Microgrid – Technology Development, Market Applications, and Policy

Microgrids have been a hot topic in the energy sector lately in a variety of applications both for developed and developing countries. This paper is a brief overview of microgrids, the market and opportunities, and policy and regulations followed by a few selected case studies. Please read the full paper here. Greenleaf Communities would like to thank Environmental Defense Fund for their support of this...

HSHW 2018 at the Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference

The fifth Healthy Soils for Healthy Waters Symposium was held March 6th and 7th at the Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference in Ada, Ohio. Almost 900 crop consultants, producers, and subject experts were in attendance. The series is dedicated to a whole systems approach to agricultural land management. The objective is to optimize management for healthy soils, nutritious foods, clean water, and farm profits. This year we had experts speaking on building soil health, regenerative agriculture, healthy foods, precision nutrient management, and healthy waters. We thank Randall Reeder, Alan Sundermeier (Healthy Soils Healthy Environment at OSU Extension), the CTC team, moderators, and speakers. Special thanks to our sponsors, Exactrix and TKI Crop Vitality. Speakers represented an impressive range of organizations including Ohio State University, USDA-NRCS, USDA-ARS, Iowa State University, University of Washington, Ohio Farm Bureau, The Nature Conservancy, MillerCoors, Cooper Farms, University of Waterloo, Purdue University, Legacy Farms, Agren, and farmers. Barry Fisher (Region Soil Health Team Leader, USDA-NRCS) kicked off the event by highlighting the benefits of no-till and cover crops on soil and illustrated how aggregate stability is improved in a no-till system. David Montgomery (University of Washington) spoke on the importance of “Ditching the plow, Covering Up, and Growing Diversity.” David’s books include Dirt: The Erosion of Civilization, The Hidden Half of Nature, and Growing a Revolution: Bringing the Soil Back to Life. In Growing a Revolution, David consulted many innovative producers across the world who are regenerating their soils and protecting the environment while maintain profitability. David Brandt (Ohio producer) joined him onstage in describing practices he is using on his own farm in Ohio and the benefits he...

Imagine a Day without Water

Water unites all of us. Can you begin to imagine a day without water? It isn’t just your personal use of water – brushing your teeth, flushing your toilet, taking a shower – though those rituals are vital. Water is also essential to a functioning economy. An economic study released by the Value of Water Campaign earlier this year found that a single nationwide day without water service would put $43.5 billion of economic activity at risk. But investing in water infrastructure, unfortunately, has not been a priority for decades. And the truth is, communities across the country have let those systems deteriorate for far too long. Greenleaf Communities and its sister organization, Greenleaf Advisors, has deep experience with water resource management projects for both environmental and social well-being. Our work with the full spectrum of stakeholders, scientists, and policymakers helps to ensure that water resources will meet the needs of a growing world and the challenges of a changing climate. The Healthy Soils for Healthy Waters Initiative is dedicated to developing and expanding multidisciplinary and whole systems management practices for agricultural lands that impact our nation’s waters.  Our research in Ohio and Indiana demonstrates how gypsum helps sediment and nutrients stay on the land and out of the water. Excess phosphorus and nitrogen can contribute to algal blooms much like the ones in Toledo, Ohio causing economic and social impacts through loss of recreation and a lack of drinking water for residents. Greenleaf is assisting Argonne National Laboratory in their research on perennial biomass crops and their contribution to reduced nitrogen loads. We are working with Sustainable Waters...

John Andersen celebrates dedication of Trout Bay Conservation Area

On June 16 and 17, John Andersen joined Nature Conservancy of Canada and its many conservation partners from the U.S. and Canada to celebrate the dedication of Trout Bay Conservation Area on the North Shore of Lake Superior.  You can read more here about why those assembled have been working 15 years to protect these coastal lands and waters that support so many wide-ranging species and natural communities, including the Canada Lynx, grey wolf, peregrine falcon, arctic disjunct plants, and migratory birds. Read Wendy Cridland’s thoughtful piece on the importance of this area and it’s meaning to...

Healthy Soils for Healthy Waters 2017 in Denver a Success!

The 2017 Healthy Soils for Healthy Waters (HSHW) Symposium took place February 1st in Denver at the National Association of Conservation Districts Annual Meeting with a national audience learning from expert producers and researchers. The symposia series is dedicated to integrated and whole systems approaches to agricultural land management practices that protect the availability and quality of land and water resources while generating profitable crop production. At this symposium, 6 of the 25 recognized “No-Till Legends” were panelists or in attendance. This year we brought together the speakers below whose work preserves resources in the Western, Midwest, and Southern United States and as far as Australia. Brian Richter is Chief Water Scientist at The Nature Conservancy and the Founder of Sustainable Waters. As a Colorado native who has counseled governments and institutions around the world on sustainable water resource solutions, it was only natural that Brian served as the keynote speaker. Brian presented a “recipe for a sustainable water future” focused on setting sustainable limits on water extraction, reducing water consumption, quantifying rights to use available water, and enabling water trading. Brian has authored many articles and books including Chasing Water: A Guide for Moving from Scarcity to Sustainability. Brian presented on how we can save water through improving irrigation practices, changing crops, using no-till farming and other practices, and how water markets and water rights trading are being utilized to advance sustainability goals. See Brian’s slides here. Jeff Mitchell is a Cropping Systems Specialist at the University of California-Davis Extension whose research focuses on soil and water management in vegetable production systems in the Central Valley, one of the most productive agricultural regions...