World Bee Day: No Pollination, No Life

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On May 20 we celebrate World Bee Day. Bees, like other pollinators, play a key role in making life possible on our planet.

Without pollination there is no life

It is known that 75 percent of the world’s crops depend on pollinators; without them, most of the fruits, flowers, and seeds that we know would not exist. Without pollinators, we would not witness the diversity we still enjoy today, despite the great damage that humans have caused to landscapes and ecosystems. The ecosystem service provided by bee pollination and other pollinators is crucial and immeasurable.

There are approximately 20,000 species of pollinating wild bees distributed throughout the world —except for Antarctica—and approximately 1,800 of these species live in Mexico, the second country with the largest diversity of bees in the world after the United States 1.

Beekeeping practices with “domesticated” bees are very diverse and vary from region to region: from stingless bees in Mexico and Guatemala to the practices of the Gurung, collectors of hallucinogenic honey from the Himalayas.

Pollinators’ life under threat

Pollinators in general, and Apis mellifera in particular, which is the best known bee species for giving us honey, pollen, propolis and other by-products, are under threat.

The deterioration of bee colonies is directly related to degenerative agricultural practices.

Industrial agriculture leads to loss of habitat due to deforestation, monocultures that threaten biodiversity, and the use of pesticides. On top of this, stressors caused by the climate crisis are also greatly affecting bee colonies’ survival. A phenomenon that is becoming more and more common is Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Although we usually hear about the effect of CCD on domestic honey bees, CCD is also devastating wild bee populations.

For beekeepers, the evidence of collapse is easily visible when they open the beehive box: hives have less and less population or are even uninhabited, as if bees had fled. It is also possible to see worker bees return to the entrance of the hive lost and disoriented, walking in circles, in some cases not even recognizing their own hive.

More and more traces of pesticides are found in pollen and in the hives themselves, in particular neonicotinoids, which affect the central nervous system of the insects and cause disorientation.

Bees are directly poisoned by these pesticides and their immune systems weaken, making them more susceptible to pathogens such as mites, bacteria, fungi and viruses which, even though they have always existed, are now growing in alarming numbers.

Real or adulterated honey?

Along with coffee and olive oil, honey is one of the most adulterated food products in the world. Beekeepers in Mexico who practice natural and regenerative beekeeping, respecting the cycles of the hive organism and its vital stages, are affected by a drastic drop in honey prices as a result of the commercialization of adulterated honeys. This causes unfair competition and a collapse in the price of honey both in the domestic and export markets, and it particularly affects those who practice agroecological and regenerative beekeeping. Adulterated honey is made from corn and cane syrups.

This “honey” (we use quotation marks because it is far from being honey) lacks the nutrients and properties of real honey, which is high in minerals, vitamins and trace elements, and has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and soothing properties.

China is directly involved in adulteration of honey in Mexico and around the world. According to FAO, in the last fifteen years, China has increased honey production by 88% due to an increase in external demand. However, the number of hives in China for the same period only increased by 21%. The large increase in honey production and the comparably much more modest increase in the number of hives is striking.

Honey labelling is often not very transparent. Unless its ingredients include glucose or high fructose syrup, additives used to increase its volume, prevent it from solidifying and increase production, it is difficult to recognize the adulteration process with the naked eye and without performing a quality test. 

Another way to adulterate the honey and confuse the consumer is to mix different types of honey (different in their origin, not in their flowering) and not specify its source, or directly lie about the real origin.

There are, however, some home tests that can help: 

  • If you put the honey on a spoon or on your finger and it runs off, then it is definitely adulterated.
  • If you put the honey in a glass of water and it dilutes, it is most likely adulterated. Real honey would go to the bottom of the glass.
  • With the passage of time, real honey will crystallize and will not remain liquid. This is a key indicator of whether or not it has been adulterated.

The solution: awareness and acting consciously

First of all, you have to understand that real honey is expensive. The high price tag reflects the effort and dedication that the beekeeper has to put in to produce honey in an honest and regenerative way, but in fact, it should be even more expensive if we consider all the effort the bee puts into producing honey.

On average, to produce a kilo of honey requires the work of about 2,500 bees. Each bee will have to fly up to 60 kilometers a day to find suitable flowers and will do so for around twenty-one days, sucking nectar from six hundred flowers.

When you understand all that goes into honey production, it becomes clear that buying a kilo of honey for a dollar is nonsense. The price of honey in Mexico and in other parts of the world has decreased due to the proliferation of adulterated honeys, as we mentioned before. It is crucial to buy honey directly from local producers and beekeepers, or buy certified honeys, understanding that the price you pay is directly proportional to its nutritional value and that it supports the beekeeper who practices fair and regenerative beekeeping.

Stricter regulations should also be promoted not only in terms of labelling, but also quality control and traceability of honey through its pollen.

It is also essential to be aware of the impact that the use of pesticides has on bees and to support campaigns to ban them, facilitating the conservation and restoration of ecosystems for bees and other pollinators.

We invite you to continue exploring this topic. You can find more concrete actions on the Save the Bees Campaign, an initiative of the Organic Consumers Association.

1 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982220315967

Ercilia Sahores is the Latin America Director of RI. To sign up for RI’s email newsletter, click here.

Hope Below Our Feet

Peer-Reviewed Publications on Well-Managed Grazing as a Means of Improving Rangeland Ecology, Building Soil Carbon, and Mitigating Global Warming

Prepared by Soil4Climate Inc.

Updated May 2021

Left: Soil with approximately 7% soil organic matter at North Dakota farmer Gabe Brown’s holistically managed ranch. Top right: Kroon family holistically managed ranch on left side of fence, Karoo region, South Africa, with livestock density about 4X that of the neighbor’s ranch on right side of fence. Bottom right: Holistically managed herd on Maasai lands in Kenya. (Top right photo by Kroon family. Left and bottom right photos by Seth J. Itzkan.)

Accelerating regenerative grazing to tackle farm, environmental, and societal challenges in the upper Midwest

2021 Viewpoint by Spratt et al. in the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation defines “regenerative grazing” as a “win-win-win” component of “regenerative agriculture” that “uses soil health and adaptive livestock management principles to improve farm profitability, human and ecosystem health, and food system resiliency.”

Spratt et al. 2021, doi:10.2489/jswc.2021.1209A

https://www.jswconline.org/content/jswc/76/1/15A.full.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expanding grass-based agriculture on marginal land in the U.S. Great Plains: The role of management intensive grazing

2021 paper by Wang et al. in Land Use Policy finds that the adoption of management intensive grazing (MIG) is a key factor for restoring marginal croplands to permanent grassland cover to enhance environmental benefits across the Great Plains from a social perspective. It also notes that compared to conventional tillage-based crop production, grass-based agriculture can provide substantially more ecosystem benefits and that management intensive grazing (MIG) offers the potential to enhance grassland resilience, thereby increasing the profitability of grass-based agriculture.

Tong Wang, Hailong Jin, Urs Kreuter, Richard Teague,Expanding grass-based agriculture on marginal land in the U.S. Great Plains: The role of management intensive grazing, Land Use Policy, Volume 104, 2021,105155,ISSN 0264-8377, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2020.105155.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264837720324935

Adaptive multi-paddock grazing enhances soil carbon and nitrogen stocks and stabilization through mineral association in southeastern U.S. grazing lands

2021 paper by Mosier et al. in Journal of Environmental Management finds that adaptive multi-paddock grazing (AMP) increases both soil carbon and soil nitrogen stocks when compared with conventional grazing (CG). Specifically, carbon stocks were increased 13% and nitrogen stocks 9%.  It concludes, “Findings show that AMP grazing is a management strategy to sequester C and retain N.”

