Oia Walker-van Aalst

Farmland diversification in Yolo County: Understanding organic farm diversity across social, ecological, and spatial scales

Under guidance from Professor Bowles and his graduate student (Ansel Klein), I will assist in quantifying soil health based on nutrient cycling and microbial activity metrics. I will assist in visiting 15 organic farms and subsequent field sampling of two fields per farm, taking soil samples using an auger and placing them in labelled bags to be brought to the lab for analysis. Specific field and lab measurements will include: potentially mineralizable N, POXC, total organic C and N, and microbial biomass C and N. The results will be analyzed in conjunction with farmer interviews to determine linkages between farmer knowledge of soil health and measurable indicators.

Message to Sponsor

I'm very thankful for your contribution, as it allows me to take this project on. With your help, I will be able to learn more about agricultural systems and practices, collect and analyze data, and contribute to general and farmer-to-farmer knowledge systems surrounding soil health, a crucial component of the health of our world. I find this work important as a student, person, and future educator. Hopefully, this project will have broad positive impacts that will ripple out to many communities and ecosystems. Again, thank you.
  • Major: Conservation and Resource Studies, CalTeach minor
  • Mentor: Timothy Bowles, plus graduate student Ansel Klein