Published: December 21, 2017
In October 2017, the Living Soils Symposium Montreal – hosted by Regeneration Canada – brought together farmers, soil scientists, practitioners, politicians and citizens to discuss and define our role in healthy soils. Over three days, we presented, learned, exchanged experiences, and built relationships. Participants came in from Canada, the United States, and as far away as France, Uruguay and Hong Kong. Having arrived by train, plane, and automobile, our carbon footprint was measurable: we’ve decided to sequester that carbon back into the ground, using agroforestry, which sequesters carbon in both the above-ground biomass and the soil, while creating economic value.
Agroforestry is the intentional integration of trees and shrubs into row-crop and livestock farms to serve people, place, planet and profit. Rows of timber trees slow the wind. Blocks of evergreens provide cattle with shelter in the winter and shade in the summer, decreasing stress and increasing weight gain. Orchards produce food and diversify farm income. In the context of carbon, a tree is the opposite of a smoke stack. Trees sequester carbon in their trunks, branches, and roots, and in the soil beneath, all the while cleaning our air and water.