Mosier S, Apfelbaum S, Byck P, Calderon F, Teague R, Thompson R, Francesca Cotrufo M, Adaptive multi-paddock grazing enhances soil carbon and nitrogen stocks and stabilization through mineral association in southeastern U.S. grazing lands, Journal of Environmental Management, Volume 288, 2021, 112409, ISSN 0301-4797, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.112409 

Ecosystem Impacts and Productive Capacity of a Multi-Species Pastured Livestock System

2020 paper by Rowntree et al. documents the soil carbon increases from “holistic planned grazing” in a multi-species pasture rotation (MSPR) system on the USDA-certified organic White Oak Pastures farm in Clay County, Georgia. Over 20 years, the farm sequestered an average of 2.29 metric tonnes of carbon per hectare per year (2.29 Mg C/ha/yr).  The paper also shows that the area required to produce food in this regenerative way was 2.5 times that of conventional farming (which would have resulted in soil degradation and toxic chemicals impact). It notes that production efficiency comes at a cost of “land-use tradeoffs” that  must be taken into consideration.

Rowntree JE, Stanley PL, Maciel ICF, Thorbecke M, Rosenzweig ST, Hancock DW, Guzman A and Raven MR (2020) Ecosystem Impacts and Productive Capacity of a Multi-Species Pastured Livestock System. Front. Sustain. Food Syst. 4:544984. doi: 10.3389/fsufs.2020.544984

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fsufs.2020.544984/full

Climate change mitigation as a co-benefit of regenerative ranching: insights from Australia and the United States

2020 paper in Interface Focus finds that “‘Managed grazing’ is gaining attention for its potential to contribute to climate change mitigation by reducing bare ground and promoting perennialization, thereby enhancing soil carbon sequestration (SCS).” The paper explores principles and practices associated with the larger enterprise of ‘regenerative ranching’ (RR), which, it states, “includes managed grazing but infuses the practice with holistic decision-making.” It argues that the holistic framework is appealing “due to a suite of ecological, economic and social benefits” and notes that climate change mitigation a “co-benefit.”

Gosnell H, Charnley S, Stanley P. 2020 Climate change mitigation as a co-benefit of regenerative ranching: insights from Australia and the United States. Interface Focus 10: 20200027. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsfs.2020.0027

A half century of Holistic Management: what does the evidence reveal?

2020 paper in Agriculture and Human Values provides a meta-analysis of Holistic Management (HM) considering “epistemic”  differences between disciplines associated with the agricultural sciences. It concludes that the way to resolve the controversy over HM is to “research, in partnership with ranchers, rangeland social-ecological systems in more holistic, integrated ways.” This broader approach to research, it argues, can account for “the full range of human experience, co-produce new knowledge, and contribute to social-ecological transformation.”

Gosnell, Hannah & Grimm, Kerry & Goldstein, Bruce. (2020). A half century of Holistic Management: what does the evidence reveal?. Agriculture and Human Values. 10.1007/s10460-020-10016-w. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10460-020-10016-w

Soil greenhouse gas emissions as impacted by soil moisture and temperature under continuous and holistic planned grazing in native tallgrass prairie. 

2020 paper in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment finds that holistic planned grazing protocols, used in adaptive multi-paddock (AMP) management, had superior ecological performance in a tallgrass prairie region when compared with high-density continuous  grazing and medium-density continuous grazing systems. Results demonstrate AMP grazing had lower soil temperature, higher soil moisture, and lower N2O and CH4 emissions.

Dowhower, S. L., Teague, W. R., Casey, K. D., & Daniel, R. (2020). Soil greenhouse gas emissions as impacted by soil moisture and temperature under continuous and holistic planned grazing in native tallgrass prairie. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 287, 106647. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2019.106647

Impacts of holistic planned grazing with bison compared to continuous grazing with cattle in South Dakota shortgrass prairie

2019 paper in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment demonstrates that Adaptive Multi-paddock (AMP) grazing increases fine litter cover, water infiltration, forage biomass and soil carbon stocks in a comparison with heavy continuous grazing (HCG) on shortgrass prairie of the Northern Great Plains of North America. 

Hillenbrand, M., Thompson, R., Wang, F., Apfelbaum, S., & Teague, R. (2019). Impacts of holistic planned grazing with bison compared to continuous grazing with cattle in South Dakota shortgrass prairie. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 279, 156–168. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2019.02.005

 

Simulating the influence of integrated crop-livestock systems on water yield at watershed scale

2019 paper in the Journal of Environmental Management shows that Integrated crop-livestock (ICL) systems have superior water retention (reduction in “water yields”) than in crops systems without a livestock grazing rotation. 

Pérez-Gutiérrez, J. D., & Kumar, S. (2019). Simulating the influence of integrated crop-livestock systems on water yield at watershed scale. Journal of Environmental Management, 239, 385–394. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2019.03.068

 

 

 

 

Impacts of soil carbon sequestration on life cycle greenhouse gas emissions in Midwestern USA beef finishing systems

2018 Michigan State University study in Agricultural Systems finds 1.5 metric tons of carbon per acre per year drawdown via adaptive multi-paddock grazing, more than enough to offset all greenhouse gas emissions associated with the beef finishing phase.

Stanley, P. L., Rowntree, J. E., Beede, D. K., DeLonge, M. S., & Hamm, M. W. (2018). Impacts of soil carbon sequestration on life cycle greenhouse gas emissions in Midwestern USA beef finishing systems. Agricultural Systems, 162, 249-258. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2018.02.003

The effect of Holistic Planned Grazing™ on African rangelands: a case study from Zimbabwe

2018 paper in African Journal of Range & Forage Science finds positive long-term effects on ecosystem services (soils and vegetation) for Holistic Planned Grazing (HPG) and shows this approach enhancing the sustainability of livestock and wildlife.

Peel, M., & Stalmans, M. (2018). The effect of Holistic Planned Grazing™ on African rangelands: a case study from Zimbabwe. African Journal of Range & Forage Science, 35(1), 23-31. doi:10.2989/10220119.2018.1440630 https://doi.org/10.2989/10220119.2018.1440630

Enhancing soil organic carbon, particulate organic carbon and microbial biomass in semi-arid rangeland using pasture enclosures

2018 study in BMC Ecology demonstrates that controlling livestock grazing through the establishment of pasture enclosures is the key strategy for enhancing multiple ecological indicators including total soil organic carbon, and that “the establishment of enclosures is an effective restoration approach to restore degraded soils in semi-arid rangelands.” Other improved indicators include particulate organic carbon, microbial biomass carbon, and microbial biomass nitrogen. 

Oduor, C.O., Karanja, N.K., Onwonga, R.N. et al. Enhancing soil organic carbon, particulate organic carbon and microbial biomass in semi-arid rangeland using pasture enclosures. BMC Ecol 18, 45 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12898-018-0202-z

Grasslands may be more reliable carbon sinks than forests in California

2018 paper in Environmental Research Letters finds that California grasslands are a more resilient carbon sink than forests in response to 21st century changes in climate. The paper also notes that, in data compilations, herbivory has been shown to increase grassland C sequestration rates.

