Throughout the US, agricultural and livestock runoff are some of the largest contributors to drinking water pollution, especially in heavily farmed states like California and Iowa. Pesticides and fertilizers which, without strategies like cover cropping, can enter the water stream, leading to elevated levels of dissolved nitrates and phosphorus and causing toxic algal blooms. Listen to Jennifer Terry, external affairs manager for Des Moines Water Works, Iowa’s largest water treatment utility, about their solutions for reducing agricultural pollutants in water stream.
Studies show that using cover crops in combination with other soil management practices can really increase the soil biomass and soil carbon. It’s good for the crop system, farm operation, carbon sequestration and management. Ian Howell, a resource conservationist with the Alameda County Resource Conservation District will explain why the techniques can reduce and remove the carbon emissions associated with agriculture.
The agricultural sector, in combination with forestry, contributes to almost 25% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. A healthy food system can bring positive impact on climate through different aspects, including transportation, infrastructure, water use, or urban planning, etc. This week, we will explore how Grizzly Corps, a National Service Fellowship program through AmeriCorps administered at UC Berkeley Law, regenerate California agriculture food systems.
Bioenergy is a form of energy produced through the conversion of biomass. Biomass is living organic matter that contains chemical energy captured during photosynthesis. When burned, biomass releases energy in the form of heat, which can be used to heat buildings or generate electricity. Alternatively, biomass can be converted into fuel or gas to be burned for energy at a later time.
Urban Farming is one solution to agricultural emissions. Approximately 30 percent of Greenhouse Gas emissions are from agriculture and the food system, so finding ways to drastically reduce emissions is in this sector is key. Urban farms often feed local residents, which eliminates much of the emissions produced by transportation. They are also often farmed agroecologically, which is a kind of agriculture that promotes environmentally sustainable and socially just farming practices.