California Grassland Carbon Challenge: What we learned, advice for moving ahead

Posted by Peter Donovan 9 years, 8 months ago

photo by Carol Hirashima
In January, 7 land managers hosted me as I sampled and established baseline sites (22 total so far) for the California Challenge. The weather was ideal.

On January 24, the Morris family hosted a meeting in at the St. Francis Retreat Center in San Juan Bautista facilitated by Jeff Goebel with at least 55 people participating. The purpose of the meeting was to highlight the possibility of turning atmospheric carbon into water-holding, fertility-enhancing soil organic matter, and engage people's interest and creativity in this possibility. In the afternoon, after an excellent lunch prepared by the Retreat Center that included Morris Ranch grassfed shortribs cooked with balsamic syrup, Joe Morris led us on a short walk where he explained how their grass-fed beef enterprise depended on, and could probably continue to enhance plant productivity, soil cover, soil organic matter, and soil water, and how his holistic decision framework connected it all.

I felt that the meeting was an excellent start. At the close, some people expressed a desire for more basic information on the subject, and some for more detail, such as suggestions for their particular situation. I've been trying to meet these needs with this website (or, and hope to organize things a bit better as we go. In the meantime, browse the information on the right hand side, and use search, or feel free to ask specific questions.

To the participants: Now that you've had some time to reflect, what did you learn from our meeting and afternoon at Joe Morris's ranch, and how do you feel about it?

What would you recommend, going forward? What can we do to create more movement in California, in building soil organic matter?

I welcome your answers as comments to this post (you must be registered and logged in to do so) or as emails to me, which I will also share as comments below.