The Climate Farmer Project

The Climate Farmer Stories Project

The Climate Farmer Stories Project is an art-driven celebration of the farmers in Anagram’s Vermont/New Hampshire foodshed who are digging in on the climate crisis, using their farms to draw down carbon, cool the climate, and build food security. In partnership with Vital Communities, with funding from USDA, we are connecting local artists with farmers, and providing technical assistance and grants to amplify these stories of direct climate action and resilience. Read on for ways to support these farmers, make your own yard and garden more climate friendly, and help more producers become climate farmers.

Green Mountain Girls Farm

923 Loop Road, Northfield, VT (802) 505-9840 Art by LMNOPI Products: Pasture-raised meats and regenerative veggies, fruits and more. Farm stays & tours. Where to buy: Farm shares, seasonal farmstand, and Northfield Farmers Market.

“Many who raise livestock on pasture call themselves grass farmers, and we hold that as a proud label for our work.

But our more primary identity is as ‘relationship farmers,’ keenly attending to interrelationships and thinking in terms of systems. For example, we nurture connections between invisible fungal structures in our soil and root systems to grow food that is both more nutrient dense and less labor intensive than conventional organic agriculture.”

Green Mountain Girls by LMNOPIGreen Mountain Girls Farm by LMNOPI
Farm Site

Climate Farmer stamp


What Is Climate Farming?

Farmers can help draw heat-trapping greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere by building healthy soils. Soil restoration is an essential part of climate change mitigation. Soils hold 5 times more carbon than the atmosphere, so even small increases in soil organic matter remove significant amounts of carbon from the air and help to cool the planet. How does it work? Photosynthesis! Plants use the sun’s energy to pull CO2 out of the air and transform it into the sugars they need to grow. They secrete some of those sugars and other carbon compounds through their roots to feed billions of soil microbes. In exchange, microbes mine and deliver specific nutrients and minerals that plants require. Some soil microbes feast on decomposing plants and animal waste, turning it into humus, the dark organic matter indicative of fertile soil. As soil microbes die, their remains accumulate to create more humus. Humus rich soil draws heat-trapping carbon out of the air and puts it to work sustaining healthy, nutrient dense food crops and a vast web of life.

In the data visualization below, notice that the highest emissions of CO2 in the northern hemisphere occur during spring planting, when soil is being turned over and organic matter and microorganisms exposed to the air, and the lowest levels are during high summer, when plants are performing peak photosynthesis.

Sweetland Farm

742 Route 132, Norwich, VT (802) 376-5945 Norah Lake Art by Cecily Anderson/Anagram Products: Organic vegetables, fruit, pastured meat and hay Where to buy: Sweetland Farmstand; CSA shares available.

“Sweetland has always raised our crops as sustainably as possible. But in 2018, we made a ‘90 in 10 Crazy Carbon Emissions Pledge’ to reduce our farm’s fossil carbon emissions by 90 percent over the course of 10 years.

It’s an ambitious goal, but when we started scratching our heads about what we needed to do to erase fossil carbon from the farm, things actually started to seem pretty doable. We are focusing on three main areas;

  • Increase the efficiency of our equipment and practices
  • Replace fossil-burning equipment with electric or other renewable fuels
  • Install PV solar on rooftops to generate the needed energy to grow food for our community

Four growing seasons into our pledge, we are making great headway! We have upgraded all of our walk-in coolers (our biggest electricity hogs) with high-efficiency refrigeration, installed solar panels on our barn, farmstand, and crew house, swapped an ancient oil furnace for an air-source heat pump in our farm crew house after adding 4 inches of insulation and double pane windows, and changed three of our irrigation pumps from gas to electric. Next up: turning off the propane tap in our greenhouses and heating them with wood chips from our own forest, and swapping our main tillage tractor from diesel to electric! You can check on our progress towards fulfilling our ‘crazy’ pledge at

Sweetland FarmNorah Lake of Sweetland Farm, Norwich VT
Farm Site

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How does Agriculture affect the climate?

