Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems

The Seminars

Videos of presentations from seminars sponsored by the Regenerative Agriculture Initiative. Click anywhere in the description to be taken to the appropriate page.

Achieving Inevitability

Larry KopaldLarry Kopald, Co-Founder & President, The Carbon Underground

Larry Kopald shares how his organization, The Carbon Underground, accelerates the adoption of regenerative agriculture to draw down carbon and mitigate the climate threat. Throughout the talk he provides examples how the human race can take strides to reverse our carbon footprint and help save the planet from dying in the near future. Mr. Kopald is very passionate about saving the earth for future generations to enjoy. Learn how you can make a difference.

Recorded: March 29, 2019

BioGeoTherapy: Reversing Climate Change by Regenerating Land and Ocean Ecosystems

Thomas GoreauThomas Goreau, President and Founder Global Coral Reef Alliance

Dr. Thomas Goreau discusses biogeotherapy and how regenerating land and ocean ecosystems can help reverse climate change. Dr. Goreau is President of the Global Coral Reef Alliance, a non-profit organization for coral reef protection and sustainable management, and Coordinator of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development Partnership in New Technologies for Small Island Developing States. He shares his research and facts from his colleagues’ research to explain why biogeotherapy is vital for the future of the earth’s existence.

Recorded: March 29, 2019

With and Against the Grain: Bread in the Late Anthropocene

Alice JulierAlice Julier, Director of the Center for Regional Agriculture, Food, and Transformation (CRAFT), Associate Professor, and Director of Food Studies at Chatham

Grains play a major part in developing regenerative systems, particularly in the search for regionally-focused and perennial agriculture.  While large companies like Patagonia and Annie’s Homegrown have made strides in supporting product development using these grains, their incorporation into local cuisine and food production is regionally specific and requires more concentrated energies, economic support, and cultural reinforcing.  Using oral histories of immigrant bread and baking, agricultural asset mapping of food sheds, culinary tourism, and network development with farmers and bakers, Julier explores how we aim for a regenerative culture of food in the Pittsburgh region.

Recorded: March 29, 2019

Oceans in Peril: What Can We Do to Save Them?

John RoulacJohn Roulac, Founder of Nutiva, Environmental Advocate and Author

The world’s oceans are in peril. Overfishing and thousands of tons of garbage dumped into the ocean each year is causing severe stress. Even more profound is the impact of our carbon emissions, which have caused significant acidification and damage to marine life around the globe. Although the situation seems dire, Roulac is hopeful for a recovery, but only if we stop emissions NOW. The solution to this ecological and social disaster is just under our feet, i.e., our soil.

Recorded 10/4/18

Regenerating the Diversity of Life in Soils: Hope for Farming, Ranching and Climate

Dr. David JohnsonDr. David Johnson, Molecular Biologist, New Mexico State University, and Adjunct Faculty, CSU, Chico

Dr. David Johnson is a Molecular Biologist conducting research for the Institute for Sustainable Agricultural Research at New Mexico State University. His research, in soil microbial community structure and function, has opened a window for viewing the interdependence between plants and soil microbes. Optimization of these plant microbes associations promotes restoration of soil fertility, improved growth of crops, increased plant water-use efficiencies, and soil microbial carbon-use efficiencies. These benefits provide a path to significantly reduce greenhouse gases while promoting market development of a new and profitable agricultural commodity (soil carbon) for growers within a regenerative agricultural system.

Recorded 9/6/18

Growing a Revolution Bringing Our Soil Back to Life

David MontgomeryDr. David Montgomery, Geomorphologist and Professor at University of Washington

David R. Montgomery introduces us to farmers around the world at the heart of a brewing soil health revolution that could bring humanity’s ailing soil back to life remarkably fast. Cutting through standard debates about conventional and organic farming, Montgomery explores practices based on the principles of conservation agriculture already used on farms in both industrialized and developing worlds and how they help restore soil health and fertility. These Regenerative practices enable farms to use less water, generate less pollution, lower carbon emissions, and stash an impressive amount of carbon underground while saving the farmers money by being able to use less fossil fuel and fewer if any chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Montgomery lays out an inspiring vision where agriculture becomes the solution to environmental problems, helping feed us all, cool the planet and restore life to the land.

