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.