‘Ecological intensification’ swaps pesticides for biodiversity

Posted on Thursday, February 2nd, 2017 by

While farmers often turn to pesticides and herbicides to get as much produce as possible from their land, there’s something new on the menu that could employ nature’s own resources instead. Intensive agriculture aims to achieve the highest yield at the lowest cost possible. It’s a resource-heavy practice and can cause biodiversity loss, soil degradation, […]

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Fighting Climate Change From the Ground Up

Posted on Thursday, November 10th, 2016 by

Climate delegates from around the globe have converged on the COP22 Village in Marrakech, Morocco, to hammer out the details of implementing the Paris Agreement. We already know that nations’ Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, as they stand now, will not be enough to meet the goals of the agreement, and it’s widely accepted that, […]

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Mark Shepard on Restoration Agriculture

Posted on Tuesday, October 4th, 2016 by

One of the world’s foremost authorities on restoration agriculture, Mark Shepard is happy that its popularity is growing but worries that its systemic nature is being misunderstood or “much degraded.” Restoration agriculture calls for the re-imagination of agriculture in which perennial systems replace annual plantings and harvests that expire in one season and leave nothing […]

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Africans Are Saving Their Own Soil

Posted on Thursday, June 16th, 2016 by

An archaeologist stumbles on a hidden farming practice that’s been passed down through generations. Here’s how it works. For hundreds of years, parts of sub-Saharan Africa have suffered from poor soil. Weather, shifting populations, and slash-and-burn practices have left wide swaths of land relatively useless for growing food without major commercial intervention. But that’s not […]

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“Grass, Soil, Hope.”

Posted on Wednesday, May 18th, 2016 by

When Gabe Brown and his wife bought their farm near Bismarck, North Dakota, from her parents in 1991, testing found the soil badly depleted, its carbon down to just a quarter of levels once considered natural in the area. Today the Brown farm and ranch is home to a diverse and thriving mix of plants […]

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Climate-smart soils’ may help balance the carbon budget

Posted on Tuesday, April 19th, 2016 by

Here’s the scientific dirt: Soil can help reduce global warming. While farm soil grows the world’s food and fiber, scientists are examining ways to use it to sequester carbon and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. “We can substantially reduce atmospheric carbon by using soil. We have the technology now to begin employing good soil practices to […]

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Treating Soil A Little Differently Could Help It Store A Huge Amount Of Carbon

Posted on Friday, April 8th, 2016 by

What if something as simple as the dirt under your feet could help mitigate some of the worst of climate change? The Earth’s soils contain a lot of carbon, and helping to manage and restore them could be a key way to help tackle climate change, according to a recent study in Nature. Soils […]

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How Does Oakland Turn Food Scraps to Soil?

Posted on Wednesday, March 16th, 2016 by

Oakland began collecting compost from all residential units in July 2015, but where does all of this new green waste go? Follow the lifecycle of your food scraps as they make their way through the composting process.

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Do We Treat Our Soil Like Dirt?

Posted on Friday, October 16th, 2015 by

That question headlining a 1984 National Geographic article on soils remains as relevant today as it was more than 30 years ago. We lavish attention on our food, we want to know where it came from, who grew it, and whether it is “conventional” or “organic.” But we give hardly a passing thought to the ground our […]

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Top Soil Could Be Gone In 60 Years If Degradation Continues, UN Official Warns

Posted on Thursday, October 8th, 2015 by

Generating three centimeters of top soil takes 1,000 years, and if current rates of degradation continue all of the world’s top soil could be gone within 60 years, a senior UN official said on Friday. About a third of the world’s soil has already been degraded, Maria-Helena Semedo of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) […]

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