The effects of climate change have been steadily increasing over the recent years. Droughts, erratic weather, rivers and reservoirs becoming alarmingly more shallow every year, and more. It’s clear that an overhaul of how we create and consume energy is needed, and in fact is underway. More and more countries and leaders are adopting renewable energy sources and regenerative practices in order to do their part.
One of the major areas of concern as the global temperature rises, is food security. As droughts become more and more common, agricultural water and land management has increasingly become an area of concern. Organic farmers are doing their part, as Organic farming helps to increase and maintain soil health. Here’s how:
Organic Farming Increases Soil Resilience
Maintaining healthy soil is crucial for organic farming. Healthy soils will have a good structure (tilth), which aids in the maintaining of water, drains better, maintains proper aeration, and encourages very deep root systems.
There are four guiding principals in maintaining healthy farm soil, as authored by the NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service):
- Minimize dusturbance
- Maximize biodiversity
- Keep soil covered
- Maintain living rotos
USDA National Organic Standards make it a requirement that organic labeled farms employ crop rotation, cover cropping, tilling, nutrient management, and more to improve and manage the physical, biological state of their soil.
Healthy Soils Trap More Carbon
The easiest, cheapest method to reduce excess carbon from entering Earth’s atmosphere is through carbon sequestration through biomatter including plants and soil. While it is true that organic farming does require some soli disturbance for weed control, organic systems remove atrifical inputs which significantly reduces tillage.
This reduction of tillage, cover cropping, and precise nutrient managment can aid the the seuqestering of carbon and help build resilience in organic farming systems.
Healthy Organic Farming Soil Realses Less Greenhouse Gases
One of the main tenets of organic farming is not using pesticides and fertilizers which are both primary contributors of greenhouse gases. Organic, healthy soils helps crops gain nitrogen, phosphorus, and other crop nutrients through organic matter. This lowers the need for water-threatening fetilizers that release climate-threatening greenhouse gases.
Still More To Do
While organic soil practices are one tool to fight climate change, there is much more that needs to be done. Petitioning your state representatives and local leaders to take action is something all of us can do to affect change.