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.
E mail: Blessing.Magonziwa@colostate.edu
Joyce Mutai is a doctoral student in the department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Colorado State University. She focuses particularly on the areas of soil-borne pathogens and parasitic nematodes. Building on a background in agriculture and research methods in Kenyan universities and as a researcher at the Kenya’s national agricultural research organization (KALRO), she is now conducting research both to extend the capabilities of the soil health tool kit in the areas of root pathogens and nematodes. In addition, Joyce will use the tool kit and other methods to better understand the interactions between soil type, soil management practices, and crop rotation on soil-borne pathogens and nematodes in western Kenya.
E mail: Joyce.Mutai@colostate.edu
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.
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.