Mari Omland

Green Mountain Girls Farm | Northfield, Vermont

1. What did you do before you were a farmer?

I was a ski racer and queer activist, then conservationist in West Africa and for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

2. When did you realize soil was something you grew?

Amidst working with a cohort of climate concerned farmers, local artists partnered with farms in Vermont and created paintings to help us tell the story of how we expand soil depth and the life within. The image of our farm depicts sheep on a blossoming, diverse pasture with monarchs and other pollinators showing the integration of the farm ecosystem. I hope this image helps us enable others to realize how we grow soil on our farm!

3. Describe your favorite place in nature.

The rhizosphere! Specifically, the region of soil directly influenced by the root secretions of photosynthesizing plants and their symbiotic microbes (bacteria and fungi). The rhizosphere is a place still full of mystery, precisely what nutrients are transferred through rhizophagy or how important this process is for nutrient acquisition is still unknown.

4. What would you say to your younger self now?

Notice and communicate! Observe nature, human system dynamics, ego and everything around and in-between. Know that others have their own unique lens, so it is necessary to communicate your own experience and share it in useful nuggets and facilitate the development of resilience via being in tune with those around you.

5. What is your legacy?

Together with my wife Laura, we view our farm as a time capsule, helping to hold and share what our ancestors knew about belonging to our ecosystem and each other, growing food, how to combine this wisdom with leading edge scientific knowledge and technology, carrying evolving regenerative practices forward. But we aren’t a static stash, we are a strategic microcosm, staying curious and modeling how humans can thrive as a responsible species.

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