Dass, P., Houlton, B. Z., Wang, Y., & Warlind, D. (2018). Grasslands may be more reliable carbon sinks than forests in California. Environmental Research Letters, 13(7), 074027. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/aacb39

https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aacb39

 

The role of ruminants in reducing agriculture’s carbon footprint in North America

2016 Texas A&M study in Journal of Soil and Water Conservation finds 1.2 metric tons of carbon per acre per year drawdown via adaptive multi-paddock grazing and the drawdown potential of North American pasturelands is 800 million metric tons of carbon per year. 

Teague, W. R., Apfelbaum, S., Lal, R., Kreuter, U. P., Rowntree, J., Davies, C. A., R. Conser, M. Rasmussen, J. Hatfield, T. Wang, F. Wang, Byck, P. (2016). The role of ruminants in reducing agriculture’s carbon footprint in North America. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 71(2), 156-164. doi:10.2489/jswc.71.2.156 http://www.jswconline.org/content/71/2/156.full.pdf+html

 

 

 

Potential mitigation of midwest grass-finished beef production emissions with soil carbon sequestration in the United States of America

2016 paper in Journal on Food, Agriculture & Society finds that where soil carbon sequestration is included in a life cycle assessment of Midwest grass-finished beef production systems, such systems can be overall carbon sinks.

Rowntree, J., Ryals, R., Delonge, M., Teague, R. W., Chiavegato, M., Byck, P., . . . Xu, S. (2016). Potential mitigation of midwest grass-finished beef production emissions with soil carbon sequestration in the United States of America. Future of Food: Journal on Food, Agriculture & Society, 4(3), 8. https://asu.pure.elsevier.com/en/publications/potential-mitigation-of-midwest-grass-finished-beef-production-em

Emerging land use practices rapidly increase soil organic matter

2015 University of Georgia study in Nature Communications finds 3 metric tons of carbon per acre per year drawdown following a conversion from row cropping to regenerative grazing.

Machmuller, M. B., Kramer, M. G., Cyle, T. K., Hill, N., Hancock, D., & Thompson, A. (2015). Emerging land use practices rapidly increase soil organic matter. Nature Communications, 6, 6995. doi:10.1038/ncomms7995 https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms7995

 

 

 

 

GHG Mitigation Potential of Different Grazing Strategies in the United States Southern Great Plain

2015 paper in Sustainability finds that a conversion from heavy continuous to multi-paddock grazing on cow-calf farms in the US southern Great Plains can result in a carbon sequestration rate in soil of 2 tonnes per hectare per year or approximately 0.89 tonnes per acre per year. In a sensitivity analysis that accounts for farm animal emissions, this sequestration in soil is sufficient to make the farm a net carbon sink for decades.

Wang, T., Teague, W., Park, S., & Bevers, S. (2015). GHG Mitigation Potential of Different Grazing Strategies in the United States Southern Great Plains. Sustainability, 7(10), 13500. Retrieved from http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/7/10/13500

 

 

 

 

 

 

Global Cooling by Grassland Soils of the Geological Past and Near Future

2013 paper in Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences by University of Oregon Department of Geological Sciences professor Gregory J. Retallack shows the co-evolution of ruminants and grassland soils (mollisols) was essential for geologic cooling of the past 20 million years – leading to the conditions suitable for human evolution – and can be an instrumental part of the necessary cooling in the future to reverse global warming.

Retallack, G. (2013). Global Cooling by Grassland Soils of the Geological Past and Near Future (Vol. 41, pp. 69–86): Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-earth-050212-124001

Sustainability of holistic and conventional cattle ranching in the seasonally dry tropics of Chiapas, Mexico

2013 study in Agricultural Systems finds practitioners of Holistic Management in the dry tropics region of Chiapas, Mexico have denser grass, deeper topsoil, and more earthworms in their pastures than conventional graziers, and that “Holistic management is leading to greater ecological and economic sustainability.”

Ferguson, B. G., Diemont, S. A. W., Alfaro-Arguello, R., Martin, J. F., Nahed-Toral, J., Álvarez-Solís, D., & Pinto-Ruíz, R. (2013). Sustainability of holistic and conventional cattle ranching in the seasonally dry tropics of Chiapas, Mexico. Agricultural Systems, 120, 38-48. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2013.05.005

Tall Fescue Management in the Piedmont: Sequestration of Soil Organic Carbon and Total Nitrogen

2012 study in Soil Science Society of America Journal demonstrates improved grazing management systems can have an enormous benefit on surface soil fertility restoration of degraded soils in the southeastern United States, and managed grazing can sequester 1.5 metric tons of carbon per hectare per year.

Franzluebbers, A. J., D. M. Endale, J. S. Buyer, and J. A. Stuedemann. 2012. Tall Fescue Management in the Piedmont: Sequestration of Soil Organic Carbon and Total Nitrogen. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 76:1016-1026. doi:10.2136/sssaj2011.0347 

Effect of grazing on soil-water content in semiarid rangelands of southeast Idaho

2011 paper in Journal of Arid Environments finds simulated holistic planned grazing (SHPG) had significantly higher percent volumetric-water content (%VWC) after two years of comparison with similar ranch plots using rest-rotation (RESTROT), and total rest (TREST) systems in semiarid rangelands of southeast Idaho. Measured percent volumetric-water content were 45.8 for SHPG and 34.7 and 29.8 for RESTROT and TREST, respectively.

Weber, K. T., & Gokhale, B. S. (2011). Effect of grazing on soil-water content in semiarid rangelands of southeast Idaho. Journal of Arid Environments, 75(5), 464-470. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaridenv.2010.12.009

 

 

Grazing management impacts on vegetation, soil biota and soil chemical, physical and hydrological properties in tall grass prairie

2011 paper in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment demonstrates multi-paddock grazing of the type recommended by Allan Savory, and representative of Holistic Management, led to improved soil health indicators including higher bulk density, greater infiltration rate, and increased fungal/bacterial ratios when compared with continuous single-paddock grazing, typical of conventional practice. Soil organic matter averaged 3.61% in the multi-paddock ranches, compared to 2.4% for heavy continuous, single-paddock grazing.

Teague, W. R., Dowhower, S. L., Baker, S. A., Haile, N., DeLaune, P. B., & Conover, D. M. (2011). Grazing management impacts on vegetation, soil biota and soil chemical, physical and hydrological properties in tall grass prairie. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 141(3–4), 310-322. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2011.03.009

Benefits of multi-paddock grazing management on rangelands: Limitations of experimental grazing research and knowledge gaps

2008 chapter in “Grasslands: Ecology, Management, and Restoration,” published by H. G. Schroder, finds in a comprehensive literature review that multi-paddock rotational grazing produces superior results for grassland ecology when compared to conventional continuous grazing. It also finds that misunderstandings exist in the management techniques needed to achieve these benefits and in the scientific protocols required to assess them. 

Teague, W. R., Provenza, F., Norton, B., Steffens, T., Barnes, M., Kothmann, M. M., & Roath, R. (2008). Benefits of multi-paddock grazing management on rangelands: Limitations of experimental grazing research and knowledge gaps. In H. G. Schroder (Ed.), Grasslands: Ecology, Management, and Restoration (pp. 41-80): Nova Science Publishers, NY. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/285918973_Benefits_of_multi-paddock_grazing_management_on_rangelands_Limitations_of_experimental_grazing_research_and_knowledge_gaps

 

Considerations for the Biden Administration Regarding a National Carbon Farming Program

A national carbon farming program at the USDA level would be a tremendous leap forward with regards to incentivizing agricultural practices that can help mitigate climate change. However, the current primary focus on no-till and cover cropping is narrow in scope. While cover cropping is an extremely important and impactful agricultural practice, it is merely a part of a larger system needed to regenerate healthy soils on a nationwide basis.

