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)