‘No-Till Cover Crops’ program on tap
Minor Memorial Library in Roxbury will present a program, “No-Till Cover Crops for the Home Garden: Small Scale Practices for Soil Improvement and Carbon Sequestration,” Oct. 14 at 4 p.m.
Sharon Gensler of the Northeast Organic Farming Association, Massachusetts chapter will be the guest speaker at the South Street library.
The program, presented jointly by the Roxbury Conservation Commission and the library as part of its “A Town Wants to Know” series, will introduce the concept of carbon sequestration and provide homeowners with ideas about how they can help control their own carbon emissions and improve soil health with simple home gardening practices.
Dangerous levels of carbon in Earth’s atmosphere derive not only from burning fossil fuels, but also from land use changes like deforestation, industrial agriculture, and desertification.
Some scientists estimate that two-thirds of the excess carbon in the atmosphere derive from land-use changes by human activity.
Building soil carbon can also increase the security of our watersheds, ecosystems and food systems. Soil Carbon Sequestration minimizes soil ecosystem disturbance by reducing or eliminating chemical inputs and tillage; promotes biodiversity above ground and below ground through inoculation, cover crop diversity, crop rotation, and the integration of perennials, annuals and livestock whenever possible, and keeps living roots in the soil for as much of the year as possible.
Gensler is an organic grower, homesteader and educator. For almost 40 years, she has grown and preserved the bulk of the vegetables and fruit for her family.
She has employed healthy-soil building practices including no-till techniques and has successfully devised ways to incorporate small-scale cover cropping into a garden setting.
New research has proven that these techniques help lower our “carbon footprint” by sequestering atmospheric carbon into the soil while improving soil health and the nutritional quality of our food.
Recently, the climate-change crisis has impelled her to share her knowledge and skills more widely through her speaking engagements at conferences and with gardening and other environmental groups.
She and her partner are co-directors of the Wild Browse Farm and Sustainability Center on their homestead in Wendell, Mass., where they lead workshops and host interns.
She is the NOFA/Mass Soil Carbon Outreach Coordinator, as well as retired outreach coordinator and former member of the organization's board of directors.