Feed the People Farms current carbon footprint:
Yes. It’s negative. Our farm stores more carbon than it emits!
*We us around four to six cords of hardwood to heat the farmhouse in the winter. Since we haven’t yet been able to find an easy way to calculate the carbon emissions from that, our emissions amount does not currently account for that, but hopefully its no more than 15 tons.
Read more about how we do it:
Calculated with The Cool Farm Tool and The i-Tree Harvest Carbon Calculator
Calculate your own carbon footprint: The Nature Conservancy’s Carbon Footprint Calculator
Where and how do we “store” carbon? Well the simple answer is “in the woods.” Forests are HUGE carbon sinks. All plants use energy from sunlight (photons) to combine water in the soil (H2O) with carbon in the air (CO2) to create its own sugars for food (hydrocarbons) and release the un-needed oxygen (O2) back into the air for us animals to breathe. They store the carbon in their tissues and roots, and really big plants, like trees, do this on a really big scale: trees store up to HALF the amount of carbon they “breathe” in!
On the farm, we have 35 acres of forest managed primarily as wilderness, and by conserving these native woodlands, harvesting only what we need, and replanting trees, we continuously capture and store literal tons and tons and tons of carbon. When trees are harvested for wood, most of the carbon remains stored in that wood. The decay of wood products when used properly and kept dry takes a very long time (think of how long a wood-framed house lasts compared to a log sitting on the ground). Harvesting a tree removes only about half of the entire plant, the rest (the roots) remain underground to decay. This carbon remains stored in the soil.
Our farmhouse is heated in the winter by a wood stove from trees harvested on-site. When trees are harvested for fuel, the burning of the wood does emit carbon into the atmosphere, but the remaining charcoal and ash is used elsewhere on the farm in soap making, hide tanning, and soil amendments, thus locking the remaining carbon out of the air. It should be remembered that unlike how most of modern society heats their homes (natural gas, or electricity from coal, petroleum, uranium, and plutonium) the manufacture of wood fuel (growing a tree) is carbon negative, as we have pointed out above, and harvesting on-site or nearby uses little-to-no fossil fuels.
One way we can incentivize regenerative farming is by pressuring the government to issue farmers carbon tax credits. This would penalize farmers with high emissions, and reward farms that store more carbon than they emit, without having to place a burden on taxpayers. Call or write your representative and tell them you want carbon credits for farmers!