Session 2

Nov. 3, 2017

There were fewer participants than Sept. 15 and therefore a narrower range of backgrounds and positions.


How do we advance soil health if no there were no financial limitations?

Theme 1 – many actors want to do the right thing, but don’t know how to do it, especially in a resource constrained environment; consequently, need to see that the numbers work before taking action.  How close can we get to no bare soil?

Theme 2 – transition periods are tricky

Theme 3 – there’s a perverse contradiction in our systems in that individual firm/owner decisions have public impacts but these are not typically accounted for in private decision making.

Theme 4 – we need to reinvent our cropping and eating, and diet has a big impact on the landscape

Theme 5- major problems with the way we govern ourselves and the ethical lenses we do and don’t apply to our common requirements and those of the planet


1) Accelerate what is happening around soil health, support more soil testing, required audited performance on soil health in lease agreements.

2) We have to change how we support perennial agriculture, including fruit and nut bearing trees

3) Compost and mulch should be designated farm products

4) WWII style government interventions but updated for today: What does this mean practically?

5) Food skills have to be part of the curriculum

6) Advertising should not be considered a business expense.

How do we address soil health and Climate Change while keeping food affordable?

Theme 1 – the food system can’t be held accountable for affordability but does have a role to play with system changes in other domains.  Is there a food price problem?

Theme 2 – many of our working environments are extractive, in parallel with the extraction that happens in agriculture and the wider food system.  We have an extractive culture with significant negative costs


Better income support as part of poverty reduction strategies

Targeted food stamp type programmes: non-stigmatized solutions

Decomplexification of the food system to reduce overall costs

Better food system – health care integration to reduce health care costs

Co-ops, for relational goods and services, community kitchens, other sharing structures

Channel business expertise to social goals and price reductions

4-day work week, invest in well-being of people to improve productivity

Incentives to eat healthy from basic ingredients

Community teaching farms

Putting it all together

Theme 1: We have to measure what we care about, eg., soil health is up, food security is improved:

Theme 2: Environment and justice intersect, solutions for one can improve the other

Theme 3: Localization, more farmers, better soil health, lower health care costs

Theme 4: We need permanent places to discuss complex issues

Theme 5: We need to challenge conventional notions of ownership

Theme 6: Less extraction, less automation


More transition planning

Pay experienced farmers to mentor inexperienced ones

We need a collaborative project that crosses the sectors