The Soil Care Network has over 400 members including researchers from social and natural sciences and the humanities, growers and farmers, artists, NGO members, and many others. Some of them share their profiles below.
After crawling alongside earthworms through the dirty articulations between nature, science and politics for his PhD in Amsterdam University's anthropology department, Filippo Bertoni's research moved to the planetary as simultaneously scientific object, historical assemblage, materialsemiotic collective and spatiotemporal coordinate. This focus started as part of the Aarhus University Research on the Anthropocene group, where he completed his postdoc, and continues - in his current research practice with PRAXXstudio and ASCA's GeoMedia Research Network - to follow the materialities and relationalities of systems, in particular through the lived and dead entanglements of the ecological togetherness of metabolisms. More on Filippo here, here and here.
Dr Rob Blakemore PhD (Soil Ecology, Earthworm eco-taxonomy & Tropical Agroecology). For 40 years Rob has researched earthworms and soil ecology in organic farms starting with a survey of Lady Eve Balfour’s pioneering Haughley farm and including Sir Albert Howard’s vermicomposting sites still operational at Indore in India. Coming from a rural background living and working on farms and with gamekeepers at the same Shropshire village where Darwin collected his specimens as a kid. Rob’s BSc in Ecology in London included a project to commemorate the centenary of Darwin’s 1881 earthworm book. Later PhD studies were with CSIRO in tropical agroecology in northern Australia. Specializing in earthworm eco-taxonomy, Rob has described about 400 new taxa & over 100 new exotic records in constantly updated global inventories and over 250 scientific publications & reports. Working as a Soil Ecology professor & research fellow at universities & museums in Asia for the last 20 years, Rob is founder/director of the first & only INTERNATIONAL SOIL ECOLOGY INSTITUTE (actually on my kitchen table!). Website - ; blog - .
June’s research centers around food as the nexus of social, political, visceral, and material worlds, working at the intersection of political ecology, science and technology studies, and the senses. She has completed and published on several interdisciplinary projects related to alternative agriculture, school lunch programs, local foods, origin labelling and authenticity, and food policy in the United States as well as Central and Eastern Europe. Her present research examines the ‘social life of soil’ and the politicization of soil science and ‘terroir’ in a post-socialist wine region in Northeast HungarY. As a Fulbright Study Award recipient (2016-2017), June completed her doctoral fieldwork in the same region, and is currently preparing her doctoral thesis on place-based food policies (e.g. GIs, PDOs), the science of authenticity, and the politics of taste in post-socialist specialty wines. June is a 2018-2019 Mellon-CES Dissertation Completion Fellow and PhD candidate in Anthropology at the University of Georgia, where she recently completed an MS in Crop and Soil Sciences. Prior to this, she earned an MA in Sociology and Social Anthropology at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary (2011), where she first became academically interested in food and environment. She is currently based in London. More about June and her research here and here.
Beth Brockett is an interdisciplinary environmental scientist. She has an MSc in Microbial Forest Soil Ecology from the University of British Columbia and a PhD in Interdisciplinary Mapping of Soil Carbon from Lancaster University. She has worked within academia, including as a mentor on Lancaster Environment Centre's online soils and sustainable agriculture courses, has worked on local environmental projects within the third sector and is currently a Lead Land Management and Conservation Adviser for Natural England. Beth has published in a range of peer-reviewed journals, specialist blogs and magazines and has authored a Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology briefing paper on 'Emissions from Crops'. Her doctoral research worked with critical geography, mixed methods GIS and above-below ground ecology to investigate the different ways soil carbon is known and experienced in agricultural landscapes. She has held a passion for soil since her A-Level geography project and is delighted that this network exists. More about Beth here.
Jasmine works with farmers, growers, researchers and policy makers to create more sustainable ways of producing food and enhancing above and below ground biodiversity. She is currently undertaking this work at the Countryside and Community Research Institute, and was previously on the Innovative Farmers Programme (Soil Association). She has a PhD in bulk and molecular soil organic carbon research across rainforest-savannah boundaries in the Amazon, Guyana. She has also lived in Japan working on an organic farming social project for the largest organic cotton company in the country, as well as with natural agriculture cooperatives and farms throughout Japan and in Japanese gardening. Jasmine is interested in how different cultures use and understand soil across the world. She is passionate about spreading the importance of soil health through theatrical storytelling, interactive workshops, writing and illustration. More about Jasmine here.
