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Carbon Farming & Cutting Food Waste: Climate Solutions That Don’t Require Trump’s Buy-in

Author: Twilight Greenaway | Published: June 5, 2017 

Donald Trump’s recent decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement on climate has many wringing their hands. But Paul Hawken doesn’t have time for despair. In fact, the veteran author and entrepreneur has spent the last several years working with a team of scientists and policy experts to map and quantify a set of climate solutions he says have the power to draw down the carbon in the atmosphere and radically alter our climate future. And he’s confident that many of these efforts will continue to take place with or without government buy-in.

Hawken’s new book, Drawdown, illuminates 100 of the most effective of these solutions and points to food and agriculture as hugely important when it comes to both sequestering current greenhouse gases and releasing fewer of them in the first place. From composting and clean cookstoves to managed grazing and multistrata agroforestry, Drawdown makes a compelling case for radically changing the way we eat, farm, and tend to the land. Civil Eats spoke to Hawken about the book, the surprising role food has come to play among climate optimists, and his advice on how to keep our eyes open while imagining the future of our planet.

Can you tell us about what you wanted to do with this book and how food plays a role in the picture it paints?

We mapped, measured, and modeled the most substantive solutions to reversing global warming. We didn’t have a horse in the race. We may have biases, I’m sure we do, but our process and methodology was to eliminate bias and just to look at [the solutions] from the point of peer-reviewed science in terms of the carbon impact.

There are only two things you can do really with respect to the atmosphere, which is to stop putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and then bring them back home. There’s nothing else. Some solutions—like land use solutions—do both.

We didn’t go into it knowing what would be the biggest sector. Or even what would be the top five or 10. We went in very open-ended and it turns out food is eight of the top 20 suggestions.

You ranked the solutions in terms of potential impact. Number three is reduced food waste and number four is the shift to “a plant-rich diet.” Why then, do you think food and ag are so rarely a part in the mainstream conversation about climate change?

My guess as to why food and land-use solutions have been marginalized and even ignored is because of the way solutions have been approached by climate scientists. Estimates vary, but at least 65 percent of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are due to combustion of fossil fuels, so it is easy to come to the conclusion that replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy is the biggest solution.

One of the reasons reducing food waste ranks high is because most of the food that is discarded ends up in landfills where it is buried in an anaerobic environment causing methane emissions, which are 34 times more potent in their greenhouse warming potential compared to CO2. A plant-rich diet reduces the consumption of animal protein, and the production of meat—whether grass fed or in CAFOs—is also a very significant source of methane.

And finally, there is agriculture itself, another source of significant emissions as practiced by conventional and industrial agriculture. Tillage removes carbon, mineral fertilizers create another potent greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide, glyphosate sterilizes soil life creating emissions, monocultures expose the soil to sun and heat, an emission cause, etc.

When you change these three practices, and cultivate types of sustainable food production techniques, like system of rice intensification and agroforestry, it turns out that food has a greater potential to help reverse global warming than the energy sector. That’s also due to the fact that land use can sequester carbon, whereas renewable energy simply avoids carbon emissions.

However, your question stands. Why did we not look at this more closely sooner? That is a mystery at Project Drawdown. These data, math, and conclusions detailed in Drawdown could have been calculated and disseminated a long time ago. The science these calculations are based on has been known for a long time.

Food is seen as inherently personal. Do you think the urgency about the climate has the potential to get more people thinking about food on a systems level?

I tend to think of food as more cultural than personal. In the U.S., subsidies have allowed people the ability to eat large quantities of expensive foods, like milk and meat. In most countries, the true cost of these items limits the stroke and heart-disease outcomes we have in the U.S. I believe people move toward healthier food because of their own needs and understandings, not because of the climate impact.

What we see in our research is that regenerative practices (in many areas besides food) are increasing because they work better, are less expensive, create greater productivity, can be locally sourced, create meaningful jobs, enhance human health, engender community, and much more. In other words, making choices that are better for your body, the soil, workers, your children, and your community are almost invariably practices that reverse global warming.

Let’s talk about the term “regenerative.” I’ve heard from several folks in the organic community who worry that another label will confuse consumers. Why did you choose to highlight regenerative agriculture vs. organic? 

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California Today: To Fight Climate Change, Heal the Ground

Author: Mike McPhate | Published: May 30, 2017 

The climate change fight has focused largely on cutting emissions.

But California is now considering another solution: dirt.

Whereas an overabundance of carbon in the air has been disrupting our climate, plants are hungry for the stuff.

