On January 26th, the Alliance enjoyed its first workshop in partnership with the CT Conservation District Offices, sponsored by the NRCS. This workshop focused on soil health, sharing the importance of the composition of soil in our food growing efforts. Thanks to the wisdom and expertise of Cynthia Rabinowicz, the Executive Director of the Northwest Conservation District (their website can be found here), staff and youth received a broad-and-deep introduction to how soil is made, what it is made of, and how to keep it healthy or get it back to health if it has been damaged. This type of information and the skills it improves helps to give Alliance-partner programs the tools they need in their efforts to grow healthy, tasty food for themselves, their families, and their neighbors. It also helps them to identify what they can and need to do to keep our soil from washing away during the torrential rain storms we have been experiencing this winter in place of the snows we are accustomed to getting. By the end of our workshop, some participants were asking questions about soil remediation in partnership with fungi, a new and exciting field in soil health efforts.
Soon, interviews with participants from last night’s workshop will help to outline plans for making workshops like this one more accessible for young change-makers beginning their work in urban agriculture. The activity plans these interview inform will be compiled and made available for the Conservation Districts to utilize in other settings, hopefully to increase their reach into our communities where their knowledge, combined with our dedication and determination, can improve soil quality, crop quality, and the quality of life for our communities.
Future workshop in this series include sessions on pest and disease identification and remediation, water management in agricultural settings, and pollinator plantings (focused on native plants, of course). Each workshop will train members of Alliance programs to share what they learn with their peers and community members, increasing the use of climate smart ag practices in our cities. The goal is to make our communities more resilient in the face of a changing climate, increasing our ability to take care of ourselves and each other come what may.
Keep an eye here to learn how you can improve your knowledge on these topics, as well as how you can help us to do the work we do. As we develop information to be shared and opportunities for you to work alongside us, this is where we will share it. Now is the time of garden dreaming, so we all wish you the best of seed cataloges and planning apps!