Recorded 3/15/18

Introduction to the Regenerative Agriculture Initiative at CSU, Chico

Dr. Tim LaSalleDr. Tim LaSalle, Co-Founder & Co-Director, Regenerative Agriculture Initiative

Tim LaSalle believes the three biggest challenges facing human survival on Earth are climate, hunger, and water. He discusses how Regenerative Agriculture could address all three through a combination of practices that stop soil erosion and degradation and build soil fertility while removing the carbon from the atmosphere that is leading to global climate change. LaSalle emphasizes that the situation is dire and action needs to be taken fast, but the potential Regenerative Agriculture offers is more than exciting. He uses several real world success stories to illustrate that point. Chico State’s current president wants the work of the Regenerative Agriculture Initiative to be part of her legacy. LaSalle lays out what that is expected to entail.

Recorded 3/15/18

Understanding the Connection Between Regenerative Farming, Grazing Practices, and Nutrient Dense Food

Dan KittredgeDan Kittredge, Organic Farmer, Founder of the Real Food Campaign, Founder and Executive Director of the Bionutrient Food Association

Dan Kittredge explains the connection between soil health, plant health and human health. He shares his own experiences with switching to Regenerative Farming and how it helps him grow more flavorful and significantly more nutritious foods with no pests, no diseases, with an improved shelf life at a lower cost and with less work. He advocates for low cost technology to help consumers make informed choices to help drive the industry through economic incentives. He also discusses the importance of a global open source data platform for farmers and others to share research from many different regions with different climates and growing conditions as well as the need for epidemiological studies.

Recorded 2/24/18

Hands Off My Food: How commoditizing our food system has caused the current health crisis in our nation

Dr. Sina McCulloughDr. Sina McCullough, Author and Consultant

Dr. McCullough has a Ph.D. in Nutritional Science but despite her background, she developed a food-related autoimmune disease that progressed to the point of threatening her life. The disease prompted Dr. McCullough to launch a 5-year investigation into our food supply. What she learned eventually helped her reverse her disease without the use of medication. It also revealed how our food supply is making us sick, how this situation came about, and what ordinary people can do to stop it.

Recorded 2/24/18

Making the break from commodity agriculture as a self-reliant, diversified farming operation that builds soil for future generations

Will HarrisWill Harris, Owner/Rancher of Wild Oak Pastures

Will Harris shares his experiences as a fourth-generation cattleman who made the switch from industrial ranching methods to sustainable Regenerative Agriculture practices. In particular, he makes the point that Nature abhors a monoculture and now raises a wide variety of animals on land planted with a variety of grasses and trees. He honestly discusses the challenges he has faced over the years in regards to the complexity of this farming method and those caused by market forces driven by imports, loss of regulation, and multinational corporate policies. He discusses the need to focus on all three legs of a profitable strategy—production, processing and marketing as well—as how online direct-to-consumer marketing allows him to show animal welfare and earth-conscious consumers how what he is offering fits their values.

Recorded 2/24/18

Managing Grazing to Regenerate Soil Health and Farm Landscapes

Dr. Richard TeagueDr. Richard Teague, Associate Resident Director and Professor, Texas A&M AgriLife

Dr. Richard Teague utilizes a systems approach to develop land and livestock management practices that sustain natural rangeland resources and the well-being of the people depending on the land. His research provides insight into the extent that grazing strategies influence key ecosystem services, the economic viability of working ranches that contribute to the retention of open space and rural community health in the Southern Plains of the USA, the extent that different grazing management strategies can be used by livestock producers to mitigate and adapt to alternative climate scenarios, and the long term economic consequences of using alternative grazing management strategies to achieve rangeland restoration and production goals.

