For our next profile in the "From the Ground Up" series, we talk with Ellee Igoe, co-owner, farmer, and education coordinator at Solidarity Farm, and co-coordinator of the Carbon Sink Demonstration Farm at Pauma Tribal Farms. Check out our Q&A on the blog today!
As part of the 2020 Climate Change Consortium for Specialty Crops, hosted in partnership by the Climate Science Alliance and the California Department of Food and Agriculture, we are excited to share a series of producer stories, called "From the Ground Up: Farmer Profile," highlighting our region's producers and the important work they do for our communities.
Today's farmer profile is with Ellee Igoe, co-owner, farmer, and education coordinator at Solidarity Farm, and co-coordinator of the Carbon Sink Demonstration Farm at Pauma Tribal Farms. Located in Pauma Valley in northeast San Diego County, Solidarity Farm is on the lands of the Pauma Band of Luiseño Indians Reservation. This 10 acre farm is a worker-owned cooperative, growing a diversity of organic crops while implementing regenerative research projects and supporting community and youth educational programs. These efforts are part of the farm’s vision of “building a more resilient and just food system for all.”
Climate Science Alliance (Alliance): In what ways to climate-related changes impact Solidarity Farm's production?
Ellee Igoe (Igoe): Changing temperatures will have health impacts for farm workers, and can cause crop failure due to germination, frost, and heat damage. Drought causes higher salinity of soils, damage to tissues, reduced yields, and challenges for seed viability with potential for germination failures. More extreme precipitation and flooding can cause cover crop and seed migration (dispersing into new areas). In addition, muddy fields can result in lost harvest days.
Alliance: What specific practices does Solidarity Farm use to address the impacts of climate change?
Igoe: The team at Solidarity Farm is using an array of carbon farming practices, including cover cropping, bio-char, compost, mulch, windbreaks and hedgerows, perennial crop transition while avoiding any chemical inputs. Solidarity Farm is collaborating with the Pauma Band of Luiseño Indians to test out strategies and better understand how to advance carbon sequestration methods through a Carbon Sink Demonstration Project. The project is working to test strategies and demonstrate how carbon sink farming practices can support climate resilience. For this project, one of the goals was to increase soil organic matter from 1% to 4%, specifically using compost application, cover cropping, no-till, hedgerow installation, and transition from row crops to trees.Throughout the project, the team has gathered data to monitor soil organic matter levels and soil moisture, in addition to an economic analysis that indicates net economic benefits by using these practices.
Alliance: What are some opportunities and needs to advance these kinds of practices in the region?
Igoe: Providing crop insurance to help fund farmers in transitioning crops, supporting farmers with adequate grant funding to purchase necessary equipment and implement practice requirements, upfront payments for conservation practices, and compensating farmers for their knowledge and time during farmer to farmer exchanges.
Photos courtesy of Condor Visual Media, taken at Solidarity Farm's Carbon Sink Convergence in 2019.
To learn more about Solidarity Farm, visit www.solidarityfarmsd.com, and for more information on the collaborative efforts of the Carbon Farm Demonstration Project, visit www.climatesciencealliance.org/carbon-sink-farming
Learn more about the 2020 Climate Change Consortium here:
To read more farmer profiles from the "From the Ground Up" series, visit here: