Soil Carbon Restoration
NOFA Interstate Council
Dangerous levels of carbon in Earth’s atmosphere derive not only from burning fossil fuels, but also from land use changes. In fact, some scientists estimate that two-thirds of the excess carbon in the atmosphere derive from land-use changes such as clearing forests for agriculture and tilling the soil; with every tillage pass, a portion of a soil’s organic matter (which is 57% carbon) is converted to CO2 along with some of the soil’s fixed nitrogen, which is converted to N2O (a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2).
The good news is– with changes to farming, ranching and gardening practices, we can reverse the global trend of soil carbon losses and instead return atmospheric carbon back to the soil. Building soil carbon / soil health increases the profitability and climate resilience of farms by making soils more drought and erosion resistant while reducing input needs. And, it is a climate change mitigation strategy that simultaneously increases the security of our watersheds, ecosystems and food systems. In NOFA communities across the Northeast, we are teaching growers and land managers of all scales how to adapt their practices to increase the health of crops, farms, people and the planet.
Past event recordings:
Virtual Soil Health Field Day at Assawaga Farm (CT NOFA)
Take a virtual tour of Assawaga Farm with owners Alex and Yoko. We then discuss no-till farming, cover
cropping, and finish the workshop with Caro Roszell (NOFA/Mass) teaching us how to assess soil health on your farm with carbon proxy testing. Recorded May 2020.
How’s Your Soil Doing? Field Assessments for Your Farm and Garden (NOFA-NY)
See a virtual demonstration and discussion of soil health assessment methods performed at Grindstone Farm, Lovin’ Mama Farm, and Growing Family Farms and observations offered by the farmers. Joseph Amsili of Cornell University offered a presentation on the findings of the Characterization
of Soil Health in New York research project. Recorded November 2020.
Virtual Soil Health Field Day at Freedom Food Farm (NOFA/Mass)
Learn from farmer Chuck Currie about his practices on his livestock and vegetable operation. Topics included field equipment (including roller crimper and grain drill) market garden practices, tarping, and planting garlic into living green mulch as a strategy for extending days in living cover. Julie Fine, cover crops expert and sales representative from Johnny’s Selected Seeds offered a presentation on cover crops for reduced till systems. Recorded November 2020.
Managing Soil Health: Grazing & Specialty Crops | A Tour & Discussion with Stonewall Farm (NOFANH)
In this farm tour and discussion, Stonewall Farm’s team discuss soil health principles and holistic management practices. Learn about the benefits of soil management techniques like preventing water erosion, easing compaction, producing nutrient dense products, and more! Recorded October 2020.
Conservation Innovation Grant Video Farm Tour (NOFA-NJ)
Follow the stories of 3 farmers and see how they are making efforts to build soil health in their operations. Featuring Mike Rassweiler of North Slope Farm, Scott Morgan of Morganics Family Farm, and Alec Gioseffi of Iron Bound Farm. Each farm offers discussion of their efforts to reduce tillage and support soil health on their farms. Recorded May 2020.
These events made possible by the support of our members and donors, including Farm Aid and by a Conservation Innovation Grant from the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS)