Photo above: Ecology Artisans and Montado Farms
Catalyzing Carbon Farming in San Diego County
Exploration Project: Catalyzing Carbon Farming in San Diego County
San Diego Food System Alliance is working on a collaborative project to catalyze Carbon Farming in San Diego with support through The San Diego Foundation's Climate Initiative. This is a collaborative project between the San Diego Food System Alliance, Batra Ecological Strategies, Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego County, and County of San Diego. The funding by The San Diego Foundation enabled the Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego County to receive $10k from Jena and Michael King Foundation to develop San Diego County's first carbon farm plan at Montado Farms.
Carbon Farming is a process designed to maximize agriculture’s potential for moving excess greenhouse gases from the atmosphere into soil and vegetation, building fertility, productivity and resilience. Carbon Farming is a whole-farm approach implementing on-farm practices that increase the rate at which plants transfer carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere to the soil, which then increases water infiltration, water-holding capacity, soil organic matter and promotes long-term carbon sequestration. More on Carbon Farming: http://www.marincarbonproject.org/
This exploration project for San Diego County involves two parts:
Part I: Assessment of the opportunities to sequester carbon, fund carbon farming, and synergize with other programs in San Diego County
a) How much net GHG reduction can be achieved through carbon farming in San Diego County?
b) What funding mechanisms exist for conversions to carbon farming? What financial incentives might be employed to maintain carbon farming as an economically viable activity?
c) What state and local policy synergies exist that are compatible with the goals of carbon farming?
Part II: Piloting the carbon farm planning process at one farm in San Diego County, Montado Farms
The goal is to complete both parts by end of June to inform the County of San Diego's Climate Action Plan process and to prepare for CDFA's Healthy Soils funding available in July.
The State is ahead of local jurisdictions in recognizing the potential of Carbon Farming. In an effort to further the vision of California's Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), Governor Brown identified key climate change strategy pillars to reduce emissions and meet the 2030 greenhouse gas emissions target. One of the six pillars includes "managing farm and rangelands, forests and wetlands so they can store carbon." To support with the implementation of this goal, the State recently funded the Healthy Soils Initiative, a collaboration of State agencies and departments led by California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), to provide resources for farmers and ranchers to increase carbon stores in agricultural soils.
Can farmers become part of the climate change solution? Stay tuned and find out more! We plan to share the findings of the analysis sometime this fall.
- Union Tribune, "Carbon farming" offers new chance for cattle ranch
- Escondido Grapevine, "Carbon farming" offers new chance for cattle ranch
- KPBS Mid Day Edition, California Hopes to Healthy Soils Will Fight Climate Change