The climate crisis threatens farmers’ ability to grow food in a productive and environmentally sustainable way. Yet at the same time, farmers are part of the solution. Rebuilding the soil and sequestering carbon holds great promise to combat climate change and create resilience to it.

On November 7, 2019, Duke Farms, New Jersey Farm Bureau, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, New Jersey Department of Agriculture, and New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station held a Carbon Farming Workshop to address ways to facilitate climate-friendly farming practices that benefit the environment while benefiting producers’ bottom line. The Foodshed Alliance was one nearly 100 stakeholders in attendance.

The workshop covered farming practices that can help NJ farmers lower operating expenses by adopting practices that will make their farms more resilient to the adverse impacts of climate change, and allow farmers to mitigate greenhouse gases while improving their soils.

Farming practices that improve, conserve, and build up soil (and soil carbon) are known as regenerative agriculture. In addition to helping reverse climate change, regenerative practices also produce healthier soil that in turn produces healthier food.

The workshop also covered the economics of those practices, the public and private resources that are already available to fund these practices, as well as new proposals which could provide financial incentives to farmers.

“Soil health is so powerful, and we need to under-stand what we’re putting in our bodies all starts with the soil,” says Kendrya Close, executive director, Foodshed Alliance. “We can’t have healthy food—or a healthy planet— if we don’t have healthy soil.”