Designing a Whole-System, Outcome-Based Approach

Rather than focus on single farming practice benefits, designing a whole-system approach will create synergy between practices and enterprises, and bring about significant soil carbon sequestration, GHG emissions reductions, and other ecological co-benefits. Fortunately, there are myriad other management interventions that the USDA can fold into their strategy to ensure that the agriculture sector maximizes its full potential in the fight against climate change.

In order for the Biden Administration to ensure that money spent on climate-related USDA incentive programs is supporting real net impact, these programs must be spurred by practice-based incentives that are holistic in scope and supported by comprehensive outcomes-based assessments.

Furthermore, these outcomes must be quantified by a hybrid approach that includes:

  • Ground-basedmonitoring,
  • Remotesensing,
  • Process-basedmodeling

In addition, outcomes must be assessed comprehensively, within the context of whole systems, throughout supply chains, and across all GHGs (including methane and nitrous oxide) and emissions scopes.

Integrating cover crops into a row crop system can:

  • Increase levels of soil organic carbon,
  • Increasesoilwaterinfiltrationandholdingcapacity,
  • Reducetheneedforsyntheticfertilizers.

However, the system where cover crops are adopted will dictate how these benefits are achieved.

Limitations of Current Soil Carbon Measurement Standards

For example, in annual row-crop systems that use conservation tillage and chemical no-till practices, research has demonstrated that gains in soil organic carbon in the top 20-30 cm of soil in these systems can be offset by losses in deeper layers, and therefore these practices are likely not as effective as previously understood (1,2).

It is now clear that the ability to monitor and model changes in SOC deeper in the soil profile is essential to assessing real outcomes. Thus, having the right kind of monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) strategy that can adequately and comprehensively assess the ecological, social, and economic impacts of a comprehensive, sector-wide incentive program is of the utmost importance.

Traditionally, carbon offset methodologies for the agriculture sector have relied solely on process-based modeling, the quantification standard in data-poor environments. However, process-based models are only as good as the ground truth data used to develop them.

The most widely used modeling tool to-date is the USDA’s COMET-Farm tool, which is designed to estimate GHG emissions and sequestration at field scale, based on management practices. While this tool has been developed over the course of decades, with data from dozens of research projects throughout the Midwest and Great Plains, it lacks the sophistication to adequately quantify outcomes.

The two most limiting factors of this particular model are its inability to estimate SOC sequestration below 20 centimeters (8 inches), and its inability to quantify the impacts of a broad spectrum of management practices related to cover cropping, grazing, and manure management (3). As a result, necessary practice and system innovation are not supported by these tools. Furthermore, there is a larger limitation with models in general, which is that their output is focused at field scale, and therefore excludes upstream and downstream impact.

In our opinion, the Biden Administration will face grave political consequences and fail to achieve its urgently needed climate goals in agriculture if it follows through with a narrowly-defined incentive program supported by inadequate quantification infrastructure.

Direct measurement of outcomes in an incentive program should be the holy grail.

The greatest challenge to direct measurement is decreasing the sampling burden enough while still capturing spatial and climatic variability. As satellite and ground-based sensor technology advances, the potential for adequately quantifying variability to support cost-effective sample stratification is significant (4,5).

In addition, as the development of process-based modeling must always be an ongoing project, satellite and ground-based sensors can continuously feed necessary ground truth to further advance the accuracy and sophistication of models, and to automate the model input process.

Proper Funding for Soil Health Measurement Technology is Key to Program Success

It is essential that the Biden Administration allocate funding to advance the state of the art of NASA’s Earth Observing System satellites, and to engage in public private partnerships with the world’s best satellite data providers, with the goal of enhancing our ability to leverage remote sensing as a means to monitor the ecological impacts of the agriculture sector. Note: Further efforts to develop and deploy earth observing satellite platforms should be focused on:

  • Advancing sensor technology,
  • Enhancing spatial and temporal resolution of satellite data,
  • Making data publicly available

This will allow for the necessary access to correlative datasets to further develop accurate monitoring platforms.

It is also essential that the USDA support the strategic deployment of sector-wide ground-based sensors, monitoring sites and stations across crop fields, CAFO facilities, and at points throughout critical watersheds facing immense pollution pressure (such as the Mississippi and Chesapeake Bay). This will serve to support the development of remote sensing and process-based modeling tools, and also to provide a critical feed-back system that can allow USDA program officials to conduct regular impact assessments based on directly-observed outcomes, and to more rapidly recalibrate the approach to management recommendations.

The current state of ground-based sensor technology, including in-situ soil and water monitoring systems, is such that national-scale monitoring can be rolled out with the necessary degree of standardization.

When considering the environmental impact of the agriculture sector in the United States, it is important to consider the extent to which agricultural enterprises have become consolidated, dis-integrated and specialized compared to a century ago. Therefore the sector as a whole should be considered as one large system, with one type of enterprise (i.e. grain) providing inputs that feed into another (i.e. livestock). In this holistic context, it is clear that the impact of a single management intervention in a certain sub-sector, such as cover-cropping, will be much less in the aggregate (or even fully offset) when measured against the impacts of other downstream sub-sectors, such as CAFO methane emissions.

Therefore, fully functioning incentive programs would be comprehensive and sector-wide, would facilitate GHG emissions reductions and atmospheric drawdown across supply chains, and would consider and quantify not only GHG emissions reductions and SOC sequestration, but also other forms of ecological impact related to water (6) and biodiversity, as well economic and social impact.

Expand and Fully Fund Conservation Programs – CRP and Regenerative Grazing

The expansion of existing USDA programs can also go a long way towards supporting a comprehensive carbon farming program, if high-level principles of regenerative organic agriculture are considered. These principles include biodiversity, tillage reduction, annual-perennial crop rotations, animal integration, aerobic manure management, natural fertility inputs, and protection of waterways.

One of the largest pieces of low-hanging fruit with regard to existing programs is the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). There are two simple ways in which CRP can support carbon farming in the U.S.:

1) Expanding the CRP budget to increase enrolled acres, and

2) Developing a grazing program on enrolled CRP land that establishes a supply chain between cow-calf operations grazing on public and private land in the western U.S., and CRP grazing permittees, which will have the effect of diverting animals from feedlots to pasture, which will increase domestic production of grass-fed beef, a market for which there is significant demand in this country that we are not currently meeting domestically.

This will also significantly decrease GHG emissions associated with feedlot production and crop production. In order to support a CRP grazing program, funding for fencing and water infrastructure could be met through expanding the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) budget. In addition, EQIP funding for cover crop seed and planting equipment, and composting infrastructure (7), will go a long way towards further reducing methane and nitrous oxide emissions associated with crop and livestock production. Direct coordination with USDA and the Bureau of Land Management and the US Forest Service, in the form of rangeland management and rangeland health assessments, is also essential to supporting a national carbon farming program.

Healthy rangeland is a tremendous carbon sink, and presents perhaps one of the greatest opportunities in this country to sequester carbon in soils. The USDA must work with BLM and USFS to improve rangeland health assessments using satellite and ground-based monitoring (8), and to provide technical and financial support for improved rangeland management. This kind of monitoring approach will provide a comprehensive geospatial feedback mechanism that can help pinpoint best grazing management practices and support data-driven implementation.

