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We are all volunteers. 100% of donated and membership money goes to supporting Rural Roots and its money.

Think you know all about soil? Learn about improving your soil (and growing healthier plants) by managing the arthropods that live in it!

 Now on YouTube: check out here

Check out Rural Roots speakers on YouTube! 

Title: Soil Arthropods & Soil Health: Getting to know our belowground partners in Pacific Northwest Agroecosystems

Summary: There is a rapidly growing interest in the components of soil health and the best practices for improving it. Although much of this interest focuses on soil microbial communities, they are not alone in the soil ecosystem! Soil arthropods are also key components of belowground communities. We continue to learn more about how these complex communities work and how we might manage them to improve soil health and the associated productivity and sustainability of our cropping systems.

Bio: Dane is a PhD candidate in the Entomology, Plant Pathology and Nematology department at the University of Idaho. His research focuses on understanding how different crop diversification strategies influence the biodiversity, structure, and function of soil arthropod communities. He also aims to increase producer and public awareness about the incredible world of soil arthropods and how these often-overlooked organisms contribute to soil health and agroecosystem sustainability.

Rural Roots Zoom meetings are held the second Weds of the month (except in summer when we are all planting!)

General information:

Learn about how you can help pollinators and Mason Bees this month!

Now on YouTube.

Washington State University’s Mario Luppino will be presenting on Mason Bees and their care on the Palouse.

mason bee on flower by Susan Fluegel

This presentation will cover general topics concerning pollinator decline, as well as information about Blue Orchard Bee lifecycles, their care, and how you can manage them to help conserve native species.

If you have trouble registering use the info below:

Are you tired of winter and ready to dig up some soil already? Are you interested in fruit trees?

 WSU Farm Manager Deb Pehrson sets up the new orchard at WSU on You Tube

Overview of Perennial Fruit Crops Site Selection, Layout, Infrastructure Options, Planting and First Year Concerns  

Deb Pehrson has been working at the WSU Orchard in Pullman since 1983.  She got her BS at WSU in 1981.  She was promoted to Farm Manager in 1990.  Deb got her MS at WSU in Entomology in 2003.  Deb grew up on a dairy farm in Minnesota and has loved living in a rural area and growing food crops ever since.

  1. Handouts:

    1. C O ripening chart
    2. Sources of Fruit Tree Information
    3. Van_Well_Nursery-Harvest_Dates-Apples
    4. Fruit Trees
    5. 2022 Most Orchard Plants List (not variety apples)

Learn about lentils, chickpeas and Net Zero on YouTube!
Carbon Credits and a Pathway to Net Zero Agriculture

It is not easy to keep the various sustainability initiatives and metrics straight, and even harder to avoid greenwashing schemes when trying to participate as individuals. The pulse industry (chickpeas, lentils, dry beans and peas) hired Dr. Will Lytle in February as their new Director of Research and Sustainability as the industry tries to reduce their on-farm emissions.

Will Lytle has a PhD in Environmental and Energy Policy and wants to share their insights from measuring sustainable impacts and hope for the future in their roadmap to Net Zero ag emissions in the near-term using carbon insetting.

Will Lytle, PhD, Director of Research and Sustainability, USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council American Pulse Association

Planning for a Climate Smart, Culturally Smart Future. Check it out on YouTube!

Stefanie Krantz, Climate Change Coordinator, HIPT Alliance

Food sovereignty, sustainability, and biodiversity is central to the health, well-being, and stability of humankind.  In the last 200 years, dramatic changes have occurred globally in food and energy systems, and this has had dramatic impacts on our climate, environment, and health.  We now know that the climate crisis must be addressed very rapidly, and efforts are moving forward globally to curb carbon emissions, and sequester carbon. This crisis is also a chance to change the course of history.

In this talk, planetary health and our well-being, traditional knowledge systems, land management, and ecological well-being will be discussed from a climate smart, culturally smart lens – a framework that was develop by the climate staff at the Nez Perce Tribe to find a way to include cultural survival in climate planning.

November is Indigenous Peoples’ Month

Nez Perce Tribe, HIPT Coalition

The Nez Perce Tribe HIPT Coalition is a collective group of community members striving towards increased food sovereignty, safety, access, and security for the Nimiipuu.

