The results of a 33 year study of sustainable farming methods at Earth Cycle non profit research farm at Edwall, Wa indicate that the most effective way to combat or even to stop global warming is not to change energy policies so much as to change agricultural policies and practices. Changing land use practices from the current and historical emphasis on industrial style grain production and processing to sustainable smaller scale diversified, sustainable family farms generates a life enhancing environment. When family farms are organized as local storage, processing and marketing co-operatives significant reduction in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions as well as great increases in carbon sequestration and oxygen production inevitably result. Secondary effects of implementing such policies and practices globally would include eliminating rural poverty, unemployment, urban migration, food shortages, chronic disease, malnutrition, water shortages and wildlife extinctions.
The obvious way to implement these changes would be to reform the USDA now controlled largely by ADM, Cargill and other food giants which also dominate US politics and media. For example, if the Palouse-scabland area of Eastern Washington, North Idaho and NE Oregon was converted to the Earth Cycle Organization method (which could easily happen if the USDA simply stopped subsidizing industrial grain and soybean production) and applying a few other strategies the end result would be astounding. Important strategies would be to tax landowners and producers for CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions and secondly to buy food futures from farm families and co-operatives that come up with a sustainable production plan. These farm families should be prepared to turn over at least 10% of such products when they go to market (providing a sustainable supply for government food programs, food banks, etc.)
What is the current earth cycle status in the Palouse area? This writer estimates the Palouse area to be 200 square miles and each current farm averaging four square miles (2480 acres) that is 10,000 farms. These farms are now producing copious quantities of greenhouse gases and other forms of air and water pollution while using significant quantities of fossil fuels for pesticides, fertilizers, tractor and truck fuel (much of the energy for processing, distributing and reducing the soil carbon bank from cultivation and erosion.) All this to produce huge quantities of low protein wheat and high fat beef in feed lots yielding “negative food” which in turn causes obesity, heart disease (the main killer) and other chronic diseases such as arthritis, Alzheimer’s and depression.
Using the Earth Cycle plan as demonstrated in our 30 year project this same farmland would translate into 1,240,000 eco-sustainable homesteads organized as 10,000 co-ops providing all essential social and economic services. These services include product storage, processing, marketing, day care, education, senior care and housing all within a mile of the homestead. This system would easily provide food, fuel and fiber for an equal number of urban families using zero fossil fuels as well as increase production of O2, H2O etc. as the main byproducts thus ending global warming.