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Keeping your research grounded

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This is a blog entry by Marie-Élise Samson, this year’s winner of the Laure Waridel bursary. She is working with world leaders to determine the best agricultural practices to be used to store carbon in agricultural soils and thus combat climate change.
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Rivière-du-Loup, December 2018

There’s no denying that research requires passion, discipline and determination. It involves spending long days poring over scientific articles and playing with numbers on a computer to try to understand the story they have to tell. For me, those long hours wracking my brain are worth the effort only if the results make change possible. Unfortunately, sharing research outside the scientific community often isn’t valued. It’s upsetting because it takes more than a handful of researchers to catalyze real changes in society.

INFORMING FARMERS AND AGRONOMISTS OF THE IMPORTANCE OF SOIL HEALTH

To that end, I’ve enthusiastically taken on many activities to raise awareness and share information on my recent projects. On November 27, I gave a presentation to Université Laval agronomy students about the expected impact of soil conservation practices on the health of agricultural soils and large-scale farming yields. We discussed the complexity of agrosystems as well as the importance of soil conservation to ensure sustainable productivity and its potential role in protecting the environment and regulating climate. In the same vein, I will give a talk to the farmers of the Côte-du-Sud agricultural advisory group on January 10 and to agricultural technology students in La Pocatière this winter.

Consult an article on Marie-Elise's project in the special edition of magazine Caribou on tomorrow's food system (French only).

INFORMING THE PUBLIC OF THE IMPORTANCE OF SOIL AS A SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL SOLUTION

Last November, the Quebec magazine Caribou ublished an article about the project in its issue dedicated to the future of food. It was a pleasure to share my research project with the general public by collaborating with the Caribou team, whose mission is to highlight all aspects of Quebec’s culinary culture.

By collaborating with Regeneration Canada, I will also have the opportunity to present my research at the upcoming Living Soils Symposium in Montréal from March 28 to 31. This symposium will bring together agronomists, residents, policy makers, farmers, businesses and non-profit organizations to discuss ways to contribute to soil regeneration through different sectors. It will use a unique approach to connect a wide variety of actors in the field and tear down barriers between different sectors for everyone to find a role in improving our soil’s health. This event promises to be rich and stimulating. If you are passionate about agriculture or the environment, I encourage you to attend!

Receiving the Laure Waridel 2018 bursary has made me more aware of the importance of sharing information and my deep desire to remain engaged in future research projects. Once again, I would like to thank Équiterre members and the Caisse d’économie solidaire Desjardins. I’ll also take this opportunity to encourage you to apply for the bursary if you too have an action research project that you are passionate about. The visibility offered by this bursary has allowed me to surpass my information sharing goals, making me feel that I’m really working toward sustainable change and giving real meaning to all the energy I’ve invested in my doctoral studies.

I wish you all a great winter and I’ll be sure to keep you posted on upcoming activities related to the project.