Jack Lazor Memorial Soil Health Stewards

We launched the Jack Lazor Memorial Soil Health Stewards program in the spring of 2021 to honor the legacy and wisdom of Jack Lazor, an organic farming leader and the co-founder of Butterworks Farm, who passed away in November 2020. This learning cohort promotes farmer-to-farmer education and relationship building in an effort to address both shorter-term soil health improvement strategies, as well as long-term systems change.

The inaugural cohort of livestock and dairy farmers expanded their knowledge regarding soil health through soil testing, peer-to-peer discussion, on-farm visits, and more. 

Two new cohort groups will launch in the winter of 2023, with applications opening in the late fall of 2022. One cohort will be for diversified livestock farms and one will be geared toward small-scale, intensively cultivated vegetable farms. Both are intended for intermediate to advanced farmers who are excited about farmer-to-farmer learning focused on soil health and climate resilience.

Applications for the 2023 cohorts are open until December 9th, 2022. Participants will be notified by December 15th, 2022, and cohort meetings will begin in January 2023.

Apply for the Livestock Cohort

Apply for the Vegetable Cohort

 

Program Objectives

  • Directly address soil health on Vermont farms
  • Increase knowledge of soil health, climate resilience, and innovative practices to support long-term farm viability 
  • Facilitate farmer-to-farmer educational opportunities for farmers to learn from and with each other
  • Seed a network of soil health stewards across Vermont who will contribute to educating others through mentorship and on-farm education about soil health practices
  • Continue to bring farmer voices into soil health advocacy work
Program Details
Program Offerings

The content and learning opportunities offered by this program are largely created together by the participants in the cohorts. These cohort groups are intended to provide a space for farmers to learn from and with each other about the topic areas related to soil health that are most relevant to their farm businesses. Typically this consists of a combination of virtual workshops and discussions and in-person farm visits with consultants. There is a great deal of space made for participants to connect directly with each other and let the relevant learning emerge.

Schedule

January 2023: Kickoff session to determine the group’s specific interests and needs

Late winter 2022-summer 2023: Learning experiences & farm tours

Fall 2023: Capstone learning opportunity, co-created by participants

 

Cost

This program is free for participants, thanks to generous funding from the Northeast Agricultural Education Foundation, USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program, and the many donors who have contributed to our Jack Lazor Memorial Soil Health Fund.

Application Instructions

Applications for the 2023 cohorts will open on November 1st, 2022 and close on December 9th, 2022. Participants will be notified by December 15th, 2022 and cohort meetings will begin in January 2023. 

Apply for the Dairy/Livestock cohort >

Apply for the Vegetable cohort >

 

Legacy of Jack Lazor

In December 2020, NOFA-VT was honored to receive a $5,000 donation from Stonyfield Organic in memory of Jack Lazor.  Sharing the intentions for this donation, the Stonyfield team wrote, "Healthy soil is the foundation of organic agriculture. We can think of no better way to honor Jack’s legacy than to support Vermont’s organic farmers in coming together to learn more about the best ways they can improve soil health, and share this knowledge with each other. This builds the viability of organic farms and advances the climate mitigation potential of organic farming.” 

When determining the best use of these funds, we reached out to Jack’s dear life and business partner, Anne Lazor. Excited about this memorial, Anne generously offered to match Stonyfield’s donation with excitement to support farmer education on soil health. Anne shared, “Jack would wish that you could make the main focus of this money to support education and technical support for the care of the 'life in the soil' and the 'soil carbon sponge', which he was so passionate about in his later years. This would include soil biology, plants and roots covering the earth, biodiversity in farming and gardening, and creating systems that draw carbon into the earth and mitigate climate change.”

The Jack Lazor Memorial Soil Health Stewards carry on Jack’s legacy and foster the skills and talents of Vermont’s emerging soil health stewards.