The vast majority of the food Americans eat comes from industrially farmed land, here and abroad. Conventional industrial farming depletes soils, and is responsible for about a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions world-wide. Most farms that supply American consumers rely on pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers, and tilling. Tilling releases huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere and depletes the soil of microbial life. Without microbes and fungi to exchange nutrients with, crops require increasing amounts of synthetic fertilizer, which creates nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 300 times more potent than CO2. Confined animal feeding operations are a large source of methane emissions. Excess tillage and chemicals threaten our food security. Depleted of life, the soil loses its structure and is less able to absorb and retain water, making it vulnerable to drought, flooding, and erosion. Since farmers began tilling the land in the Midwest 160 years ago, 57.6 billion metric tons of topsoil have eroded; at that rate of soil loss, the earth’s farmland could sustain only 60 more harvests.* *Smithsonian Magazine

Cedar Mountain Farm by Janet McKenzie
Cedar Mountain Farm by Janet McKenzie

Farm Site

Cedar Mountain Farm

Stephen Leslie + Kerry Gawalt 25A Linden Rd, Hartland, VT 802-436-1448 Art by Janet McKenzie Products: Milk, cheese, beef, vegetables, herbs Where to buy: Order online and pick up, farm stand open Thursdays year round, milk available 7 days a week.

“As farmers who work with draft horses and maintain a dairy cow herd, we are operating on the premise that livestock are the essential component to land restoration.

The second major component of building soil on our farm is the use of cover crops. Composted manures from our horses and dairy cows along with cover crops feed the land. We do not use chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Cover crop seed is accounted for as a fertilizer expense within the farm budget. We are using no-dig methods, which we switched over to in 2020. But to solve the climate crisis, we need systemic change. As a nation, we need to elevate healthy soil as an essential ingredient to mitigating global warming. Soil is such a critical resource that we can no longer leave its management unregulated. Ownership or leasehold or any other form of land tenure can no longer mean free license to degenerate or destroy soil. Government must protect this resource and offer transformational incentives for the adoption and maintenance of soil health management systems. By offering incentives and technical assistance, every farm in Vermont can be transitioned to produce a wide diversity of annual and perennial crops. It’s not a matter of getting rid of cows—it’s a matter of adding back in everything else.” -Stephen Leslie, Cedar Mountain Farm

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State and Federal Policy to Support Climate Farmers

Go beyond supporting farms with your food dollars: get involved in policy that benefits climate farmers. Here are some top issues to contact Vermont legislators about in 2023: Payment for Ecosystem Services: Farmers should be rewarded for practices that benefit the environment and human health, such as managing land for carbon sequestration and water infiltration. The Vermont legislature will likely consider making more rewards available to farms through the Conservation Stewardship Program in this session. Legislators should work to streamline and improve programmatic and financial support, lower bureaucratic burdens and expand technical assistance for farmers. Housing and Land Access: Long-term secure access to land, capital, and appropriate housing are some of the most pressing issues faced in the agricultural community. Follow efforts on these fronts by Migrant Justice, Just Construction, the Farmworker Housing Repair Program, Every Town, the Land Access and Opportunity Board, Releaf Collective, and Farm to Plate Network. Federal On-Farm Slaughter Amendment: Voice your support for amending the Federal Meat Inspection Act to explicitly allow livestock owners to slaughter their animals on the farm where they were raised or to hire an itinerant slaughterer. Source: Rural Vermont Speak up for Climate Farming! Wherever you live, you can tell your representatives to replace harmful subsidies for polluting practices with support for organic no-till farming, managed grazing, and other proven methods for growing food that build soil health and cool the climate. Check out, one of the groups working on the Farm Bill. Source:

Sheep graze at Sunrise Organic FarmSunrise Organic Farm, White River Junction VT. Credit: Sunrise Organic Farm

Silloway Maple

1303 Boudro Rd., Randolph Center, VT 802-272-6249 Pictured: Paul Silloway, Marilyn Lambert + Paul Lambert Not pictured: Bette Silloway Art by Katie Runde Products: Solar- and wood-powered maple products Where to buy: Online and at the Sugarhouse Store, open for tours and sales Monday–Saturday, 10–5

“It’s satisfying to allow the landscape to remain in its natural state while producing a natural, local food.

