Society’s advance is contingent upon transformational changes in our food production system. Transformational changes seldom come from federal research organizations or universities. Currently, the farmers and ranchers are leading the innovation of food production systems, ahead of the researchers. Producers require independent, unbiased scientific support to ensure that concepts, practices, and systems are scalable and transferable to other operations and regions.
We can grow food and conserve biodiversity and environmental health. Agriculture can be used to solve many of the world’s problems, and Ecdysis Foundation will provide the Research and Development that can make innovative practices scalable and transferable to as many operations as possible. We anticipate a paradigm shift in the way food is produced in this country, and we want to have answers ready for farmers when they are ready to make the change to farm in nature’s image.The South Dakota location is just the beginning. After we establish ourselves with a manageable set of questions/projects, we hope to first diversify the scientific expertise at the South Dakota location to best accomplish the multi-disciplinary nature of the science we are proposing. Then we will take the Ecdysis model nationally, establishing a network of facilities around the country that can address local and regional circumstances.
Ecdysis Foundation was created to support the reimagining of agriculture along ecological principles with independent, farmer-driven research. To accomplish this, we will apply cutting edge science to address the problems faced by farmers, ranchers, and bee keepers on the leading edge of regenerative agriculture. Through partnerships with major universities, we will train the next generation of scientists to conduct applied ecological research and communicate this research to the people that need it the most. Moreover, we will train farmers to act as citizen scientists that contribute to regional and national research goals.
The central outcomes of our research will be to redesign agroecosystems to be more resilient and produce healthier food by increasing biodiversity and reducing disturbance to farmland. Ecdysis Foundation’s main interrelated research themes are 1) understanding how biodiversity and trophic interactions affect conservation of services provided by healthy biological networks within agroecosystems, 2) predicting the ecological safety of new technologies for pest and farm management, and 3) gaining a better understanding of how biological communities (especially within the soil) are structured and contribute to ecosystem services and whole farm performance. Focal commodities include livestock, crops, and honey bees. Ecdysis will have a strong emphasis on farmer-, rancher-, and beekeeper-driven research questions, and will empower producers by involving them in the actual research projects themselves (i.e., guided citizen science).