Beyond organic: Carbon farming is a pathway to climate stabilization and resilient soils

Cover crop - and cat
CC BY 2.0 Dwight Sipler

Through the adoption of smart carbon farming practices, an acre of land could store anywhere from 10 to 100 tons or more of carbon, which can help both mitigate climate change and improve crop yields.

Addressing the climate crisis calls for an 'all of the above' approach to reducing carbon emissions and increasing carbon sequestration, and although many of us are inclined to supporting organic farming practices, it's high time we started focusing on carbon farming practices as well. Organically grown food, while a preferable choice for green shoppers in grocery stores and farmers markets, isn't necessarily the same thing as food grown using smart carbon farming practices, and though the two aren't mutually exclusive, demand for organics is driven more by marketing, while the other is still a bit of a mystery to the average person.

We've covered the concept of carbon farming and carbon sequestration in general many times here on TreeHugger, but it's one of those topics that, while not nearly as sexy as e-bikes and tiny houses and amazing animals, bears further discussion.

Most of us are probably able to name just a few key examples of carbon farming practices, most likely the addition of compost and/or biochar, and moving to a no-till system with cover crops, but there are a host of other practical methods as well, which may vary a bit depending on the location where they're implemented. In this short video from Nexus Media, Connor Stedman, a consultant with AppleSeed Permaculture, offers some insights into the importance of carbon farming:

At the 2016 Young Farmers Conference, Stedman presented a detailed look at the issue, along with the why and the how of carbon farming, and its place in the practice of regenerative agriculture. The following video is about an hour and a half long, but is well worth the time if you're curious at all about smart carbon farming practices.

A few other resources that can help farmers, backyard gardeners, and consumers to better understand the importance of carbon farming, and to learn how to implement those practices themselves, can be found at the The Carbon Farming Solution, Carbon Cycle Institute, and Carbon Farmers of Australia.

Tags: Agriculture | Carbon Sequestration

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