An ACORN Event

The Soil Sessions - with the Rodale Institute

Date(s) January 12 & 13, 2015

Best Western Charlottetown

238 Grafton St, Charlottetown, PE C1A 1L5

Special hotel rate of $100/night, parking and wifi included, call (902) 892-2461 for reservations.

The Soil Sessions - with the Rodale Institute

Kick-off 2015, the UN International Year of the Soils, by attending The Soil Sessions on the Island! Prince Edward Island's Certified Organic Producers' Co-op and ACORN have teamed up to provide two full days of workshops with farmer, author and 30-year researcher Jeff Moyer, as well as Rodale Institute’s lead scientist Dr. Kristine Nichols. 

Workshops include: Cover crops for soil fertility; Don’t Treat Your Soil Like Dirt; Overcoming Weeds Organically & Farming Systems Trial Session:  An In-Depth Presentation about Rodale Institute’s over 30 years of scientific research comparing organic and conventional farming systems.  



Registration rates for the full The Soil Sessions are:

$100 for members of PEI Certified Organic Producers' Co-op (or ACORN member if you're off-Island)
$125 for non-members

You may also sign up for one day of the Soil Sessions for only $65!

All prices include lunch, coffee breaks and snacks, with free parking available at the hotel.

To book at the Best Western hotel for only $100/night, call (902) 892-2461 and ask for special the rate for The Soil Sessions.

Registration is now CLOSED! Day-of-registrations will be accepted (though lunch will not be provided for those that have not pre-registered).


About the Speakers:

Dr Kristine Nichols  (Chief Scientist) Kris Nichols comes to Rodale Institute after working as a Soil Microbiologist with the USDA, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory (NGPRL) in Mandan, ND for over seven years. Dr. Nichols received Bachelor of Science degrees in Plant Biology and in Genetics and Cell Biology from the University of Minnesota in 1995, a Masters degree in Environmental Microbiology from West Virginia University in 1999, and a Ph.D. in Soil Science from the University of Maryland in 2003.Since 1993, Dr. Nichols has studied arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi – a plant-root symbiont. Her most recent work involves the investigation of glomalin – a substance produced by AM fungi. Glomalin contributes to nutrient cycling by protecting AM hyphae transporting nutrients from the soil to the plant and to soil structure and plant health by helping to form and stabilize soil aggregates. Dr. Nichols has been examining the impacts of management such as crop rotation, tillage practices, organic production, cover crops, and livestock grazing on soil aggregation, water relationships, and glomalin.

Jeff Moyer is an expert in organic crop production systems including weed management, cover crops, crop rotations, equipment modification and use, and facilities design.  He has helped countless farmers make the transition from conventional, chemical-based farming to organic or sustainable methods.  Throughout his more than 30 years at the Rodale Institute,  Moyer has brought a farmer’s perspective and approach to issues in organic agriculture.  He is a past chair of the National Organic Standards Board, which assists the USDA Secretary of Agriculture in developing standards for materials to be used in organic production as well as advising on other aspects of implementing the National Organic Program.  He is also a member of the Leonardo Academy’s committee on sustainability, board member of Organic Farming Research Foundation, and founding board member of Pennsylvania Certified Organic. 

The Soil Sessions Full Program:


8:30am – 4:30pm
Day 1 of 2

8:00am  Registration desk opens

9:00-12:00 noon: Cover Crops For Soil Fertility with Jeff Moyer 

Jeff Moyer of the Rodale Institute has spent over 30 years researching the best strategies to increase field crop production while caring for the soil and environment. Learn from his many years of experience how to enhance your own soil fertility through the use of cover crops.

12:00pm – 1:00pm    Lunch

1:00pm – 4:00pm    Don’t Treat Your Soil Like Dirt! with Dr Kris Nichols

Soils ore living organisms. Learn how to encourage and enhance the health of your soil by using compost, compost tea, and compost tea extract.


4:00 pm – 4:30 pm    Discussion and questions, wrap up.

8:30am – 4:30pm
Day 2 of 2

8:00am            Registration desk opens, coffee/tea available

9:00-12:00 noon:         Overcoming Weeds Organically with Jeff Moyer

Ask any farmer, “What’s your biggest concern next to money?” The answer almost always is “weeds.” If that is your response as well, here is your chance to learn how to create systems to prevent problems plus how to deal with problems once they arise. We’ll discuss the use of cover crops, crop rotations, tillage and other management systems along with cultivators, flamers, and roller/crimpers as tools in the tool box for managing weeds. Bring your own problems and solutions to add to the discussion.

12:00pm – 1:00pm    Lunch

1:00pm – 4:00pm    Farming Systems Trial with Dr Kris Nichols

Rodale Institute’s Farming Systems Trial is the world’s longest running side by side comparison of organic and conventional farming practices. We’ll discuss the results from the past 32 years of data collection as they relate to agronomic results, soil health, economics, energetic and carbon functions and impacts on climate change. I’ll present data from legume based, animal based and synthetic chemical based systems to design truly sustainable agricultural practices supported by science.

 4:00 pm – 4:30 pm    Discussion and questions, wrap up