2018 Speakers


 12th Annual Farm and Food Leadership Conference

October 14-16, 2018 | Historic Downtown McKinney, Texas


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DAVID R. MONTGOMERY and ANNE BIKLÉ – Partners in authorship and partners in life, David Montgomery and Anne Biklé will present thought-provoking keynotes during both days of the 2018 Farm & Food Leadership Conference based on their “Dirt Trilogy.”

Montgomery, a professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington, studies landscape evolution and the effects of geological processes on ecological systems and human societies. He will speak Monday, Oct. 15, about the plight of soil and how regenerative agricultural practices such as no-till farming, can bring soil back to life. In 2008 he received a MacArthur Fellowship (popularly known as the “genius award”.) He has authored numerous scientific papers and has been featured in documentary films, network and cable news.

Biklé is a biologist with wide-ranging interests whose career path has taken her into the watershed restoration, environmental planning, and public health fields. She’ll speak on Tuesday, Oct. 16, about microbiomes—communities of the tiniest creatures on Earth—and their vital importance for the health and well-being of plants and people. She particularly likes sharing the inner workings of the natural world and the human body with audiences.  Her work has appeared in magazines, newspapers, and radio and her soil-building practices have been featured in independent and documentary films.

The couple collaborated on The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health after buying a house and encountering the dead dirt that came with it. They undertook a yard makeover, and soon found themselves with more questions than answers about their fixer-upper soil. The book mixes memoir, history, and science, exploring humanity’s tangled relationship with the microbial world and how it influences the way we practice agriculture and medicine.

The first book in the trilogy, Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations lays out the plight of soil, The Hidden Half of Nature reveals the insights and understanding from new microbiome science and the implications it has for healing the land—and safeguarding our own health. In Growing A Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life, Montgomery shares the stories of farmers who are adopting new practices that demonstrate the potential of agriculture to improve soil.

Biklé and Montgomery are now at work on a capstone to the Dirt Trilogy exploring the connections between soil health and human health.




COME BACK SOON to see our exciting lineup of speakers for 2018!