The Biden Administration has a tremendous opportunity to deploy a robust carbon farming program across the United States, and can leverage many existing USDA programs in support of its goals. However, pains must be taken to ensure that the scope of such a program is sector-wide. This will ensure the full spectrum of opportunities to reduce emissions and sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide are on the table, so as to avoid perceptions of greenwashing and industry placation. Additional pains must be taken to include in this program the farmers and ranchers who have already taken financial risks by adopting and implementing best management practices absent any robust federal program to-date.

 

Matthew Sheffer is the Managing Director at Hudson Carbon.

References:

  1. 1.)  No-till and carbon stocks: Is deep soil sampling necessary? Insights from long-term experiments – Humberto Blanco-Canqui a, *, Charles Shapiro a, Paul Jasa b, Javed Iqbal a
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.still.2020.104840
  2. 2.)  Tillage and soil carbon sequestration—What do we really know? – John M. Baker a,b,*, Tyson E. Ochsner a,b, Rodney T. Venterea a,b, Timothy J. Griffis b
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2006.05.014
  3. 3.)  Comparison of COMET-Farm Model Outputs to Long-Term Soil Carbon Data at Stone House Farm – Matthew Sheffer, Mike Howardhttps://docs.google.com/document/d/1dVx_ICmMSKeiELIR00v6JHsJoBxABLu_WDyl0Chwick/edit?usp=sharing
  4. 4.)  A New Index for Remote Sensing of Soil Organic Carbon Based Solely on Visible Wavelengths – Evan A. Thaler* ,Isaac j.Larsen, Qian Yuhttps://doi.org/10.2136/sssaj2018.09.0318
  5. 5.)  Optimizing Stratification and Allocation for Design-Based Estimation of Spatial Means Using Predictions with Error

– J. J. De Gruitjter* B. Minasny A. B. McBratney

  1. 6.)  https://doi.org/10.1093/jssam/smu024Understanding the temporal behavior of crops using Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2-like data for agricultural applications – Amanda Veloso ⁎,1, Stéphane Mermoz, Alexandre Bouvet, Thuy Le Toan, Milena Planells, Jean-François Dejoux, Eric Ceschia
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2017.07.015
  2. 7.)  Compost: Enhancing the Value of Manure; An assessment of the environmental, economic, regulatory, and policy opportunities of increasing the market for manure compost – Sustainable Conservation, 2017 https://suscon.org/pdfs/compostreport.pdf

8.) Beyond Inventories: Emergence of a New Era in Rangeland Monitoring – Matthew O. Jones , David E. Naugle , Dirac Twidwell , Daniel R. Uden , Jeremy D. Maestas , Brady W. Allreda
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rama.2020.06.009

We Need to Regenerate our Whole Planet on Earth Day

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In this era of the Anthropocene, in which human activities are the dominant forces that negatively affect the environment, the world is facing multiple environmental, social, and economic crises. These include the climate crisis, food insecurity, an epidemic of non-contagious chronic diseases, new pandemics of contagious diseases, wars, migration crises, ocean acidification, the collapse of whole ecosystems, the unsustainable extraction of resources, and the greatest extinction event in geological history.

Are we prepared to sustain a world where nearly a billion people do not have enough food to eat, a billion more are deficient in key nutrients and more than two billion are overweight because they have too much food? A world where the majority of people do not have access to adequate healthcare and education? A world where half the population face multiple forms of discrimination such as violence, land ownership, personal finances, education, control over their fertility, job promotions, representation on boards, government and leadership because of their gender? A world where persistent toxic chemicals are damaging all life on the planet including ours and our children? A world where the very basis of life, DNA, is being uncontrollably altered based on flawed science for the sake of the profits of billionaire poison cartels? Where there are continuous wars and conflicts. Where 1% control 99% of the world’s wealth and unfairly influences the political, social, health and environmental agendas to increase their power and wealth?

Simply being sustainable is not enough. Do we want to sustain the current status quo or do we want to improve and rejuvenate it? Regeneration improves systems.

We need to regenerate our societies so we must be proactive in ensuring that others have access to land, education, healthcare, income, the commons, participation, inclusion and empowerment. This must include women, men and youths across all ethnic and racial groups.

On Earth Day, Regeneration International, with our 360 partner organizations in almost 70 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Oceania, North America and Europe, will continue to promote, facilitate and accelerate the global transition to regenerative food, farming and land management for the purpose of restoring climate stability, ending world hunger and rebuilding deteriorated social, ecological and economic systems.

Our vision to is to achieve a healthy global ecosystem in which practitioners of regenerative agriculture and land use, in concert with consumers, educators, business leaders and policymakers, cool the planet, nourish the world and restore public health, prosperity and peace on a global scale.

 

Andre Leu is the International Director for Regeneration International. To sign up for RI’s email newsletter, click here.

Why Regenerative Agriculture is Important for the Future of our Planet

Our planet is in the middle of a climate crisis; the cause is anthropogenic carbon dioxide, the potent greenhouse gas released when fossil fuels are burned for electricity generation, industry, and transportation. The agricultural sector is also a significant contributor and, together with forestry and other land use, it is responsible for around 25% of all human-created greenhouse gas emissions.

As the global population rises, how land is used will continue to change. More forests will be felled to make way for farming and livestock, and emissions of powerful greenhouse gases released through our current agricultural practices will rise.

A recent study found that unless farming methods change, rising emissions from human land use will jeopardize the aims of the Paris Climate Agreement. Poorer countries (Latin America, Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa) have had the greatest increase in land-use change emissions due to population expansion; developed nations (Europe, North America) had negative land-use change, but still extensive farm-originated pollution.

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‘A Poor Man’s Rainforest’: Why We Need to Stop Treating Soil like Dirt

Hidden under our feet is a miniature landscape made up of tunnels, caves and decaying matter. Soil is where a quarter of the species on our planet are believed to live and in this dark, quiet, damp world, death feeds life. Rotting leaves, fruits, plants and organisms are folded into the soil and burped out as something new.

Good soil structure provides many nooks and crannies that house organisms, which, in turn, create an environment that suits them, directly altering – and improving – the structure of soil. Like a collective of tiny chemists, they keep soils healthy and productive by passing nutrients between them, either by collaborating or killing each other.

Complex food webs move nutrients around the system, generating healthy soils that provide goods and services for humanity. Goods include food, fibre and clean water. Services include regulation of the carbon and nitrogen cycles, nutrient recycling, water storage, regulation of disease and detoxification of pollutants.

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Can Soil Inoculation Accelerate Carbon Sequestration in Forests?

When foresters first tried to plant non-native Pinus radiata in the southern hemisphere, the trees would not grow until someone thought to bring a handful of soil from the native environment. “They didn’t know it then, but they were reintroducing the spores of fungi that these trees need in order to establish,” Colin Averill, ecologist at The Crowther Lab, explains. “When we plant trees, we rarely ‘plant’ the soil microbiome. But if we do, we can really accelerate the process of restoration.”

That process of restoration has become one of humanity’s most urgent missions. In order to slow global warming, we know that we need to decarbonize our economy and start removing carbon from the atmosphere – and we’ve largely been looking at doing so through dreams of negative emissions technologies and schemes of tree-planting.