Dr Felicity Crotty has been researching soil biology and soil health for the last ten years. Firstly, through her PhD at Rothamsted Research (North Wyke) where she was investigating the soil food web – following the trophic interactions between springtails, mites and microbial resources; and subsequently as a post-doc at Aberystwyth University focusing on the PROSOIL project and maintaining healthy soil in agricultural grassland in Wales. She joined the Allerton Project (Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust) in October 2015. The Allerton Project is a research, education and demonstration farm in Leicestershire; that is currently a study site for the EUH2020 project SoilCare, AHDB, and Kelloggs; as well as Defra’s Sustainable Intensification research Platform (SIP), which has been the main focus of her work to date. Through her research on SIP she has been focusing on the effect of cover crops on soil health and sustainability. Felicity has been investigating the effects of cover crops on soil biology (earthworms, mesofauna, nematodes), chemistry (N, P, K, and other nutrients) and physics (compaction and water infiltration). Through combining her expertise in all three fields of soil science, she is starting to disentangle the real potential benefits of cover crops on the soil and future crop yields. However, scientific research does not occur in vacuum; therefore, Felicity has embarked on a focused drive to promote knowledge exchange within the agricultural community. Engaging with stakeholder groups at the Allerton Project, as well as at large-scale famer-focused events like “Cereals”, “Groudswell” and the Royal Welsh Show. Follow Felicity on twitter as @collembola and more about her research https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Felicity_Crotty
Amartya Deb is currently an Allan and Nesta Ferguson scholar at The University of Sheffield (UK) pursuing MA in Cities and Global Development. Sustainable development, ecosystem services and human security feature strongly among his interests. As one of his fascinations, Deb has been exploring conditions for natural growth and wildlife in urban areas and their emerging nexus with human communities, using a combination of approaches involving people's perceptions, architectural detailing, policy and planning debates, complimented by GIS technology. More on Deb.
Paul Dennis leads an exciting research group that applies cutting-edge technologies to understand the roles of microorganisms and their responses to environmental change. He is also a passionate educator and public speaker who advocates for the importance of biological diversity and evidence-based environmental awareness. He has talked about his research on ABC Radio and a range of other media outlets. His teaching covers aspects of ecology, microbiology, plant and soil science, and climatology. He considers these topics to be of fundamental importance for the development of more sustainable societies and takes pride in helping others to obtain the knowledge and skills they need to build a better future. Paul's research has taken him to Antarctica, the Amazon Rainforest, high mountains and oceans. The approaches used in his lab draw on a wide range of expertise in molecular biology, ecology, statistics, computer science, advanced imaging and soil science. He applies these skills to a wide-range of systems including tropical agriculture, plant-microbe interactions, Antarctic marine and terrestrial ecology, biogeography, pollution and human health. More about his work here, here and here.
Nicolas Derungs is a PhD candidate in anthropology and biology at the University of Neuchâtel (UniNE), Switzerland. His research project, entitled « The role of agri- environmental policy instruments in the protection of soil quality in Switzerland: socio- anthropological analysis of an on-going failure » is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. Before starting his PhD, Nicolas used to work as biologist in the Laboratory of soil biodiversity (UniNE) and as a science communicator in a private company in Geneva. But his wish to develop an interdisciplinary and an engaged research about « soil protection » got stronger. He spent the last the last four years meeting farmers, public officers, scientists, engineers, environmentalists, etc. and got surprised by one thing (maybe « soundly naive »): Damn, it’s not so simple! Most people try to do their best, no one/everyone is to blame, so what? Nicolas has a bachelor degree in biology- anthropology and and master degree in biogeosciences from the University of Neuchâtel. More info about Nicolas here.
SALVATORE ENGEL-DI MAURO
Salvatore Engel-Di Mauro is Associate Professor at the Geography Department of SUNY New Paltz. His recent teaching subjects include soils, physical geography, gender and environment, and people-environment relations. His current work is mainly focused on soil degradation, urban soils, heavy metals contamination, and broader society-environment relations, but he has also published on critical geographies, the European Union, ethnopedology, Indigenous Peoples’ struggles, and pedagogy.
More about him and his research here
Dena Farsad is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University in Toronto, Canada. Her research lies at the intersection of soil studies, urban and regional planning and public policy. Specifically, her dissertation project (currently underway), examines human- soil relations in the context of urban/rural geographies and planning, looking closely at material engagements with soils, and the politics and contestations that emerge from interactions with soil in southern Ontario, Canada. Her interdisciplinary research draws from a wide range of fields, including planning, geography, urban studies, science & technology studies, anthropology and soil science. She has presented her work at several national and international conferences, including most recently at the Canadian Association of Geographers Conference, and the XIV World Congress on Rural Sociology. She has guest lectured on various topics related to urban and regional planning, governance and extractive industries. In the Fall 2017 term she taught a course on sustainable urbanism and environmental planning at York University. Her fascination with nature/environment has been lifelong, and her interest in soils in planning stems from a Bachelor in Environmental Science, and Masters in Environmental Studies/Planning. More about her research here.
Claire is a PhD candidate at the University of Florida in the department of Soil and Water Sciences. She is a qualitative researcher studying the human dimensions of soil and water management. Her research focuses on how culture impacts communication of innovation development and dissemination in agricultural development programs. Claire has researched cultural perceptions of soil health, soil subsidence, soil food value chain, soil organic matter, food security and maintenance of constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment. Claire has conducted research or extension activities in the United States, Costa Rica, India, Italy, Bolivia, and Ghana. More about her research here.
