Saturday Evening Plenary

Life Sustains Life: Microbes, Climate Resilience, and the Future of Food

  • Saturday August 10
  • 7:30-9pm
  • With Dr. Kris Nichols

In this special plenary session, Dr. Nichols will deepen our understanding of the soil biological community and its role in growing healthy, nutrient dense crops and the restoration of a healthy environment. She will describe how the complex consortia of soil life not only enhances the availability of mineral nutrients but also the availability of antioxidants and polyphenolics to crops —supporting natural resistance to pests and disease, and ultimately producing a crop which better supports the health of the consumer. She will also explain why the same soil health practices that support more nutrient-dense crops (including reducing harm to biological life and maximizing photosynthesis) are so crucial to soil carbon sequestration, the future of soil fertility, and the resilience of food production to climate extremes.

Dr. Kris Nichols is a soil microbiologist with over 25 years of research experience studying arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. Her career includes work as a USDA scientist and as Chief Scientists at Rodale Institute. Currently she is the founder and principle scientist of KRIS Systems Education & Consultation, where she helps farmers identify biological methods for agricultural production and tools and practices to reduce pest issues, soil erosion, fossil fuel use, and greenhouse gas emissions. Kris speaks regularly around the country and has authored or co-authored over 25 peer-reviewed publications. She is considered a leader in the movement to regenerate soils for healthy soil, crops, food, people and a planet.