You’re invited to the Quivira Coalition Conference: Back to the Future: Celebrating the International Year of Family Farming and Ranching

November 12-14, 2014, Albuquerque, New Mexico

“Regenerative agriculture is fixin’ to rise to its place in the world.”  – Sid Goodloe, rancher

The Quivira Coalition’s 2014 conference will emphasize land use ideas and practices that are “old and yet new.” It’s part of the burgeoning regenerative agriculture movement, whose aim is to restore the soil, the land, ourselves, and our communities to health and happiness via naturally renewing processes. In some cases, this means reviving or expanding time-tested practices, in others it means adopting new technologies and ideas appropriate for regenerative goals.

The UN designated 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming and tasked it with the goal of raising the profile of family farmers (and ranchers) and the significant role they play in alleviating hunger and poverty, providing food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, managing natural resources, and protecting the environment. Quivira has selected speakers for this conference who represent the diversity of the regenerative agriculture movement around the globe. Speakers include:

  • Winona LaDuke. An author, activist and environmentalist, LaDuke has worked tirelessly to recover lands for the White Earth Indian Reservation in Minnesota and been deeply involved in reviving native food and cultural traditions, especially wild rice cultivation.
  • Bill McDonald. An award-winning 4th-generation rancher and Executive Director of the Malpai Borderlands Group, McDonald coined the term “radical center” to describe our diverse but collaborative efforts to find common-sense solutions to ranching and conservation challenges in the Southwest.
  • Dorn Cox. In addition to being an innovative farmer in New Hampshire, Cox co-founded Farm Hack, which is an online platform where new farmers can talk with experienced agrarians, share the latest research, and make connections with like-minded individuals and organizations.
  • Paul Kaiser. On Singing Frogs Farm, an organic vegetable farm in northern California, Kaiser has developed an innovative method for year-round food production that is both regenerative and profitable. Employing full-time workers, on-farm compost and non-stop farming, it’s a model of how we can meet the food challenges of the 21st century.
  • Jo Robinson. A pioneering researcher whose early work focused on the benefits of grassfed meat, Robinson is now focused on Eating on the Wild Side – the title of her book in which she explains that we’ve destroyed the nutritional value of our food by selecting plants that are high in starch and sugar and low in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  • Gregg Simonds. A former manager of the Deseret Ranch in northern Utah, Gregg has spearheaded the development of an innovative GIS-based monitoring system that may very well revolutionize the way we manage rangelands. It can even look back in time!
  • Christian Dupraz. A scientist with the French Agricultural Service, Dr. Dupraz directed a trailblazing project that scientifically analyzed the possibilities of placing solar panels above farm fields in order to maximize renewable energy generation and food production from one plot of land.
  • Fred Kirschenmann. A farmer, author, professor and internationally recognized leader in sustainable agriculture, Kirschenmann is a Distinguished Fellow for the Leopold Center at Iowa State University and has served on numerous national committees, including the National Organic Standards Board.
  • Robin Seydel. There are nearly 30,000 cooperatives in the U.S., accounting for two million jobs and $500 billion in annual revenues. Coops are a legally-sanctioned form of private ownership in the service of the public good. Seydel, who has worked at La Montañita Coop in New Mexico since 1985, will explain the global benefits of the cooperative model.
  • Christine Jones. An Australian soil scientist whose pioneering research on soil carbon and regenerative agricultural practices has been inspirational to many of us, Dr. Jones will talk about the latest carbon research and profile stories of farmers who are succeeding in their efforts to create a regenerative agriculture Down Under.
  • Nicholas Nelson. Director of the North American Office of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, Mr. Nelson will present an overview of the various research projects, educational activities, and celebrations taking place around the world to mark the International Year of Family Farming.
  • Norine Ambrose. As Executive Director of an Alberta-based nonprofit, Ambrose has successfully worked with agricultural producers, landowners, communities, watershed groups, and resources managers to improve water, riparian, and natural resources under changing climatic conditions in Canada.

Copy of 2014_Final_Poster

A Carbon Conversation

Join us Wednesday evening, November 12th, 2014, for a provocative conversation about carbon, climate, and cattle with filmmaker Peter Byck, and authors Judith Schwartz and Courtney White.

Once relegated to boring chemistry classes and obscure policy debates, carbon is now a hot topic of conversation on ranches, farms, conferences, blogs, radio programs and a host of other forums around the world. Suddenly everyone seems to be talking about carbon! While much of this talk concerns carbon’s role as a pollutant in the atmosphere – the worrisome byproduct of burning hydrocarbons such as coal and oil – more and more of the conversation now is focused on carbon’s many positive qualities. The carbon cycle, in fact, is key to life on Earth – we wouldn’t exist without it.

Our discussion on Wednesday evening will focus on the many co-benefits that accrue when the carbon content of the soil is increased, including: better water quality and quantity, drawdown of atmospheric carbon dioxide, improved plant productivity, increased nutrients for our bodies, and much more. The presenters will update us on the latest research, economic opportunities, and policy possibilities connected to soil carbon. Then we’ll open the conversation to the audience for additional thoughts and comments.

 Come share your thoughts about carbon!

  • Peter Byck is an award winning documentary filmmaker and Professor of Practice in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University. His widely viewed 2010 film Carbon Nation has been described as “an optimistic, solutions-based, non-preachy, non-partisan, big tent film that shows how tackling climate change boosts the economy, increases national & energy security and promotes health and a clean environment.” Peter’s work today focuses on soil carbon.
  • Judith Schwartz is a Vermont-based journalist and freelance writer who has been published in a diverse range of magazines, newspapers, and online journals. Her 2013 book Cows Save the Planet examines, as she put it, the “surprising, even counterintuitive, idea” that cattle can play a major role in resolving some of our most difficult global problems. It profiles a variety of carbon pioneers and land management practices that improve soil health and thus tilt us toward environmental and economic resilience.
  • Courtney White is an author and co-founder of the Quivira Coalition. His 2014 book Grass, Soil, Hope: a Journey Through Carbon Country explores the potential for removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through plant photosynthesis and related land-based carbon sequestration activities, including no-till farming, climate-friendly livestock practices, conserving natural habitat, restoring degraded watersheds and rangelands, increasing biodiversity, and producing local food.