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Wednesday, March 3, Landscapes in Transition – Building Resilience: Landscapes for Now and In the Future

Presentation Descriptions

9:00-10:00am EST

Water Infiltration and Improved Soil Carbon Storage
Ann English, Maryland Department of EPA

Water infiltration replenishes groundwater and is a normal part of healthy hydrology. Also, undisturbed soils store carbon, and carbon depleted soils are less productive for food value and have less infiltration capacity. In the face of climate change and the move toward more resilient practices, both green infrastructure and regenerative agricultural practices offer the same effect: they improve the soil’s ability to infiltrate water and store carbon. This presentation will explore strategies for increasing the carbon storage capacity of soil, including adding biochar, both for increasing carbon and infiltration capacities; restoring degraded and eroded lands through planting; and mulching.

10:15-11:15am EST

Farming While Black: African Diasporic Wisdom for Farming and Food Justice
Leah Penniman, Soul Fire Farm

Some of our most cherished sustainable farming practices – from organic agriculture to the farm cooperative and the CSA – have roots in African wisdom. Yet, discrimination and violence against African-American farmers has led to our decline from 14 percent of all growers in 1920 to less than two percent today, with a corresponding loss of over 14 million acres of land. Further, Black communities suffer disproportionately from illnesses related to lack of access to fresh food and healthy natural ecosystems. Soul Fire Farm, cofounded by Penniman, is committed to ending racism and injustice in our food system. Through programs such as the Black-Indigenous Farmers Immersion, a sliding-scale farmshare CSA, and Youth Food Justice leadership training, Soul Fire Farm is part of a global network of farmers working to increase farmland stewardship by people of color, restore Afro-indigenous farming practices, and end food apartheid. Join us to learn how you too can be part of the movement for food sovereignty and help build a food system based on justice, dignity, and abundance for all members of our community.  

12:45-1:45pm EST

Regenerative Landscape Essentials: Tethering Function and Aesthetic
Ryan Serrano, Earth Steward Ecology Inc.

One of the hardest things to do as a designer is balancing the market’s demand for beauty and comfort with regenerative functions. Learn some tricks and methods for integrating complex functions (like capturing rain, greywater, carbon cycling, compost, pollinators, and more) and mechanics into landscapes in a way that feels good for the people living with the landscapes. This presentation will discuss how to integrate functions while fulfilling most clients’ bottom line of having results that look beautiful. This presentation will also explore some of the philosophy behind what we call regenerative.

2:00-3:00pm EST

Climate Positive Design – Going Beyond Neutral
Pamela Conrad, CMG Landscape Architecture

Understanding carbon emissions and how we can remove them is at the core of how land based solutions can contribute to solving the climate crisis. If business as usual practices continue, designed landscapes will likely emit more than they sequester – potentially 200 million tons more carbon emissions in next 30 years. But the reverse is possible if we act now: studies show that when working together, by 2050 global landscape projects could take one gigaton of CO2 out of the atmosphere beyond project emissions – completely voluntarily, without new mandates or policies – merely empowerment through education. The Climate Positive Design initiative provides the tools, guidance, and resources for landscape professionals and related disciplines to improve their carbon impact while increasing co-benefits of ecosystem services and taking immediate climate action.

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