The Central Valley’s farmlands essentially operate as a vast lung, breathing in carbon dioxide through photosynthesis and converting it into plant tissues. That results in less of the heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere.

But the healthier the soil, the more carbon is stored in plants.

Enter California’s Healthy Soils Initiative, a statewide program rolling out this summer that is the first of its kind in the country.

“I think there’s a growing recognition that the soil beneath our feet has huge potential to sequester carbon,” said Karen Ross, secretary of the state’s Department of Food and Agriculture.

More than a quarter of California’s landmass is used for agriculture. Over generations, farming practices like monocropping and tillage have reduced the amount of organic matter in the soil, affecting plant growth. Some of that organic matter, which contains carbon, needs to be put back.

KEEP READING ON THE NEW YORK TIMES 

A Climate Change Solution Beneath Our Feet

Author: UC Davis | Published: May 17, 2017 

When we think of climate change solutions, what typically comes to mind is the transportation we use, the lights in our home, the buildings we power and the food we eat. Rarely do we think about the ground beneath our feet.

Kate Scow thinks a lot about the ground, or, more precisely, the soil. She’s been digging into the science of how healthy soils can not only create productive farmlands, but also store carbon in the ground, where it belongs, rather than in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.

Looking across the landscape on a spring day at Russell Ranch Sustainable Agricultural Facility, most people would simply see a flat, mostly barren field. But Scow—a microbial ecologist and director of this experimental farm at the University of California, Davis—sees a living being brimming with potential. The soil beneath this field doesn’t just hold living things—it is itself alive.

Scow likens soil to the human body with its own system of “organs” working together for its overall health. And, like us, it needs good food, water and care to live up to its full potential.

Solutions beneath our feet

Farmers and gardeners have long sung the praises of soil. For the rest of us, it’s practically invisible. But a greater awareness of soil’s ability to sequester carbon and act as a defense against climate change is earning new attention and admiration for a resource most of us treat like dirt.

Soil can potentially store between 1.5 and 5.5 billion tons of carbon a year globally. That’s equivalent to between 5 and 20 billion tons of carbon dioxide. While significant, that’s still just a fraction of the 32 billion tons of carbon dioxide emitted every year from burning fossil fuels.

Soil is just one of many solutions needed to confront climate change.

But the nice thing about healthy soils, Scow said, is that creating them not only helps fight climate change—it also brings multiple benefits for agricultural, human and environmental health.

“With soil, there’s so much going on that is so close to us, that’s so interesting and multifaceted, that affects our lives in so many ways—and it’s just lying there beneath our feet,” she said.

Subterranean secrets 

Underground, an invisible ecosystem of bugs, or microorganisms, awaits. In fact, there are more microbes in one teaspoon of soil than there are humans on Earth. Many of them lie dormant, just waiting to be properly fed and watered.

A well-fed army of microbes can go to work strengthening the soil so it can grow more food, hold more water, break down pollutants, prevent erosion and, yes, sequester carbon.

“I love the word ‘sequestration,’” said Scow, who thinks the word is reminiscent of secrecy, tombs and encryption. “Soil is filled with microbes who are waiting it out. The conditions may not be right for them—it’s too dry or too wet, or they don’t have the right things to eat. They’re sequestered. They’re entombed. But if the right conditions come, they will emerge. They will bloom, and they will flourish.”

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Make Our Soil Great Again

Author: David R. Montgomery | Published: April 14, 2017 

Most of us don’t think much about soil, let alone its health. But as Earth Day approaches, it’s time to recommend some skin care for Mother Nature. Restoring soil fertility is one of humanity’s best options for making progress on three daunting challenges: Feeding everyone, weathering climate change and conserving biodiversity.

Widespread mechanization and adoption of chemical fertilizers and pesticides revolutionized agriculture. But it took a hidden toll on the soil. Farmers around the world have already degraded and abandoned one-third of the world’s cropland. In the United States, our soils have already lost about half of the organic matter content that helped make them fertile.

What is at stake if we don’t reverse this trend? Impoverished trouble spots like Syria, Libya and Iraq are among the societies living with a legacy of degraded soil. And if the world keeps losing productive farmland, it will only make it harder to feed a growing global population.

But it is possible to restore soil fertility, as I learned traveling the world to meet farmers who had adopted regenerative practices on large commercial and small subsistence farms while researching my new book, Growing A Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life. From Pennsylvania to the Dakotas and from Africa to Latin America, I saw compelling evidence of how a new way of farming can restore health to the soil, and do so remarkably fast.

