Cool Farm Alliance
Tool To Help Global Farms Keep Their Cool
The Cool Farm Tool is an online calculator that enables farmers to measure their greenhouse gas emissions, and understand mitigation options for agricultural production. Originally developed through a partnership between the University of Aberdeen, Unilever and the Sustainable Food Lab, the Tool works by providing growers with the ability to plug in their farm practices and get immediate results and instant feedback on the impact of different farming management options using “what-if” scenarios.
Recommendations include introducing measures that reduce fuel and energy use, as well as introducing cover crops, reducing tillage, tailoring crop rotations and increasing agro-forestry. These measures not only remove carbon from the atmosphere, but also help improve soil fertility, increase water retention, reduce erosion from wind and water and improve productivity with reduced inputs – all of which can benefit the farmer.
A tea co-operative in India used the Cool Farm Tool to analyse why yields had been declining by 30-40% over the past 5-10 year period. Based on the results, the cooperative started using crop residues to make compost and apply it to the soil. One year later, production was up by 20% and emissions were down by 30%. Farmers also gained a better understanding of carbon dynamics, and began to utilize local resources that were previously part of a waste stream, increasing water holding capacity in the soil by about 40%.
A number of the world’s largest food and drink businesses and NGOs now cooperate in the Cool Farm Alliance, a membership organization dedicated to spreading the use of the Cool Farm Tool by farmers in order to drive emissions reductions from global agriculture. The tool is now being extended to include modules for measuring water and biodiversity.
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