But only very recently has more attention been turned toward another major potential tool for carbon capture: soil. An astonishing 80 percent of the carbon stored in terrestrial ecosystems is stored underground. According to the 4 per 1000 Initiative, a modest and achievable increase in soil carbon of 0.4 percent could be enough to stop the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

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The Rodale Institute’s Soil-Carbon Solution and the Future of Regenerative Agriculture

According to a recent white paper from the Rodale Institute, global implementation of regenerative practices could sequester more than 100 percent of human-related carbon emissions.

One decade ago the United Nations Environment Programme predicted that in a worst case scenario, yearly global greenhouse emissions could reach 56 gigatons in 2020. And Rodale Institute’s paper notes that in 2018 total emissions approached this projection, reaching 55.3 gigatons. Global agricultural production accounts for roughly ten percent of these yearly emissions.

Despite this, Rodale Institute remains confident the world is already equipped with the tools it needs to achieve massive drawdown. The action paper assures that the technology necessary for a massive ecological rehabilitation is already available.

The paper defines regenerative agriculture as a set of farming practices that return nutrients to the earth and rehabilitate entire ecosystems, rather than depleting them. These practices include farming organically without synthetics and chemical sprays, diversifying crop rotations, cover cropping, and integrating livestock with rotational grazing.

And the Institute stresses the importance of incorporating these techniques into conventional farming in the hope that every farming model may make use of its most valuable tool: healthy soil.

The paper indicates that soil can contain three to four times as much carbon as the atmosphere or terrestrial vegetation. This implies that even small changes to the quantity of carbon stored in the soil can vastly impact levels of atmospheric carbon.

“There are very few cost-effective tools that work as well as the soil, that can be implemented across such a broad spectrum of topographies and cultures,” Jeff Moyer tells Food Tank. “We’d be amiss to not use this tool.”

Moyer says that cover crops, when grown to maturity, are one of the easiest and most cost-effective tools farmers can use to sequester carbon anywhere in the world. But this isn’t always a priority. In the United States, for example, activists say that crop insurance doesn’t incentivize farmers to take advantage of the benefits of cover crops. “We have very conflicting incentives, and we need to change that,” Moyer says.

Producers and consumers also have a key role to play. “If we don’t incentivize [regenerative agriculture] at the policy level, then we have to incentivize it from within the supply chain,” Moyer says.

Elizabeth Whitlow, Executive Director of the Regenerative Organic Alliance (ROA), says incentivizing regenerative farming and generating trust with shoppers may go hand-in-hand. In 2017, ROA created a certification, Regenerative Organic Certified (ROC), to incentivize regenerative practices from within the supply chain.

“We wanted to create a high-bar standard to demonstrate and clarify what regenerative can and should be: a holistic type of agriculture that regenerates resources and considers all players in the farm system, from the soil microbiome to the animals to the workers,” Whitlow tells Food Tank.

According to Whitlow, ROC surpasses what is required by most other certifications. To pass, farms must apply with a baseline of organic certification and meet strict requirements under each of ROC’s three pillars: soil health, animal welfare, and social fairness. Since its founding, the program has certified 15 brands through its pilot program, including Dr. Bronner’s and Patagonia Provisions.

Whitlow says brands will have a significant role to play in driving interest and investment in regenerative organic farming. While she believes consumers are ready to start making purchases in line with their values, producers may need a push from their supply chains.

“Growers operate on razor-thin margins,” Whitlow tells Food Tank. “To adopt regenerative organic practices, which carry more risk than chemical-intensive methods, growers need buyers that will pay a premium and commit long-term through the trials and tribulations of adopting new, innovative methods.”

The Seeds of Vandana Shiva

The filmmakers of The Seeds of Vandana Shiva are allowing for a FREE special stream through April 8th, 2021. CLICK HERE TO SUPPORT getting the film out into the world to build awareness around industrial agriculture vs regenerative farming and food.

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Vandana Shiva, Ph.D., is a physicist and activist who works tirelessly to defend the environment and protect biodiversity from multinational corporations. Her life’s work has culminated in the creation of seed banks that may one day save future generations’ food sovereignty, but how she got there is a fascinating story, chronicled in the documentary “The Seeds of Vandana Shiva.”

Shiva, “a brilliant scientist” who became “Monsanto’s worst nightmare and a rock star of the international organic food movement,”1 grew up in a Himalayan forest, where her father, a forest conservator, carried out inspections. She would travel up to 45 miles a day with her father as a young girl, and as they traversed the forest he taught her everything about the trees, plants and herbs therein.

“We had a classroom out in the forest,” Shiva said, but her formal studies were done in a convent which, at that time, didn’t regard science as a subject fit for girls. Shiva wanted to study physics, though, and she was especially intrigued by Einstein and his connections of intuition with science. “Everyone has their favorite person that they want to be,” she said. “Einstein was the shaper of the dream of my life.”

A Search for Knowledge as a Whole

Shiva got a scholarship to attend Chandigarh University in Punjab, India, and from there she went on to the Bhabha National Atomic Research Center in Mumbai, India, for training in atomic energy. Later, her sister, a medical doctor, asked her about the health and environmental effects of nuclear technology and radiation.

As Shiva grasped the devastation nuclear energy had caused, she said, “I realized that a science that only teaches you how to modify nature without the understanding of what that modification does to the larger world is not a complete science.”

She gave up her idea of being a nuclear physicist and instead went looking for knowledge as a whole. She studied on her own, finding quantum theory, and while pursuing a Ph.D. in Canada, went to visit some of her favorite spots, including an oak forest she held close to her heart.

When she arrived, the forest had been cut down to make room for apple orchards, changing the entire microclimate in the area. The loss of something that she felt was a part of her impacted her deeply and set the stage for her environmental activism.

The Tree Hugging Movement Is Born

Shiva states that her involvement in the contemporary ecology movement began with the Chipko movement in 1973.2 The timber mafia were cutting down trees throughout the Indian Himalayas, taking away this precious resource from the rural villagers who depended on the forest for subsistence.

The government denied villagers access to the land and the lumber, while the logging companies cleared out forests, leading to problems with erosion, depleted water resources and flooding.

The villagers, primarily women, fought back in the best way they could, by physically embracing the trees to stop the loggers. Chipko is a Hindi word that means “to hug” or “to cling to,”3 and the movement spread, creating what became widely known as the tree hugging movement.

The women of Chipko taught Shiva how much women who hadn’t been to school knew about the interconnectedness of nature, but it took a major flood to make the government realize that what the women were saying was right. The revenue that came in from the forest logging was little compared to what they had to pay for flood relief.

In 1981, the government listened to the women and ordered a ban on logging in the high-altitude Himalayas, while tree hugging became a worldwide practice of ecological activism.

Vandana Shiva: Bill Gates Empires ‘Must Be Dismantled’

In an interview with Dr. Joseph Mercola, Vandana Shiva says, “… if In the next decade, if we don’t protect what has to be protected … and take away the sainthood from this criminal, they will leave nothing much to be saved.”

In this interview, Vandana Shiva, Ph.D., discusses the importance and benefits of regenerative agriculture and a future Regeneration International project that we’ll be collaborating on.

We’re currently facing enormously powerful technocrats who are hell-bent on ushering in the Great Reset, which will complete the ongoing transfer of wealth and resource ownership from the poor and middle classes to the ultra-rich. Perhaps the most well-known of the individuals pushing for this is Bill Gates who, like John Rockefeller a century before him, rehabilitated his sorely tarnished image by turning to philanthropy.

However, Gates’ brand of philanthropy, so far, has helped few and harmed many. While his PR machine has managed to turn public opinion about him such that many now view him as a global savior who donates his wealth for the good of the planet, nothing could be further from the truth.

