Climate change....We see it as the largest problem facing the world today. We want to do our part to mitigate climate change. We also want to influence others not only through our own behavior, but also through education and outreach efforts. It's a lot easier to talk about climate change, and to write about climate change, than to actually do something about it. Where do we start?
We think we start by understanding where we are today and what impact our farming and general living practices have on climate. We see a lot of it through the filter of carbon. How much carbon are we putting into the air, and how much carbon can we store in the soil and in our plants? We think small efforts like composting food waste (or feeding it to the chickens) and skipping the extra car trip into town are important. So are bigger, more visible projects like installing solar panels on the roof of the log cabin. We're trying to make changes that are economically sustainable, and do some community building in the process. That's why we keep inviting you to come and see the farm!
We're trying to understand the trade-offs between organic fields which require tillage for weed control and our non-GMO fields that allow no-till techniques leaving the root systems in better shape to transfer carbon to the biome deeper in the soil. We're trying to understand the impact of our cattle, and whether the fast rotation (styled after Allan Savory's holistic approach) helps reduce the impact of the methane load by putting more carbon into the soil. And we're thinking hard about our forested areas, on the slopes too steep for crops.
We've met with soil scientists from KSU, and hope to participate in a research project related to soil carbon that is now in the proposal and funding phase. We've talked with the forester at Berea College about the forest management practices and the program to sell carbon credits to companies in California. We're continuing to sample our soil and measure the organic content.
The timeline for mitigating climate change and saving our planet is short. We're trying to move as quickly as we can. We'd be happy to hear about other farm-based projects that are designed to mitigate claimate change. What are you doing?
Dr. Susan Shore