I have just completed training a group as Short-Term Monitors for Ecological Outcome Verification (EOV) split into two groups between Lincoln and Mangarara Farm.
It was an honour to have such a great group of people with a wide diversity of interest in land, all committed to regenerating the health of the soil and to understand the role they can play in this.
We had people from many walks of life associated with food and agriculture, from a baker using natural grains in bread making to farm consultants and a real estate agent.
I, myself, had a great time. I was really stimulated by the infectious enthusiasm of the group to learn and their motivation to work with farmers to help bring about change.
Ecological Outcome Verification (EOV)
EOV gives the soil a voice; it collects data from producer farms and connects conscientious brands direct to the supply from farms that are verified to be regenerating. This data is comprised of key indicators of land regeneration, including soil health, biodiversity and ecosystem function.
EOV short-term monitors are taught how to assess ecological health by evaluating biological indicators at the soil surface. Soil condition is reflected by changes at the soil surface. Using biological indicators, monitors create an annual Ecological Health Index, which is a key part of the connection between consumer and farmer
Farms with a positively-trending index receive Ecological Outcome Verification, which validates to the consumer that the produce from that property is from land that is regenerating.
EOV is designed to keep all of us — brands, land managers, and consumers — honest about the impact we are having on living landscapes. Based upon tangible outcomes rather than an inventory of farmer practices, EOV gives the land a voice of its own.
What EOV Short-Term Monitors look for
This is a scientific process, with careful measurements and rigorous standards. The monitors are trained to look for specific indications in the land, such as…
- Is there more water retained than previously or less?
- Is the soil sequestering carbon more than previously or losing it?
- Is the forage more abundant than previously or less?
These are just some of the outcomes assessed by EOV short-term monitors that, when combined and are on a positive trend, point to regeneration.
Working towards a brighter future
EOV is about more than just looking at outcomes of management and impact on the environment.
The outcomes recorded also drive the questions that passionate farmers ask, informing their real-time, daily management decisions.
EOV is built for farmers first, providing fast feedback loops around land health indicators they can use and respond to, such as plant litter incorporation, dung decomposition, soil capping, and the presence of desirable plant species.
Our monitors will help farmers understand how they can use these biological indicators to help in their own decision making. It’s these little pieces of intelligence that ladder up to the positive change we seek at the macro level, such as food security, water retention, and carbon sequestration.
Without managing for small, sequential change at the farm level, monumental progress is impossible. Our monitors will help farmers learn from, and respond to, their land in real-time.
Special thanks to Dr Charles Merfield (Merf), and Prof. Pablo Gregorini for their input into the Lincoln course, and to Greg and Rachel Hart for hosting us at Mangarara and for showing us the positive impact they have had on their land.