At Silloway Maple, we use regenerative ‘a husband to the woods’ management, solar power, reverse osmosis, and traditional wood fire to evaporate the sap. Reverse osmosis (r.o.) is simply the pumping of the raw sap through semi-permeable membranes to remove part of the water, as the concentrated sugar and minerals are sent to the evaporator. Solar panels provide the energy for the reverse osmosis process. In our size maple operation, without the r.o., it would take approximately 1,000 cords of firewood to produce 12,000 gallons of maple syrup. With it, it only takes about 50 cords. ‘Only’ said to show you the comparison—50 cords is still a lot to cut, split, bundle, move again, and throw, piece by piece, into the arch at sugaring time!” -Bette Silloway

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Protect mature forests

Just as crop plants do, trees draw carbon out of the air and secrete it in the soil. Old forests sequester and store more carbon than young forests, and are also the most resilient to changes in the climate. With great species diversity, they are more resistent to infestation by pests or diseases. Their deep soils and dense ground cover help slow down and capture water, making them superior at reducing the impacts of droughts and floods. This also protects downstream communities from flooding, purifies drinking water, and maintains base flows and low temperatures in rivers during hot summers for the benefit of fish and wildlife. Forests cool the climate and help create rain with the moisture released by their leaves. Eighty percent of Vermont’s forestland is privately owned, making landowners crucial stewards of our greatest resource for removing carbon from the air. If you have mature trees and woods, conserve them. Leave dead logs and snags on the ground where they feed and house biodiversity. Buy lumber that is harvested sustainably—and reuse that old barn wood!

Working in the woods at Silloway MapleWorking in the woods at Silloway Maple. Credit: Bette Silloway

Cedar Circle Farm and Education Center

225 Pavillion Rd., East Thetford, VT (802) 785-4737 Art by Cecily Anderson Products: Certified Organic produce, fruit, flowers and nursery Where to buy: Farmstand and Cafe open April-December (hours online)

“We are dedicated to agricultural scientific research in the public interest, and to providing agricultural education and training.

Over the 20 years of our existence, the Farm’s practices have evolved to incorporate regenerative organic farming, which works to restore soil health, and in turn, the health of plants, people, and the planet. An entire ecosystem of microorganisms and fungi exists below our feet! Thriving soil life draws carbon out of the atmosphere and fixes it into the soil, thereby restoring a natural carbon sink. Carbon sinks are good! They benefit soil health and plant growth while lowering greenhouse gas emissions in the process. To support healthy, resilient soil, we are transitioning to no-till farming. This goes hand in hand with our use of cover crops, which are planted in between main cash crop cycles. The seed mixture is specifically chosen to fix nutrients into the soil that the past cash crop has used or that the next crop will need. Cover crops also create a blanket of plant matter that protects soil and inhibits weed growth. Common cover crops at Cedar Circle Farm are winter rye and hairy vetch, oats and peas, or yellow clover. We regularly test our soils for organic matter (think carbon!) and nutrients, and enhance plant and soil health with Korean Natural Farming methods.”