HIPT stands for Helping Indigenous People Thrive. HIPT is the word for food in the Nimipuutímt language, an integral part of Nez Perce culture.

See their YouTube channel here

Harvesting Hope Check it out on YouTube

How the Community Action CenterSmall dirty hands hold orange tomatoes. is working to bring fresh, local produce to those in need through our mobile farm stand, community gardens, and hydroponics system.

Claire MacPherson, Community Food, Bank Gardener and Mobile Farm Stand Specialist

Previous presentations

Pruning and it’s Effects on Plants by Robert Tripepi

Have you ever wondered how pruning influences plants? Why does pruning the right way result in beautifully shaped greenery? Why does pruning incorrectly result in poorly shaped and ugly plants? How can you prune to control size and shape while still encouraging your plants to look their best and/or fruit?

Do you want your yard and garden to look like a Home and Garden spread or like someone let several hyped up five year old kids loose in your yard with electric hedge clippers?

Who can answer these questions and more? Dr. Bob Tripepi, that's who. He is a professor of Plant Science at UI. I have known Bob for years and he is the expert in anything with chlorophyll.

Dr. Bob Tripepi covered reasons for pruning plants, plant responses to pruning, timing of pruning, types of pruning cuts and locations of pruning cuts. All of these topics are related to how pruning can effect plant growth. Proper pruning can reduce plant maintenance needs for various inputs. The presentation will focus on landscape plants but the principles also apply to fruit trees.


Kole Tonnemaker of Tonnemaker Hill Farm in Royal City, WA. will tell you more about organic orchard practices and the philosophy behind it.

The Tonnemakers have been growing fruit since 1967, have been bringing fruit to the Moscow Farmers Market since 1984, and joined the organic program in 1997. As you can imagine, they know a lot about how to grow tree fruit organically!

Watch Tonnemaker Hill Farm presentation on YouTube.

Visit Tonnemaker Hill Farm website


Integrating beneficials, pollinators, and biocontrols in an organic farmscape.

Brad Jaeckel, farm manager at the WSU Eggert Family Organic Farm in Pullman, discusses strategies to increase beneficial and pollinator insect species as well as other biocontrols to consider.  The 10 acre WSU Eggert Family Organic Farm produces vegetables, tree fruit, and provides space for research.  Implementing inter-cropped species and perennial habitat for insects  throughout the farmscape are key to increased biodiversity.  Attraction of raptor and native bird species are also encouraged to reduce rodent and insect pressure.   Benefits include increased pollination, reduced insect pests, and reduced rodent populations.  Presentation will include specific examples of plant species, planting techniques, and biocontrol designs.

Brad Jaeckel has managed the WSU Organic Farm since 2005 and also teaches three classes in the Organic and Sustainable Agriculture degree.  He lives in Moscow, ID, where he and his wife operate Orchard Farm.  Kate Jaeckel specializes in natural body care products and grows herbs, botanicals, and cut-flowers for the business and farmer’s market sales.

Watch Brad's presentation on YouTube is here!

Ways to Protect Pollinators From Neonicotinoids and Other Pesticides

Background on use of neonicotinoids, environmental impacts and hazards posed by them, and ways to reduce exposure of pollinators to these pesticides

Learn how to protect pollinators from harmful pesticides in this presentation by Tim Hatten.

Did you know that the plants you purchase at commercial nurseries could be sprayed with neonicotinoid insecticides? The spray can last on the plant for several years killing or harming bees and other pollinators.

Tim Hatten discussed the background on use of neonicotinoids, environmental impacts and hazards posed by them, and ways to reduce exposure of pollinators to these pesticides.

