All eyes on food in Climate Week 2022

All eyes on food in Climate Week 2022

Climate Week 2022 will bring together thousands of participants keen to strategize on the best solutions to tackle the growing climate crisis in the United States and around the world. There will be no shortage of options for learning and brainstorming. I hope many of them are looking for solutions Reduce greenhouse gas emissions From Food production and agriculture.

After all, the food and agricultural industry in the United States is in a unique position: it is highly vulnerable to Climate Change Effects, but also has the potential to become an important climate solution. Shifting this sector away from extractive practices and towards climate-friendly strategies is essential as farmers struggle with extreme weather events and once-reliable food supply chains become much less reliable. Meeting this challenge would likely mean the wholesale adoption of agricultural practices that reduce reliance on fossil fuel-intensive inputs such as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides; Targeted and equitable treatment of emissions from animal agriculture; Prioritize soil health.

Sang Lee Farms employees in Peconic, New York, on November 5, 2021. The organic farm has been operating and growing on Long Island for more than 70 years.

The good news is that such practices have been adopted with increasing success by organic farmers for decades. Certified Organic Agriculture offers a holistic farming system that has been time-tested to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Organic farming also has the advantage of being defined and enforced by federal law. However, the full potential of organic will only be realized if we increase public investment in programs that help more farmers adopt these beneficial practices, mitigate the risks of the organic conversion process, expand research programs, and increase technical assistance.

Organic farming is an important lever in moving the needle on climate change. Here is the reason:

Organic farming reduces greenhouse gases

Since fertilizers based on fossil fuels and most synthetic pesticides are banned in organic farming, they have a significantly lower carbon footprint. The production of these agrochemicals is energy intensive and there are significant emissions associated with the use. Studies show that eliminating synthetic nitrogen fertilizers alone, as required in organic systems, can reduce direct global agricultural greenhouse gas emissions by about 20%. a 40 years of study The Rodale Institute also showed that organic farms use 45% less energy than conventional farms (while maintaining or exceeding yields after a 5-year transition period). Meanwhile, pesticides – which are commonly used on crops such as strawberries and are injected into the soil – emit nitrous oxide (N2O), The most powerful greenhouse gases. Research indicates that one commonly used insecticide, chloropicrin, can increase nitrous oxide emissions by 700-800%. Two other fumigants (metam sodium and dazomite) are also known to significantly increase nitrous oxide production.

Organic farming improves soil carbon sequestration

The soil-enhancing practices that underlie organic farming also help sequester more soil carbon than inorganic systems. Multiple meta-analyses comparing thousands of farms across the country have shown that organic farming leads to more organic carbon in settled soils and less nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions than conventional farming. a last review From nearly 400 studies it was shown that pesticide use was associated with damage to soil invertebrates in more than 70% of the studies. Soil invertebrates are essential for carbon sequestration because they are responsible for the formation of soil components that are necessary to build soil organic carbon. In fact, Estimated that with global adoption of best agricultural environmental management practices such as diversified organic farming, soils could withdraw up to 157 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide between 2020 and 2100.

Organic farming increases resilience

Organic farms are required to build healthy soils and crops that make them more resilient in a changing climate. First and foremost, organic farmers rely on fertilization, crop rotation, and natural soil amendments rather than fossil fuel-based inputs in order to maintain or improve soil health. As stewards of healthy soils, organic farmers and ranchers can be a major force for climate mitigation (U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack emphasized this frequently during the recent announcement of the USDA’s new Framework for Resilient Food and Agriculture Systems.)

Organic farming promotes resilience by enhancing the soil’s ability to hold water and the natural nutrients found in healthy soil. By continuously increasing soil organic matter over time, organic farming improves water filtration by 15%-20%, replenishes groundwater, and helps crops perform well in extreme weather such as droughts and floods. The decades-long organic farming experience found that organic yields can reach 40% higher From non-organic farms in dry years. By forgoing most fossil fuel-based inputs, organic farmers are also more resilient and able to adapt not only to the stresses associated with climate change but also Other global pressures are disrupting.

As farmers grapple with everything from extreme weather events to heat stress and wildfires, and lack of predictability in the face of climate change, it is imperative that governments support the transition to agricultural practices that increase resilience and dramatically reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Chemicals. Organic farming can and should play an important role in any climate action plan. Given the urgency of the climate crisis, we must build on what we know is working.

#eyes #food #Climate #Week

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