It generates medicines, purifies water, absorbs greenhouse gases and grows our food. Yet most of us know little about soil — in fact, we treat this valuable resource like dirt.
Steve Ventura will describe the important ecosystem services derived from healthy soils and present new ideas about how to protect them. Ventura, the UW-Madison Gaylord Nelson Distinguished Professor, is known widely for his work in land and food systems. A professor of environmental studies and soil science, he serves as director of the Nelson Institute Land Tenure Center and the Land Information and Computer Graphics Facility. Ventura’s current research examines innovations and successes in community and regional food systems, opportunities for silvopasturing (combining forestry and livestock grazing in a mutually beneficial way) in southwestern Wisconsin, environmental impacts of hard-rock mining, and the development of local land use planning tools. His expertise also spans water quality modeling, geographic information systems and environmental impact analysis. He leads a consortium of UW-Madison researchers studying sustainable food systems in urban areas such as Milwaukee, Chicago and Detroit where food insecurity is considered extensive. The research is conducted in partnership with University of Wisconsin Extension, Growing Power, Inc., Michael Fields Agricultural Institute and numerous community organizations. This effort has led to the creation of the Cooperative Institute for Urban Agriculture and Nutrition in Milwaukee.
This public lecture series, launched in the fall of 2005, honors the legacy of Gaylord Nelson. Support is provided by the Holstrom-Kineke Environmental Studies Fund.