Carbon Capture Farming and Ranching I

What you eat everyday builds your personal health and impacts climate-change.
Where you shop every week can build the health of your regional economy.
These small personal actions and choices build up through households and communities and whole regions.
This is why we say organic food security creates prosperity.
shows how organic local food can help feed peopleBiological Organic Food…….image reference 1
Carbon-capture farming and ranching relies on farming practices that lead to healthy soil and nutrient dense food for local residents.
Cheap food is the motivator for a large group of consumers. Cheap food is based on imports and does not support local producers or the local economy.
Industrial Chemical Food…7
People are not eating enough of these vegetables to get a health benefit and this costs the economy billions. What’s wrong with low nutrient density food from distant lands as long as it is convenient and cheap? Many people feel this way. Trouble is, consumers aren’t eating enough vegetables and fruits, even though they are cheap. What is the alternative?

Carbon-capture Farming and Ranching II

Organic food security relies on carbon capture farming that uses bio-intensive practices to produce good yields on small parcels of land. The food produced this way tastes good and is in demand and is nutrient dense. Does it capture enough carbon? The bar chart below shows the biodynamic treatment in green has more microbial biomass than the blue organic treatment. The yellow bar is chemical fertilizer and no manure, the grey bar is no fertilizer.

Microbial Biomass…2

Why is microbial biomass important? The Microbes are allies to help crops grow nutrient dense yields that are profitable for the farmer. This also shows carbon capture is occurring in the bodies of the Microbes, as their biomass increases.

How do the microbes build healthy soil? The two pictures below help us see into the invisible world of the good earth. The image on the left is an electron microscope picture of the white fungus threads covering the black soil mineral particles of sand-silt-clay. This is how microbes hold the soil together.

Microbes Bind Soil…4

Roots Grow Deep…9
The image on the right shows how roots can grow in soil the Microbes are holding together in a stable pore space structure. This lesson in soil science was needed so consumers can understand how soil fungus and other microbes are key to carbon-capture farming and ranching, upon which organic food security is based.

Carbon Capture Farming and Ranching III

There are two dominant farming styles in North America which you can call biological (organic) and industrial (chemical). Here are the two different farming landscapes from an aerial view.

Organic Farming…5 Habitat enhancements, mentioned below, capture carbon while providing other benefits and ecological services. These can be added to ranches and farms+++++++++++++++++++++++++++Industrial Farming…1


Leave Forests Plant More…1 Create Pollinator Habitat…1 Marshlands Cleanse…1

Living Plants Capture Carbon…5
A certified organic farmer capturing-carbon and lowering farm emissions.

Carbon Capture Farming and Ranching IV

Notice the aerial view of the certified organic farm, previous page, has trees and shrubs growing along the edges of fields and the ground is covered. The industrial farms have wall-to-wall crops and many areas of bare ground. No shrubs along fence-rows, so there is no permanent carbon capture.
Which kind of farming has a future that helps our children deal with the climate-crisis?

BioDynamics Works…2
The biodynamic treatment on the left looks better eg. darker than the conventional field on the right with an obvious whitish colour. This is confirmed in lab tests, one of which is shown on page II.

This type of farming is good for the local ecology, but what about for the economy?

Strong Organic Demand…3

The see-saw shows supply up in the air at 7.5%, and cannot keep up with demand , which in North America is 50% of the global market.

How can we support more young small farmers growing vegetables for direct sale to consumers?

Carbon Capture Farming and Ranching V
Some idea of the value of the vegetables we eat, not just organic, can be seen from this chart showing vegetable and fruit imports into BC. This shows $1.2 Billion a year of imports in this critical food group (see yellow bars, right of bar chart) . BC has more acres in vegetables than Alberta (AB), according to 2016 census.

BC Produce Imports…11

What does the market for vegetables look like in the linked bioregions from Kamloops to Calgary? This image, from a road map, shows the area involved but how large would sales be?

