The Research Team

Blessing Magonziwa

Blessing Magonziwa is a Graduate Research Assistant at Colorado State University. She has a special interest in researching technologies and methods that allow for sustainable development in smallholder agricultural communities. She holds a bachelor’s degree (Soil Science) and a Master’s degree (Agronomy) from the University of Zimbabwe where she also worked as a research and teaching assistant. She has completed the fieldwork for her dissertation, focusing on the soil health tool kit, mechanisms of carbon retention in soils with different residue streams, and socioeconomic drivers of residue and organic matter management on farms in western Kenya.

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Steven Vanek

Steven Vanek conducts research and NGO training activities from the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Colorado State University.  His research focuses broadly on soil fertility in smallholder systems, including the use of improved fallows, phosphorus inputs, and biochar to sustain soil productivity in these systems.  He is currently focused on accessible soil health testing, and has also taught about food systems and conducted larger-scale analyses such as comparison of soil ecosystem services in land uses and linkages between aboveground and belowground biodiversity.  He has worked extensively in the Andes and also has experience in eastern and southern Africa.


Steven Fonte

Dr. Fonte’s work takes an ecological approach towards understanding multiple functions and drivers within agroecosystems and then seeks to apply this knowledge towards the sustainable management of soils and farming systems worldwide.  This work is done largely in collaboration with farmers and other stakeholders across a range of agricultural contexts. In addition to helping to develop the soil tool kit, his research interests include ecosystem services and biodiversity in agricultural systems, as well as residue management, soil fertility, and resource-use efficiency on farms and in landscapes.