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  • Writer's pictureKriss Marion

WiWiC Summer Camp Continues!

June is bringing the heat! And it's also bringing the 2nd webinar in our monthly Summer Camp series. Join us today at noon for a Lunch Zoom with Lea Vereeke, an organic agronomist with Rodale Consulting Services, and farmer Michelle Cannon, of Larryville Gardens. They'll be leading a live conversation on a super hot topic: Regenerative Agriculture and the possibilities for certification.

Regenerative agriculture is important to rehabilitate soil, increase biodiversity, respect animal welfare, and improve the lives of farmers. We can sequester carbon, build healthier communities, and reap more nutritious and abundant yields. With regenerative agriculture also comes the potential for labels and certification. 

We'll explore how these frameworks can empower farmers to adopt holistic practices that restore soil health, preserve biodiversity, and enhance resilience to climate change. We will also discuss the situation-specific benefits of pursuing such certifications, from access to premium markets to increased community engagement. Whether you're a farmer, an advocate, or a policymaker, this talk will offer actionable insights into regenerative agriculture certifications.  

Léa grew up on a grain farm in Northeastern France and earned an M.S. in Agronomy and Agroecology before moving to the U.S. in 2016. For the following five years, she was a Research Specialist with Dr. Erin Silva at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There, she oversaw organic research projects on various topics including cover crop-based reduced tillage systems, cover crops, row crops, small grains, and industrial hemp production.

She joined the Rodale Institute Consulting team in January 2021 and is thrilled to work for a renowned organization as an Organic Agronomist and Regional Manager. She has always been fascinated by sustainable agronomic crop production, and keeping strong relationships with farmers continues to motivate and inform her work.

Michelle’s journey is an interesting and impressive one. She was raised without any exposure to farming or gardening, with the exception of one of her uncles, who "always had tomato plants under lights in his house, and raspberries in his yard. "

When Michelle met the love of her life Larry, he wanted a garden so together they put in a huge garden with over 100 tomato plants. She quickly learned she hated canning but fell in love with gardening.

In 2001, she and her husband moved into their self-built forever home that came with 11 acres of wetlands, woods, and conventional farmland. While building their home, they experimented with the land.  Michelle gardened, Larry farmed, but they had different strategies. Michelle started market gardening in 2008, took over managing their land, and in 2010, quit her job and began to farm full-time.

Restoring the land to healthy, vital soil is what she had aimed for, and she used many different tools to accomplish that: time, contour tillage, cover crops, organic matter, berms and swales, buffer strips, soil testing and minerals. Most recently, food grade grains are helping make some income off of the last soils to be ready for vegetables.

“It has amazed me how little needed to be done and how fast the soil could change," said Michelle. "The earth wants to heal itself and does, as soon as we stop damaging it. I’ll be forever grateful for this opportunity to steward this small piece of the world, back to its glory, back to the future.”

Join us at noon to learn what decisions you can make to strive for regenerative agriculture efforts on your land. Connect with conservation experts, meet other inspiring Wisconsin women that share your love for the land, and learn about NRCS resources to support your conservation goals.

This Summer Camp series is an opportunity to join women landowners from across the state who share your passion for stewarding the land and connect with expert advice, resources, and opportunities around the virtual campfire. And we always record and archive these on youtube, so you can watch and rewatch them later. In the May webinar, we learned all about working with contractors on conservation projects: from finding contractors to interviewing, selecting, hiring, writing contracts, and working together. Check it out below!

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