Susanne Freidberg is a Professor of Geography at Dartmouth College. Her research centers on the politics, technoscientific practices and social relationships that shape food supply chains. Her current project, funded by the National Science Foundation, examines major food companies’ efforts to assess and somehow improve the sustainability of the farms that supply their raw materials. In past projects, Susanne has conducted multi-site ethnographies of both transnational food trade networks and the epistemic communities that model food’s environmental “footprint.” She has also written about the social and technological history of freshness in food. She is the author of two books, French Beans and Food Scares: Culture and Commerce in an Anxious Age (Oxford, 2004) and Fresh: A Perishable History (Harvard, 2009). More about her research here.
I am colombian and I love the countryside. I studied chemical engineering, a MSc in industrial engineering. I like to get involved with STS studies, and I am a horticulturist too. I work articulating rural organizations and universities to co-create projects, I also work doing STEAM clubs with girls. Currently I am doing my thesis for a Msc in Critical Theory where I am exploring the becoming with the soil in different agricultural projects in rural areas near Bogotá. More about MY research here
Jenny Goldstein is an Assistant Professor in Development Sociology at Cornell University and holds a PhD in Geography from the University of California, Los Angeles. She draws on political ecology, critical development studies, and science and technology studies to look at relationships between economic development, climate change politics, and tropical land use. Her ongoing research project investigates the politics and histories of peat soil degradation, how such degraded landscapes become politically and economically valuable, and the relationships between often-imaginary financial markets and soil rehabilitation in Indonesia. She is also working with biophysical scientists to understand linkages between socio-political actions and landscape-scale subterranean peat fire and associated carbon emissions. She has conducted extensive fieldwork in Southeast Asia, particularly in Indonesian Borneo, and has recently started new research on the role satellite imagery and digital infrastructure plays in land investment in Myanmar.
Elizabeth Graham is Professor of Mesoamerican Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. She has carried out archaeological work in Belize for over 40 years. Her interest in the human impact on soils is long-standing, but it is only recently that she and her team are investigating the long-term impact of the decomposition of the built environment and associated material remains on soil formation.
More details on her research HERE
Céline Granjou is associate professor of sociology at the University of Grenoble Alps, IRSTEA (French National Institute of Research in Environment and Agriculture) and Associate at the University of Technology in Sydney. She is a qualitative researcher with a background in Environmental Sociology and Science and Technology Studies. Her research unpacks how anticipation of the futures of nature and society is coming to the fore as an emerging field of expertise and practice and explores what it means for our relations to the future, emphasizing the need for social sciences to shift from human-centered toward multispecies approaches to the future. Her last book Environmental Changes- Futures of nature was published by ISTE/Wiley, London in 2016 and she is co-editor of a special issue in the interdisciplinary journal Futures (September 2017) on the politics of environmental anticipation. Her current work focuses on relations to soil through on-going research with soil scientists on how we may engage with soil no longer as mere surface at the top of which we live and act, but as a three-dimensional living ecosystem. More details on her research https://sites.google.com/site/celinegranjouwebsite/
Lesley Green is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of Environmental Humanities South, a research centre at the University of Cape Town. Her current research focuses on race and the making of an environmental public in a time of climate change in South Africa, linking the critique of modernist thought with the work of postcolonial and decolonial thinkers. Together with Nikiwe Solomon and Virginia MacKenny, she heads a research team on soil recuperation strategies in Africa, working towards producing an edited volume tentatively titled Resistance Is Fertile. Lesley is the editor of Contested Ecologies: Dialogues in the South on Nature and Knowledge (HSRC Press, 2013), co-author of Knowing the Day, Knowing the World: Engaging Amerindian Thought in Public Archaeology (Arizona University Press, 2013), and author of Rock | Water | Life: Essays from South Africa on Science and Decoloniality (Duke University Press, forthcoming 2018). In January 2018, she will take up a Fulbright at the Science and Justice Research Center at the University of California at Santa Cruz. More about Lesley here.
Julie Guthman is a professor of social sciences at the University of California at Santa Cruz. She has published extensively on contemporary efforts to transform food production, distribution, and consumption, with a particular focus on the race, class and body politics of “alternative food.” Her publications include two multi-award winning books: Agrarian Dreams: the Paradox of Organic Farming in California and Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism. In 2017 she received fellowships from the John R. Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard to work on a book that will trace the role of soil pathogens in California’s strawberry industry. She is also the recipient of the 2015 Excellence in Research Award from the Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society. More about her and her research here.
