As summer gives way to the embrace of autumn, farm fields transform into a vibrant tapestry of colors, teeming with life. In this newsletter, we give information about upcoming field days, movie premieres and an Agri-Tech Fair, share new scientific publications about biodiversity, and offer a new way to donate to WFA.
Enjoy this month’s news from the wild!
Join Braga Fresh, California Marine Sanctuary Foundation (CMSF), and Wild Farm Alliance (WFA) for a field day showcasing practices that support natural enemy insects and beneficial birds for pest control.
The morning will feature presentations from researchers and professionals, followed by a field tour and demonstration. The day will close with a grower panel and lunch.
Tickets are $12 each, which includes lunch and snacks.
Meet Karell Reader of Luz Del Valle Farm
Karell Reader of Luz Del Valle Farm has spent the last nine years converting a barren, conventionally managed orchard into a wildlife oasis where beneficial insects can prosper and support her apple crops. “Those little predatory insects are just really invaluable,” says Karell. “We don’t always see the specific results of what they do,” she notes. “But we sense it, because the trees are so much more healthy. Last year we didn’t even have codling moth.”
In November, you’ll have the opportunity to see the beautiful, diverse farm for yourself at a field day that includes several speakers discussing various pest management strategies. You’ll hear from Karell about insects, snakes, birds and other beneficial species that help her control pests.
Registration will open soon for a Field Day on Friday, November 10 at Luz del Valle Farm in Aptos, CA.
Click Here to read a profile about Karell and see her featured in our newest video resource.
Butterfly Biodiversity Increases with Prairie Strips and Conservation Management in Row Crop Agriculture
A new study out of Michigan concludes that in addition to the known effects of prairie strips on ecosystem services, including erosion control and increased water quality, prairie strips can also increase biodiversity in farming landscapes. The study shows that when 5% of research plots were converted from row crops to prairie strips, butterfly abundance in the most biologically integrated plots was 83% of that of unfarmed conservation land. This recovers much of the biodiversity that is lost in conventional agriculture.
A simplified diagram illustrates the main interconnected key soil functions that are dependent on soil biodiversity. These include regulating GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emissions, SOM (soil organic matter) cycling, water regulation through soil structure formation, biodegradation of contaminants, nutrient cycling and pest and disease resistance. Credit: Daniel Rath
New Report: Soil Biodiversity in California Agriculture
Soil health depends on soil biodiversity. However, external pressures from land-use change, climate change and certain agricultural practices threaten the biotic networks that underpin the delivery of soil’s many ecosystem services. Yet measuring soil biodiversity is a complex task, with a wide variety of possible indicators, and methodologies that are evolving with recent technological advances. This report, prepared by the Belowground Biodiversity Advisory Committee (BBAC) convened by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), focuses on how best to assess soil biodiversity in the context of working lands and considers current and future challenges faced by California agricultural producers, policy makers, governing agencies, and related stakeholders. Chapter 3 explores ecosystem services provided by belowground biodiversity, including pathogen suppression, water regulation and carbon storage.
Movie Premiere Events
Don't miss the opportunity to attend a screening of Common Ground, the highly anticipated sequel to the acclaimed documentary Kiss the Ground. Embark on a transformative journey as the film delves into regenerative agriculture's power to rejuvenate our world, bridging the gap between people, food systems, and the environment.
WFA staff will be sharing resources at the Portland, OR premiere TODAY, September 28 and the Santa Cruz, CA premiere on October 21.
Into the Weeds
Into the Weeds: Dewayne “Lee” Johnson vs. Monsanto Company is coming to movie theaters across the US as a special event screening on one night only, this upcoming October 3rd. The feature documentary follows Bay Area groundskeeper Dewayne “Lee” Johnson and his fight for justice against Monsanto (now Bayer). Johnson’s case was the first to go to trial in a series of lawsuits involving tens of thousands of plaintiffs claiming Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup contributed to their cancer. The film follows this groundbreaking trial, while also stepping back to consider the systemic effects of the world’s most widely used herbicide.
WFA Presents at the Agri-Tech Fair
Join WFA on October 24 at the Agri-Tech Fair in Ventura County. The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) and Wild Farm Alliance (WFA) will present information about how they are working to promote safe, sustainable, and effective integrated pest management practices to manage pests. You’ll learn about WFA’s avian pest control project, funded by DPR, which shares the latest research, tools and resources about how to support beneficial birds and manage pest birds. Beneficial birds can help with production in the same way as beneficial insects. Cutting-edge research on beneficial birds is helping farmers adopt and hone practices that save money on pest control.
Support WFA with a Stock Donation
Supporters now have the option to donate stock to Wild Farm Alliance, and by doing so can avoid the capital gains tax they would have to pay on any increase in value of stock since being purchased. This is a good option for some, since they may have stock that’s appreciated in value over time, they aren’t using it for day-to-day expenses, and they are hesitant to redeem it because of a big tax bill. Your generous cash or stock donations help us grow our impact and get closer to the goals in our 2050 vision. Get started making your stock donation by clicking the button below.