These farmers adopted practices that cultivate beneficial soil life. They stopped plowing and minimized ground disturbance. They planted cover crops, especially legumes, as well as commercial crops. And they didn’t just plant the same thing over and over again. Instead they planted a greater diversity of crops in more complex rotations. Combining these techniques cultivates a diversity of beneficial microbial and soil life that enhances nutrient cycling, increases soil organic matter, and improves soil structure and thereby reduces erosive runoff.

Farmers who implemented all three techniques began regenerating fertile soil and after several years ended up with more money in their pocket. Crop yields and soil organic matter increased while their fuel, fertilizer, and pesticide use fell. Their fields consistently had more pollinators — butterflies and bees — than neighboring conventional farms. Using less insecticide and retaining native plants around their fields translated into more predatory species that managed insect pests.

Innovative ranchers likewise showed me methods that left their soil better off. Cows on their farms grazed the way buffalo once did, concentrating in a small area for a short period followed by a long recovery time. This pattern stimulates plants to push sugary substances out of their roots. And this feeds soil life that in return provides the plants with things like growth-promoting hormones and mineral nutrients. Letting cows graze also builds soil organic matter by dispersing manure across the land, rather than concentrating it in feedlot sewage lagoons.

KEEP READING ON THE CONVERSATION 

A Crucial Climate Mystery Hides Just Beneath Your Feet

Author: Nathanael Johnson | Published: April 4, 2017

What Jonathan Sanderman really wanted was some old dirt. He called everyone he could think of who might know where he could get some. He emailed colleagues and read through old studies looking for clues, but he kept coming up empty.

Sanderman was looking for old dirt because it would let him test a plan to save the world. Soil scientists had been talking about this idea for decades: Farmers could turn their fields into giant greenhouse gas sponges, potentially offsetting as much as 15 percent of global fossil fuel emissions a year, simply by coaxing crops to suck more CO2 out of the air.

There was one big problem with this idea: It could backfire. When plants absorb CO2 they either turn it into food or stash it in the ground. The risk is that if you treat farms as carbon banks, it could lead to smaller harvests, which would spur farmers to plow more land and pump more carbon into the air than before.

Back in 2011, when Sanderman was working as a soil scientist in Australia (he’s now at Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts), he’d figured out a way to test if it was possible to produce bumper crops on a piece of land while also banking carbon in it. But first, he needed to get his hands on that really old dirt.

Specifically, he needed to find a farm that kept decades of soil samples and precise records of its yields. That way he could compare the amount of carbon in the soil with the harvest and see if storing carbon kneecapped production.

Sanderman’s office was in the southern city of Adelaide, directly across the street from the Waite Agricultural Research Institute. The researchers there supposedly had the soil and records that Sanderman needed, dating back to 1925. But no one had any idea where to find the dirt. After numerous dead ends, a chain of clues led Sanderman into the basement of a big research building down the road, covered in greenhouses.

The basement was a big, dimly lit room full of floor-to-ceiling shelves crammed with boxes in various stages of disarray. He walked the rows slowly, scanning up and down until they were in front of his nose: scores of gallon jars made of thick, leaded glass with yellowing labels. “Like something you’d find in a second-hand store and put on your shelf,” Sanderman says.

He felt a rush of excitement. Then he squinted at the labels. There were no dates or locations. Instead, each bore a single series of numbers. It was a code, and Sanderman had no clue how to crack it.

The question that Sanderman wanted to answer was laid out by the Canadian soil scientist Henry Janzen. In 2006, Janzen published a paper, “The soil carbon dilemma: Shall we hoard it or use it?” Janzen pointed out that since the dawn of agriculture, farmers have been breeding crops that suck carbon out of the air and put it on our plates, rather than leaving it behind in the soil.

“Grain is 45 percent carbon by weight,” Janzen told me. “So when you truck away a load of grain, you are exporting carbon which, in a natural system, would have mostly returned to the soil.”

Janzen has the rare ability to explain complicated things with such clarity that, when talking to him, you may catch yourself struck with wonder at an utterly new glimpse of how the world works. Plants, he explained, perform a kind of alchemy. They combine air, water, and the sun’s fire to make food. And this alchemical combination that we call food is, in fact, a battery—a molecular trap for the sun’s energy made of broken-down CO2 and H2O (you know, air and water).

Sugars are the simplest batteries. And sugars are also the building blocks for fat and fiber, which are just bigger, more complicated batteries. Ferns, trees, and reeds are the sum of those parts. Bury these batteries for thousands of years under conditions of immense heat and pressure, and they transform again—still carrying the sun’s energy—into coal, oil, and gas.