Julie is interested in knowledge exchange within the agricultural community and knowledge and co-innovation processes in the context of sustainable agriculture with particular reference to soil management. Her main research interests are concerned with the application of perspectives such as Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems, socio-technical transitions, behavioural studies (farmer knowledge, attitudes and motivations). She has used stakeholder engagement methods to involve farming and supply chain actors in a range of European research projects (FP7 and H2020) which explore how to improve the effectiveness of support (research translation, policy, advice, peer-to peer learning etc) for agricultural soil management. These projects include: Sustainable farm Management Aimed at Reducing Threats to Soils under climate change (SmartSOIL); SoilCare for profitable and sustainable crop production in Europe (SoilCare) ; Preventing and Remediating Degradation of Soils in Europe through Landcare (RECARE). More about her and her research here.
Stephen is a Researcher at the University of Sheffield. His PhD at the University of Nottingham took a transdisciplinary approach to the study of soil quality in the East Midlands of England by using methods from both social and soil science disciplines, as well as drawing upon academic and none academic bodies of knowledge. This involved interviews with farmers, participatory exercises and observation as well as soil quality analysis using a range of physical, chemical and biological indicators. His interest in soil, the environment and inter/transdisciplinary research comes from an MSc in Environmental Management (University Of Nottingham) and a BSc in Human and Physical Geography (University Of Reading). https://uk.linkedin.com/in/stephen-jones-3904b254
I am a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki, Finland working in the field of regenerative agriculture. With a background in business school, I have come a long way from anthropocentric understanding of the world to begin seeing the wider web of life and the ways in which humans inhabit multi-species landscapes. My previous research on alternative food economies led me to explore invisible work of both humans and other living beings in practices of regenerative agriculture. More in particular, my current research focuses on more-than-human economies and human-soil relations. An ethnographic research approach has taken me to work at different farms aiming consciously at regenerating the soils and the local ecosystems more broadly.I’m fascinated about exploring the intersections between science and art and actively seek for methodologies accounting for the study, analysis and representation of the non-symbolic, affectual, aesthetical and ethical ways of knowing. I am working at the crossing of academia and activism and alongside research participate actively in local CSA’s and in societal discussions to bring forth the need for a paradigm shift towards diverse economies and bio-centric worldviews.My dream is to start an own forest garden on our small farm in Southern Finland. You can follow the journey @myforestgardenlab.
Anna Krzywoszynska is a Faculty of Social Sciences Research Fellow at The University of Sheffield. Her research concerns agriculture and food as the key spheres for the interaction between human and more-than-human worlds. She is especially interested in environmental knowledge, ethics, and affect, and how these shape and are shaped by rural and food-related spaces and practices. Her work engages frequently with the natural sciences. Consequently, her research also investigates the potential for ‘opening up’ the spaces of scientific knowledge production to non-certified expertise, as well as challenging the persistent division of labour between social and natural sciences in speaking about materiality, life, and ecology. For the last few years Anna has been exploring the reconceptualisation of soils as lively ecosystems in conventional agricultural practice and its related knowledge fields, and the consequences of this for the future of agriculture and land use. Find out more about her work here.
Matthew Kearnes is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and member of the of Environmental Humanities Group at the School of Humanities and Languages, University of New South Wales. Before arriving at UNSW he held post-doctoral positions at the Department of Geography at the Open University and the Centre for the Study of Environmental Change/Department of Sociology at Lancaster University. Most recently he held a Research Councils UK Fellowship at the Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience/Department of Geography, Durham University. Matthew's research is situated between the fields of Science and Technology Studies (STS), human geography and contemporary social theory. His current work is focused on the social and political dimensions of technological and environmental change, including ongoing work on the development of negative emission strategies and soil carbon sequestration. He has published widely on the ways in which the development of novel and emerging technologies is entangled with profound social, ethical and normative questions. Matthew is an editor of Science, Technology and Society (Sage) and serves on the management committee of the international open-access journal, Environmental Humanities (Duke, environmentalhumanities.org) and on the advisory panel for Science as Culture (Taylor & Francis). His website is here.
Katherine Lawless is an assistant professor at the Centre for Global Studies (Huron University College) and she holds a PhD in Theory & Criticism (Western University). She is the principal investigator on an exciting new federally funded, collaborative research project that investigates soil as a relational medium. Through field and archival research in three Canadian locales with a team of anthropologists, soil scientists and communications scholars, this project proposes to develop a unique transdisciplinary methodology for gathering and disseminating diverse knowledges on the storied lives of soils as well as the diverse natural, social, and cultural processes that intersect in them. We aim to make significant contributions to emerging dialogues between Western scientific and Indigenous knowledges and the resolution of pressing socio-ecological issues. Katherine is currently preparing a book manuscript on her earlier work on global landscapes of memory, which examines the complex relationship between economies and ecologies of preservation and conservation and ongoing practices of dispossession and enclosure. She hopes to extend this investigation into the study of soil memory. Katherine is also a dedicated educator whose teaching spans the fields of human geography, cultural anthropology, political economy and ecology, and critical theory and places a high value on community-engaged and active learning. More about Katherine here, here and here.