Kamloops to Calgary Bioregions…8

Well, there are 1.5 million people in Calgary or 500,000 households (3 people each). Each family spends close to $30. per week just on vegetables and fruits. That is $15 Million every week or $ 780 Million each year! Just in Calgary and just for vegetables and fruits. The organic market for vegetables and fruits in Calgary is around 3% of total sales or almost $ 23.4 Million a year (2013 BC Organic Market report; breakdown of scan sheet sales by province). Big market.

Carbon-capture Farming and Ranching VI

Weak demand for conventional vegetables through supermarkets can be inferred from the low percentage of people eating enough produce. Only 3 out of 10 Canadians reported eating 5 a day, where a health benefit starts (see infograph below). Is it a coincidence that obesity is skyrocketing, especially in children? How does this add to surging provincial health care spending?

Junk Food Dominates…6

Contrast that with strong demand, in the same stores, for organic vegetables. The graphic below shows $78 Million for Lettuce and $ 29 Million for Carrots, as well as a long list of other vegetables. This is from data right across Canada.

Few Eat Vegetables…6

Strong Organic Vegetable Sales 3

Let us try something different. We can focus on increasing the supply of good tasting nutrient dense vegetables grown with carbon-capture farming practices. This is a benefit for consumers and farmers, the local economy and for the regional ecology as well. Plus there is no increase to public debt for this long term sustainable economic activity.

Carbon Capture Farming and Ranching VII

The 2016 agriculture census for BC and Alberta showed some hopeful signs for increasing food security. In both places the number of young farmers less than 35 years increased but not enough to replace old farmers lost. What can we do? Why not focus on training more young farmers and then supporting them while they get established?

Young Farmers Training….1

These young farmers in training are from the USA but they could be in the Kamloops area of BC, Canada or they could be in the Calgary region of Alberta, Canada. The key point is that the pace of new farmers coming into production is too slow to keep up with demand. Society benefits from growing food to sell to ourselves, instead of for export. This excerpt from the 2016 agricultural census for BC shows the powerful economic multiplier effect of agri-food:

-“…Primary agriculture represented 0.6% of provincial gross domestic product (agricultural GDP) in 2013. This percentage increased to 3.4% when agricultural input and service providers, primary producers, food and beverage processors, and food retailers and wholesalers industries were taken into account …”-

Bounty in Field…10

That shows an economic multiplier of almost 6! A bounty in the fields becomes a bounty for consumers at the market. This makes the economy thrive to everyone’s benefit. The young farmers and their workers are the key. How can we support them?……….Direct Consumer Sales…7

Carbon Capture Farming and Ranching VIII

Cattle Help Capture Carbon

Source for where images come from:
1. The Future of Our Food System, ~2014 Mullinix et al Kwantlen Polytechnic
University (KPU), The Institute for Sustainable Food Systems
2. Organic Farming results from a 21 year trials Aug 2000 FiBL Dossier, Europe
3. Organic Advantage Transition to Higher Profits from the Organic Value
Chain Round Table (OVCRT), Canada
4. Aggregates as a Soil Health Indicator Denis Anger Agriculture and Agri-Food
Canada, Quebec 2017 presentation at soil conference
5. Soil Health from an Organic Farmer’s Perspective Ken Laing B Sc(Ag)
St. Thomas , Ontario Canada 2017 presentation at soil conference
6. A Snapshot of FAMILIES and Food in Canada Nathan Battams 2017
The Vanier Institute of the Family
7. OK.O.S image, taken and optimized by rob dixon, used on web site, Kelowna
Farmer’s and Crafter’s Market, Steppney Hills Farm; 1st image is a supermarket
8. BC to Alberta Road Map, section from Kamloops to Revelstoke to Calgary
9. Okanagan Similkameen Soil Management Handbook 1999 BC Government
10. Lund’s Organic Farm, Innisfail, Alberta; image taken from their web site
11. 2016 Agriculture’s Connection to Health Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA); pg. 32 Aleck Ostry section on BC reliance on imports of Vegetables and Fruits

2021-23 copyright rob and chris dixon dba OK.O.S