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The No-Till Growers Podcast Network

Apr 17, 2023

Deeply inspired by her work in ecology, Dr. Francesca Cotrufo defied the traditional view on litter decomposition and soil organic matter dynamics. An internationally recognized ecologist, she has made great strides in understanding soil organic matter and its underlying processes. With a diverse research background spanning forests, grasslands, the Arctic, and the Tropics, her work has led to pioneering discoveries in regenerative soil health practices. Francesca's groundbreaking contribution to the field is the Microbial Efficiency Matrix Stabilization (MEMS) framework, which has transformed how scientists view soil formation and carbon sequestration.

Mentioned in this episode...

  • Dr. Francesca Cotrufo's MEMS (Microbial Efficiency Matrix Stabilization) framework and its impact on understanding soil formation and carbon sequestration.
  • The two-pathway model of soil formation proposed by Cotrufo to better understand the role of labile compounds and microbial efficiency in soil health.
  • The differences between mineral-associated organic matter and particulate organic matter and their impacts on soil structure and water retention.
  • The role of microbial efficiency in the transformation of plant material and its impact on soil health and nutrient recycling.
  • Host Natalie Lounsbury's Priming for Production
  • The Rough Draft Farmstead No-Till Field Day

“We need to think about not just what leads to more persistent carbon, but what makes the soil healthier, retain more water, maintain an active biology, so that we can have the recycling of the nutrients…  We can only rebuild our richness by caring about soil… We have consumed our soil's organic matter capital; now we better start working to build it again.“

- Francesca Cotrufo

Folks who make the show possible...

RIMOL Greenhouses quality greenhouses and high-tunnels.

Certified Naturally Grown grassroots, peer-to-peer, holistic certification.

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BCS America for two wheel tractors + implements.

... and, as always, our work is powered by the folks who support us every month over at, you can pick up a copy of The Living Soil Handbook if you don't have one already, as well as a No-Till Growers hat, check out the No-Till Growers YouTube channel where we're posting weekly videos, and you can ask you questions or share your insights into ecological market gardening on our brand new forum at