KEEP READING ON WIRED

Local Farmers Sowing Seeds of Carbon Farming

Author: Stephanie Hiller | Published: April 5, 2017 

This year, the third warmest in recorded history, spring has come a month early, with regions all across the United States experiencing May temperatures in March. While warmer temperatures are welcome after a cold, wet winter, the cause is not.

Oceans are warming and rising, and last year was the fourth consecutive year of mass seal pup strandings along local beaches due to reduced populations of anchovies and sardines. Glaciers are melting and collapsing at record rates. Heat waves and fires are likely to threaten our placid summers. Worse disasters loom in our children’s future.

Despite what the Trump administration says, climate change is here. As Naomi Klein pointed out in a 2011 article in The Nation, climate deniers know its consequences full-well: Addressing climate change means not only ending the flow of their black gold—it’s the end of their entire way of life.

“To lower global emissions,” she writes, “can only be done by radically reordering our economic and political systems in many ways antithetical to their ‘free market belief system.’” Hence, oil companies have invested billions to convince much of the voting public that climate change is a hoax and accomplished the ultimate coup d’état with the installation of a like-minded government that will raise the temperature, and the consequences, even more.

But we still have a chance to pull back from our race to the edge. There is a climate-change solution that can take root at the local level which can actually reverse climate change by at least 40 percent. By changing the way we grow food, we can actually draw down carbon from the atmosphere and put it to good use where it belongs: In the soil. Call it carbon farming.

Healthy Soils

North Bay farmers have led the way with these techniques, and with the help of climate-advocacy groups, they won state support to promote a program that just might save the world.

The California Healthy Soils Initiative (CHSI), launched on January 11 in Sacramento by the National Resource Conservation Service and the California Department of Food and Agriculture, encourages farmers to adopt carbon-friendly farming methods by offering grants and training assistance. Grant applications will be accepted later this spring.

Judging from the number of people who turned out for the September “Building Partnerships on Healthy Soil” summit—more than 200 for the conference itself and many more via webcast—interest in this carbon-friendly “regenerative” soil-management program is growing. It can’t come too soon: The very existence of topsoil is at risk.

The World Wildlife Fund reports that more than half of the topsoil worldwide has been lost over the past 150 years, mostly due to industrial agriculture. Some sources say that the loss is more like 70 percent. It’s possible that in 60 years, the topsoil on heavily grazed and monocropped farmlands will be gone, leaving nothing but an impervious layer of hardpan in its place, conditions that led to the Dust Bowl phenomenon in parts of the United States and Canada in the 1930s. Without its thin skin of topsoil, fertile land turns to desert, a process that has been accelerating all over the world in large part because of intensive industrial agriculture.

But David Runsten, policy director of the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF), says that agriculture can be part of the solution. He began working with the California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN), a nonprofit that advocates for climate-friendly agricultural policy, in 2009 to get state officials to embrace carbon farming.

“Finally, the governor said he would support Healthy Soils,” Runsten says.

The legislation passed last summer and allocates $7.5 million for the program, $3 million for demonstration projects and up to $4 million in grants of up to $25,000. Governor Brown is sold on the program. He originally asked for $20 million once he embraced the idea.

Funding for the program comes from the California Air Resources Board’s Cap-and-Trade Program.

California’s Cap-and-Trade Program generates money from big emitters who are required to buy permits to emit greenhouse gases, says Renata Brillinger, executive director of CalCAN.

“The Legislature and the governor decide how much [of that] money to spend and on what,” Brillinger says. “It’s billions of dollars that we can influence through a democratic process.”

Healthy Soils projects must be directly linked to climate change, she says. “Farmers are getting money to do things on their farm that draws down carbon or reduces emissions. It is the only source of funding in the United States that will pay farmers to do that.”

One of the pioneers of carbon farming is the Marin Carbon Project (MCP). The nonprofit took it upon itself to provide scientific evidence to substantiate the benefits of carbon farming. Working in concert with Whendee Silver, professor of environmental science, policy, and management at U.C. Berkeley, the MCP found that adding a half-inch of compost to the soil increased soil carbon by one ton, or 40 percent, per hectare.

Most dazzling was the discovery that the amount continued to increase by the same rate year after year without adding more compost. This research demonstrated that carbon farming “can improve on-farm productivity and viability, enhance ecosystem functions and stop and reverse climate change,” explains Torri Estrada, executive director of the Carbon Cycle Institute, a Petaluma-based organization partnered with the MCP.