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Organic No-Till Agriculture

The world’s agricultural soils have lost at least half of their original carbon since the dawn of farming some 10,000 years ago, the result of deforestation, plowing, burning, and mismanaged grazing (and, more recently, application of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides). Although atmospheric carbon cannot readily be converted back into coal, oil, and natural gas, it can be returned to soil. More than 40 percent of living organisms in terrestrial ecosystems spend at least part of their lives in the soil. When soil is disturbed, microorganisms and plant debris are brought to the surface, where they decompose and release carbon into the atmosphere. Turn your garden into a carbon sink! Organic no-till farming and gardening foregoes tilling, or turning over the soil. This protects the soil microorganisms, and keeps the carbon they contain in the ground, while allowing plants to draw down more carbon. Limit soil disturbance in your garden and yard to boost soil health, increase water-holding capacity, grow more nutrient-dense food, and to store carbon safely underground. Layer organic matter such as mulches or compost on top rather than turning it into the soil. Let the worms and bugs do the work for you!

Sunrise Organic Farm, by Danielle Festa
Farmer Chuck Wooster of Sunrise Organic Farm, by Danielle Festa

Farm Site

Sunrise Organic Farm

1759 North Hartland Road White River Jct., VT Pictured: Chuck Wooster Art by Danielle Festa Products: Certified Organic vegetables, chicken, eggs, lamb, and maple syrup Where to buy: CSA memberships available in the spring; farmstand open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11-6, May-October

“Farming is, at its core, carbon management. We take sunlight, mix it with carbon (from the air) and water (from the soil), and create food. Might be direct crops like carrots and potatoes, or indirect ones like eggs and lamb, or indirect-indirect ones like honey and venison. Done properly, farming mimics the natural ecosystem around itself and adds carbon to the soil as a result of its activities. Compost, cover crops, rotational grazing, minimal tillage, and thoughtful management of adjacent forests and lands are all tools in the sustainable toolbox.

In 2020, we decided to up our game by building a carbon management facility on the farm. It has two parts: 30 kW of solar power on the roof, providing enough electricity to power 100 percent of our farm operations; and six bays of actively managed compost space on a concrete slab under the roof. The compost facility allows us to take food scraps from our community and turn them back into food. Pretty straightforward.” -Chuck Wooster

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Home composting is easy to do, reduces your trash, and helps reduce methane and other greenhouse gases from landfills. Leaves, grass, woody clippings, dead plants, and food scraps make excellent compost ingredients. Garden compost acts like humus and feeds the soil microbes that sequester carbon and improve soil fertility. You can use compost in your garden as a substitute for synthetic fertilizers, which destroy soil organisms. Compost also makes excellent mulch and can substitute for peat-based potting or seed-starting mixes. You can never have too much compost in the garden!

Use peat-free potting soils and seed-starting mixes

Peat bogs play an essential role on our planet. While they cover only 3 percent of the earth’s surface, they store some 500 metric gigatons of carbon. This is the equivalent of 67 percent of all the CO2 in the air, or all the CO2 held in the world’s boreal forestland, which makes up 10 percent of the earth’s surface. It can take thousands of years for a peat bog to form. Leaving them undisturbed—instead of mining the peat moss—keeps carbon safely in the ground. Source:

Luna Bleu Farm

96 Boles Rd, South Royalton, VT Suzanne Long and TimSanford Art by Katie Runde Products: Organic vegetables, chicken, and eggs Where to buy: CSA memberships; Norwich Farmers Market, South Royalton Market

“At Luna Bleu, we have always tried to view the farm as an ecosystem full of cycles, webs of relationship and energy flows. As farmers, our role is to nurture this ecosystem and build biodiversity. But the fact is, we are still functioning as farmers in an extractive capitalist economic system that has no root in ecosystem health.

