The Soil for Society Network Webinar Series invites partners from within and outside the network to share relevant work on soil for sustainable development. Presenters will discuss engagement with the next generation of soil systems leaders for a truly sustainable future. There is also time for speed networking to facilitate connection among participants.


*May 3, 2024 | 13:00 – 14:00 (Chicago/Lima)

Dr. Oscar Ortiz, Senior Director of Crop-Based Systems, CGIAR

Soil is an element that connects multiple components of farming and food systems. At the CGIAR, soil-related research is conducted at the micro-level (nutrient management and soil micro-biome), field and farm, landscape (soil management and ecosystem services),and political level where decisions are made that favor or limit soil health. One challenge is in examining the interface of these levels given their strong interdependence. Critically, there is the need to elevate the image of the importance of soil for keeping food systems running, which in turn keeps the whole society running.

*April 4, 2024 | 11:00 – 12:00 (Chicago) | 10:00-11:00 (Guatemala)

Catholic Relief Services, Central America

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is actively working across various programs to promote conservation agriculture practices in Central America, aiming to enhance farm productivity and soil health. CRS focuses on aiding vulnerable farmers in combating climate change by adopting sustainable and resilient farming methods.

It was a pleasure to hear from Adam Keough (program manager for the Agricultural Landscape Restoration Initiative), Dr. Andrés Búcaro (Deputy Chief of Party for the Horizons Initiative), and Dr. Marie-Soleil Turmel (Technical Advisory for the Water Smart Agriculture Program)!

*February 21, 2024 | 10:00 – 11:00 (Chicago) | 16:00-17:00 (GMT)

Dr. Cátia Pinto from Smart Farm Colab, Portugal

Located in an important agricultural region in western Portugal, Smart Farm Colab focuses its activities on the viticulture, fruticulture and vegetable sectors. Priorities are i) developing customized digital solutions, and ii) providing specialized technical support and recommendations for implementing best management practices, with the ultimate goal to promote more sustainable production systems using more accurate and adapted digital and real-time monitoring systems.

Cátia is the Executive Director at Smart Farm Colab, focusing on digital innovation for agriculture. Previously, Cátia was the Head of Science at an AgTech startup based in Sacramento (2018-2020), specializing in microbial intelligence for sustainable intensity in agriculture. She is the author of the first worldwide pioneering results concerning grapevine-microbial interactions. With more than 9 years experience in R&D, she has been developing research on soil/plant associated microbiomes and their potential as biosensors of crop health, crop protection and crop tracking. Cátia holds a double PhD in Biology and Molecular Genetics (2017) from University of Aveiro (Portugal), Université de Reims Champagne Ardenne-URCA (France) and Biocant (Portugal).

*February 16, 2024 | 9:00 – 10:00 (Chicago) | 15:00-16:00 (GMT)

Alpha Sennon from WHYFARM, Trinidad and Tobago

Alpha Sennon, the visionary Founder and Executive Director of WHYFARM, is dedicated to nurturing the future nourishers of 2050. He introduced the groundbreaking food and nutrition security superheroes “AGRIman” and “Photosynthesista,” and launched the captivating AGRIMAN AGventures comic book series, both in Trinidad and Tobago and beyond which showcases his commitment to inspiring youth in contributing to food security through innovation, creativity, and agripreneurship.

Alpha is a trailblazer in Agricultural Educational Entertainment, redefining how agricultural education is approached. His initiatives under WHYFARM have become a source of inspiration worldwide. As the first Ashoka Fellow in Trinidad and Tobago and a member of the prestigious 50 NEXT class, Alpha is a recognized thought leader and social entrepreneur. He was recently selected as the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago’s ‘Above and Beyond ’ 2023/2024 Honoree. NGC’s Above and Beyond Programme seeks to recognize outstanding national or international achievement in various fields.

Alpha graduated with first-class honors from the University of the West Indies, majoring in Agribusiness with minors in Entrepreneurship and Communication Extension. Currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Agricultural Education at Auburn University, Alpha continues to be a driving force in reshaping the future of youth, agriculture and education.

*December 6, 2023 | 11:00 – 12:00 (Chicago) | 1

7:00 – 18:00 (GMT)

Impact of Field Management on Soil Health

  • Dr. Said Hamido, Rodale Institute, US

Dr. Hamido is a soil scientist at Rodale Institute and directs a Regenerative Agriculture, Nutrition, and Climate Health Project (R.A.N.C.H.) on farms in Tennessee and Missouri. R.A.N.C.H. uses management-intensive grazing with various multi-species configurations towards speeding the soil-building process. The goals are to track changes over time in (1) soil carbon sequestration, (2) soil physical, chemical, and biological indicators, and (3) soil biodiversity.

Impact of Soil and Water Conservation Measures on Watershed Carbon Sequestration – Methods in Climate Change Mitigation

  • Dr. Sachinkumar Nandgude, Mahatma Phule Agricultural University, India

Dr. Nandgude is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Kansas State University working on climate extremes and interactions between natural resources and crop model simulations in temperate and tropical regions of the world. Dr. Nandgude is Professor (and Chair) in the Department of Soil and Water Conservation Engineering at Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth Agricultural University in India and earned a PhD from IIT Kharagpur. Dr. Nangude’s research focuses on watershed carbon sequestration and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

*November 8, 2023 | 11:00 – 12:00 (Chicago) | 17:00 – 18:00 (GMT)

Agri-Food Cluster North Savo and Soil Related Projects

  • Dr. Ardita Hoxha-Jahja, Savonia University of Applied Sciences, Finland

Dr. Ardita Hoxha-Jahja is the North Savo Agri-Food Cluster Manager with extensive experience developing international projects and establishing networks global wide. The main objective of the project is to “…foster development of regional actors in agriculture and food sector for promoting vitality of the rural industries. The main aim is to develop partnerships, share knowledge and experiences, and to create project initiatives by coordinating and facilitating collaboration.

Using Remotely Sensed Soil Data for Sustainable Food-Water Systems: Crop Modeling Approaches in the Ogallala Aquifer

  • Wayne Delight Hindoga Ndlovu, University of Kansas, US

Wayne Ndlovu is a final year Geology M.S. student at the University of Kansas. Some of her research interests are environmental data science, statistics and science communication. Her undergraduate research was on the impacts of road salt contamination on water and soil quality in wetlands. Currently, she uses crop models to simulate crop-water productivity in Kansas and assess the effectiveness and resilience of community-driven groundwater management practices.

Supported by the National Science Foundation AccelNet Program Award #2201335