Pollinator Summits

2023 Pollinator Summit
February 2023 in Moscow
Theme: Pollinators and Climate Change

Speakers and events 

  • Opening Remarks by Suvia Judd, President of Rural Roots
  • Opening Remarks by U of I CALS Dean Michael Parrella
  • Neal Williams, Ph.D. Professor, UC Davis, CALS Distinguished Speaker: Impacts of pesticide and resource stressors on wild bees: multi-scale approaches for mitigation.
  • Kelsey King, WSU Graduate Student, Cheryl Schultz Lab: Fender’s Blue Butterfly and relationship to Kincaid’s lupine
  • Anna Hawse, UI Graduate Student, Cook Lab at Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology, and Nematology, U of I: Pollinator diversity on Palouse prairie plants
  • Pollinator Expo: Local non-profits and businesses share info on Pollinators
  • Mason Bee House making workshop
  • Ronda Hirnyck, UI Extension Professor, Statewise Pesticide Educator via Zoom: Bee-aware: What you can do to protect pollinators
  • Olivia Shaffer, Ph.D., WSU Post-doc David Crowder Lab: How anthropogenic landscape changes such as mass-blooming crops and urbanization affect the stability of wild bee communities
  • Samantha Bussan, WSU Graduate Student: Grazing management Conservation grazing effects on butterflies and incentivizing conservation grazing
  • Nan Vance, Ph.D. retired, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station: High Energy Treat or Master of Deceit: Two Different Ways to Get Pollinated

Program at U of I Campus, Vandal Ballroom, Bruce Pitman Center

  • Introductory Remarks by CALS Dean Michael Parrella
  • Neal Williams, Ph.D. Professor, UC Davis: Linking bees, pollination and people:
    pollinator habitat design to benefit biodiversity and pollination in working
  • Thursday Latah County Fairgrounds
    Jodi McClory, organic flower farmer, Swallowtail Flowers Slide Show: Strategies for Preserving Pollinators in Flower Farming
  • Subodh Adhikari, Ph.D, Postdoctoral Researcher Eigenbrode Lab at Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology, and Nematology, U of I: Climate-smart integrated pest and pollinator management
  • Jason Thomas, UI Extension Associate Professor Facilitated Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Game, “Pest Friends”
  • Iris Mayes, Ph.D. & Pamela Pavek, USDA-NRCS Conservationist Pollinator Garden Design

Films at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre
TED Talk by Marla Spivak: Why bees are disappearing
Suvia Judd, President of Rural Roots will introduce: Hometown Habitat, Stories of Bringing Nature Home, an inspirational 90-minute environmental documentary focused on how and why native plants are critical to the survival and vitality of local ecosystems

2022 Pollinator Summit
Theme: Pollinators and Biodiversity.
Won the Moscow Mayor’s 2022 Earth Day Award

Here is a link to the UI Extension/CALS YouTube Channel with the videos:

Presenters included:

  • Michael Parella, UI Dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
  • Suvia Judd, President of Rural Roots and small acreage farmer
  • Eva Strand, UI Associate Professor of Rangeland Ecology and Management
  • Timothy Hatten, Entomologist, and expert on Palouse insects
  • David Schott, City of Moscow Parks and Recreation, Parks & Facilities
  • Manager Sarah Hill, Phoenix Conservancy, Palouse Prairie Project Manager
  • David James, WSU Associate Professor, Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension
  • Subodh Adhikari, UI postdoctoral fellow in Entomology, Plant Pathology, and Nematology
  • Luc Leblanc, UI Curator and Manager of William F. Barr Entomological Museum
  • Nicole Xiao, MHS student, Climate Justice League Co-President
  • Susan Fluegel, Farmer and Nutritional Biochemist
  • Pamela Brunsfeld, Botanist, retired Director from UI Stillinger Herbarium

Table Exhibits included: William S. Barr Entomological Museum, Palouse Prairie Foundation – Latah Trail – John Crock Pollinator Garden; Phoenix Conservancy; City of Moscow: Harvest Park & City Challenge with Pullman and Moscow; UI Extension Table – Master Gardeners; Palouse Land Trust; Latah Soil and Water Conservation District; Palouse Conservation District; Seed Library Exchange (P.E.A.S.) and Pollinator Photographs by Gerry Queener. Sponsors include: UI Extension, Rural Roots, Moscow Food Co-op, Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute, Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition, and City of Moscow. Liatris, a PNW nativar, attracts many native pollinators.

Special thanks to summit organizer Iris Mayes: UI Extension Latah County office at or 208-883-2269.

Other sponsors include the City of Moscow, Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute, Rural Roots, Palouse Prairie Foundation and the Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition.