Yesterday, at the Petaluma Farmer’s Guild gathering, attended by more than 30, the buzz was about Carbon Farming.

Farmers are now recognizing that just a 2% increase in soil carbon content on your farm or ranch can double their water holding capacity. This offers a significant solution in face of persistent drought across California.

Brittany Heck from Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District (RCD), Kari Wester from Sonoma RCD, Nancy Scolari from Marin RCD, and Rebecca Burgess, Founder and Director of Fibershed, all spoke about the tremendous potential of Carbon Farming to regenerate CA soils (which is the fundamental mission of RCDs statewide).

To provide some background, in 2007, a Nicasio landowner, John Wick, spread a 1/2″ layer of compost over a hectare. The Lawrence Berkeley National Lab measured the following results, and the Marin Carbon Project was born:

2,000lsb (1 ton) of CO2 sequestered per hectare
26,000 litres of increased water per hectare

Below are some links & resources for you to learn more about carbon farming:

If you are a landholder, you can calculate the CO2 sequestration potential of your land using this National Calculator:

Colorado State University’s COMET Planner

If you’d like to learn more about developing a Carbon Farm Plan for your own farm or ranch (please make sure to partner with your local Resource Conservation District) check out these links and resources:

The Marin Carbon Project Carbon Farming Plans

DRAFT Carbon Farm Plan courtesy of The Carbon Cycle Institute

Occidental Arts & Ecology Center’s Carbon Farming Course August 3-7, 2015

This explains how one local RCD is innovating a Carbon Farming Initiative. The Carbon Cycle Institute hopes to  strategically work with the entire national network of RCDs to spread Carbon Farming solutions even further:

The Marin RCD Carbon Farming Program

Check out my previous blog about how businesses like Nutiva and AlterEco are getting involved:

40 Business Leaders Learn about Carbon Farming in the Field

A Great Article About Carbon Farming from Nutiva’s Founder and CEO, John Roulac


Please comment below with any additional resources or if you found these resources helpful!

Buildin’ soil ‘Til the cows come home……

  1. raleigh latham 9 years ago

    Carbon calculator? Very cool. I would be great to combine the compost with Biochar for a double-whammy or carbon drawdown.

    What really surprised me was the figures for increasing water retention.

  2. Tim 9 years ago

    Exhaustive list of all things Regenerative Agriculture courtesy of Regeneration International:

    Also, come to the Soil not Oil Carbon Farming conference in Richmond Sept 4&5:

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