D&R Greenway Land Trust is teaming up with its new preservation partner, Soil Carbon Partners (SCP), to launch the Climate Project at St. Michaels Preserve in the Township of Hopewell.
Starting in the middle of the month, this innovative project combines organic farming with soil improvements to test whether they will significantly improve the nutritional content of foods while sequestering carbon to mitigate climate change, according to information provided by D&R.
The SCP team will add a special blend of natural minerals, organic matter, and beneficial soil microbes to 60 acres of agricultural fields on St. Michaels Farm, replicating the healthy ecosystem that fed buffaloes in the western prairies. , according to the press release. Native grasses and forage crops will feed a small herd of fully grass-fed cattle, enhancing the bucolic nature of the D&R Greenway Reserve.
“We know that natural grazing systems have historically sequestered hundreds of billions of tonnes of atmospheric carbon in the soil of the Great Plains of the United States, Canada and other countries,” SCP’s Ed Huling said in the release. . “Our system of regenerative agriculture is modeled after these natural grazing models to help address the climate crises that threaten us all.”
Independent scientists from Princeton University and other climate-focused institutions will rigorously measure the health of soil, grasses and livestock. The agricultural methods used by SCP are expected to increase plant growth and photosynthesis, in turn increasing the amount of carbon that plants extract from the air and transfer to the soil as stored or sequestered carbon, according to the release.
Carbon sequestration in agricultural land is increasingly recognized as a key strategy to slow rising temperatures and climate change.
Peter Dawson, Chairman of the Board of Directors of D&R Greenway, said in the statement: âThis research project demonstrates our commitment to endorse regenerative agricultural practices that are both good business practices and protect the environment. During this time, we will continue to provide the community with access to and enjoyment of the trails and gardens of the St. Michaels Farm Preserve.
During the climate project, the trails at St. Michaels Agricultural Reserve will remain open.
Double Brook Farm will continue as a community partner, cultivating the fields above the Charles Evans Overlook.
As always, for safety reasons, hikers are advised not to open doors or enter closed farm fields, and to refrain from petting or feeding the animals, while enjoying them from a distance, according to the press release.
The research project will start on or around April 15th. There will be no notable disruptions to this project, except for occasional truck deliveries of organic and all-natural components of the soil nutrient mixture during the first few weeks, the statement said.
Scientific advisors to the project include Dr Eric Bishop Von Wettberg, Gund Fellow, Associate Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Vermont; and Dr. Daniel Rubenstein, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton University.
Linda Mead, CEO of D&R Greenway Land Trust, is excited about the potential of the project.
âFrom the start, St. Michaels Farm Preserve has been a model of grassroots-led preservation. We are intrigued to partner with this innovative research project that could make a substantial difference to the country’s approach to climate change. The lessons learned and techniques proven in our St. Michaels farm reserve could be a model that can be replicated across the country by farmers and land trusts. Over time, our local efforts could have national or even global impacts, âshe said in the statement.