When we depend on our farm income to pay the mortgage, utilities, insurance, medical bills, etc., it slows the work we need to do to heal and reintegrate a farm into the restorative wisdom of natural cycles and relationships. We have been doing this farming thing for over 30 years and too many of those early years were about economic survival and stable land access. What really kept us going, especially in those lean years, was our relationships with other farmers, community, and all the individuals, organizations, and businesses—building cycles of mutual aid and learning, webs of relationships and networks, and the flow of energy and support and a diversity of ideas, experiences, and talents.” -Suzanne Long, Luna Bleu Farmer

Climate Farmer stampPOLICY WATCH

System change: The 2023 Farm Bill

For climate farmers to thrive and for climate farming to have its greatest impact, we need systemic change. In the U.S., the Farm Bill will be on the table in 2023, offering an opportunity to reverse policies that are destructive to soil and climate, and to boost regenerative farming. The Farm Bill sets the priorities of the U.S. agricultural system, often encouraging certain crops and production systems over others­­—for example, soil health-focused programs that help rebuild soils currently receive less than 1 percent of overall funding in the Farm Bill, giving farmers an incentive to keep harming the soil. In turn, the farmers and ranchers who are making the effort to build healthy soils are not supported in their work, and in fact can be discouraged from it. Renewed every 5-7 years, the 2023 Farm Bill will last through at least 2028.  All members of Congress have the opportunity to influence the development of the Farm Bill by signaling their support for key issues through marker bills. Speak up for Climate Farming! Tell your representatives to replace harmful subsidies for polluting practices with support for organic no-till farming, managed grazing, and other proven methods for growing food that build soil health and cool the climate. Check out, one of the groups working on the Farm Bill. Source:

Petition graphic

Open Woods Farm by Joan Hanley
Open Woods Farmer Sayer Palmer, by Joan Hanley

Farm Site

Open Woods Farm

1061 Kinsman Highway Grafton, NH Pictured: Sayer Palmer Art by Joan Hanley Products: Certified Organic vegetables, eggs, maple syrup Where to buy: Where to buy: CSA memberships, Canaan Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market, Online Market

“Off-grid, solar-powered, minimal-tillage, soil-based, gravity-fed, micro-irrigation, on-farm composting, cover cropping, season extension… it all happens here. But none of these efforts matter without a farm business that is community based.

Connecting with the community through a commitment to local markets and a stake in the local economy has shifted climate conversations from a politicized national level to a meaningful community level. When a neighbor’s well-being is affected by unprecedented drought or overwhelming rain, activism around systemic change becomes less radical and more urgent. Open Woods is a Certified Organic vegetable farm on the side of the hill in the middle of a forest. I grow a huge amount of food on half an acre of land and sell almost exclusively to the Mascoma Valley region of New Hampshire. My priority is community-centered farming: direct sales, mutual aid shares, food scrap collection, honest conversation, and sharing joy in beautiful food.”-Sayer Palmer


How to make a yard more climate-friendly

Lawns act as net carbon emitters over the long-term. But you can reduce your lawn’s climate impacts or even sequester carbon with it:

  • Use a push mower or electric mower instead of a gasoline-powered one. An average gas-powered lawn mower puts 90 pounds of CO2 into the air every year.
  • Avoid synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Their manufacture emits climate pollution, and the application of fertilizer creates the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide. Instead, leave grass clippings in the grass, and allow moderate leaf litter to remain in the fall, for free, easy fertilizer. Add compost for an extra boost.
  • Diversify lawn plants. Diverse, regionally suited species help create the conditions for future healthy, lush lawns that absorb carbon. It is best to apply seed in the fall and spring to out-compete other vegetation. Make sure that seed mixes have legumes, like clover, in them to help naturally add nitrogen to the entire lawn. Try a conservation mix.
  • Mow Less. Mow your lawn at 4 inches or higher. This allows grass roots to grow deep, creating healthier, more robust plants, more carbon sequestration, and better water absorption. Observe No Mow May to encourage biodiversity.
  • Shrink your lawn area: Transition parts of your yard to more diverse, deep rooted habitat: trees, shrubs, flowering plants, berry bushes, and native perennial plants.
Perennial garden, cc Rachael JamesCredit: Rachael James
Root 5 Farm

Root 5 Farm

2340 US Rte. 5 N., Fairlee, VT (802) 923-6339 Danielle Allen + Ben Dana Art by Cecily Anderson Products: Certified Organic vegetables, Powerkraut Where to buy: CSA shares available. Co-op Food Stores and multiple independent food markets around the Upper Valley.

