Carbon Gardening: A Natural Climate Solution that Can Help Reduce CO2 Emissions While Restoring Biodiversity

Gardeners new to the concept of carbon gardening often ask these two questions: What good soil management strategies will help maximize carbon sequestration? And, what would be a good plant palette to help accomplish this? Good questions both, to which I wish I could give detailed, specific answers.

The JX Ranch

In 2004, cattle ranchers Tom and Mimi Sidwell bought the 7,000-acre JX Ranch, south of Tucumcari, New Mexico, and set about doing what they know best: earning a profit by restoring the land to health and stewarding it sustainably.

Soil Health Hits the Big Time!

Best of all, regenerative agriculture was acknowledged as a shovel-ready solution to climate change. That’s a big reason why over one hundred nations, NGOs, and agricultural organizations signed onto the original ‘4 For 1000 Initiative’. “[It] has become a global initiative,” said French Agriculture Minister Stéphane Le Foll. “We need to mobilize even more stakeholders in a transition to achieve both food security and climate mitigation thanks to agriculture.”

The Carbon Ranch

My crazy idea turned out to not be so crazy after all. In a few short years, the idea of sequestering atmospheric carbon in soils took off thanks to the hard work of many people and organizations. It’s become a movement, which I’ll discuss in the next issue – a hopeful thing indeed!

The Key to the Environmental Crisis Is Beneath Our Feet

There is a much cheaper and faster way to sequester carbon from the atmosphere that doesn’t rely on these corporate giants to transition us to 100% renewables. Additionally, it can be done while at the same time reducing the chronic diseases that impose an even heavier cost on citizens and governments. Our most powerful partner is nature itself, which over hundreds of millions of years has evolved the most efficient carbon sequestration system on the planet.

How to Save the World: Turning a Big Negative into a Big Positive

The organic, no-till movement is gaining traction around the world, which is a very hopeful thing. It has a long way to go, however, mostly because of the stubborn belief in the primacy of the plow, which borders on the religious among many farmers. After all, we’ve been using it for nearly 5000 years!

What is Efficient Farming, Really?

In many parts of the world, we are now feeding ourselves through intensive, large-scale agriculture. But the price of this kind of agriculture might be too high. It is the price of losing our most precious good, fertile soil and an intact environment. We can do better than that.

Terra Firma #1: The Best Story Ever

Regeneration is the foundation of hope, in my opinion, and it extends well beyond agriculture. That’s because life is a force that can’t be denied, not if we give it a chance. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my career it is this: nature still has the best ideas. This will be a major theme of Terra Firma.

California Cotton Fields: Sally Fox Reinvented Cotton — by Going Back to its Roots

In 1989, she brought naturally colored cotton back to the market. The iconic image of a white cotton ball had become pervasive. Yet Sally Fox had been looking at ancient, pest-resistant (by nature) varieties that came in shades of the Earth like greens and browns.

Fine Fleece at Stone Steps Farm

The small goats and sheep are very easy on the land. Stone Steps Farm is participating in Fibershed’s soil sampling protocol, and the family hopes to implement grazing practices that sequester carbon and increase soil organic matter. They also aim to decrease wildfire risk by using their goats to clear brush that provides a fuel ladder, and by using their sheep to keep grasses down during fire season.

Silvopasture: The Benefits of Integrating Livestock and trees

We are now starting to learn from other countries – and from an increasing body of research – the numerous benefits of silvopastoral systems. There is also an urgency that climate change brings for an uptake of these systems. Project Drawdown, a climate mitigation project, identified silvopasture as one of the top ten climate solutions.