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Want to add a webpage all about climate-friendly farming to your farm’s website? The text below summarizes the climate-friendly campaign’s five talking points in a format suited for web publishing. Feel free to use as is, or adjust to your liking.
Corresponding Photo and Graphics.
Organic Farmers are Climate Farmers!
In the fight against climate change, efforts that strengthen natural resources, bolster the self-sufficiency of local communities, and improve resilience to the extreme and the unexpected are key. Long associated with environmental protection, the practices we use on Vermont organic farms do just that. They lean on the right side of the scale, they contribute to the vitality and resilience of natural systems, anchor local economies, and can even mitigate the impacts of extreme weather events.
While we may be known best for what we don’t do: namely, pollute airways, waterways, and soils with toxic fertilizers and pesticides, we’re just as invested in this work for the ways our practices actively strengthen natural systems. In other words, while our practices abstain from the bad, they also contribute to the good. It’s a double whammy in the fight against climate change, and a model for the kind of systems society will need in order to combat it.
While our practices contribute to the reduction of climate change in many, many ways, we’ll focus on five of the heavy hitters here–you’ll notice some aren’t just focused on reducing climate change, but on building resilience to it as well:
- Organic practices protect natural resources. The stronger our natural resources are, the more capable they are of preventing, absorbing, and reconfiguring the effects of climate change, like a system of checks and balances, re-attuning to Earth’s happy homeostasis. Because we’ve opted out of environmentally hazardous petrochemicals, our airways, waterways, and soils are that much less polluted. Our local flora and fauna are that much stronger, too. But organic practices like cover cropping, crop rotation, and integrated pest management go a step further to actively support air, water, and soil quality, as well as biodiversity. And of course, it’s all connected–the healthier the soil, the stronger the waterways; the stronger the biodiversity, the better the air quality; and so on. As Vermont organic farmers, our goal is to fuel this virtuous cycle: to strengthen our natural resources through our practices. And we know that, in the fight against climate change, those healthy natural resources are some of our best allies.
- Organically farmed soils release fewer greenhouse gasses. A healthy, vibrant soil ecosystem teems with life and decay. This rich food web produces nutrients that are readily bioavailable for farm crops, reducing their need for external fertilizers–some of which are major greenhouse gas contributors, both in their production and their application. Because organic farms abstain from using petrochemical fertilizers, we rely on biological soil processes more than our conventional counterparts. And as such, we really invest in our soils–from minimizing soil compaction to applying green manures, incorporating livestock, and maximizing soil cover, much of our work revolves around giving our soils our very best. Not to mention the fact that the healthier the soil is, the more capacity it has to actually sequester greenhouse gasses, but more on that later.
- Organic farms are more resilient to extreme weather events. One of climate change’s forecasts for Vermont is an increase in both the frequency and intensity of heavy rain events. For our local food system, that means on-farm flood mitigation measures are more crucial than ever, because the more resilient a farm is to flooding, the more consistently it will be able to provide food for its community when transportation and communication are impacted. That farm’s mitigation measures will also result in fewer incidents of run-off and erosion, aiding our waterways when they’re stressed. Our soil-boosting, biodiversity encouraging, water-conscious organic practices ensure we’re better equipped to stay afloat when waters are high.
- Organically farmed soils store carbon. The organic practices listed above all serve to improve our soil’s chemical composition and structure, facilitating the kind of vibrant soil ecosystem that draws carbon and other greenhouse gasses out of the atmosphere. This process, called sequestration, transforms hazardous greenhouse gasses into soil nutrients that allow for even healthier soils, which can then sequester more greenhouse gasses. Soil sequestration is one of the most cost-effective ways we can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and thus decelerate climate change.
- Organic farms are good for communities. In our globalized, industrial age, Vermont organic farms represent something different: a core component of localized food systems, localized communities, localized economies. These more self-sufficient traits are key to climate resilience. We’re invested in community resilience, and we’re also invested in providing healthy, toxin-free food for those communities–that’s what Vermont organic farmers do. We also support the notion that all Vermonters deserve nutritious, local, climate-friendly food, and are big proponents of NOFA-VT’s Community Food Access Programs, which subsidize CSA costs, facilitate SNAP-EBT sales at farmers’ markets and farm stands, and get Vermont organic food into senior housing facilities.
Environmental stewardship was one of the reasons we at [Farm Name] got into organic farming in the first place, but now, in this era of climate change and consequences, we feel doubled down on our organic practices. They’re some of our best allies against accelerating greenhouse gas emissions, extreme weather events, and the destruction of natural resources. While human activity spurred this vicious cycle through the exploitation and abuse of natural resources, human activity can, and must, be responsible for spurring the corresponding virtuous cycles that will restore equilibrium and preserve this place we call home. Organic farming is one such virtuous cycle, and we’re proud to be fueling it here in [Town Name].
Still reading? Want even more? These aren’t just our personal opinions–mounting research shows the benefits of organic practices are a solution to climate change. Learn more about what practices matter and why:
- Organic Farming Research Foundation
- Rodale Institute
- International Federation for Organic Agriculture
- Project Drawdown
- Civil Eats
- Wild Farm Alliance