Soil is the foundation of our food systems, yet, globally, it is being degraded at alarming rates. The central importance of reversing this trend and finding ways to value soil informs this panel discussion. If we look at the economics of soil loss, we soon see that we cannot afford it. Yet at the same time, the way we manage our soils offers one of the biggest opportunities to mitigate climate change, as well as adapt to drought, reduce pollution, increase biodiversity and, of course, produce food.
In this session, chaired by Sarah Bell, Programme Director, 11th Hour Project, speakers unearth the social and environmental costs of soil degradation and regeneration and explain compelling ways to move forward. Professor David Montgomery, University of Washington, outlines why practices that build soil organic matter provide significant benefits to society as a whole; Professor Whendee Silver, Steering Committee Member, Marin Carbon Project, discusses the potential of using compost to decrease greenhouse gas emissions at the same time as increasing productivity; Lara Bryant, Soil Fellow, National Resources Defense Council, explains how reform of the crop insurance subsidy programme could be a key driver of soil stewardship; Richard King, a farmer from Petaluma, explains how he is building healthy soils through holistic grazing systems.
Photograph: Elvis Ripley
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