Gates’ stranglehold on global health

The magnitude of Gates’ role over global health recently dawned on me. I believe the COVID-19 catastrophe would not have been possible had it not been for the World Health Organization (WHO), which Gates appears to exert shadow-control over. Remember, it was primarily the WHO that facilitated this global shutdown and adoption of freedom-robbing, economy-destroying measures by virtually every government on the planet.

When then-President Trump halted U.S. funding of the WHO in 2020, Gates became the biggest funder of the WHO. As explained in “WHO Insider Blows Whistle on Gates and GAVI,” the WHO has turned global health security into a dictatorship, where the director general has assumed sole power to make decisions that member states must abide by, but according to a long-term WHO insider, Gates’ vaccine alliance GAVI actually appears to be the directing power behind the WHO.

The two — Gates and the WHO — have been working hand in hand pushing for a global vaccination campaign, and Gates has a great deal of money invested in these vaccines. We’ve also seen extraordinary efforts to censor natural alternatives and inexpensive, readily available and clearly effective drugs, such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, and it appears the reason for this is probably because they’re competitors to the vaccine.

Emergency use authorization for pandemic vaccines are only given when there are no other treatments, so vilifying alternatives has been a key strategy to protect vaccine profits.

The parallels between Rockefeller and Gates

As noted by Shiva, the comparisons between Rockefeller and Gates are quite apt. Rockefeller created not just Big Oil but also Big Finance and Big Pharma. He had intimate connections with IG Farben. There was a Standard Oil IG Farben company. Without the fossil fuels of Standard Oil, IG Farben couldn’t have made synthetic fertilizers or fuels.

In 1910, Rockefeller and Carnegie produced The Flexner Report, which was the beginning of the end for natural medicine in the conventional medical school curriculum. They eliminated it because it saw natural medicine as a hugely competitive threat to the new pharmaceuticals that were primarily derived from the oil industry.

Much of Rockefeller’s history has been captured by Lily Kay, who sifted through Molecular Vision of Life’s archives. There, she discovered that the Nazi regime, which was a eugenics regime that thought some people were inferior and needed to be exterminated to keep the superior race pure, didn’t vanish when Germany lost the war.

Eugenics simply migrated to the U.S., and was taken up by Rockefeller under the term of “social psychology as biological determinants.” The word gene did not exist at that time. Instead, they called it “atoms of determinism.” Rockefeller paid for much of the eugenics research, which ultimately resulted in the silencing and suppression of true health.

To be healthy means to be whole, and wholeness refers to the “self-organized brilliance of your integrated body as a complex system,” Shiva says. That’s what Ayurveda is based on, and even this ancient system of medicine has been attacked in recent times. The notion of genetic determination ignores this foundational wholeness, seeking instead to divide the human body into mechanical components controlled by your genes.

“Coming back to the parallels, Rockefeller was behind it because he was driving the chemical industry. When the wars were over, they said, ‘Oh my gosh, we have all these chemicals to sell.’ And they invented the Green Revolution and pushed the Green Revolution on India.

“Rockefeller, the World Bank, the U.S. all worked together, and if the farmers of India are protesting today, it’s a result of Rockefeller’s initiative, the Green Revolution in India. Most people don’t realize what high cost India has borne; what high cost the state of Panjon has born.

“Then you have Gates joining up with Rockefeller and creating the Alliance for the Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) … which pretends to be his solution to climate change. I say, “My god, what kind of stage has the world reached that absolute nonsense can pass the science?” I’ll give you just three examples from his chapter on agriculture, in which he talks about how we grow things.

“First of all, plants are not things. Plants are sentient beings. Our culture knows it. We have the sacred tulsi. We have the sacred neem. We have the sacred banyan. They are sentient beings. So many people are awake to animal rights. I think we need more people awake to plant rights and really tell Mr. Gates, “No, plants are not things.”

“He goes on to celebrate Norman Borlaug, who was in the DuPont defense lab, whose job it was to push these four chemicals by adapting the plants [to them]. So, he created the dwarf variety, because the tall varieties are free varieties … [Gates] says we’re eating food because of Borlaug. No, people are starving because of Borlaug. The farmers are dying because of Borlaug.”

Gates offers problems as solutions

Gates hails synthetic fertilizer is the greatest agricultural invention. “Doesn’t he realize synthetic nitrogen fertilizers are creating desertification, dead zones in the ocean and nitric oxide, which is a greenhouse gas?” Shiva says. In short, he’s offering the problem as the solution. Gates also, apparently, does not understand that nitrogen-fixing plants can fix nitrogen. He incorrectly claims that plants cannot fix nitrogen.

Gates is equally wrong about methane production from livestock. “Have you smelt methane behind nomadic tribes?” Shiva asks. “Have you ever smelt methane behind our sacred cow in India? No, they don’t emit methane.” The reason cows in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) emit methane that stinks to high heaven is because they’re fed an unnatural diet of grains and placed in crowded quarters. It’s not a natural phenomenon. It’s a man-made one.

“You know what Mr. Gates wants to teach us? He says cows make methane because of their poor stomachs,” Shiva says. “They call them containers. I think we should sue him for undoing basic biology 101. You’ve talked about how he controls the WHO. He’s also trying to take control of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

“[FAO] has recognized ecological agriculture is the way to go and supported [regenerative] agriculture up until last year, when Gates started to take charge. Now he’s moving the food summit to New York. Five hundred organizations have said, ‘This is no longer a food summit, it’s a poison summit. The poison cartel and Bill Gates are running it to push more poisons, now under new names. So, we have a lot of work to do.’”

The answer to the environmental problems we face is not more of the very things that created the problems in the first place, which is what Gates proposes. The answer is regenerative agriculture and real food.

“When people are eating healthy food, there is no problem,” Shiva says. “[Gates] wants to commit a crime against our gut microbiome, pushing more fake food through Impossible Food. And he wants to create conditions so that real food will disappear. That’s why we all have to organize together and the scientists have to start being protected.

“There’s an extinction taking place. They call it the sixth mass extinction. Most people think the sixth mass extinction is about other species. They don’t realize large parts of humanity are being pushed to extinction. Food is health, as Hippocrates said, [and that requires] indigenous systems of learning, ecological agriculture, small farmers.

“In Bill Gates’ design, all this that makes life, life, that makes society, society, that makes community, community, that makes healthy beings, he would like to push this to extinction because he’s afraid of independence, freedom, health and our beingness. He wants us to be ‘thingness,’ but we are beings …

“The worst crime against the Earth and against humanity is using gene editing technologies for gene drives, which is a collaboration of Gates with DARPA, the defense research system. Gene drives are deliberately driving [us] to extinction. Now he does it in the name of ending malaria. No. It’s about driving to extinction.

“Amaranth is a sacred food for us. It’s a very, very important source of nutrition … There’s an application in that DARPA-Gates report of driving the amaranth to extinction through gene rights. And when this was raised at the Convention on Biological Diversity, do you know what he did? He actually hired a public relations agency and bribed government representatives to not say no. Can you imagine?”

Gates’ long-term play

Gates clearly had a long-term vision in mind from the start. His growing control of the WHO began over a decade ago. Over this span of time, he also started transitioning into Big Pharma and the fake food industry, which would allow his influence over the WHO’s global health recommendations to really pay off.