“We are dedicated to growing practices that use a holistic approach to soil fertility and plant health. We build our soil through crop rotation, cover cropping, and minimal tillage.”

Farm Site

Climate Farmer stamp


How to grow healthy soil

1. Keep living roots in the ground. 

Maintain living roots in soil as long as possible throughout the year. Take a walk in the spring and you will see green plants poking their way through the last of the snow. Follow the same path in late fall or early winter and you will still see green, growing plants, which is a sign of living roots. Those living plants are photosynthesizing and feeding soil biology by providing its basic food source: carbon. This biology, in turn, fuels the nutrient cycle that feeds plants. Look for crops that grow longer. Plan to plant another crop before one ends, or immediately after. Grow more perennial plants.

2. Keep soil covered at all times. 

This is a critical step toward rebuilding soil health. Bare soil is an anomaly—nature always works to cover soil as quickly as possible. Providing a natural “coat of armor” protects soil from wind and water erosion while providing food and habitat for macro- and microorganisms. It will also prevent moisture evaporation and germination of weed seeds.

3. Minimize disturbance. 

Limit mechanical, chemical, and physical disturbance of soil. Tillage—turning over and breaking up soil—destroys soil structure. It is constantly tearing apart the “house” that nature builds to protect the living organisms in the soil that create natural fertility. Soil structure includes aggregates and pore spaces (openings that allow water to infiltrate the soil). The result of tillage is soil erosion, the wasting of a precious natural resource. Synthetic fertilizers, herbi-cides, pesticides, and fungicides all have negative impacts on life in the soil as well.

4. Maximize Diversity. 

Strive for diversity of both plant and animal species. Where in nature does one find monocultures? Only where humans have put them! In a natural prairie or pasture, different types of plants like grasses, forbs, legumes, and shrubs all live and thrive in harmony with each other. Think of what each of these species has to offer. Some have shallow roots, some deep, some fibrous, some tap. Some are high-carbon, some are low-carbon, some are legumes. Each of them plays a role in maintaining soil health. Diversity enhances ecosystem function.

5. Integrate animals. 

Nature does not function without animals. Ever. It is that simple. Integrating livestock into an operation provides many benefits. The major benefit is that the grazing of plants stimulates the plants to pump more carbon into the soil. This drives nutrient cycling by feeding biology. Of course, it also has a major, positive impact on climate change by cycling more carbon out of the atmosphere and putting it into the soil. And if you want a healthy, functioning ecosystem you must provide a home and habitat for not only farm animals but also pollinators, predator insects, earthworms, and all of the microbiology that drive ecosystem function.

Soil Farmer
Walpole Valley Farm by Misoo BangWalpole Valley Farm by Misoo Bang
Farm Site

Walpole Valley Farms

663 Wentworth Road, Walpole, NH (603) 852-4772 Pictured: Ozzie Mae, farm staff.Not pictured: Chris + Caitlin Caserta Art by Misoo Bang Products: Pasture raised meat: chicken, pork, beef, lamb, turkey Where to buy: Order online for weekly delivery. Farm store open weekends 10-4. Visit the Inn and The Hungry Diner, our farm-to-table restaurant, year round.

“Since we began grazing multiple species through the pastures here at Walpole Valley Farms, we’ve seen an explosion in biodiversity and water retention in our pastures and woodlands.

It’s amazing how quickly positive change can be seen with relatively simple practices and minimal machinery. We believe that through holistic farming techniques that used to be commonplace for our ancestors and the indigenous people of this area, we can heal the soil while also raising nutrient-dense meats and vegetables for the community. We use holistic management practices with our animals in order to mitigate climate change through carbon sequestration. The water retention of our soil has improved remarkably since we began holistically grazing in 2006. Proper water retention is due to the amazing root structure of the grasses which helps our farm to avoid flooding events, keeping the soil in place for generations to come.”

