Erin – The Soil Health Coaltion is bringing together dozens of Erin farmers to launch a collaborative pilot program to improve soil health and water quality in the Greenbelt. With funding support from the Greenbelt Foundation, the Soil Health Coalition is inviting farmers to work with one another to share their knowledge of soil management approaches and measure results.
“The Soil Health Coalition is unique because we’re using outcome-based measurements and not offering any one approach up as a best practice over others,” says Ruth Knight, Project Co-ordinator for the Soil Health Coalition. “We are looking to farmers to share was has worked in their experience. It’s a farmer-driven approach with an opportunity for the community to be involved as volunteers.”
Soil is one of the highest priority issues globally and locally for climate change mitigation and a sustainable food system. Soil health is essential to the long-term viability of farming – and our food system – and to local water quality and quantity. Increasing soil carbon not only removes carbon from the atmosphere, but also increases agricultural yields, improves flood mitigation and reduces run-off into water systems.
While the project will be informed by soil management expertise, the objective is to take a “soil first” approach that leads with experience. Some examples of possible pilot activites include: changes in tillage practices; incorporating cover crops; diversifying cover crops; intergrating livestock and managing grazing to build soil carbon; and retirement of sensitive lands from farming for conversion to forests, meadows and wetlands, supported by the Conservation Authority.
“This project is based around building networks and recognizing the shared benefits of improved soil health for the agricultural economy, the environment, and the community,” says Edward McDonnell, CEO of the Greenbelt Foundation. “We expect that the results of this pilot will be useful to other agricultural communities in the Greenbelt and across Ontario in both strenghtening rural economies and increasing climate resilience.”Source : greenbelt.ca