Home | About | Donate

'Regenerative Agriculture and the Soil Carbon Solution': New Paper Outlines Vision for Climate Action

The statement makes no mention of global warming, so your point is a complete strawman, and BS.

Then will you kindly remove yourself from the biosphere to allow those who see paths through the bottleneck to do their work.

1 Like

Yes, the Rodale paper is on the speculative side, and the Rodale Institute is not the last word on much of anything.


Rodale, beginning in 1947, was among the first modern sources to champion organic agriculture (ALL agriculture prior to the late 19th century), which was always more about maintaining soil fertility than about tasty tomatoes. Regenerative agriculture has developed to make a start on RESTORING soil fertility that has been destroyed through factory farming, in particular by tillage and by biocides (Rachel Carson) of many kinds, all in just a little over a century. Wise people have been practicing it for decades, but the necessity of abandoning factory farming has only recently been widely recognized.

There is a former salesman for ag companies a few miles up the road from me who saved his money and bought out his father’s dying farm (providing the father with a good living in retirement), spent several years preparing the soil before planting anything at all, and now runs a profitable business while also serving as a teaching farm. This is a Black man in the South who went to college so he wouldn’t have to farm. He is also wise and spiritual, in touch with all there is.

Quantitative claims are premature, but Mr. Obie and others like him provide solid qualitative evidence that what they are doing is a hell of a lot better in almost every respect that what we have been doing for the past hundred and forty years.

1 Like

What you mean by “efficiency,” kimo sabe?

For some reason I am surprised at how little most people understand about food and the food chain. I am not a farmer, but I have extremely wide interests so have some knowledge of many fields beyond those in which I have formal training.

My advanced degrees are in the pseudo-science of economics, but my undergrad was physics and “STEM” is my native language, distributed pretty evenly across those four sub-fields.

What relatively little knowledge I had of biology and its subfields prior to a decade ago was self taught. But then my wife found her calling as an Ag Extension Master Gardener and is now indeed a master, with interests ranging from soil biota to herbology to tomatoes. In addition to the tomatoes, and I pick up quite a lot of critical knowledge by osmosis.

Economists toss the word “efficiency” around like a beach ball, mostly without the faintest idea of what they are saying. Thermodynamics provides the most airtight definition; engineers understand the concept of resource throughput but get distracted by their motto, “If it can be done it MUST be done.”

Anyone who thinks the world will look much as it does today in any dimension is indulging in magical thinking. Factory farms will be mostly non-existent because their real efficiency is so low, masked by the economists’ insistence that “How much’ll you gimme fer it” is a measure of anything but a chimera (money). (The understanding of money is changing rapidly, right up to the level of the big banks, finally recognizing among other things the valid insights by Keynes nearly a century ago. I just saw a webinar on that from a master, validating what I already knew.)

Another big difference that may take as long as a century to go to completion is that recognized by E. F. Schumacher and others in the mid-20th century, and by increasing numbers of informed people since then: Large urban enclaves are mind-bogglingly INefficient in almost every respect save the numbers of people they cram together, largely to the detriment of many of said people and to the real benefit of very few.

1 Like

Growing food on your property is a food miles victory.

" more time in the garden can improve the quality of your life better than most things or destinations "
Gardening as a hobby is another transport victory.

A penny saved, is a penny earned.



FYI, the link the the PDF is linking to version 8 instead of version 9 of the paper. Changing the 8 to a 9 in the URL for the paper will take you to it. I’d post the link but it appears I can’t. ~https://rodaleinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/Rodale-Soil-Carbon-White-Paper_v9.pdf

I agree with your observations. In addition, there is no mention of being able to produce enough food for everyone by their magical methods. No mention of reducing the human population either.

pathetic trashing is all your critic is - too bad you aren’t engaging your intellect and recognize the extreme peril we have been put in from the so called “leaders” of our nations, the corporate agenda, and the propaganda machine spewing lies in support of that corporate agenda

That does not even make sense.

1 Like

I’ve done a bit of digging. Apparently, while Rodale Institute is non-profit (supporting organic farming) they also have a publishing branch (Rodale Publishing) that is very much for-profit (and then some, $160M sales in 2009). That informs us a bit in terms of the motivations behind this white paper which has a lot of marketing gloss, is thin of science, and makes that (quoted) extraordinary claim.

