How do we create the healthy, living soil that we want?

Presenter: 
Joel Williams

General introduction of the main microbe groups. Functions, roles and interactions of microbes in agro-ecosystems. Nutrient cycling, availability and extraction. Influences on the soil environment. Influences of plant morphology. Environmental and agronomic influences on soil life.

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Presenter: 
Graham Bell

This paper will examine the Forest Garden at Garden Cottage, Coldstream, Scotland and how it is possible to grow one metric tonne of food on .1 of a hectare (one fifth of an acre) as well as harvesting all our firewood needs, gathering half our other energy needs  and running a plant nursery. It will use the twenty five year development of the site to illustrate this astonishing level of productivity from less than two days a week work.

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Presenter: 
Chris Warbuton Brown

2015 has been made the International Year of Soil, a clear acknowledgement of the growing attention being paid to soil as the foundation of human food production. Throughout the world, soils are becoming degraded as a result of monocutural agriculture, deforestation, overgrazing and climate change, with soil management  often focusing only on soil chemistry. However,  in the last few years there has been a revolution in our understanding of the web of life which underpins healthy soil. This paper will explain some of that new research on soil.

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Presenter: 
Christopher Nesbitt

Much of the lowland humid tropics is densely populated, and soils have been depleted by monocultures. Traditional sustainable agricultural models have been discarded in favor of petroleum dependent models. Traditional foods have been displaced by cheap processed imported foods. Land has been degraded by monoculture and unsustainable practices tied to increasing population density.

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