The Carbon Economy, Carbon Farming and Regenerative Agriculture Series workshops in Santa Fe are born out of the inspiration of a few and the efforts of many. First, I applaud with gratitude the genius, impetus and energy of Australian Regrarian, Darren J. Doherty who originated this series.
I was fortunate to be hosted by the wonderful multigenerational Tautrim family on Orella Ranch next to the glimmering Pacific Ocean in Santa Barbara, CA for my first Carbon Series experience. The world renowned teachers and eager participants discussed topics which were highly enlightening and edifying to all. We were lovingly taken care of by the kind people of Quail Springs who produced the event. That pivotal experience inspired me to offer the Carbon Economy Series in Santa Fe, NM.
As Pablo Lugari, the celebrated pioneer of sustainable practices from Colombia explained to a group of us who visited Gaviotas last November; all life depends on the delicate balance of the gasses in our atmosphere. This balance has coevolved with the vegetative skin of the planet. This vegetative envelope is the succession of species flowing from a one cell organism like cyanobacteria, to algae, to grasses, and vegetables. This flow continues to bushes, deciduous trees and finally to the mighty conifers. This membrane uses sunlight, carbon, soil, and water to produce oxygen and food.
The soil-food-web supports all the life we see and experience in our daily life. It is more complex than all the species we know on the surface of the land and under water. We have only identified 2% of the organisms in soil. Three groups have been identified: bacteria, fungi and micro organisms like nematodes. Their varying proportion sets up the conditions to nurture the different families of plants. These biological organisms use tremendous amounts of carbon to break down mother rock and her substrates into a less complex mineral structure which plants can utilize to thrive. These organisms, along with the grass family, sequester more carbon and release more oxygen than tropical rain forests.
We can all sequester more carbon and replenish the biology of the earth’s soil membrane with the natural practices to be discussed in theory and practice in the Carbon Economy Series. Join us.
Enjoy, learn and let’s all build soil together!
Carbon Economy Series President
“ You are not a gardener, a farmer, a rancher, a landscape architect nor a greens keeper instead, you are a soil manager.” Dr Elaine Ingham PhD. This distinction alone can change the way we wrap our minds around growing anything. We might be able to work smarter rather harder. Instead of being at the mercy of the soil, its present condition or having to rely on costly and at times dangerous additives we can use biology to enrich the soil. Healthy soil makes for healthy plants that resist disease and pests.
Does this sound too good to be true? Well it is true and not hard with proper understanding of the soil food web and how it works. Talk about having nature working for you with an age old tested, successful method. Although only three percent of the organisms in soil have been identified, we know that the combination of micro organisms, bacteria and fungi churn mother rock into soil rich with humic acid. These organisms co exist with the plant roots that exude sugars to power the little critters.
Dr Ingham is one of the leading soil biology researchers and founder of Soil Foodweb Inc. She is known as a leader in soil microbiology and research of the soil food web which she brings to life in her talks. She is an author of the USDA’s Soil Biology Primer. Her passion is to increase fertility to soil, grow strong crops, reduce water usage, use composting to cut down the necessity of waste.
Jessica Rowland is a Lecturer and the Local Food Systems Outreach Coordinator in the University of New Mexico Sustainability Studies Program. She teaches interdisciplinary courses on sustainability, local food systems, and climate change, and is a recipient of the UNM Lecturer of the Year award. Jessica facilitates the UNM Lobo Growers’ Market, and collaborates with various campus and community partners to grow the local and regional food system.
She is currently spearheading the development of the UNM Food Systems Collaborative, a diverse campus-wide group of faculty and staff who are engaged in food systems research, teaching and community outreach. Jessica holds an MS in geochemistry and climate change science from the University of Arizona, and is a Board member of La Montañita Food Co-op. She was raised on a small farm in the Pacific Northwest, but is thankful to call the high desert her home.