Rodale Institute Dr. Kris Nichols to Speak at Future Harvest CASA

Rodale Institute Chief Scientist Dr. Kris Nichols to Speak at Future Harvest CASA Conference in January
Future Harvest CASA’s 18th Annual Cultivate the Chesapeake Foodshed Conference will Address Critical Issues Facing Regional Agriculture

kristine-nichols1Future Harvest CASA will hold its 18th  annual Cultivate the Chesapeake Foodshed conference in College Park, MD January 12-14.  The three-day gathering of farmers and food policy advocates will feature four nationally known keynote speakers, eight conference tracks and 48 sessions. Dr. Kristine Nichols, Chief Scientist at the Rodale Institute will share research about how farmers can address climate change by sequestering carbon in soils.

The atmosphere has too much carbon; most soils of the earth have too little.  By skillful management of our grasslands and croplands, we draw some CO2 out of the air and put it in the ground as SOC (soil organic carbon).  Dr. Kristine Nichols will explain to us the wondrous and vital ways that carbon functions in soils, how we can begin to increase carbon sequestration in our own soils, progress to healthy soils and healthy family, friends and customers, have a more profitable farm, and put carbon in the right places to help to ease climate stress on our planet.

More than 700 participants are expected to gather from cities and farms across the Chesapeake region and beyond. Conference partners Kaiser Permanente and University of Maryland Extension will help host the event and broaden community involvement.

“While the national political landscape shifts in the coming years, Future Harvest CASA remains steadfast in its mission to advance farming that is profitable, Bay-friendly, and strengthens communities.” said Dena Leibman, Future Harvest CASA’s Executive Director. “Our conference will be a place to gather to learn from each other, network with old and new friends, and celebrate our great region and the progress we can make together,” Leibman added.

“From adapting to climate change to dealing with emergent pests and diseases, farmers need active forums to exchange information and learn new skills. Future Harvest CASA’s conference plays an essential role in connecting area farmers with university researchers and educators, and food policy leaders,” said Nevin Dawson, University of Maryland Extension coordinator and Future Harvest CASA board member.

“Healthy farms help build healthy communities. Kaiser Permanente is proud to partner with Future Harvest CASA to promote increased access to healthy food,” said Celeste James, Director of Kaiser Permanente of the MidAtlantic’s Community Health Benefits Foundation and Future Harvest CASA board member.

The conference offers three days of local farm and food workshops, locally-sourced meals and inspiring presentations. The conference kicks off with a full day of pre-conference skill-building workshops, including free WIC and SNAP training and certification for farmers, cold storage hacks, a Market Scoper panel to hear about the landscape of market opportunities, and much more.

Other conference keynote speakers include:

Chris Blanchard, farmer and podcast host from the Purple Pitchfork, will share his experience helping farmers build more profitable operations while maintaining their values.
Chef Jordan Lloyd, award winning chef and owner of the Bartlett Pear Inn will discuss sourcing top local ingredients from the land and waters of Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
Elizabeth Henderson, Community Supported Agriculture pioneer and leading activist will speak about the injustice inherent in our food system and how we can advance justice for all.

In addition to inspiring speakers, the conference offers many practical skill building workshops and 8 varied tracks including:

• Beginning Farming
• Grassfed: Meat & Dairy
• Made Local: Artisanal Foods
• Environment, Community & Policy
• The Business of Farming
• Everybody Eats: Health & Food
• Crop Production
• NEW! Regenerative Agriculture Track focused on soil health

The conference has grown into one of the largest food and agriculture organizations in the lower Mid-Atlantic. Future Harvest CASA offers beginning and advanced farmer learning opportunities and fosters a strong network connecting farmers, consumers, educators, and policy makers.

Registration is now open with early bird rates available.  To view the rest of the program, please visit

Members of the press will find opportunities to interview leading organic and sustainable farmers, members of the Future Harvest CASA board and other leaders.

2 Responses to “Rodale Institute Dr. Kris Nichols to Speak at Future Harvest CASA”

  1. Joseph Heckman

    I am writing to invite Dr. Kris Nichols to give a seminar during the upcoming spring semester as part of a graduate-level seminar course in our Rutgers University Plant Biology program. I am hoping you are available and willing to give a talk about your work in organic agriculture research at the Rodale Institute. Our seminar course is designed so that students meet earlier in the week prior to your seminar. During that earlier classroom period, one or two of them will make a presentation about the two-three papers describing your work we ask you to submit ahead of time. After your seminar, which will be open to the college community, our students will have an opportunity to meet with you during a light lunch to discuss your work and career. We typically have 18 graduate students enrolled in this course. Our one-hour seminars are scheduled for Fridays starting at 12:30 pm and the meeting with our students typically concludes around 3:00 pm.
    In return for your efforts, we can offer reimbursement any travel expenses. Please let me know whether you are interested so we can start investigating what dates might work best for you.
    Thanks and best wishes,
    Joseph Heckman
    Professor Soil Science
    Rutgers University


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