Soil Salvation
April 2015

Organic Farming May Counteract Greenhouse Effect

organic-farmingThe nonprofit Rodale Institute, the United Nations and the Soil Association are reporting that modern, chemical-intensive industrial farming is stripping the soil’s natural ability to take carbon back out of the atmosphere through photosynthesis and store it in the soil. Rodale researchers say that by returning to small-scale organic farming, more than 40 percent of annual greenhouse gas emissions could be captured in the soil, and if the entire world’s pasture and rangelands were managed using regenerative techniques, an additional 71 percent of those emissions could be sequestered.

Further, organic practices could counteract the world’s yearly carbon dioxide output while producing the same amount of food as conventional farming. Rodale claims that using regenerative organic agriculture—like low or no-tillage, cover crops and crop rotation—will keep photosynthesized carbon dioxide in the soil, instead of returning it to the atmosphere. The institute cites 75 studies from peerreviewed journals, including its own 33-year Farming Systems Trial, which directly compare organic farming with conventional farming.