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ers everywhere can use to benchmark their progress. Lisa Garfield of Future Harvest, the leader of the Maryland study,hopes to connect with up to 40 farmers, who will receive free soil health testing as official members of the study in 2020, along with an unlimited number of citizen scientists who can test their own soils using the Comprehensive Assessment of Soil Health from Cornell University in order to compare their own results with those of others. Along with the Benchmark Study, Million Acre Challenge staff will work alongside the Maryland Department of Agriculture and other farm service providers to facilitate advanced farmer-to-farmer dialogue about soil health management systems and offer opportunities, technical support, and resources to explore established and innovative practices on Maryland farms. We will strive to provide farmers with easy access to the latest scientific and economic information and research along with understanding of the realworld conditions in which it can be applied profitably and well. And we will strive to listen to and learn from farmers, about what they know about soil health, what barriers and benefits they anticipate. Look for information about regional Soil Health Hubs coming soon in your area or contact us at [email protected] to learn more. Dena Leibman, Future Harvest’s executive director, points out that in this moment, when the deep need for a shift toward resiliency is clear, “regenerative agriculture can be both the basis for healthy food production and supply and a tool to curb the parallel threat of climate change.” Our path forward must reflect our interconnectedness, both with one another and with the soil that sustains us. The good news is that walking this path can help us address both the short-term and the long-term crises we face—that of a brittle, disconnected food system and of climate change. Let’s begin. Amanda Cather owns and operates Plow and Stars Farm in Poolesville, Maryland with her husband Mark and their children. She is also the new project director for the Million Acre Challenge, coming to Maryland in 2020. [email protected] Poolesville Veterinary Clinic, LLC Dr.’s Peter Eeg, Ashley Young, Marianne Van Doorn and the entire staff are dedicated to providing the highest quality veterinary care with a personal touch. Hours of Operation Monday through Friday 7:30am - 7:00pm Saturday 8:00am - 3:00pm • Closed Sunday 19621 Fisher Ave • Poolesville MD 20837 P: 301-972-7705 • F: 301-972-7706 [email protected] Landscape architects n Laytonsville, MD n 301-253-1702 38 plenty I Summer growing 2020