Farming crops with crushed rocks could help to improve global food security and capture CO2 from the atmosphere, a new study has found.
The pioneering research by scientists at the University of Sheffield together with international colleagues suggests that adding fast-reacting silicate rocks to croplands could capture CO2 and give increased protection from pests and diseases while restoring soil structure and fertility.
This article was originally published on ensia.com.
Looking for a way to help a sustainable food system grow, Cullen Naumoff turned to nature.
Driving down U.S. 20 toward Cleveland, Cullen Naumoff knew something had to change.
Naumoff, director of sustainable enterprise for the Oberlin Project in Oberlin, Ohio, had recently launched a food hub with colleague Heather Adelman. Food hubs bring together what small farmers produce into quantities needed by big buyers like schools, restaurants and supermarkets. The problem? The Oberlin Food Hub was so successful that demand was outstripping the ability of participating farmers to meet it.
Though urban agriculture (UA), defined here as growing of crops in cities, is increasing in popularity and importance globally, little is known about the aggregate benefits of such natural capital in built-up areas. Here, we introduce a quantitative framework to assess global aggregate ecosystem services from existing vegetation in cities and an intensive UA adoption scenario based on data-driven estimates of urban morphology and vacant land. We analyzed global population, urban, meteorological, terrain, and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) datasets in Google Earth Engine to derive global scale estimates, aggregated by country, of services provided by UA. We estimate the value of four ecosystem services provided by existing vegetation in urban areas to be on the order of $33 billion annually.
As the global population rises toward 10 billion, the planet is headed for a food shortage, with some estimates saying supply will have to double by 2050 to meet demand.
The continued advance of agricultural technology — genetic modification along with new crop varieties and land-management techniques — will cover some of the increased demand. But such technologies will require a dramatic increase in the production of agricultural fertilizers, an energy-intensive process fed by fossil fuels and reliant on a robust manufacturing infrastructure: factories connected to rail and road networks for distribution.