LISA LOBRY DE BRUYN
Dr Lisa Lobry de Bruyn is a researcher and educator in School of Environmental and Rural Sciences at the University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales, Australia. Her research focuses on farmers' understanding of soil health, and soil information seeking behaviours that will improve how we share soil information and build genuine partnerships with land managers. Into the future such research will improve the monitoring of land condition for sustainable land management and soil use. More about Lisa and her research here.
Kristina Lyons is an anthropologist working at the interfaces of feminist science studies and critical environmental humanities. She has an MA in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas, Austin and a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the University of California, Davis. She is currently an assistant professor of Feminist Science Studies and Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz with affiliations with the Science & Justice Research Center and Environmental Studies Department. Kristina has published in several peer-reviewed journals, specialist blogs, and literary venues, and has also directed a popular education film project called "Cultivando un Bien Vivir en la Amazonia" (Cultivating Living Well in the Amazon). She has engaged in research with a heterogeneous network of soil scientists and small farmer and alternative agricultural collectives across the Andean-Amazonian foothills of Colombia since 2004. More about her and her research here.
Greta Marchesi studies the relationship between crises in industrialized agriculture and emergent forms of soil expertise. Her current manuscript Grounding power: soil, science, and citizenship, 1929-1949 investigates three distinct nationally-scaled soil conservation programs developed in Mexico, Colombia, and the United States in response to the linked environmental and economic crises of the Great Depression era. Her new research project, Companion commodities: environmental politics on the microbial frontier, explores the emergence of the global agro-industrial microbial products market. She holds a Ph.D. in human geography from the University of California, Berkeley and an M.A. from the University of New Mexico with a focus on settler-colonial environments. She is currently a Post-doctoral Fellow in the Department of Geography at Dartmouth College. More about Greta and her research here.
Germain Meulemans is a Postdoctoral fellow at the Centre Alexandre Koyré in Paris. He completed his PhD in Anthropology at the Universities of Liège and Aberdeen in 2017. He is interested in anthropogenic environments, and their epistemological and ontological implications for the natural and social sciences that take up the challenge of studying them. His thesis focuses on urban soils, which are now the subject of a new interest in the soil sciences and in urban planning. He has conducted ethnographic research with soil scientists, ecological engineers, urban gardeners and geotechnicians. His investigations focus as much on humans as on materials, their flow and their multiple folds. He is also interested in art and curation as ways to extend the ethnographic work, and has been a contributor to the Soil(s) Fictions residence series and exhibition (http://cargocollective.com/soilfictions/About). His thesis is funded by the FNRS-Belgium. More about Germain and his research here.
Stephen Nortcliff joined the Department of Soil Science at Reading University as lecturer in Soil Science in 1978. From 1984 to 2003 he was chair of the Technical Committee of the British Standards Institute addressing Soil Quality and has had a substantial involvement in the ISO Technical Committee in this area being a co-author of a number of standards. From 2003-6 he was actively involved in the development of the European Commission's Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection, co-chairing the Working Group on Soil Organic Matter and participating as a member of the Steering Committee. He was also involved in the development of a Soil Strategy for England. In recent years he has worked on the potential beneficial impacts on soils of organic amendments including composts, sewage sludge and anaerobic digestates and the procedures to ensure these materials are suitable for land application. He has a long standing interest in the manufacture of soils from waste materials. Since 2014 he has chaired the Oversight Committee for the Certification of Composts and Biofertilisers. He has worked and published with colleagues from many countries and disciplines including agriculture, human geography, physical geography and archaeology. In 2013 he edited, with Peter Gregory, the 12 the Edition of Soil Conditions and Plant Growth. As Secretary of the British Society of Soil Science he was actively involved in seeking to increase the public’s awareness of soil and in 1984 wrote the booklet to accompany a travelling museum exhibit on soil, entitled ‘Down to Earth’. Since retirement he has been working with a charity ‘Wherever the Need’, which aims to provide sanitation for households and Schools in parts of India and Africa using Ecosan toilets. He is advising on the use of composted faeces and urine from these toilets as soil amendments to increase crop yields for smallholder farmers. From 2002 to 2010 Stephen held the position of Secretary General of the International Union of Soil Sciences, and is now the chair of the IUSS Budget and Finance Committee.You can learn more about Stephen here.
Joshua Nygren, an assistant professor at the University of Central Missouri, studies the history of soil and water conservation in the twentieth-century United States. This research examines how and why farmers, industry, citizens, and the state have sought to protect the pedosphere while keeping it in economic production. To understand the evolution of soil conservation in the United States – the shifting ideologies, policies, programs, and technologies that resulted in the physical changes we identify as conservation – Nygren argues we must pay attention to the network of public and private parties whose interests aligned in soil conservation. Only then can we get a clear understanding of how the past continues to shape similar efforts today. Perhaps most importantly, this research calls on citizens and policymakers to prioritize the social (not just the economic) wellbeing of the communities in which conservation takes root. It points to the possibility that, until a host of political, social, and economic forces commit to greater social equity, justice, and possibly even the re-peopling of rural America, efforts to protect the soil on which life depends will have only limited effect. You can learn more about Joshua and his work here and here.