Recorded 11/9/17

Regenerative Agriculture: Its Crucial Role in the Solution to Africa's Current Famine

Dr. Roland BunchDr. Roland Bunch, International Regenerative Agriculture Consultant & Author

There is a serious drought in Africa, one in which more than 20 million people from Yemen to Tanzania are at risk of starvation. Surprisingly, explains Dr. Roland Bunch, the total amount of rainfall has not decreased, although global warming has made the timing of rainfall less predictable. He states that this drought is caused primarily by soils that can no longer infiltrate water because they have lost all of their organic matter. Farmers have such a small amount of land that they cannot set aside some of it to lay fallow. The chemicals used in conventional agriculture are too expensive for most Third World farmers, plus they feed the plant but do not feed the soil. Dr. Bunch presents Regenerative Agriculture as a solution because it increases both soil fertility and resilience to drought.

Recorded 9/7/17

Regenerative Agriculture and Carbon Smart Farming

Dr. Tim LaSalleDr. Timothy LaSalle, Co-Founder & Co-Director, Regenerative Agriculture Initiative

Too much carbon in the atmosphere heats our planet beyond capacity for it to sustain life as we know it. Too much carbon in the oceans makes them unfit for the life balances that have evolved through the millennia. Tim LaSalle believes that returning much of this lost carbon to the soil will not only mitigate the destructive aspects it causes in the atmosphere and the ocean, it will improve and cleanse water cycles, add fertility and life to the soils, and build climate resilience into farmed and grazed lands. He calls this life-giving, life-saving strategy, Regenerative Agriculture–farming and grazing practices that reverse climate change by rebuilding soil carbon levels while also restoring degraded soil biodiversity.

Recorded: March 23, 2017

Viewing the Agricultural System Through a Carbon Smart Lens

Tom NewmarkTom Newmark, Co-owner of Finca Luna Nueva Lodge, Costa Rica and co-founder of the Carbon Underground and Regeneration International.

After a short introduction, Tom Newmark’s presentation focuses on how modern agricultural practices impact climate change and food security. He suggests that the worst mistake we as a species has made was losing our relationship to the ecosystem in our food production. At this point we don’t just have a climate change problem. We also stand to lose all our topsoil worldwide in 60 years and have severe water shortages by 2030 almost entirely because of losing organic matter in the soil through the use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer, monoculture, tilling and chemical herbicides. Newmark describes how Regenerative Agriculture provides a solution for all these problems with inspiring examples of the dramatic gains already made on farms currently using these methods.

Recorded: March 23, 2017

Regional Fibersheds: Building Healthy Soils and the Biosphere

Rebecca BurgessRebecca Burgess, Founder and Executive Director of Fibershed, Chair of the Board Carbon Cycle Institute, Author and instructor at Westminster College and Harvard University.

Rebecca Burgess takes the discussion of Regenerative Agriculture beyond food production and into the area of sustainable, carbon negative, non-exploitative clothing. She proposes Soil to Soil methods of garment production in localized geographic regions—building the soil faster than it is depleted, growing the crops, spinning the fibers that are woven into material, and making garments that can be returned to the soil when used up to make compost. She shares the challenges and the potential benefits behind her nonprofit mission of developing regional fiber systems that build soil & protect the health of our biosphere.

Recorded 2/9/17

Soil Microbes: Their Powerful Influence in Agroecosytems

Dr. David JohnsonDr. David C. Johnson, Director and Research Scientist/Molecular Biologist for the Institute for Sustainable Agricultural Research, New Mexico StateUniversity

Dr. Johnson begins his presentation with the startling fact that, worldwide, 75 billion tons of fertile soil are lost each year. Soil is also being lost from desertification, soil salinization, pollution through chemical application and runoff, and the urban sprawl of new subdivisions. In his research with the New Mexico State University Institute for Sustainable Agricultural Research, Dr. Johnson is focusing on the role of microbes (such as fungi and bacteria) in the sustainability of healthy soils. As background, he explains the concept of the “soil food web.” With his wife, Dr. Johnson has developed a composting bioreactor which produces a high quality, nutrient rich, fungal dominated compost. Materials such as this compost can increase crop yields while maintaining healthy soil.

Recorded 9/29/2016.