Farms under threat
Farms Under Threat is AFT’s multi-year effort to advance cutting-edge solutions for farmland protection. We use high-resolution spatial analysis tools to identify exactly where agricultural land has been converted to urban and low-density residential land uses, and we have done a deep analysis of every state’s policies for protecting farmland and ranchland, promoting agricultural viability, and helping transfer land to the next generation of farmers and ranchers.
Farmland and Compatible Solar Webinar Series
Farmland is a critical resource in our country, particularly in areas that are heavily forested or developed. American Farmland Trust recently released the Farms Under Threat report, documenting those challenges.
Yet climate change is the most significant threat to conservation we have ever faced. Rather than remove forests, many are locating solar fields on agricultural lands. Can it be done well? Yes.
Find out how in this webinar series focusing on smart solar siting, balancing solar siting with conservation, growing the solar market, and turning state and local priorities into sound policy. While this is focused on New England, there will be many transferable concepts for wherever you are located.
Webinars are free and running on September 23, September 30, October 7, and October 15.
Want to get involved with solar grazing?
he American Solar Grazing Association (ASGA) was founded to promote grazing sheep on solar installations.
ASGA members are developing best practices that support shepherds and solar developers to both effectively manage solar installations and create new agribusiness profits…
Smart Solar Siting partnership project for New England
American Farmland Trust’s Smart Solar Siting Partnership Project for New England started as a two-year effort to build an influential, ongoing, multi-stakeholder coalition supporting recommendations that advance smart solar siting policies and programs in New England states. This is a joint effort to accelerate the expansion of renewable solar energy facilities while maintaining New England’s most productive, resilient farmland and forest land and strengthening its regional food systems.
Check out their program and resources. Your land trust and community may be able to model a similar approach.
Green Earth Harvest
The Conservation Foundation’s Green Earth Harvest program is devoted to healthy soil, healthy vegetables, healthy people, and healthy communities. Our Green Earth Harvest farm crew works tirelessly to sustainably farm the agricultural land at our McDonald Farm headquarters in Naperville and produce healthy organic vegetables for the community…
It’s time for businesses to aim higher. Here’s one way to do it—natural climate solutions
Corporations are (rightly) first focused on reducing their emissions. That’s absolutely where they need to start, and it should be their highest climate-related priority. Thanks to pressure by activists, customers, shareholders and employees, companies are now taking action. They’re not waiting for government regulations mandating them to do so. They’re doing what they can to reduce their carbon emissions by using less energy and switching to renewables.
And when they can’t reduce further, they are now also committing to purchase large volumes of offsets to reach carbon neutrality. Some companies go even further and aim to reach net negative.
This is where NCS enters the picture…
Climate change and community impact
Climate communication 101 involves meeting people where they are, connecting with that they see, and finding ways for people to participate in the climate solution in a manner that also adds value to their lives.
Maine Audubon has done just that with its Climate Spotlight series. Audubon’s research has documented that if left unchecked climate change will cause the loss of millions of birds. They’re playing a leadership role and helping to frame the issue:
“Climate change is the biggest environmental issue facing Maine, and we’re not backing down. Maine Audubon’s new Climate Spotlight series is aimed at giving consumers and advocates the information they need to take action and understand how climate change impacts Maine. Topics in this free online discussion series include: getting involved in rooftop and community solar; natural climate solutions; transportation; and home energy efficiency.”
Check it out, and see if this is something you could create in your community.
Making the change: breaking our fossil fuel habit
An iceburg melts in the Arctic; saltwater seeps into the Florida Everglades, the sun bakes a lakebed in Bolivia, trees die in the mountains of Germany, and bush fires sweep across southwest Australia. Although thousands of miles apart, these events are connected: they have all been intensified by climate change primarily caused by our burning of fossil fuels. Since ancient times, humans have burned wood, peat, and oil for heating, cooking, and light. In the U.S., as elsewhere, coal powered the industrial age until the discovery of vast amounts of underground petroleum in the mid-19th century. American industrial might was built on energy derived from fossil fuels—the decomposed remains of plants and animals found in the Earth’s crust. These fuels contain carbon and hydrogen, and it is carbon that is the problem.
Cornell University divesting from fossil fuels to focus on alternative energy, renewables
The investments for this category are expected to decrease to zero over the next five to seven years as the investments mature, according to Bob Howarth, a Cornell professor of ecology and environmental biology who helped lead the divestment efforts and now heads the University Assembly.
Instead of investing in fossil fuels, the university will grow its $6.9 billion endowment portfolio by investing in alternative energy and renewables…
A new vision for farming: chickens, sheep, and…solar panels
When Jackie Augustine opens a chicken coop door one brisk spring morning in upstate New York, the hens bolt out like windup toys. Still, as their faint barnyard scent testifies, they aren’t battery-powered but very much alive.
These are “solar chickens.” At this local community egg cooperative, Geneva Peeps, the birds live with solar power all around them. Their hen house is built under photovoltaic panels, and even outside, they’ll spend time underneath them, protected from sun, rain, and hawks…