Andrew Ofstehage is currently a postdoctoral associate at Cornell University in the Global Development Department. His dissertation, "'When We Came There Was Nothing': Land, Work, and Value among Transnational Soybean Farmers in the Brazilian Cerrado" is a comparative ethnography of transnational soybean farmers in Brazil. He incorporates training in agronomy and anthropology and asks how transnational farmers engage with soils and landscapes in Brazil; become managers of workers and investors; and create and re-create agrarian communities out of place. He is now conducting new research on the bio-cultural life of soy consumption in the United States, planning new work on the socio-material life of soil, and continuing ethnographic research with transnational soy farmers in Brazil. More about his research here.
Anne O'Brien has recently submitted her doctoral thesis on "Ethical relationships to soil in the Anthropocene," Her work combines geographical fieldwork with philosophical reflection. She is interested in regenerative agriculture, local and indigenous knowledges, democratic practices of social movements, Romanticism, critical theories and the Frankfurt School. She has been a public servant, and has also worked for many years in her spare time as a community-based activist on climate change, trade agreements, public transport and refugee rights. You can learn more about Anne here
Rachel Opitz is a lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Glasgow. Her expertise lies in the
archaeological applications of remote sensing and geospatial methods, including photogrammetric
modelling, lidar-based analysis of sites and landscapes, spectral imaging, and developing spatial
information metrics. Her research focuses on interactions between people and their landscapes, and she has active projects in the Mediterranean and North Atlantic regions. You can contact Rachel at
I’m a Professor of forest ecology and ecological restoration in the Forest Sciences and Conservation Department at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. My research is in forest soils and nutrition. My main interest at the moment is how we restore soils, particularly organic matter and nutrient cycling processes, following major disturbances such as mining or following land-use conversion. Website.
Lauren Rickards is a human geographer/interdisciplinary researcher who researches and teaches on socio-cultural responses to environmental change, including the imperative to change how we think about the human-nature relationship. While her primary focus is climate change and attendant notions of adaptation and resilience, she is also strongly interested in the Anthropocene. Reflecting her background in physical geography, ecology and agriculture, this all includes a focus on soil and how we conceive of it. Recent work has expanded her writing on agriculture to the urban space. Lauren works at RMIT University in Melbourne, where she co-leads the Climate Change and Resilience research program and the Regional Futures Network. She also co-leads the Hazards, Risk and Disaster study group of the Institute of Australian Geographers (soon to merge with that on Enviro. Sustainability), and is an editor for the journals Resilience, and Dialogues in Human Geography. More about her research here.
Prof. David Robinson, is a senior soil scientist at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, and NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellow for soils. His research focus is on soil physical function, national soil monitoring and crowdsourcing through citizen science, and the provision of ecosystem services through soil natural capital. He is interested in soil value from a number of perspectives, economic, social good, religious and because we must care for the environment. He is a Fellow of the Soil Science Society of America and the British Society of Soil Science. In 2015 he served as a co-lead author for the UN Intergovernmental Tech Panel on Soils, World Soil Resources Report. You can learn more about David here and here.
Abby Rose is a physicist farmer who thinks smaller-scale farming and healthy soils are the key to a resilient future. About 10 years ago her family started farming at vidacycle in Chile, where they produce natural wine, verjus and olive oil - it was through learning to be a farmer she realised farming is a risky craft and farmers will play a big role in determining the future of the earth and its people. Abby developed the vidacycle tech apps to use on their farm to collect important data out in the field, and now fellow farmers on multiple continents are using them. She recently released Sectormentor for Soils, an app that enables farmers to monitor their soils on farm. She helps farmers share their stories and ideas through a monthly podcast she co-creates Farmerama Radio and started the OurfieldProject which allows people to live the risks and rewards of being a farmer.
Kate Scow is Professor of Soil Science and Microbial Ecology in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at UC Davis since 1989. She is Director of the Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility which hosts a unique long term experiment exploring relationships between different management practices, climate, and sustainability (economic, agronomic, economic) of row crop agroecosystems. Previously (2001-2006) she was Director of the Kearney Foundation of Soil Science: “Soil Carbon and California’s Terrestrial Ecosystems”, which was the only endowed program that supported research exclusively on soils (http://kearney.ucdavis.edu/OLDMISSION/OldMAIN.htm). Scow received her MS and PhD degrees in Soil Science (Agronomy) from Cornell University. Scow’s research program investigates relationships between soil microbial diversity and critical soil functions: biogeochemical cycling, soil structure, organic matter, as well as explores connections between soil biology and the rapidly evolving concept of soil health. She has worked extensively on how indigenous microbial communities can help in restoring polluted ecosystems and in designing low-cost treatment systems to encourage their activities. Scow also works with smallholder farmers in Uganda, using participatory research approaches and local knowledge, on vegetable production and small-scale irrigation approaches. She has a small collaborative project comparing how farmers throughout the world communicate about and engage with soil life. Scow was also a science advisor for the film “Symphony of the Soil”. More about Kate and her research here.
