The Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association. NOFA/Mass welcomes everyone who cares about food, where it comes from and how it’s grown

Growing Organically Since 1982

Earthworms, Calcium, and Aggregates, Oh My: Soil Testing & Interpretation for Growers at Flats Mentor Farm

October 11, 2018 - 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Flats Mentor Farm
326 Seven Bridge Rd (Rt 117)
Lancaster, MA

This event series is FREE. Please help us plan for the right number of attendees by registering (click the Brown Paper Tickets button)

Scholarships are available. Participants who would like to receive a soil test interpretation complementary with their registration must pay full price. (To apply please click here).

* Add $5 for walk in registration on day of event.  


This event is part of a workshop series that includes farms and homesteads from across the state. Check out to see if there is a similar workshop closer to you!

Our soil can sometimes seem like a strange and mysterious territory — it’s dark under there, and populated with unseen forces, like earthworms, minerals, microbes, insects, roots, fungi, and (depending on the history of the site) possibly heavy metals and other pollutants.

In this afternoon workshop, the NOFA/Mass technical support team  Laura Davis and Caro Roszell will give a workshop with Vu Yang and Jessy Gill of World Farmers. The workshop will start with a brief introduction and tour of Flats Mentor Farm by Jessy Gill, Program Director and Vue Yang, a farmer at Flats Mentor Farm.

Flats Mentor Farm, a 70-acre parcel of river bottom soil in Lancaster, MA, has been continuously farmed by immigrant and refugee farmers since 1985. On the tour, Jessy and Vue will speak about the land and the mission of World Farmers to support immigrant and refugee farmers in developing viable and sustainable farm enterprises. Vue will share a little about her experience farming her plot and share what crops have worked well and what challenges she has faced.

Following the tour, Caro will dig in, literally, to a patch of the farms soil and explain how to assess soil for its ability to build and store organic carbon. Soils with greater levels of carbon are more resilient to weather extremes, produce healthier crops, hold water more effectively, and can remove CO2 from the atmosphere when there are healthy plants growing there.  Participants will receive a workbook of test protocols to take home, and will learn how to assess their own soil for carbon storage for measures like earthworm count, average root depth, aggregate grade, infiltration, soil respiration, and more.

We will spend the rest of the workshop with Laura Davis, NOFA/Mass Soil Testing Technical Advisor, who will teach participants about how to interpret a soil test. We will look at the soil test results from Vu's plot at Flats Mentor Farm as an example. Participants will learn about cation exchange capacity, pH, and soil organic matter. They will also learn about mineral levels and how to figure out how to calculate amendment application rates to address specific soil deficiencies.

As a part of the registration cost, workshop participants may bring their own soil test results (Logan Labs test results only) to the workshop for Laura Davis and receive a follow-up email with interpretation and analysis.

At the event, workshop participants will also have the option of purchasing a soil carbon proxy test kit at cost-of-materials, so they can test their own soil and track its carbon-sequestering progress.

More Info

Scholarships are available.  Click here for more information.

For information on our refund and inclement weather policy, click here.

For questions contact Caro Roszell, education events organizer, at or (508) 360-0874.

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