Over these past two weeks, COP26, or the Conference of the Parties, held its 26th annual meeting in Glasgow, Scotland. Also known as the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26 is where nations, indigenous peoples, organizations, and individuals meet to negotiate and discuss how to best mitigate climate change. Conversations such as these are critical to mitigating the ongoing climate crisis. As world leaders prepared to meet in Glasgow, the OpenTEAM Secretariat convened at Wolfe’s Neck Center to reflect on current collaborative approaches, discuss potential opportunities for increased training and certification in soil health tools, and begin to develop a strategy for scaling.
As agriculture drives almost 20% of global carbon emissions, investing in both local and global agricultural research to reduce these emissions is even more necessary to mitigating the climate crisis. With goals to improve soil health and advance agriculture’s ability to become a solution to climate change, OpenTEAM and its community are essential to tackling the climate crisis.
What is OpenTEAM?
Facilitated by Wolfe’s Neck Center, OpenTEAM (Open Technology Ecosystem for Agricultural Management) began in 2019 in partnership with Wolfe’s Neck Center, Stonyfield, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, and USDA’s LandPKS to provide community support for agriculture and soil health through interacting tools for land stewards. With the goal of democratizing access to agricultural knowledge across the food system, OpenTEAM believes agriculture should be considered a public science in order to progress farming forward.
OpenTEAM offers field-level carbon measurement, digital management records, remote sensing, predictive analytics, and input and economic management decision support in a connected technology toolkit that supports adaptive soil health management for farms of all scales, geographies and production systems. Through this, farmers can build up their soil health. Healthier soils mean more carbon sequestration.
Why is soil health important?
Soil degradation through agriculture continues to threaten the climate and the environment worldwide, but when soils are healthy, they can store carbon, withstand erosion, improve water quality, and support healthy plants and animals. Soil is a living ecosystem that supports a variety of organisms that need the basic necessities of life, water, food, and shelter, to survive. The hidden gems in healthy soil, such as bacteria and fungi, insects, and organic matter thrive when the other soil elements are in balance.
Soil health management helps farmers, gardeners, and landowners work with their soil to minimize erosion, maximize water infiltration, improve nutrient cycling, and enhance the resiliency of their land. Through OpenTEAM, farmers and ranchers can have better access to tools that monitor their soil health and track their progress.
The Future of OpenTEAM and Soil Health Research at Wolfe’s Neck Center
Since the initial launch, OpenTEAM has grown into a larger collaborative of farmers, ranchers, scientists, researchers, technologists, farm service providers, and food companies who are not only co-creating equitable toolkits for all land stewards, but are tackling complex problems such as ecosystem services markets and agricultural data management and sovereignty.
As the climate crisis continues, it demands our organization to take action and find solutions. Through centering regenerative agriculture principles and initiatives like OpenTEAM, Wolfe’s Neck Center is committed to using this knowledge to further inform environmental and agricultural advances for farmers and researchers.← Back to Blog