Guilherme is a radioecologist from Brazil with a deep interest in Ethnopedology and Epistemology of Soil Sciences. He holds a MSc. degree in Tropical Radioecology and a BSc. Eng. in Agronomy and has some expertise in Soil Biogeochemistry and Radioecology of Terrestrial Ecosystems. Besides his radioecological research on semi-arid hard-rock fractured hydrogeological contexts, Guilherme is investigating the "kosmos" (i.e. immaterial, symbolic, spiritual) aspects of knowledge about soils in traditional communities, namely, the Yoruba, M'Bya Guarani, Guajajara, Baduy, Soil Scientists... :-) . He is a fellow researcher at the Institute for Radiation Protection and Dosimetry (IRD/CNEN), and Vice-chair of the Laboratory of Psychology and Afro-descendant Information (LAPSIAFRO/UFRRJ). Guilherme is always grateful for the support and stimulus of many colleagues around the world who makes his intellectual endeavors possible.
Elizabeth Stockdale studied sciences at school and wanted to change the world. Hence she chose to study agricultural sciences, in particular Soil and Land Resource Science. She was rapidly entranced by the dynamic and interlocking world of the soil where climate meets, biology, geology and hydrology and all is transformed. A proud graduate of the Soil Science Department of Newcastle University she went on to play with mud and farmers in roles at the Scottish Agricultural College (now SRUC) and Rothamsted Research. She was a lecturer in the School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development at Newcastle University for 14 years. There she has taught introductory soil science to agrics and environmental scientists and encouraged them to get a sense of the wonder as well as the complexity of the dirt beneath their feet. Her research interests began with the study of soil processes – especially mineralisation-immobilisation turnover and the nitrogen cycle at scales from nano-metres to farms. She developed nutrient budgeting as a tool for farmers and has also worked on approaches to developed fertiliser decision-support systems. Most recently she has been working in collaboration with farmers to investigate soil health and develop tools to help measure soil health and to support improved soil management. Today Elizabeth leads the Farming Systems Research team at NIAB. More about Elizabeth and her research here.
Lindsay C. Stringer is Professor in Environment and Development at the Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, UK. Her research spans the environmental and social sciences, focusing largely on land and soil degradation, and its antithesis, sustainable land and soil management. In particular, she is interested in unravelling the links between changes in soil and land quality and livelihoods; the role of land in adaptation to climate change and ecosystem service delivery; as well as stakeholder engagement in environmental governance of land and soils. She has published more than 100 papers in peer reviewed international journals, as well as working papers, consultancy reports and a co-authored book on the relationships between land degradation and climate change. She was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize for her research on sustainable development in drylands in 2013 and is currently a coordinating lead author for the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Africa Regional Assessment and Lead Author for the IPBES Land Degradation and Restoration Assessment. Her research is funded by a range of sources including the UK research councils, the EU, Leverhulme Trust, British Academy, GIZ (via the international Economics of Land Degradation Initiative), UNCCD, FAO, UNDP and others. More about Lindsay and her research here.
Dr Tom Sizmur is a Lecturer in Environmental Chemistry at the University of Reading. His research interests span soil biogeochemistry in contaminated and agricultural systems with an emphasis on the interactions between organisms and their environment. His recent research has focused on how the soil biological community provides ecosystem functions (e.g. nutrient mineralisation, structure generation and pollutant regulation) and how the delivery of these functions can be optimised by providing energy in the form of organic amendments. His current research is focussing on how the diversity of aboveground plant communities can be increased in productive landscapes to increase the biochemical diversity of carbon compounds that enter the soil. The objective is to demonstrate that by diversifying the sources of energy provided to the soil biological community, the resistance and resilience of soils to disturbances increases and the delivery of ecosystem functions and services can be stabilised. More about his research here.
Sebastián Ureta is an associate professor at Departamento de Sociología, Universidad Alberto Hurtado (Santiago, Chile) and has been a visiting scholar at the Sociology Department, Lancaster University (UK), the Center for Technology and Society, Technical University of Berlin (Germany) and the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich (Germany). Based on a science and technology studies approach, since 2012 he has been developing a research project focused on studying ethnographically the first implementations of new environmental policies regarding degraded soils in Chile. At first the project was focused on following the implementation of the first official guidelines regarding soils polluted by the country’s booming mining industry. Currently, he is starting a new phase following the implementation of new policies aiming at restoring soils degraded by industrial agriculture, Chile’s other main industry. His research has been published on journals such as Social Studies of Science, Public Understanding of Science, Environment and Planning A, among others. More about his research here.