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Minimize use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides

Fostering healthy soil and biodiverse ecosystems is the best way to manage pests and diseases. The manufacture and transport of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers require a lot of energy from fossil fuels. When applied to soils, the substances actually weaken the health of your soil. Synthetic fertilizers emit the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide into the air. Instead, minimize or eliminate synthetic fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides. Try beer bait for slugs, insecticidal soaps, neem oil, Bt bacterial toxin, and other non-synthetic pesticides. Rotating crops, applying compost, interplanting crops, increasing species diversity, using green manures and cover crops to increase diversity of plants are all practices that help fight pests and increase fertility in the garden.

Natural pesticides, by TreehuggerSome natural insecticides. Credit: Treehugger
Kiss The Cow FarmRandy and Velveeta, of Kiss the Cow Farm, Barnard VT
Farm Site

Kiss The Cow Farm

Lisa + Randy Robar 2248 Royalton Turnpike, Barnard, VT Art by Cecily Anderson, Anagram Products: Certified Organic, grass-fed, A2 raw & pasteurized milk; ice cream; vegetables. Where to buy: Farm store is always open at 2248 Royalton Turnpike, Barnard, VT. CSA available. Products sold at various Upper Valley farmers markets and retailers.

“We want to feed our community responsibly. Kiss the Cow Farm is 100 percent grass-fed utilizing millions of solar panels to grow the food our cows eat. Grass blades capture the sun’s energy and through photosynthesis move carbon from the atmosphere and store it in the soil. And carbon stored in soil stays there a long time. Grass also helps control temperature through evaporation.

Managed correctly, cows become an asset to fighting climate change because they improve soil microbial life. Their hooves disturb the ground so moisture and nutrients in their manure can nourish the soil. We rotationally graze our cows, which allows the plants to regrow and establish deeper roots improving soil health while keeping the carbon in the soil. Seaweed is another sustainable part of their diet, which studies have found reduces methane production by 80 percent. We’re striving to minimize external inputs, harvest the sun’s energy, grow soil fertility, and store carbon. The result? Local food that’s good for you, good for our planet.”

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How can cows be good for the climate?

Industrial livestock management is harmful to the environment, but it’s not the only option. Managed grazing where animals are on pasture their entire lives restores fertility to soil, which increases photosynthesis and draws CO2 into the ground. As soil becomes carbon-rich, it captures and holds more rain. This reduces flooding while replenishing dried-up rivers, helping to create a safer and more resilient climate future. Grazing animals in a way that mimicks natural herd movement has even been used to reverse desertification. Peer-reviewed scientific studies show effective grazing management can capture, or “draw down,” 1 to 3 tons of carbon per acre each year. Properly done, grazing removes more than enough carbon from the air to compensate for an animal’s enteric methane emissions. Healthy soil contains bacteria that metabolize (consume) methane. Methane from ruminants is only an issue of concern in the context of concentrated animal feeding operations, not when livestock are living naturally on pasture, managed in ways that improve soil health and biodiversity. Source: Vermont Healthy Soils Coalition

Moon and Stars by Misoo BangMoon and Stars farmer and producer Nando Jaramillo holds out his arepas in front of a field of heritage corn
Farm Site

Moon and Stars

Hernando Jaramillo Moon and Stars at Black Lives Matter House, 53 Park St. South Royalton, VT Art by Misoo Bang Products: Moon and Stars arepas, made from regeneratively grown corn Where to buy: Upper Valley Food Co-op, South Royalton Market, Free Verse Farm Shop, Littleton Co-op, Cedar Circle Farm, and other farm stands. Retail location opening soon in South Royalton.

“What if we could grow an heirloom corn, produce a traditional arepa, and help regenerate ecology and community?

Moon and Stars works to promote the accessibility and wider understanding of the cultural importance of corn. We also seek to ensure the redevelopment of lost and endangered varieties of heritage corn. The organization utilizes regenerative farming techniques and heritage culinary practices to create a deeper understanding and appreciation of corn and its sacred and vital role in native cultures throughout the Americas. By partnering with like-minded small farms and markets to source ethically grown produce to create our recipes, we are contributing to the resiliency of community, decreasing our dependency on industrial agriculture, and reducing our carbon footprint while co-creating a thriving, multicultural, and just local food system.”

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Plant cover crops, including Nitrogen Fixers

Cover crops are plants that are sown between food crops. Keeping the soil covered with living plants maximizes photosynthesis and hence soil carbon sequestration. Cover crops suppress weeds. They increase the soil’s water-holding capacity, which prevents erosion and helps crops withstand drought. When returned to the soil, cover crops provide organic matter and nutrients for later plantings. Peas, beans, clovers, and legumes are nitrogen-fixing cover crops, meaning they host rhizobia on their roots that can take nitrogen, a much-needed plant nutrient, from the air and convert it into forms that can be absorbed by plant roots—in place of synthetic fertilizers.

Plant The Three Sisters

Corn, beans, and squash are known as the Three Sisters. For centuries, these three crops have been the center of Native American agriculture and culinary traditions. The sisters complement each other in the garden, as well as nutritionally. Corn provides tall stalks for the beans to climb so that they are not out-competed by sprawling squash vines. Beans provide nitrogen to fertilize the soil while also stabilizing the tall corn during heavy winds. Beans fix nitrogen, feeding the corn and squash. The large leaves of squash plants shade the ground which helps retain soil moisture and prevent weeds.

Winter Street Farm by LMNOPIWinter Street Farm by LMNOPI
Farm Site

Winter Street Farm

Abby Clarke + Jonathan Hayden Winter Street Farm 344 Winter Street, Claremont, NH (774) 454-7637 Art by LMNOPI Products: Certified Organic vegetables, herbs & flowers Where to buy: CSA shares available in early spring. Farmstand open to members & the public: Tu/Thu 2-7pm & Sat 10am-3pm

“ Winter Street is a no-till, organic family farm that grows nutrient-dense food for our community.

Our goal is to grow all the produce a healthy family could need, making your life easier with daily staples, and hopefully a taste of some veggies you may have never tried.”

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Grow food!

Home-grown food helps you avoid carbon emissions from food production, packaging, refrigeration, and transportation. Using regenerative methods like no-till, mulching, and cover cropping can also restore what scientists call the Soil Carbon Sponge—soil that is teeming with microbial and fungal life, rich in carbon, and great at retaining water and nutrients. This spongy soil is resilient to drought and flooding, resists erosion, and supports biodiversity.

Choose a wide variety of species, the more the merrier.

Rethink competition among plants! Plants are the best collaborators: look at any natural system and you’ll see diversity and collaboration, rarely competition. Diverse plant life helps cultivate a soil ecosystem that can better store carbon, capture runoff, and improve plant productivity. Incorporate perennial shrubs, vines, ground covers, native ornamentals, and perennial vegetables and herbs. Rotating where you plant your annual vegetable crops helps maintain soil microbial health and prevents plant disease. Consider drought-resistant varieties that are able to withstand hotter, drier summers. Even the lawn can benefit from the addition of multiple species.

Grow for the pollinators!

Bees and other beneficial insects pollinate most plants needed to curtail climate change. Establishing year-round habitat for beneficial insects will increase pollination, predation of pests by other bugs, and attract birds who are pest-management experts. Growing plants that flower throughout the growing season helps attract and sustain declining bee populations. All insects love flowers and especially lots of tiny flowers like you’ll find on many herbs. Consider lavender, mint, borage, sage, thyme, oregano, onion, sunflower, and rose. Diversity begets diversity! Source: WSU extension Climate Friendly Gardening Tip Sheet

Pollinator Garden, cc USFWSPollinator garden. Credit: USFWS