How are we going to keep producing food for our community if the weather goes nuts in the future?  What can we do to lessen our impact on the climate, and even draw down some of the excess carbon in the atmosphere?  Over the winter, I started on a Climate Adaptation Fellowship with Caro Rozell, former Assistant Manager at Simple Gifts, and current soil health wizard at NOFA/ Massachusetts and American Farmland Trust.  We are part of a group of farmers and farm service providers who are working to answer those questions as a group.  Caro and I are putting together a Climate Adaptation Plan for our farm to inventory and reduce our climate impacts, and work on systems that help us to adapt to a future changing climate.  Our work on reducing tillage is a key part of both mitigating and adapting to climate change.  We will be measuring changes to our land use patterns over the next several years, and setting targets for improvement going forward.  We are also setting goals for renewable energy systems and reducing our energy use.  Here is the draft outline of our Climate Adaptation Workplan.  We will be keeping you all updated as things evolve!

Here’s Caro testing our soil for compaction last spring with Dave

Climate Adaptation Plan: Simple Gifts Farm

Workplan outline

Overall goals:

  • Inventory and describe climate adaptation and mitigation concerns at Simple Gifts Farm
    • Brief summary of climate change projections for Hampshire County MA
    • Mitigation:
      • Help to sequester carbon
      • Minimize GHG emissions
      • Model mitigation practices for the benefit of other farmers (education)
    • Adaptation:
      • Water / Well & Irrigation Concerns
      • Soil health, particularly on sandier fields (A, B, C, D) under traditional tillage
      • Erosion
      • Pest migration
    • Inventory current climate adaptation and mitigation practices in use at Simple Gifts Farm as of December 2020 including soil conservation, agroecological practices (ie perennial integration), renewable energy, and energy efficiency
      • For each practice:
        • Summarize method & equipment
        • Collect brief farmer comments reflections on efficacy, benefit, difficulty
        • Quantify acres in practice as of 12/31/20
        • Identify farmer goals for acres in practice by 2030
        • Briefly describe how the practice supports adaptation
        • Briefly describe how it supports climate mitigation
          • Provide estimated annual GCG mitigation capacity (if available) based on literature review

3) Describe new practices as of 2021, with above information plus cost benefit analysis, detailed notes on and documentation of practice planning process, funding sources used, any relevant resources or technical support received and a discussion of first year challenges/ successes with the practice

  • New practices to detail:
    • No till seed drill
    • No till transplanter (use began partway through 2020)
    • Cut and carry / transferred mulch system
    • Conservation cover with nut crops (alley cropping)? May not be implemented in 2021

4)  Track soil health indicators over 1 year on fields where the new practice is used over 2-3 visits (~April, October and July if time allows)

  • Indicators collected:
    • Infiltration rate
    • Soil structure (NRCS classification of soil structure)
    • Bulk Density (8”)
    • Penetrometer
    • Once: Soil organic matter (lab)


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