August 27, 2019—It is now widely understood that living healthy soil provides the foundation for successful farming, and supports plant, animal, and human life. However, while the concept of “feeding the soil” has been around for a long time, for many it is still uncharted territory.

To support farmers and ranchers in selecting the best management practices for building soil life and soil health, the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) has released the ninth topic in their immensely popular Soil Health and Organic Farming Series of guidebooks and webinars, Understanding and Optimizing the Community of Soil Life.

The goal of this guidebook is to help organic farmers by providing up-to-date, science-based information on:

  • The soil food web, its key components and functions.
  • Assessing and monitoring soil life and soil biological condition.
  • Managing soil life for long term soil health and productivity in organic systems.
  • Biological management of plant diseases.
  • Microbial inoculants and biostimulants: whether, when, and how to use them.

“When we first embarked on this project, we hoped that by analyzing the research that’s been conducted over the past thirty years and presenting it in an accessible way, we’d be helping farmers and advancing the adoption of more sustainable agricultural practices,” explains Brise Tencer, Executive Director at OFRF. “We had no idea how popular it would be. To date, the guidebooks have been downloaded over 24,000 times and the webinars have been viewed over 8,000 times. These digital resources are free and available to anyone, so we hope they will continue to be shared far and wide.”

The entire Soil Health and Organic Farming series is available to download for free. Limited printed copies are available upon request for a small donation to cover printing costs.

Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is a non-profit foundation that works to foster the improvement and widespread adoption of organic farming systems. OFRF cultivates organic research, education, and federal policies that bring more farmers and acreage into organic production.