Webinar: COG: Planning for Climate Change Resilience panel and discussion


What can you do as a farmer to track your farm’s resilience to climate change? Did you know there are simple, affordable on-farm soil health tools you can use to help you determine the impact of your management decisions and whether you are on the right track? These normally qualitative tests are best used in conjunction with soil lab tests, but can be quantified and replicated to show improvement over time. This session presents an overview of these tools, how they can be used alongside soil lab analysis, and recommends a protocol for tracking your soil health over time.

Gillian Flies: Gillian owns and operates The New Farm with her husband Brent Preston. The New Farm provides high quality, organic produce to fine restaurants and specialty retail stores in the Toronto and Collingwood areas.

Gillian grew up on a sheep farm in rural Vermont. After graduating from the University of Vermont, Gillian joined the Peace Corps and spent two years teaching math in Botswana. She went on to work for human rights and democratic development organizations on four continents, and organized observer delegations for landmark elections in Nigeria, Indonesia, East Timor and elsewhere.

Gillian worked as a management consultant in Toronto for six years before abandoning her successful career and moving to the farm in 2003. Since then, Gillian and Brent have built The New Farm into a thriving business and a leading light in the good food movement, providing organic vegetables to some of the best restaurants in Canada and raising almost a million dollars to make local, organic food accessible in low income communities. Gillian is also a Board Director and Ex-Officio President with Canadian Organic Growers.

David Katerynych: David has been interested in farming his entire life. After university, his grandmother sold him a quarter section of land (640 acres), and his farm has grown ever since. David chose organic and gluten-free farming because he is interested in growing not just a commodity, but food for his community.

David loves playing sports with his 3 kids. He feels that the most challenging aspect of farming is climate change, as erratic weather and climate make every year an adventure. His favorite thing about farming is being proud of the food he grows and knowing that he is feeding other families. He is excited to share his knowledge and passion for farming with his kids, as they grow older and are becoming interested in learning more.

Vivian Kaloxilos: Vivian is passionate about the natural world, assisting and documenting life and biodiversity as it bounces back from states of degradation. She is an ecologist who specializes in soil ecology and applied soil life regeneration. She sees herself as a support system to farmers and landowners who are at the front lines of the regenerative movement. Through her company Docterre, founded in 2015, she has been educating, supporting and accompanying farmers in their processes of regenerating soil biodiversity, understanding the connection between the health of subterranean biodiversity and above ground plant and ecosystem health and performance, and helping them to develop the practical skills needed to do so. She has been looking at agricultural soils and composts across Quebec and Ontario under her microscope for a decade, supporting the work of ecologically innovative farmers and documenting their trials this way. Vivian is a master compost maker, providing compost inoculums that are ecologically balanced and biologically rich, which her clients use to make liquid compost extracts on farm. She has guided many farmers in on farm compost extract production, on farm composting, microscopy, and understanding the agroecological systematic approaches needed to go hand in hand with soil ecology for results in the field. She’s seen the reality of applying regenerative practices on many types and scales of farms. Before founding Docterre, she taught and mentored Dr. Elaine Ingham’s soil consultants around the globe, was a graduate of McGill’s School of Environment and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in applied field ecology, and completed her Permaculture Design Certificate. Today she sees herself as an ecologist at the service and support of a farmer-led regenerative movement, and her wish above all else is to see a renewed and thriving culture, reintegrated in ecology, and that the natural balance be restored.

Ken Laing: Ken farms with his wife Martha and daughter Ellen at Orchard Hill Farm near St.Thomas, Ontario. Ken has a degree in Horticulture from the University of Guelph. In his 40+ years of farming he has grown a wide variety of field crops, small fruit and vegetables organically. For the last 3 years his farm has been a Living-Labs site for Agricuture and Agri-Food Canada and EFAO. This was EFAO’s horticulture site and Ken was developing no-till strategies for organic vegetables.

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83 minutes
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Webinar: COG: Planning for Climate Change Resilience panel and discussion

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