Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems

Soil Processing Area (SPA)

Because the quality of our soil has emerged as the most important focus for our work in Regenerative Agriculture, we have sought and received grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)(opens in new window) and the CSU Agricultural Research Institute (ARI) (opens in new window)to develop a Soil Processing Area (SPA). The SPA will be able to quantify physical, chemical, and biological soil health indicators as well as food quality metrics through a range of existing and innovative approaches. This facility will serve our region by making access to analytical services and data more affordable, thereby encouraging the aggregation of data needed to document the results of regenerative management. The intention is to help demonstrate best practices to ensure soils are healthy, sequestering carbon, and providing the ecosystem services society requires.

The development of a soil and plant processing facility at the University Farm is underway. This facility provides the capacity to handle, process, archive, and analyze soil and plant material. The SPA will also provide workforce development and training for students, managers, and stakeholders through hands-on educational workshops and experiences. It is now operational in support of the Center for Regenerative Agriculture research and a regional Soil Health project funded through the NRCS. It provides the analytical infrastructure and expertise needed to assess soil chemical, physical, & biological properties across the diverse working landscape of Northern California.

In addition to the services offered by the Lab, students can use it to test the soil samples they gather in the field. These field experiences are a wonderful opportunity to learn about soil science firsthand.