Modern agriculture is all about tradeoffs. Monocrops are more “efficient,” but we lose the benefits of biodiversity. Irrigation allows drought-ridden California to keep growing strawberries and salad greens, but groundwater reserves have fallen to record lows.
What if we could develop a kind of farming with no tradeoffs? An agricultural system that produces healthy soils, high yields and a net-negative effect on greenhouse gases? A growing chorus of experts says that agricultural Shangri-La does exist, and it’s called carbon farming.
In my latest column for the Stone Barns Center, I look at the the promise of carbon sequestration in agriculture. After all, Timothy La Salle, a sustainable ag consultant told me: “Even if we shut down all of our carbon emissions today, we’d still need to capture what is in the atmosphere. Nothing is proven to do that except for one thing: photosynthesis. We have to take what we have released over millennia from the soil and put it back in.”
I’m not the only one talking about carbon farming, or resilient agriculture as it is also called. My hero Michael Pollan is a fan.
See what you think.