While fake foods have many potential problems, one in particular is elevated levels of the omega-6 fat linoleic acid (LA). If you eat real food, you’re going to get more than enough LA. Our industrial Western diet, however, provides far more than is needed for optimal health already, and engineered meats are particularly loaded with LA, as they’re made with genetically modified soy oil and canola oil.

This massive excess of LA will encourage and promote virtually all degenerative diseases, thereby accelerating the destruction of human health. In addition to that, Gates is also investing in pharmaceuticals, which of course are touted as the answer to degenerative disease. Again, his solutions to ill health are actually the problem. Shiva says:

“Gates … [is] entering every field that has to do with life. Our work in Navdanya, which means nine seeds, is basically work on biodiversity in agriculture. We started to bring together all the work that he’s doing in taking over. I mentioned the Rockefeller Green Revolution, now the Gates-Rockefeller Green Revolution in Africa. The next step he wants to push is … digital agriculture.

“He calls it Gates Ag One, and the headquarters of this is exactly where the Monsanto headquarters are, in St. Louis, Missouri. Gates Ag One is one [type of] agriculture for the whole world, organized top down. He’s written about it. We have a whole section on it in our new report, ‘Gates to a Global Empire.’”

Stolen farmer data is repackaged and sold back to them

What does digital agriculture entail? For starters, it entails the introduction of a digital surveillance system. So far, Shiva’s organization has managed to prevent Gates from introducing a seed surveillance startup, where farmers would not be allowed to grow seeds unless approved by Gates surveillance system.

The data mining, Shiva says, is needed because they don’t actually know agriculture. This is why Gates finances the policing of farmers. He needs to mine their data to learn how farming is actually done. This knowledge is then repackaged and sold back to the farmers. It’s evil genius at its finest.

Through his funding, Gates now also controls the world’s seed supply, and his financing of gene editing research has undercut biosafety laws across the world. As explained by Shiva, the only country that doesn’t have biosafety laws is the U.S. “The rest of the world does because we have a treaty called the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety,” she says.

“While he created the appearance of philanthropy, what he’s doing is giving tiny bits of money to very vital institutions. But with those bits of money, they attract government money, which was running those institutions. Now, because of his clout, he is taking control of the agenda of these institutions. In the meantime, he’s pushing patenting, be it on drugs, vaccines or on seeds.”

Taken together, Gates ends up wielding enormous control over global agriculture and food production, and there’s virtually no evidence to suggest he has good intentions.

The anatomy of monopolization

The company that collects patents on gene-edited organisms, both in health and agriculture, is Editas, founded by a main financial investor for the Gates Foundation. Gates is also a big investor in Editas.

“So, here’s a company called Editas to edit the world as if it is a Word program. The two scientists who got the Nobel Prize this year have both been funded in their research by Gates. My mind went back to how Rockefeller financed the research, got the Nobel Prize, and then made the money.

“So, you finance the research. Then you finance the public institutions, whether they be national or international. You invest and force them down the path where they can only use what is your patented intellectual property. And, as he has said in an interview, his smartest investment was vaccines, because it is a 1-to-20 return. Put $1 in and make $20. How many billions of dollars have been put in? You can imagine how many trillions will be made.

“At the end of it, where does food come from? It comes from seed. He wants to control it. It comes from land. He’s controlling that. He’s become the biggest farmland owner [in the U.S.]. But you need weather [control]. You need a stable climate.

“So, what could be a weapon of control of agriculture? Weather modification. He calls it geoengineering. This is engineering of the climate. Again, making it look like he’s going to solve global warming by creating global cooling.”

As explained by Shiva, Gates is also heavily invested in climate modification technologies that not only will destabilize the earth’s climate systems more, but also can be weaponized against the people by controlling rainfall and drought. In India, they’ve been having massive hail during harvest time, which destroys the harvest.

Is the UN subservient to Gates?

According to Shiva, Gates is also corrupting the UN system, just like he’s corrupted world governments and the WHO, and in so doing, he’s destroying the efforts built over the last three decades to protect the global environment.

“Whether it be the climate treaty, the biodiversity treaty or the atmospheric treaties, he is absolutely behaving as if the UN is his subservient institution,” Shiva says. “[He thinks] governments and regulatory bodies should not exist … and that people in democracy have no business to speak. [If they do], they’re conspiracy theorists.”

Taking down Gates’ empires

As it stands right now, ordinary people are forced to fight battles that are in actuality rooted in institutional, structural and societal crimes. These crimes really need to be addressed the way Rockefeller’s Standard Oil empire was addressed. In the case of Gates, his empire is actually multiple empires, and they all need to be dismantled. To that end, I will be collaborating with Shiva and Regeneration International, which she co-founded, on a project to boycott Gates’ empires.

“I’ve noticed that no matter what the movement, they’re using the word regeneration now. It could be a health movement, a democracy movement, a peace movement, a women’s movement — everyone has realized that regeneration is what we have to shift to,” Shiva says.

“So, what do we need to be doing in the next decade? For me, the next decade is the determining decade, because these petty minds’ insatiable greed want to go so fast that if, in the next decade, we don’t protect what has to be protected, build resilient alternatives and take away the sainthood from this criminal, they will leave nothing much to be saved.

“The poison cartel is also big pharma. People think agriculture is here, medicine is there. No. The same criminal corporations gave us agrichemicals. They gave us bad medicine that creates more disease than it solves. So, Big PharmaBig AgBig Poison — it’s all one. And Bill Gates is holding it all together even more, and trying to make them bigger because he has investments in all of them …

“I think [seeds] is where we have to begin … I’m hoping that we will be able, together, to launch a global movement soon to take back our seeds from the international seed banks. The strategy is we need to remind the world that these are public institutions [and] that they’re accountable to the farmers whose collections these [seeds] are …

“On the food question, I think that’s the big one because food and health go [together]. In Ayurveda, it says food is the best medicine, and if you don’t eat good food, then no medicine can cure whatever disease you have. The best medicine is good eating. And Hippocrates said ‘Let food be thy medicine.’ So, I think this is the time to really grow a very big global campaign for food freedom.

“Food freedom means you cannot destroy our right to grow food. Secondly, you cannot destroy our governments’ obligations to us to support regenerative agriculture rather than support degenerative agriculture and subsidize it. And third, I think we should call for a worldwide boycott of lab foods …

“Another part of this should be, don’t let Big Tech enter our bodies. Let big tech not enter life sciences … These guys will make life illegal. Living will be illegal except as a little piece in their machine through their permission.”

Each year, Navdanya holds a two-week campaign on food freedom starting October 2, which is nonviolence day. We now need to take that campaign to the global stage, and I will do my part to aid this effort. So, mark your calendar and prepare to join us in a global boycott of food that makes you sick — processed food, GMO foods, lab-created foods, fake meats, all of it.

More information

You can learn more about Shiva’s work and her many projects on Navdanya.org. During the first week of April every year, Navdanya gives a five-day course called Annam, Food as Health, via Zoom. In this course, you’ll learn about soil and plant biodiversity and healthy eating for optimal health.

You can also learn more by reading the report “Earth Rising, Women Rising: Regenerating the Earth, Seeding the Future,” written by female farmers. And, again, mark your calendars and plan your participation in the food freedom campaign, starting October 2, 2021.

“When all the spiritual forces, all of nature’s forces and most of people’s forces are aligned together, what can [a few] billionaires, technocrats — who want to be richer than they are, greedier than they are, more violent than they are — do?” Shiva says. “They don’t count in the long run, really. It’s just that we cannot afford to not do the things that we can do.”

Reposted with permission from Mercola.com