BF 110: Soil Health

Investing in the Vitality of Your Farm

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Investing in the Vitality of Your Farm

The health and productivity of the soil forms the basis for any farm’s success, profitability, and ecological sustainability. Successful farmers need to develop a holistic approach to preserving and building soil health and fertility. Stewardship of the soil is arguably the most important job of any farmer or gardener.

Target Audience

All levels — This course is for field crop, vegetable, and livestock producers. We expect that students will have some experience in managing soils, even if minimal. Farmers looking for more productive soils to increase forage and crop production will benefit from taking this course.

Course Objectives

Through this course, participants will:

  • Know how soil properties affect growing crops and pasture
  • Learn how to “read the land” and improve the four ecosystem processes
  • Determine appropriate soil practices to improve soil health
  • Begin work on a soil health improvement plan for their farm


The bulk of the course happens on your own time, with discussions, readings, and assignments in Teachable, our virtual classroom. To add to the experience, webinars will be woven into the online interface of the course to allow you to meet on a weekly basis to learn from presenters and ask questions in real time. If you miss one, they are always recorded and posted for later viewing.

Webinar Schedule

This course will not offer a 6 week live session during 2022-2023, but we encourage you to complete it as a self-paced course. All webinars are recorded and posted in our online classroom for you to watch anytime. You will also retain access to all materials indefinitely, and may return to participate in the live webinars in future offerings of the course if you wish.

In 2023, we will offer one LIVE session on Monday, March 27th from 7:00 – 8:30PM Eastern Time. During this 2023 LIVE class we will be reviewing:

  • Basic soil properties.
  • Four principles of soil health.
  • Photos of soils and how to recognize good and poor soil health (you also can submit a photo of your crop fields or pastures for discussion).

There will be opportunities to ask questions and meet your fellow students.

Enroll today to join us!

Your Instructor

Elizabeth Marks
Elizabeth Marks

Elizabeth Marks is a certified educator with Holistic Management International (HMI). She serves as a biologist for the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS) in the Hudson Valley (New York) where she works with landowners to improve soil health and biological diversity on their farm or forest. In addition she is an instructor for NY’s Beginning Women Farmer Program and has taught workshops on Holistic Management principles. Elizabeth received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Mount Holyoke College. She lives in Chatham in a net-zero, energy efficient home she designed herself.

Course Curriculum

  Bonus LIVE Session 2023 - JOIN US!
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days after you enroll

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course officially starts and ends on the dates given above, when the instructor gets involved and begins hosting live weekly webinars. If you are registering after the webinars have concluded for the year, you will have immediate access to all the course materials, and will be able to participate in the next year's webinars if you choose to.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 7 days and we will give you a full refund.

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