A Secret Superpower, Right in Your Backyard

Posted on Thursday, March 15th, 2018 by

As the verdant hills of Wakanda are secretly enriched with the fictional metal vibranium in “Black Panther,” your average backyard also has hidden superpowers: Its soil can absorb and store a significant amount of carbon from the air, unexpectedly making such green spaces an important asset in the battle against climate change. Backyard soils […]

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Put the Right Plant in the Right Place and Stop Digging

Posted on Wednesday, February 21st, 2018 by

“Your garden’s so pretty! How do you do that?” my neighbor gushed. She: stylishly walking her dog; me: wet and muddy squatting down pruning broken limbs recently revealed by melting snow. I was about to explain I enjoy tending my garden and with a little effort her garden could be attractive too. […]

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How Crushed Volcanic Rock in Farm Soil Could Help Slow Global Warming

Posted on Wednesday, February 21st, 2018 by

Volcanic plains tend to be fertile farmland. A new study explores how spreading crushed volcanic rock on farms can increase carbon storage and crop yields. Credit: SounderBruce/CC-BY-SA-2.0 Pulverizing volcanic rock and spreading the dust like fertilizer on farm soils could suck billions of tons of carbon from the atmosphere and boost crop yields […]

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Farming crops with rocks could reduce carbon dioxide

Posted on Tuesday, February 20th, 2018 by

A new study has found that farming crops with crushed rocks could help to improve global food security and capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The pioneering research by scientists at the University of Illinois, together with U.S. and international colleagues, suggests that adding fast-reacting silicate rocks to croplands could capture CO2 and give increased […]

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Phytoremediation

Posted on Thursday, February 15th, 2018 by

Phytoremediation is a form of bioremediation and applies to all chemical or physical processes that involve plants for degrading or immobilizing contaminants in soil and groundwater. The word (which does not roll off the tongue) actually makes sense. It comes from the Greek word phyto meaning “plant” and the Latin word remedium meaning “restoring balance.” When put together, the two […]

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A Method for Growing a Lot of Food on Little Land

Posted on Tuesday, February 13th, 2018 by

Over the last nine years, Ben Hartman’s farm in northern Indiana has become more efficient and profitable following the techniques developed by an unlikely source: Toyota. By adapting the production techniques developed by the car manufacturer—commonly referred to as “lean manufacturing“—Hartman has revolutionized his methods, cut down his work hours dramatically, and shrunk the size of his farm, […]

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Farmland could be used to sustainably offset America’s entire carbon footprint

Posted on Wednesday, January 31st, 2018 by

Amid the roaring debate on how to curb climate change in Bonn last year, an impasse was finally broken on agriculture. Both a cause and casualty of climate change, our food system accounts for up to 24% of greenhouse gas emissions. Yet hit by soaring temperatures and more frequent extreme weather, farming is becoming […]

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The latest cutting-edge technology changing our landscapes? Trees

Posted on Sunday, January 7th, 2018 by

Most people round here think it’s pretty normal for the earth to just blow away,” says Lynn Briggs. “They seem to think it’s what happens and you just have to live with it. It’s even got a name – they call it fen blow.” But when Lynn and her husband Stephen moved on to their […]

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7 ways to spot a healthy forest

Posted on Saturday, January 6th, 2018 by

Sizing up the health of a forest may be hard to do with the naked eye. There’s a lot going on in there. Plants, animals, people and businesses all play critical roles behind the scenes. Forests are critical from every angle. Animals and people rely on them for food, clean air and fresh water. Businesses […]

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The Secret To Biochar’s Success Might Finally Have Been Revealed

Posted on Thursday, December 21st, 2017 by

  If you heat organic waste in a low-oxygen environment (pyrolysis), you get a substance known as biochar. Biochar’s excellence as a crop enhancer has been known for a century – and possibly much longer in cultures such as the indigenous inhabitants of the Amazon Rainforest. Indeed, in some circles biochar has achieved a hallowed status as […]

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