Protecting Land, Water, and Atmospheric Resources

On August 30th, John Andersen presented with Greenleaf board members, Dr. Don Wuebbles of the University of Illinois and Dr. Sabina Shaikh of the University of Chicago, in Lake Forest on “Protecting Land, Water, and Atmospheric Resources for Human Health.” John Andersen shared the Healthy Soils for Healthy Waters and Healthy Food initiative and discussed how complex environmental challenges require integrated whole systems approaches to their resolution. He discussed how Greenleaf Advisors and Greenleaf Communities bridge enterprises across areas of expertise and interests to achieve results, including the application of expert scientific knowledge to inform public policies and industry practices. Dr. Don Wuebbles spoke about his climate research and establishment of the University of Illinois’ new Center for Urban Resilience and Environmental Sustainability (Illinois CURES).  Dr. Wuebbles shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his work on Climate Change and is the lead author of the most recent U.S. climate assessment report.  His earlier research was the scientific foundation to the Montreal Protocol, a global treaty signed by 197 nations to protect humanity from depletion of Earth’s protective atmospheric ozone layer resulting from industrial pollution. Dr. Sabina Shaikh presented her research on the connections between environmental quality and human well-being. Dr. Shaikh is Director of the Program on Global Environment at the University of Chicago where she leads the Environment, Agriculture, and Food working group. Dick Munson gave a brief overview of his recent book, Tesla: Inventor of the Modern. Dick is Director of EDF’s Midwest Clean Energy, where he works to advance the use of clean energy in Illinois, Ohio, and...

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...

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...

Innovation Drives Sustainable Solutions

Turn on an electronic switch, and a myriad of services flows our way – increasingly from sustainable energy sources that are being delivered to us in intelligent fashion – just ask our colleagues at Intelligent Generation or GreenCity Power who deliver clean affordable power to customers as profiled below. Turn on the freshwater tap, and a seemingly endless flow of refreshment springs forth – however its sources are increasingly stressed by over-use and pollution – just ask our colleagues participating in the Healthy Soils for Healthy Waters Initiative, or EP Purification whose affordable ozone products are cleaning water in 24 countries. Below are a few highlights from 2015 wherein Greenleaf clients and partners advanced innovative solutions to the sustainable use of land, water, material and energy resources. GreenCity Power demonstrated to New York City how best to design efficient co-generation energy systems when it re-commissioned the city’s largest natural gas sourced system at One Penn Plaza.  It also raised $100 Million to deliver highly efficient systems for electricity, heating, and cooling to customers seeking improved profits and energy security which is of special interest to communities at risk of ‘Sandy’ type storms along the coastline. Aaron Walters, Managing Partner of GreenCity Power, will be presenting on cogeneration at the CleanMed Conference in Dallas this May. Intelligent Generation was issued its third patent protecting the Intellectual Property created by IG founder, Jay Marhoefer, who operates IG’s network of energy storage assets like a virtual power plant to participate in wholesale power markets, making solar profitable across the thirteen state PJM marketplace (Midwest to Mid-Atlantic). EP Purification advanced the development and market application of...

Celebrating World Soil Day today – Healthy Soils for Healthy Waters Conference in Memphis

December 4, 2015 – World Soil Day Celebrating World Soil Day today – Healthy Soils for Healthy Waters Conference in Memphis This week 200+ of the nation’s agricultural leaders assembled in Memphis, TN at the Healthy Soils for Healthy Waters (HSHW) symposium to advance sustainable practices and supportive policies for feeding a growing world population while protecting the fertile soils and surrounding water resources we depend upon.  The timing of our gathering was perfect given that today is World Soil Day with global events echoing our call for preservation of the planet’s envelop of productive soils that drape our globe.  You can find here the full agenda of the Nutrient Management conference that focused on the Great Lakes and Mississippi watersheds, which drain two thirds of the continental United States.  The day one HSHW symposium included presentations from across the business, policy, research, and environmental sectors and you can find summaries of their talks here. Days two and three saw a continuation of the HSHW themes with presentations from various regions. But allow me to highlight just a few comments, especially from the producers (farmers) who know best what it takes to manage and protect their lands. Dan DeSutter, a producer from Indiana, reminded us that ‘nature is our template’ … it is complex and we must study and mimic it in our actions as we work to effectively pump carbon back into plant roots to grow organic matter, while facilitating soil biology and increasing diversity which is a hallmark of healthy natural systems.  He reminds us there ‘is more living matter in a teaspoon of soil than people...