This all smells a bit like a certain side-product from animal husbandry, but I will do more investigating (I am also interested how and why the term “organic” had apparently been dropped in favour of “regenerative” - when it is clearly the same thing. Again, this smells of marketing…)

No, in the frame of pure rationality it doesn’t. Elcil inhabits a different frame, one that is often invisible to persons with too many letters after their names. I have Master’s and Doctoral degrees in the pseudo-science of Economics, as well as a BA in the “hard” science of Physics. But I didn’t drink the Kool Aid, so can on occasion understand messages in other frames, such as those of Jungian psychology, great literature, the occult, etc. If you can function in those frames or similar ones you might get Elcil’s message–or not.

1 Like

I love it.
A little bit of thought to wake up the mind.
Like morning coffee and bowels. Take your time.

1 Like

I am honored, and as I suspected you know exactly where you are and what you’re doing. Rare

1 Like

This summer I was saving and earning. We started with Kennebec potatoes that the people at the food co-op really enjoyed, then came a flood Big Beef tomatoes and now another deluge of Waltham Butternut squash. All the time with great purple top turnips we, including extended family, had a great range of delicious dinners.

Still finding a market from the local people who seem to be aware of the value of “organic.”



But the soil can get deeper and deeper forever, think about the very deep topsoils of the great plains that the buffalo and other ruminants helped create.

Well obviously that isn’t the case (unless you’re a flat earther maybe), but I get your point - you think the soil sink is much larger than I’m guessing. I’d need to be convinced. The great depth of topsoil in the Midwest has nothing to do with bison as I understand it - it was a shallow sea and the topsoil used to be sediment with lots of organic matter (according to some on the internet - sounded reasonable). Bottom line is that if you visualize just how much coal and oil we’ve pulled out of the ground and attempt to visualize all that going back into the soil it sure seems to me those don’t balance each other but I haven’t run all the numbers. If you do run them, let us know.

1 Like

Organic food offers modest benefits over not-organic. What bothers me about “organic” is that it is part and parcel of a capitalist marketing program. Organic foods are grossly overpriced. Many of them are grown in South America and shipped here, a strange scenario for a product deemed earth-friendly. I would buy locally grown food grown the usual way over expensive organic in a second.

I think you are overstating the case, by more than a little. I’m an economist and I will be more than happy to wave capitalism bye-bye. But capitalism is the law of the entire world, especially in those countries that proclaim the loudest to the contrary. Define “overpriced.” The rule is “all the traffic will bear,” and one person’s “overpriced” is another’s bargain. I watch produce prices like a hawk (actually ALL prices–I’m a cheapskate), and what I see here in North Carolina and read about elsewhere is that the price of organic produce is often only marginally higher than that of non-organic. As for meat, the people I know who switch to organically raised meat find that they need noticeably less to feel sated. And for both meat and produce organic is generally more nutritious even if only in the avoidance of “biocides” (R. Carson) in the food, which lowers the true cost of true nutrition.

But the most pressing reason for organic or near-organic food production is the conservation of soil and soil fertility, which has been greatly debased by factory farming.

As for global food markets, yes, by all means buy local when possible–in season and avoiding foods that must be shipped, and preferably through a cooperative that buys from cooperatives. I don’t have the figures, but I doubt that a significantly higher proportion of organic produce is produced abroad than that of non-organic produce. In fact, local farmers are more likely to be organic or nearly organic in many places, which are those where there is a demand for it, which is the case where I live.

Your claims held more water even as recently as 20 years ago, but the times have changed, and welcome to the change. That’s not to say there are not “food deserts” in many places, or to deny that as much as a third of the population can barely feed their families at all. I hope yours are not among them, but that is a different matter entirely. It also ignores the fact that more than half of the US population has no idea what a nutritious meal looks like because they have been educated primarily by television, but that too is another issue.

1 Like

About prices: My food co-op charges two dollars for one ear of organic sweet corn, while I can buy one ear of non-organic for 35 cents. A single organic apple costs a dollar and a half. A cup of organic blueberries goes for three fifty. Those prices far exceed the costs of production. Why are they so inflated? Because relatively wealthy people will pay them. They drive up in their SUVs and take away 200 dollars in groceries. Needless to say, those with SNAP cards shop elsewhere.
As for promoting good soil preservation practices: You must show me that a locally sourced non-organic vegetable operation does not take care of the land. It is easy to compare industrial farming here or in Mexico (where much of our produce comes from) to organic farms in the US. On paper, it looks like organics are so much kinder to the environment. In fact, many of them are large-scale operations that require inputs of petroleum in processing and distribution. Profits primarily flow to the owners of these operations, unlike small family farms which reward producers, not middle men.
Organics offer small health benefits at extravagant prices. that is what it comes down to.

There’s no free lunch. Industrial ag is destroying topsoil and is a major contributor to climate change. Either we change or our civilization is done.