“…just look at Mother Nature, if you observe she’s telling you the answer.” — Kena Guttridge.
Soil’s ability to store carbon, and as a result, mitigate the effects of climate change, is getting more and more attention. The UN declared 2015 the International Year of Soils with a view to highlighting the many benefits that soil can provide.
Ollin Farms on 95th street in Longmont is holding its second annual Carbon Sequestration Festival on Sunday July 16th to bring together farmers, academics, industry leaders, citizens and youth under one common goal: to discover how the soils that grow our food are playing a part in solving some of the planet’s biggest environmental challenges.
Jim Butler Director of the Global Monitoring Division at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Boulder will be speaking at the Carbon Sequestration Festival.
“It all derives from how much carbon dioxide we have in the atmosphere and how much is society willing to try to address this problem when it comes down to it.”
Butler says a question that he is often asked about carbon sequestration is whether it can make a tangible difference in mitigating climate change. He says there is still much research to be done to quantify that, however he says healthy soils have tremendous benefits.
” This is a sign of good practice, this is good farming practice. Your soils will be healthier, you will have better productivity per crop and ultimately you’re going to win if you do the practices that lead to this. It gets close to the idea of organic farming, but it’s not. It’s basically how can we have practices that will capture carbon in the soil, takes you down the right path. And it affects your mindset and how you see yourself in the world and how you see it interact with you. In terms of how can it have an impact…I’ve given it a lot of thought and I still can’t answer that question clearly. I think it definitely will contribute.” Butler says that the planet already absorbs 50% of carbon that we emit through it’s soils “so that’s quite a bit.” Therefor he says the potential to increase that take up could have a significant impact.
Kena Guttridge, one of the owners of Ollin Farms says that we can increase the health of our soil through following nature’s lead.
“So we are learning to observe. It always has to be something green. When the season is over, we always plant our cover crops, and that will start growing. After winter they will come…so for soil practices it’s healthy to have something green but also for the carbon…just look at Mother Nature, if you observe she’s telling you the answer.”
The second annual Carbon Sequestration Festival happens at Ollin Farms on Sunday July 16th from 12:00 to 3:00pm. The event will have activities for kids and families as well as the opportunities to expand the conversation about carbon sequestration through lectures from multiple people who have been studying this process.