The Carbon Cycle

Plants sequester carbon from atmospheric CO2 by photosynthesis, using the airborne carbon to create carbohydrates and relaying the excess sugars to microbes in the soil. In turn, microbes return carbon to the soil. The more microbes, the more carbon is taken up, the stronger the roots and the more productive and resilient the plant. Adding organic matter to the soil feeds the fungi and bacteria, and enhances the effect.

KEEP READING ON PACIFIC SUN 

Sink It or Lose It: The Carbon Trade-off

Author: Rolf Sommer | Published: March 20, 2017 

In the race to keep climate change in check, our soils are an important ally. A natural carbon sponge, they represent the earth’s largest terrestrial store of this essential, life-giving element.

And if we’re to meet the climate targets laid out in the Paris Agreement, then we must take advantage of the ability to sink carbon in soil, especially because this can offset harmful greenhouse gas emissions elsewhere.

But while we’re at the forefront of understanding how to make the most of soils to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, our research shows that we’ve still got a way to go before we can realize the full potential of long-term carbon storage – or carbon sequestration.

Before anything else, we need to be realistic about how much carbon our soils actually can store, how long this will take, how this changes from region to region, and how much this would contribute to climate change mitigation.

Evidence is improving and research advancing, but we still don’t have enough data. Not surprisingly, many aspirations are based on quite a bit of guesswork.

At the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), we have found that even using the best soil management techniques known to science, we can’t seem to store enough carbon – if any – to put a notable dent in global emission figures.

Yet what we do know is that carbon is being lost from soils, especially in the humid tropics, where there is a high turnover of the organic matter in which carbon is found. So we need to focus on reducing – and avoiding – carbon losses before we talk about carbon storage, or sequestration.

One of the contributors to carbon loss is tilling the soil, a common activity on most smallholder farms in developing countries. Here, only very small amounts of organic matter – from crop residues, manure or compost – are dug back into the soil, as these resources are usually in short supply.

It’s a tall order to call on African smallholders to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and build carbon in the soil when food insecurity, drought and other challenges are looming. For them, harvesting food – to eat or sell – is the number one priority. And, these farmers already contribute very few emissions to start with, paling in comparison with large commercial farms.

But our research shows that little changes could have tremendous impacts. For instance, quantifying the climate smartness of best soil protection and restoration practices in Kenya, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, India and Benin revealed that there are methods that can sustainably intensify farming systems without adding to greenhouse gas emissions.

If we can convince farmers to adopt small soil conservation practices, we can slow carbon loss down significantly, quickly and without too much effort. The bottom line is that we need more sophisticated management practices than the ones being advocated right now, since sustainable and smart cropping systems have not yet been widely adopted.

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Soil Management Could Make or Break Climate Change Response Efforts

Published: March 21, 2017 

Warning of “colossal” negative impacts for the environment and human societies if the massive stores of carbon trapped in the Earth’s soils are released, Fijian president Jioji Konousi Konrote called for stronger management of this critical natural resource at the start of an international symposium today.

There is currently more carbon locked up in just the first meter of the planet’s soils than can be found in the atmosphere and all terrestrial plant life combined, he said during his keynote address to the Global Symposium on Soil Organic Carbon (21-23 March).

Referring to international commitments to limit global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius made under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, Konrote warned: “If we fail to maintain our soils as a carbon reservoir, I am afraid that these discussions and negotiations would have been in vain.”

“We cannot afford to neglect a resource that could be our serious and viable ally against climate change,” he added.

Fiji and other small island developing states are on the front lines in the battle against climate change. The government of Fiji is poised to assume the presidency of the next Conference of Parties of the UN Climate Agreement that will take place in in Bonn, Germany, in November.

FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva in his remarks stressed that beyond their critical role as a carbon sink, healthy soils underpin multiple environmental processes upon which humankind depends and which are the foundation of global food security.

“Soils with high organic carbon content are likely to be more fertile and productive, better able to purify water, and help to increase the resilience of livelihoods to the impacts of climate change,” he noted.

This means that improving the health of the planet’s soils and boosting their organic carbon content is critical to achieving several of the international development goals established by the UN’s 2030 agenda, especially the second goal of eradicating hunger and malnutrition, FAO’s Director-General said.

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Why George Monbiot Is Wrong: Grazing Livestock Can Save the World

Author: L Hunter Lovins | Published: August 19, 2014 

In his recent interview with Allan Savory, the high profile biologist and farmer who argues that properly managing grazing animals can counter climate chaos, George Monbiot reasonably asks for proof. Where I believe he strays into the unreasonable, is in asserting that there is none.

