Rich Earth

This report explores the benefits to our climate, human and natural health of agro-ecology, permaculture and organic farming practices as reflected in existing literature. It is written by former Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett, who argues that organic farming is the most feasible way for agriculture to reduce the 10-12% of global greenhouse gas emissions the sector is responsible for. But the report goes further, suggesting that a largescale transition to organic farming practices could actually achieve negative emissions, where the soil becomes a giant carbon sink, absorbing and storing carbon.  

The report also suggests that other farming systems which claim to be low-carbon methods, such as ‘Climate Smart Agriculture’ and ‘Agroecology’ are “imprecise, undefined terms” with no certification scheme, unlike organic farming, which the report concludes, has precise definitions, broadly globally agreed parameters and is well-established and popular with consumers.

Commenting on the report, Molly said:

“If we are to prevent climate breakdown and stay within the 1.5° limit recommended by the recent IPCC report, we must find ways of recapturing some of the emissions already in the atmosphere. The land has an extraordinary capacity to absorb and hold carbon if farmed in a climate-friendly way.   

“It is now widely accepted that intensive agriculture is leading to a diminishing of the quality of our soils. While policymakers have been on a charm offensive with so-called ‘climate-smart agriculture’(CSA), it is clear that such systems rely on high level inputs and new technologies such as precision agriculture and genetically modified crops.

“The mainly small-scale farmers who produce most of the world’s food already use organic methods and the principles, methodology and a certification scheme are well established. A widescale transition to organic farming is therefore undoubtedly achievable; all we need now is the political will.”

Download full report here