LEVI VAN SANT
Levi Van Sant is a human geographer in the School of Integrative Studies at George Mason University. His work examines environmental politics, particularly issues surrounding agriculture and land conservation. He is currently developing a collaborative and integrative research project that examines the politics of soil surveys, asking: What assumptions inform them, and how are these technologies used to shape our social and ecological landscapes? Ultimately, this project aims to democratize knowledge about soils and develop soil surveys that are useful for the needs of food sovereignty and environmental justice movements. More about Levi and his work here.
Matt is researching and creating soil, food and drinks with microbiology. Sharing on social media as co_evolver
Jennifer Veenstra is a PhD candidate at the Department of Geography at the University of Sheffield. She has a MSc in Soil Science and Water Stewardship from the University of Lleida and a degree in Environmental Science from the University of Valencia. She has worked in a geo-pedological mapping project in Ecuador and with small coffee farmers with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Nicaragua. Her current project, funded by the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures, focuses on adoption of conservation agriculture practices in Europe. She uses mixed-methods to analyse socio-cultural, economic and agro-environmental factors influencing farmers’ decisions.
Carla is a Lecturer in Environmental Science and Policy in the Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy, University College London. Her research interests are centred around the contribution of science and engineering knowledge to policy making. She graduated from Newcastle University with a PhD in Geosciences (2014), where her research investigated the potential for engineering anthropogenically altered soils to promote carbon capture and storage. This work, and involvement in two EPSRC Impact Award grants designed to engage stakeholder groups, developed her interest in the use of different kinds of knowledge in decision-making. Current soil-related projects include ongoing work on engineering soils for carbon capture, considering technical and policy aspects as well as ecosystem services perspectives as an element of multi-functional landscapes, and community engagement to develop soils resources for food growing. She has worked for the UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology and undertaken policy internships with the Scottish Parliament Information Centre and environmental regeneration charity Groundwork North East. Carla is driven by a desire to encourage engagement between researchers and a range of interest groups and has worked on a broad range of science communication projects, developing a particular passion for performing soil research-based stand-up comedy throughout the UK and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013 and 2014. More about Carla and her research here and here.
Christine Watson is a soil scientist by trade having graduated in the days when you could still do a degree called Soil Science at the University of Reading! She is currently Professor of Agricultural Systems at SRUC and holds a Guest Researcher position in the Department of Crop Production Ecology at SLU (Swedish University of Agricultural Science. Christine currently leads a team of soil scientists working across the biology, physics and chemistry of soils. She is interest in applied research which is relevant to both policy and practice and likes to get farmers involved in her research projects. Her research focuses on the management of micro and macro nutrients in organic and conventional agricultural systems at a range of scales from local to continental. Over the past 5 years much research has focused on assessing and developing legume based farming systems in Europe including being the Scientific Coordinator of the FP7 Legume Futures project. Her PhD students include students working in the UK, Germany, Sweden and Africa on questions associated with nitrogen cycling, multi-criteria assessments of farming systems and the use of legumes in farming systems. Christine was President of the European Society for Agronomy (2014-2016), and is currently President of the Association of Applied Biologists. She is an Associate of the Royal Agricultural Societies. You can find out more at https://www.sruc.ac.uk/cwatson
Stephen Wood is a soil scientist at The Nature Conservancy and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. His soils research focuses on how soil organic matter forms in agricultural and rangeland soils, and how it contributes to the many services provided by those systems, such as crop yield, water retention, and carbon storage. Before pursuing a PhD in soil ecology, Steve did a Masters in environmental economics and a Bachelors in philosophy. He, therefore, has a strong appreciation for the social sciences and humanities. In addition to his biophysical soils research, Steve collaborates with colleagues from economics, history, geography, and sociology to understand the broader cultural, political, and economic context of soil management. Much of Steve’ work has focused on sub-Saharan Africa and he maintains a long-term, particular interest in southeastern Senegal and northern Guinea. You can find out more about him here http://www.stephenandrewwood.com.
Caio Zani is a PhD candidate (4th year) based in School of Natural and Environmental Sciences at Newcastle University, UK. Since his undergraduate studies (i.e. from 2009), Mr Zani has conducted a range of field and laboratory experiments as well as environmental modelling approaches in the area of soil science, particularly focussing on Soil Management, Global Warming and Climate Change subjects. Specifically, he has concentrated previous research in examining soil management effects on carbon and nitrogen cycling in agricultural systems in Brazil and in the UK. His current project has focused on the interactive effects of the adoption of organic over non-organic (conventional system) and the implementation of specific practices such as grass-clover ley periods in an arable rotation and grazing regime on soil carbon dynamics as well as overall soil quality. He strongly believes that how we manage our soils today will be key to address big challenges of tomorrow, including food security, nutrition, and climate change. More about his research in the link https://www.ncl.ac.uk/nes/research/earth-ocean-planetary/studentprofiles/phdstudentcaiofernandeszani.html