Savory’s argument, which counters popular conceptions, is that more livestock rather than fewer can help save the planet through a concept he calls “holistic management.” In brief, he contends that grazing livestock can reverse desertification and restore carbon to the soil, enhancing its biodiversity and countering climate change. Monbiot claims that this approach doesn’t work and in fact does more harm than good. But his assertions skip over the science and on the ground evidence that say otherwise.

Richard Teague, a range scientist from Texas A&M University, presented in favour of Savory’s theory at the recent Putting Grasslands to Work conference in London. Teague’s research is finding significant soil carbon sequestration from holistic range management practices.

Soil scientist, Dr Elaine Ingham, a microbiologist and until recently chief scientist at Rodale Institute, described how healthy soil, the underpinning of civilization throughout history, is created in interaction between grazing animals and soil microbiology. Peer-reviewed research from Rodale has shown how regenerative agriculture can sequester more carbon than humans are now emitting. Scientists, as well as dozens of farmers, ranchers and pastoralists from around the world, describe how they are increasing the health of their land, the carrying capacity of it, its biodiversity, and its profitability, all while preserving their culture and traditions.

How much carbon can be sequestered in properly managed grasslands and how fast? We don’t know, but we do know that massive carbon reserves were present in the ten-foot thick black soil of the historic grasslands of the Great Plains of the US. We know that the globe’s grasslands are the second largest store of naturally sequestered carbon after the oceans. They got that way by co-evolving with pre-industrial grazing practices: sufficient herds of native graziers, dense packed by healthy populations of predators.

KEEP READING ON THE GUARDIAN 

Companies, NGOs and Scientists Come Together Behind New Definition For “Regenerative Agriculture”

Published: February 23, 2017 

Press Release

New approach to agriculture helps create topsoil and mitigate climate change.

Representatives from over 100 countries, including virtually all areas of food production, manufacturing, retailing and soil science have, for the first time, come together on a unified definition for the quickly emerging “Regenerative” approach to growing food that has been shown to provide multiple benefits to food security, health, and climate change.

According to Tim LaSalle, PhD, former head of the Rodale Institute and co-director of the Regenerative Agriculture Initiative at California State University Chico: “Regenerative agriculture keeps the natural cycles healthy—like water and carbon—so that land can keep growing food and keep carbon and the climate in balance.”

Additionally, as the world has realized that most of the planet’s topsoil has been lost due to poor soil management, efforts are being made to rebuild soil health. “It’s impossible to feed the world without soil. The UN says we have sixty harvests left at the rate we’re going.” says Tom Newmark, The Carbon Underground co-founder. “Regenerative agriculture actually creates new topsoil, reversing the last century’s trend of destroying it.”

But perhaps the most powerful reason for the movement toward regenerative agriculture is the impact it will have on the biggest threat facing humanity—climate change. “Reducing emissions alone cannot solve climate change. We must draw down hundreds of billions of tons to succeed, and restoring our soil is the only known path to do this,” says Andre Leu, President of International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM).

“Regenerative agriculture builds healthy soil, helping with challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss and water scarcity,” says Shauna Sadowski, Vice President of Sustainability and Industry relations at Annie’s Foods, “But we also see it as a critical way to strengthen our own supply chains. Healthy soil creates greater resilience for farmers and their crops, which become our ingredients and ultimately our products.”

Regenerative agriculture complements the global movement to healthier food. “Let’s face it—demand for organic food is exploding. But this is different,” says Ronnie Cummins, head of the Organic Consumers Association, “Organic food keeps people healthy. Regenerative agriculture keeps the planet healthy.”

Additional signatories include:

Dr. Tim LaSalle, Co-director, Regenerative Agriculture Initiative, CSUC

Dr. Cindy Daley, Co-director, Regenerative Agriculture Initiative, CSUC

Doug Greene, Founder, New Hope Network

Dave Carter, National Bison Association, former Chair NOSB

Anthony Zolezzi, Board Member, Wild Oats Marketplace

Dr. Elaine Ingham, Soil Food Web

Dr. Appachanda Thimmaiah, Maharishi University of Management

Will Rapp, Gardener’s Supply

Dr. David Johnson, New Mexico University

To view the definition, join as a signatory, or see the most current list, go to: www.thecarbonunderground.org/definition

For additional information contact: info@thecarbonunderground.org

DOWNLOAD THE DEFINITION HERE
READ THE DEFINITION HERE