The Marin Carbon Project has been advocating for carbon sequestration in agricultural soils since 2008. They started with the question: Can we increase the capture of carbon in the agricultural lands here in Marin County? The team decided to analyze soil carbon levels and plant productivity across 22 different farms, some of which had carbon-rich compost with manure added to the soil.
About Helen Santoro
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Entries by Helen Santoro
The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, approved by the General Assembly on 1 March, will run from 2021 to 2030 and emphasize scaling-up of restoration work to address the severe degradation of landscapes, including wetlands and aquatic ecosystems, worldwide. It will likely boost landscape restoration work to the top of national agendas, building on a public demand for action on issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and the resulting impacts on economies and livelihoods.
The recognition highlights outstanding practices advancing the transition towards agroecology from the global South. Out of 77 nominations from 44 countries, 15 receive recognitions, including practices from across Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Soil quality is a growing focus in the sustainability space, and for good reason: Fertile soil naturally stabilizes the climate and ensures resilient supply chains. But a third of the planet’s land is severely degraded, and fertile soil is being lost at the rate of 24 billion tons a year, according to a 2017 United Nations-backed study. So, a small but growing group of companies — some directly in agriculture or ranching, others indirectly via sourcing — are investing in healthy soil initiatives.
Regenerative agriculture takes proactive measures to replenish the earth, rather than gamble with the potential long-term consequences of standard farming practices.
Pesticides and chemical fertilizers do not create health in the food, the consumer, the soil, the air, or the water. We need for all of our systems to be healthy again.
How cropland and pastures are managed is the most effective way to remedy climate change, an approach that isn’t getting the attention it deserves, according to a leading soil ecologist from Australia who speaks around the world on soil health.
Now that organic production—not to mention fair-trade, sustainable, traceable, et al.—is increasingly table stakes for the wellness industry, what’s the next hurdle for companies to clear in demonstrating their commitment to a healthy planet and healthy consumers?
If a growing coalition of brands, farmers, and forward-thinking organizations has anything to do with it, it may involve a progressive approach to farming that seems novel, but that actually dates back generations. That approach, known as regenerative organic agriculture, takes the principles of organic and runs with them, aiming not just at minimized chemical use or sustainability, but at measurably improving the land and water we farm, and the lives of the people and animals involved.
Soil serves many important functions in an ecosystem. In your landscape, soil is the medium in which your plants grow. The USDA’s National Resources Conservation Service notes that quality soils perform five functions at the same time:
Soils act like sponges, soaking up rainwater and limiting runoff.… Read more here
The experiences of farmers who have adopted regenerative agriculture show that it restores soil carbon, literally locking carbon up underground, while also reversing desertification, recharging water systems, increasing biodiversity and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. And it produces nutrient-rich food and promises to enliven rural communities and reduce corporate control of the food system.
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