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ASGA Call #47: Solar sheep and soil health, plus American Farmland Trust talks agrivoltaics research

November 3, 2021 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm EDT

November 3, 2021 @ 6:00 pm 7:00 pm EDT

Join Hosts Daniel Finnegan and Lexie Hain as they talk with American Farmland Trust-New England and the New Mexico Healthy Soils Working Group.

With thanks to our sponsor & longtime collaborators at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University:  Special guest Law Professor Jonathan Brown, Director of the Food and Beverage Law Clinic at the Pace University Elisabeth Haub School of Law.  His Clinic has collaborated with ASGA in the creation of the Solar Grazing and Solar Beekeeping Contracts.  Jon will join us for a brief update on the plan for spring collaborations between ASGA & the Law Clinic.

First Speakers: Join American Farmland Trust-New England‘s  Emily Cole, Deputy Director, and Ethan Winter, Northeast Solar Specialist as they provide a brief overview of American Farmland Trust and AFT’s work in dual-use/agrivoltaics/siting in the Northeast and then dive in on the DOE funded research AFT is involved with in Massachusetts with UMass Amherst that they hope will inform best practices for future agrivoltaic projects. 

Followed by Isabelle Jenniches , Co-Founder of the New Mexico Healthy Soils Working Group will present on soil health stewardship. Based in New Mexico, this group has focused on healthy soil policies.  Now their work has expanded to include food systems and support their region’s sheep economy.   Solar grazing fits into their mission of business opportunities within a regenerative economy.

More about Presenters Emily,  Ethan and Isabelle:

Ethan serves at AFT’s Northeast Solar Specialist where he helps set and implement AFTs strategy for solar energy generation and farmland conservation. Prior to joining AFT, Ethan Winter worked as Project Developer and Senior Community Engagement Manager for Cypress Creek Renewables, an integrated solar and storage company with a 1.6 GW solar fleet spanning 14 states. In this role, Winter led community outreach strategy and helped to secure zoning approvals for a $100 million+ portfolio of community distributed generation (2-5 MWac) solar projects in New York and Massachusetts. Winter also brings a background in program development, natural climate solutions, and conservation practices, having led the Land Trust Alliance’s flagship New York Program for 13 years prior to his shift to the solar sector. Ethan earned a Master of Forestry at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and attended Bowdoin College.

Dr. Emily Cole is New England Deputy Director and leads American Farmland Trust’s Climate and Agriculture Program here in the region. In this role, she works both to improve and advocate for the integration of climate smart management practices into New England’s productive farming communities through education, outreach, and policy. In this capacity, Emily has testified to the US House of Representatives’ Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition on the importance of improving soil health for climate change mitigation and adaptation in agriculture, as well as the management practices that are fundamental to building soil health. Emily led AFT’s Smart Solar Siting partnership – a project focused on advancing smart solar siting policies and programs in New England states. Emily has her Ph.D. in Plant and Soil Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where her research focused on improving soil health and carbon sequestration though the application of biochar and implementation of climate-smart management practices. She also earned her Master’s degree in Science Education from Boston University, and her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Kenyon College.

Isabelle Jenniches is a skilled community organizer with experience in policy and farmer-to-farmer education. Drawing from her background in theater and design, she takes care of communications and outreach as well as program development.

Summers spent at her grandparents’ small farm in the Eifel region of Germany instilled in Isabelle a deep love for an agrarian way of life. Moving to the US in 2005, she started a community garden, studied organic agriculture and permaculture and worked at a fifth generation family farm in California before coming to New Mexico.

Isabelle was involved with the CA Healthy Soil Program as part of the California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN). At the Ecological Farming Association (EcoFarm) she established the organization’s regenerative agriculture initiative and helped coordinate the annual EcoFarm Conference, bringing together ~1,800 food system stakeholders from across the US and internationally.

She represents the Working Group on the National Healthy Soils Policy Network and serves on the board of the farmer veterans organization Not Forgotten Outreach in Taos and the NM Food & Agriculture Policy Council.

With thanks to Daniel FinneganSolar Shepherd LLC for hosting this webinar

find us on Instagram at asga_solargrazing