Organic Valley, the nation’s largest farmer-owned organic cooperative, said two of its farms in Sonoma County, Calif., have implemented carbon farming projects to help restore land and sequester carbon from the atmosphere.
The farms’ projects encompass roughly two acres each, and provide ecological restoration of riparian areas such as stream banks and spring areas, with the potential to store 40 metric tons of carbon within their first five years, the La Farge, Wis.-based company said.
The first restoration started in December 2018 on the McClelland dairy farm in Petaluma, Calif., on two acres of designated land near Stemple Creek. Over 150 students and teachers of the Students and Teachers Restoring a Watershed (STRAW) program planted 90 individual plants consisting of 12 species of native trees and shrubs, including Coast live oak, Oregon ash, California blackberry and coffeeberry.
The second phase begins this summer, when STRAW will install irrigation systems on both farms. After the school year, STRAW staff will monitor and maintain the projects for one to two years. This project will help prevent erosion, maintain water quality, provide habitat for wildlife, and preserve the health of the entire ecosystem.
Meanwhile, the Ebabias Creek restoration project, which started earlier this year at Ocean Breeze Dairy in Valley Ford, Calif., had about 14 teachers, 350 students, and 60 volunteers participating. The volunteers planted nearly 700 native species during the first phase of the project. The second phase begin in early spring when STRAW installed an irrigation system.
“I wanted to implement the practices that the Organic Valley sustainability team was talking about and see what would happen on my farm,” said Jarrid Bordessa, Ocean Breeze Dairy owner.
The Ebabias Creek Riparian Restoration Project is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment, particularly in disadvantaged communities.