Gardeners & Homeowners
There’s a positive trend afoot: more and more people are growing food at home and in community gardens. Not only are people growing their own local and organic food, they are also working to change laws that prohibit front yard vegetable gardens and urban beekeeping. As a result, entire neighborhoods are being transformed into “agri-hoods.”
- Compost, don’t burn, your yard clippings.
- Learn which perennials do well in your area and plant deep-rooted perennials in your garden.
- Get together with neighbors to change homeowners association regulations or town ordinances that prohibit front yard vegetable gardens and fruit trees.
- Eliminate chemical inputs. Any product ending in “cide” is designed to kill. Such products are detrimental to soil life, pollinators, birds and other living things including pets and children.
Soil health is the foundation of productive farming, so it is vital that farmers care for this essential resource. With some testing, amending, and experimentation, you can help create the conditions for carbon-rich, well-aerated, healthy soil that will help you grow the most delicious, nutrient-dense crops.
- Keep the ground covered at all times with both living cover crops and crop residues. This protects soil from wind and water erosion. Cover crops also act as a buffer to protect soil life from temperature extremes.
- Grow a wide variety of crops. Soil is a biological system and soil life needs to be fed a balanced diet.
- Eliminate chemical inputs—they are detrimental to soil life.
- Incorporate no-till or shallow till practices to avoid disrupting soil structure and habitat.
COMET-Farm is a whole farm and ranch carbon and greenhouse gas accounting system:
Teachers & Students
Studying soil is a great way to learn about history, agriculture, health, science and more. New technology is making it possible to know more about the vast array of microbes living in the soil. There are many resources available to you on the internet and there are all sorts of ways to involve your school community.
- Make sure your school is composting waste from the cafeteria and grounds.
- Start a school garden, using your compost to feed the soil.
- Work with science teachers to incorporate compost basics and benefits into lessons.
- Work with art teachers to create posters demonstrating the multiple benefits of compost.
- Raise funds that support organizations protecting biodiversity, soil and the climate
Grasslands cover about 40 percent of the world’s land and have co-evolved with grazing animals over millions of years, creating a symbiotic relationship between herbivores, grassland ecosystems and soil microbes. Many of these great wild herds are gone, but methods that mimic their migrations have the potential to recreate robust soils.
Animals moving in a herd nibble at plants, stimulating both the plants and the soil microbes underground. They also fertilize the ground and press in seeds with their hooves. Their hooves chip at hardened soil, allowing rainfall to soak in effectively; this supports deep-rooted grasses that build soil carbon.
At their core, these adaptive management techniques that use the herd as a tool to improve the health of the land have three things in common:
- Use a series of small fields (often created with temporary spool fencing).
- Provide short periods of grazing for livestock (called pulse or mob grazing).
- Provide long recovery periods for grazed fields.
PastureMap is a ranch management software that helps you make decisions that drive profitability.
COMET-Farm is a whole farm and ranch carbon and greenhouse gas accounting system.
Eaters & Consumers
Seek out farmers that use regenerative and organic practices and support them by buying the food they grow. Farming is hard work and your ongoing support is important to ensure their success. It’s also a smart investment in your health and your community; having a network of local farmers that are consciously building soil health will make your community more self-reliant.
- Learn to eat what’s in season. The seasons are the perfect showcase for nature’s amazing diversity and you’ll get the best tasting, healthiest food available . When you buy what’s in season, you buy food that’s at the peak of its supply, and that can help save you money.
- Remember, there is no waste in nature—compost your kitchen scraps. You’ll be feeding the hungry soil microbes that help feed you!
- Avoid highly processed foods that contain conventionally grown corn and soy. These crops are grown with fossil-fuel derived synthetic inputs that compromise climate and soil health.
- Eliminate industrial meat and dairy from your diet and consume only 100% grass-fed and pasture raised meats and dairy products. By choosing quality over quantity, you’ll be doing the right thing for your health, the health of the animals and nature’s health.
To learn more go to Center for Food safety
Policymakers are helping to scale renewable energy projects around the world, and there is broad public support for this encouraging trend. In the same way that they provide incentives for the adoption of renewable energy, policy makers are in a position to provide incentives for carbon farmers and ecosystem restoration.
- Prioritize projects that preserve and regenerate soil ecosystems.
- Incentivize residential and municipal composting programs.
- Incentivize green infrastructure for coastal and inland flood management.
- Align local building codes with biodiversity and habitat regeneration and protection.
- Prohibit the use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers on athletic fields, institutional parks and public parks.
- Join the 4 per 1000 initiative here.
To learn more about California policy, visit our partner CalCAN.