winnebago NE, Pine Ridge SD), Hazelton British Columbia, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. Most recently, Regi authored a book titled “In the Shadow of Green Man”, My Journey from Poverty and Hunger to Food Security and Hope.

Adam York

Farmer and Co-Founder of AgriBio Systems

Adam York is a fifth-generation farmer in Central Illinois. Having never been satisfied with the status quo, he is always trying to improve yield on the farm. He was taught to farm conventionally from those around him, including his grandfather, father, uncle, fertilizer salesmen and professors. While they were gaining yield, they were also spending a fortune doing so and even worse, they were damaging the soil. In 2012, he started some trials on the farm with biologicals and started to see that this might be the future of agriculture. With continued self-education and through close collaboration with educated people, Adam and his partner Brad Hobrock started AgriBio Systems in 2016. This has led to improved education, understanding and success for not only his own farm but other farms as well.

Ananda Fitzsimmons (Host)

President of the Board, Regeneration Canada

Ananda Lynn Fitzsimmons is an out-of-the-box thinker, visionary and environmentalist, with a passion for soil and growing food. She has had lifelong interest in sustainable food production and land management as well as social change and personal empowerment. She spent many years experimenting with microbial potions based on naturally occurring microbes extracted from plants, composts and soil. In 2008, she teamed up with Dr. Margaret Bywater Ekegard and they founded Inocucor Technologies. The company, now called Concentric, commercializes products for agriculture based on consortia of naturally occurring beneficial microorganisms. She now works as a consultant promoting soil health and regenerative land management practices.

Mkomosé (Andrew Judge)

Coordinator of Indigenous Studies at Conestoga College


Mkomosé (Dr. Andrew Judge) is coordinator of Indigenous Studies at Conestoga College, sessional Lecturer at Sir Wilfrid Laurier University, and former visiting professor at the Center for Engaged Learning Abroad in Cayo District, Belize. He specializes in traditional Indigenous knowledge, ethno-medicine, and land based learning. Mkomosé regularly works with Elders to support conscious awakening to respond to the current state of society. Andrew is an initiated Mayan day keeper and participates in the ancient ceremonial practices of his Anishinaabeg ancestors. In 2018 Andrew founded Minjimendan (In a state of remembering - minjimendan.com) an Indigenous foods garden dedicated to restoring the vitality of Earth.

Paul Hrycyk

Project Manager, PUR Projet

Paul is an adaptive manager, problem solver, and soil expert with a strong understanding of carbon dynamics and sequestration potential under various agricultural management practices. After earning his MSc in Soil Science, Paul joined PUR Projet as Project Manager and lead on Regenerative Agriculture topics, where he develops, implements, manages and monitors ecosystem restoration projects in agricultural landscapes across North America. Paul works with PUR Projet’s clients to support the adoption of regenerative practices within their own supply chain and reduce their scope three emissions through insetting projects.

Suzanne Allaire

Owner of GECA Environnement

Suzanne Allaire has been working in environmental science for more than 25 years. She has collaborated with a wide range of industries, private companies, government agencies and research institutions to reduce the impact of humans on the environment by adding value to residues, protecting soil and improving carbon balances; the last 13 years being mainly on biochar and pyrolysis of residues. She has worked as a full professor at Laval University for 16 years, then started her own business. As owner of GECA Environnement, she works as an expert on biochar, pyrolysis products and their markets along with optimisation of their properties for their best usages. She supports municipalities, companies and organizations in various aspects of pyrolysis projects such as selection of technology, market development, R&D, project management, etc. She is a board member of the International Biochar Initiative, the most important organisation about biochar in the world. She has written over 500 publications related to the environment for various countries and types of audiences.

Todd Harrington

CEO Harringtons Organics

Todd Harrington has decades of experience in regenerative organic and sustainable plant care specializing in the manufacturing and applying of compost extract, compost teas and compost, custom building compost tea extractors, brewers, and spray equipment-- a true pioneer of practical knowledge and experience in applied soil ecological regeneration. Todd began his journey as an arborist specializing in plant and landscape health. After a few years of working in the domain, he grew increasingly uncomfortable with the amounts and kinds of chemical products that were normally applied. He founded Harrington’s Organic Land Care 1987, to offer a landscape health service that worked with Organic fertilizers, amendments and liquid biologicals as opposed to chemical fertilizers and insecticides. Today, Todd continues to consult with farms and companies from around the United States and overseas, helping customers reach their goals and save valuable time and money. Over these past decades, the program that Todd has developed for soil regeneration that has shown consistent results, whether in large scale agriculture, conventional orchards, in green spaces and parcs, to soccer field and lawns. Todd’s passion from day one has been educating, consulting and teaching people and businesses how to transition from chemical dependent to a true regenerative and sustainable practice.

Jérôme Laganière

Research scientist, Canadian Forest Service

Jérôme Laganière obtained his doctorate degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of Quebec in Montreal, where he studied carbon dynamics in the soils of boreal forest ecosystems. Dr. Laganière then joined a multidisciplinary research team at Memorial University of Newfoundland to assess the impact of climate change on the forests of Newfoundland and Labrador, at the watershed scale, and their importance in the global carbon cycle. He is now a research scientist at the Canadian Forest Service of Natural Resources Canada, and associate professor at the University of Quebec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, where his research aims to better understand the issues related to the harvesting of forest biomass and its utilization to generate energy. In addition to his research on bioenergy, he is interested in the effects of planetary changes such as climate change, biodiversity loss and changes in land use, the functioning of forest soils, with an assumed penchant for carbon-related processes.