MRV (Monitor, Record, Verify) strategy is a solid foundation for moving towards EOV (Ecological Outcome Verification). EOV is a holistic approach to assessing the health and resistance of land and ecosystems, particularly in regenerative agriculture. Stewardship of our land is a primary goal for us at The Retreat at Firefly Farm. Let’s explore how our MRV practices will help us transition to EOV - and maybe build an interesting community along the way.

Our Sensor Stack

Holistically, we measure air, water, soil, and sun conditions at the microclimate level with our sensors. We take 4 readings per day at 6-hour intervals from each station. We capture air temperature, humidity, wind speed, wind direction, barometric pressure, rainfall intensity, UV index, and light intensity from our 8-in-1. We’re also measuring soil moisture, soil temperature, and electrical conductivity. This week, we’re adding our new pH sensor and hopefully getting the AI camera operational (way more to come on that). But why?

Expanding the Monitoring Scope

In EOV, you extend your monitoring beyond just soil, air, water, and sun. It includes observing biodiversity, ecosystem functions, and even socio-economic factors. It allows us to start incorporating observations about pollinators, bird populations, plant diversity, water cycle efficiency, and soil life into our regular monitoring activities. This transparency tells a fascinating story and fills a transparency void in our supply chain.

Integrated Data

The information we collect through these efforts when put in the hands of a data scientist, forms a rich, detailed picture of the health of our land. We start to understand the interplay between elements like soil chemistry, plant health, and wildlife presence. By integrating these data points, we can visualize how changes in one area might affect the entire ecosystem. We can start to see what we’re thinking.

Setting Baselines

As with any successful technology solution, we have to answer the most basic question, WAWTTD? (what are we trying to do) Our priority at Firefly is to set baseline goals. This means monitoring the indicators for soil health, water cycle, biodiversity, atmospheric, plant health/productivity, and socio-economic indicators. Farms are expensive to run and we need to be smart about our ecological impact and how our decisions impact the P&L. Over time, we’ll implement different land management practices so we can measure changes against these baselines to better understand the impact of our decisions.

Speaking of Management

EOV is not a static process, rather it’s the actionable portion of MRV. We can collect the data all day - but it’s what we do within our human brain that matters. This is both dynamic and responsive. We have to use our MRV data to make informed decisions about our land management practices. Our success or failure will be directly related to our readiness and willingness to adapt the practices based on what the data is telling us about the health of our ecosystem. This is a HUMAN process with the assistance of technology in OUR loop. I’ve already written about dependencies….

The V in Verification

Verification is key. Sometimes that means bringing in a partner or a third party to evaluate and stress test the process. Accurate and reliable data collection and recording are critical and trust needs to be built into the system. Sharing the verified outcomes can be extremely beneficial for market recognition, especially because we’re building eco-friendly and regenerative systems into our process. The world needs to know (and oftentimes they’re willing to pay a little more for that information) Chefs and florists take note….

Community Engagement

Finally, we get to the big picture. EOV gives us a voice and allows us to tell a really compelling story. But this story isn’t a fairytale. It’s not even historical fiction. This story is about providing the data and insights people need to make positive change. We can share our findings, learn from others, and lead a more informed community of practice. If you’re a buyer, farmer, scientist, food manufacturer, or consumer who wants to learn more - let’s work together to enhance the learning process and contribute to larger-scale environmental improvements.

Chris Moeller is the Founder and Trustee of The Retreat at Firefly Farm. He is currently the CEO of Orion Growth an adaptive-reuse development management company seeking investment in small town USA.


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