CarbonToSoil, regenerative farming to increase carbon sequestration
Carbon to Soil app gives everyone the opportunity to participate reverse climate change by creating awareness and monitoring regenerative farming in the real world.
Source: Android description / Image: Eric Shoemaker CC BY-NC 2.0
Download: Android 4.1 (7.5MB) / iOS 8.0 (5.3MB)
Price: free (in-app purchases)
Runs offline: no
Last update: Android 11/01/2016 – iOS 03/12/2015
Website of the developer: CarbonToSoil
CarbonToSoil is a Finnish non-profit initiative ((with the collaboration of Carbon Underground, as well as numerous partners) which has as objective to promote regenerative agriculture. With these techniques, the crops can increase CO2 capture, reducing concentration of this gas in the atmosphere, one of the main causes of the greenhouse effect and, hence, global warming.
In this project, there are two main agents involved:
- The farmer or landowner, which devotes part of its properties (the web proposes 5-20 ha) for the development of regenerative farming related practices. To participate, in addition to fill out a form, it’s necessary to sign a pilot contract with CarbonToSoil, which in turn provides training, information and technology for project development (eg sensors to measure soil temperature and moisture that, after the pilot phase, the farmer can purchase at a discount). There is also the possibility of receiving financial support, although this aspect is studied case by case (in Finland, for example, they offer 100 €/ha). The farmer must commit to regularly report about their performance and practices.
- The app user, which “sponsors” an area of land in exchange for a single minimum payment of €1.99, valid for an agricultural cycle until the next harvest and which corresponds to 2m2 (application includes various plot sizes and prices). There is the option to choose between a predefined package, which automatically assigns a farm and a crop, or customizable packages where you can choose which farms or crops benefit with your financial contribution. The money donated by users is distributed as follows: 30% for costs of management and administrative costs and the remaining 70% to the activities of soil regeneration, global momentum of the project, education and research. Once you have made your selection, if you become a registered user, you can view the data of farms and agricultural areas that you support in real time.
They are currently associated 9 farms in Finland, USA and Costa Rica and thanks to app, you can meet both the crop to which you are supporting and its benefits or uses, as well as the farmer who owns the land.
Images: Screenshots 13/04/2016. © CarbonToSoil
Carbon sequestration through farmland is one of the technologies that arouses most interest. In fact and asFAO remembers, «soils are the largest carbon reservoir of the terrestrial carbon cycle», acting as a carbon sink. However, intensive agriculture, characterized by the use of nitrogen fertilizers is also one of the largest sources of generation of greenhouse gases (for more information, take a look to this Nature magazine article or this pdf file by UK Government). It is therefore necessary to promote agricultural systems more sustainable with the environment and the implementation of organic farming techniques, regenerative and permaculture can be helpful, so it is necessary to help farmers who opt for this form of culture (although some of these practices also generate doubts).
CarbonToSoil represents, in this regard, an interesting initiative currently under development that brings closer the various types of crops or practices that can be developed to reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. It is an application that can also serve as a tool to reduce the carbon footprint and it can even be used as a measure within a strategy of corporate social responsibility through project’s support. The app highlights for its design, but during tests carried out there have been some problems with the content loading. Likewise, it’s missing more clarity concerning the distribution of money (the data provided in this article have been sent by CarbonToSoil via email) as well as a support in favour of local agricultural varieties which contribute to increasing the genetic wealth and make better use of resources for its natural adaptation to the environment.
One thought on “CarbonToSoil, regenerative farming to increase carbon sequestration”
A very ambitious project to promote regenerative farming as a carbon capture and fixing method. Regenerative is an alternative farming method that maintains a high proportion of organic matter in soils and minimum tillage, increases biodiversity, minimizes the use of chemical fertilizers, uses composting & green manures & mulching and utilizes crop rotation and cover crops. Carbon to soil is a crowdfarming platform that incentivises farmers to adopt regenerative farming through education, support and technology. People can adopt plots of lands and crops, and monitor them remotely. However, while the educational content is very complete, the engagement with the farm and the regenerative process is very limited. I personally feel that for crowdfarming to work, the level of participation must be much higher and more rewarding.