Eric Toensmeier, my guest today on Inside Ideas, has the firsthand experience and knowledge to answer that question. An appointed lecturer at Yale University, Eric practices carbon farming methods and techniques in his garden in the US.
It is a type of farming focused on sequestering atmospheric carbon into soils and crops to support nature and the environment. And to answer which practices are the most effective in doing this, Eric starts by asking some key questions.
“Does this practice adapt to climate change and to which challenges. Does it sequester carbon in the soil or in perennial biomass, or both? Does it reduce nitrous oxide, methane, or carbon dioxide? And does it increase production?,” he says.
When most of these can be answered in the affirmative, the benefits of what Eric calls good farming can be more easily understood. And to provide that type of clarity he is currently working on a piece that will answer some of these questions.
He added: “We really are looking for practices that can do all of these things and many of them do and I think we want to credit ourselves for that, but also we want to draw on funding streams to support these activities. There are water quality benefits; migrating wildlife benefits, pollinator benefits, and all these things are there in these practices, some more than others. I don’t think we are appreciating what good farming really does, for all of the dimensions that it does.”
It is important that the many upsides of good farming are discussed and debated as the world seeks solutions to the most pressing climate and ecological challenges. That is why I am delighted to have Eric on the show to discuss the different ways farming can be practiced to benefit both people and planet.
Eric is the award-winning author of Paradise Lot and Perennial Vegetables, and the co-author of Edible Forest Gardens as well as a contributor for Drawdown. As well as being an appointed lecturer at Yale University, he is an international trainer, presenting in English and Spanish in the US, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, and the Caribbean. Eric has studied permaculture and useful plants of the world for over two decades. He also managed an urban farm project for five years, ran a seed company, and co-developed a farm business training curriculum that is now used in eight US states and three Canadian provinces.
Eric’s most recent book is The Carbon Farming Solution A Global Toolkit of Perennial Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices for Climate Change Mitigation and Food Security, which was backed by supporters through a Kickstarter campaign.