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Battling Climate Change With Healthy Soils #rethinkfood

CEC is excited to announce that, in partnership with the Ventura County Resource Conservation District, the Limoneira Company, Agromin, and the UC Cooperative Extension, we have been awarded a grant from the California Department of Food and Agriculture to study and demonstrate the benefits of soil health and “carbon farming” practices in Ventura County.

Our grant funding will be directed towards building agricultural resilience in the face of climate extremes by conducting research projects that help us better understand how mulch and compost can improve soil, support the local agricultural economy, and minimize carbon in order to battle climate change

The Limoneira Company Research Project

The research project will begin with the application of mulch and compost on a young citrus orchard owned by the Limoneira Company. The project features a vast amount of data collection, and educational field days will be held for the general public, local farmers and ranchers, and policymakers, in order to highlight the practices and allow people to learn about the benefits. This Limoneira site will be part of the 2019 Ventura County Farm Day, when the general public is invited to come onsite and learn more.

Jamie Whiteford of the Resource Conservation District is the project’s Principal Investigator. “We will be collecting extremely dense amounts of emissions data in near-real-time. We are looking forward to using a state-of-the-art greenhouse gas analyzer to accelerate our understanding of the links between agricultural conservation practices and climate change mitigation.”

Gus Gunderson with the Limoneira Company also stated, “Soil can be a powerful tool to alleviate many of our regional water and land-use challenges – whether improving water supply, reducing agricultural inputs, or putting carbon in the ground. But, more research is needed. We are all excited to see how this project evolves and what innovative regional discussions it sparks.”

The Future of Healthy Soils

According to the CEC’s Allegra Roth, who will lead the outreach component of the grant, “This project provides an exciting opportunity for environmental and agricultural stakeholders in Ventura County to join forces to understand the various benefits of soil health when our community invests in it.”

The work for this grant will span three years, and it is expected to begin in late summer or early fall of 2019.

This project is just one of dozens throughout California supported by the California Healthy Soils Program. This program, partially funded through the California Climate Investments and the Cap and Trade Program, has allocated $28 million in funding for the 2019-2020 fiscal year to support similar projects throughout the state.

Currently, CEC is proud to be managing an existing Healthy Soils Project on a cattle ranch in Santa Barbara County as well as advocating regionally for land-based carbon farming.

Visit www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/healthysoils/ for more information on eligibility and application information.

Please contact Allegra Roth at [email protected] with any questions.  

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