Light Farming -Rewriting the Story of Soil

The Scottish Government’s recent draft Climate Change Plan places heavy reliance on carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology in order to meet future emission reduction targets. At the same time it assumes very limited emission reductions from the agricultural sector.

The position of Scottish Communities Climate Action Network is that reliance on speculative and unproven CCS technology is unwise at best and that our priority needs to be to wean ourselves off fossil fuel dependence as rapidly as possible.

And, whatever the prospects for the success and viability of large-scale CCS in future, there already exists the means to capture huge amounts of carbon from the atmosphere at the same time as increasing resilience to climate change, securing clean water supplies, improving agricultural profitability and drastically improving the nutritional value of our food. Agriculture can be part of the solution, not part of the problem. What is not to like?

The answer lies in the soil. More specifically, it lies in understanding and nurturing the amazing microbial life of healthy soil through maximising photosynthesis and minimizing use of chemicals and tillage.

Visiting Scotland recently, renowned Australian soil ecologist Dr. Christine Jones gave a glimpse of the potential at an event organized by Nourish Scotland and the Scottish Food Coalition.


“Currently, many agricultural, horticultural, forestry and garden soils are a net carbon source. That is, these soils are losing more carbon than they are sequestering.

The potential for reversing the net movement of CO2 to the atmosphere through improved plant and soil management is immense. Indeed, managing vegetative cover in ways that enhance the capacity of soil to sequester and store large volumes of atmospheric carbon in a stable form offers a practical and almost immediate solution to some of the most challenging issues currently facing humankind.”

“Everyone benefits when soils are a net carbon sink. Through our food choices and farming and gardening practices we all have the opportunity to influence how soil is managed. Profitable agriculture, nutrient dense food, clean water and vibrant communities can be ours … if that is what we choose…For our futures and the futures of our children and grandchildren, why not begin today to rewrite the story of soil?”

For more information, see this article : JONES-‘LightFarming'(17May17)

Project Evaluation – Capturing the Whole Picture of Community Action

lfwcompassIt’s a common question – how to capture the bigger picture of community action, especially in a Climate Challenge Fund (CCF) project where much of the emphasis is on
carbon savings. How can the myriad benefits, which lead to a strengthening of resilience against shocks such as economic downturn and climate change, be assessed? These can include a sense of shared purpose, skills development and personal improvement, supporting the local economy, biodiversity and positive links to other communities – in addition to the required carbon saving.

SCCAN associate member, Climae Futures, has recently undertaken an evaluation for Local Food Works (LFW), an initiative led by Falkland Centre for Stewardship, whose activities include a regular food market, workshops, vegetable & fruit growing and community meals.

Continue reading

Exploring Community Resilience -Taster Workshop

TESS-logo-with-payoffThe EU funded TESS project invites you to a free taster workshop and discussion on Community Resilience on Monday Aug 1st in Edinburgh (12.30-2.30pm). It will also be an introduction to an online, ‘compass of resilience’ tool that community groups can use to assess their current state of resilience and prioritise future action. Book your place here: Resilience Workshop

This workshop forms part of the process of developing a resource package to support facilitators to run resilience workshops in their own communities. This is motivated by the belief that community resilience will be crucial, not just for communities to be able to return to some normality after a crisis but to be able to respond creatively to future challenges and innovate locally appropriate solutions for a zero carbon future in uncertain times.

This package is one of the outputs from the TESS project that is researching the impact of community based climate action groups across Europe. It is based on and inspired by an approach outlined in the two-year action research project ‘Exploring Community Resilience’ run by Nick Wilding and supported by Carnegie UK.

There will be a buffet lunch provided at 12.30pm with the workshop starting at  1pm until 2.30pm.

Drummond Library is in the Edinburgh University GeoSciences building at High School Yards, behind Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, see map here:

Book here: Resilience Workshop

Training Day in Facilitation Skills and Three Horizons

3HorizonsWednesday 11th May, Perth.

We are excited to be able to offer a training Workshop in facilitation skills and Three Horizons with Tony Hodgson from International Futures Forum on Wednesday, 11th May for a subsidised cost of £100 (including overnight accommodation in Perth for those staying over for the Spring Gathering and AGM). Limited to 12 places only. For more information and register at: