August 28, 2019, VENTURA, CA – A new collaboration of Ventura County agricultural stakeholders – including the Ventura County Resource Conservation District, the Limoneira Company, Agromin, the Community Environmental Council (CEC) and the UC Cooperative Extension – has been awarded a grant from the State of California to study and demonstrate the benefits of soil health and “carbon farming” practices in Ventura County. The grant, awarded by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, seeks to help build regional agricultural resilience in the face of climate extremes. Researchers will use the funding to better understand the extent to which mulch and compost application can improve soil health, support the local agricultural economy, and drawdown atmospheric carbon to mitigate climate change. The research project will begin with the application of mulch and compost on a young citrus orchard owned by the Limoneira Company. The project features a vast amount of data collection – including monitoring soil metrics, water use, plant health, and greenhouse gas emissions. Educational field days will be held for the general public, local farmers and ranchers, and policymakers, in order to highlight the practices and allow regional stakeholders to learn firsthand about the benefits. This Limoneira site will be part of the 2019 Ventura County Farm Day, when the general public is invited to come onsite and learn more.
Jamie Whiteford of the Resource Conservation District is the project’s Principal Investigator. “We will be collecting extremely dense amounts of emissions data in near-real-time. We are looking forward to using a state-of-the-art greenhouse gas analyzer to accelerate our understanding of the links between agricultural conservation practices and climate change mitigation.”
According to CEC’s Allegra Roth, who will lead the outreach component of the grant, “This project provides an exciting opportunity for environmental and agricultural stakeholders in Ventura County to join forces to understand the various benefits of soil health when our community invests in it.” CEC, a non-profit focusing on local climate change adaptation and mitigation, manages an existing Healthy Soils Project on a cattle ranch in Santa Barbara County and is a regional advocate for land-based carbon farming. Gus Gunderson with the Limoneira Company stated, “Soil can be a powerful tool to alleviate many of our regional water and land-use challenges – whether improving water supply, reducing agricultural inputs, or putting carbon in the ground. But, more research is needed. We are all excited to see how this project evolves and what innovative regional discussions it sparks.” The work for this grant will span three years. Research and implementation is expected to begin in late summer or early fall of 2019. This project is one of dozens throughout California supported by the California Healthy Soils Program. This program, partially funded through the California Climate Investments and the Cap and Trade Program, has allocated $28 million in funding for the 2019-2020 fiscal year to support similar projects throughout the state. Visit www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/healthysoils/ for more information on eligibility and application information. Please contact Allegra Roth at [email protected] with any questions.
About Community Environmental Council
Since 1970, CEC has led the Santa Barbara region – and at times California and the nation – in creative solutions to some of the toughest environmental problems. CEC pioneers real life solutions in areas with the most impact on climate change. Our programs – including the annual Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival – provide pathways to clean vehicles, solar energy, resilient food systems, and reduction of single-use plastic. Find CEC at CECSB.org and on Facebook.com/CECSB, Instagram.com/CEC_SB and Twitter.com/CECSB.