In March 2020 in San Diego, a small group of farmers decided to activate the “hub” concept and launched Foodshed Small Farm Distro and Resource Hub. Foodshed works directly with farmers, eaters, and entrepreneurs to cultivate an equitable food system in San Diego while addressing the challenges posed by the climate crisis.
Foodshed believes soil health is the key to a thriving local food system, it is the infrastructure from which a myriad of co-benefits can be cultivated. Recognizing healthy soil as vital public infrastructure they’ve uncovered an urgent need to measure the impact of carbon farming for the sake of our own stewardship as well as to communicate effectively with local policymakers. These parallel needs have encouraged them to develop data collection and assessment tools that really work for farmers. They are currently using these tools to gather baseline data and are ready to scale up their use.
For their seasonal soil health assessments, in addition to some of the quantified results from traditional micro and macronutrients soil lab tests, Foodshed integrated Solvita (Basal Soil Respiration) test for measuring soil respiration in fresh soil samples and microBIOMETER®, as microbes are excellent predictors of soil health. microBIOMETER®, a professional lab-grade soil test kit for determination of soil microbial biomass and fungal to bacterial ratio, is an invaluable tool to help them understand their soil’s biology and it’s capacity to integrate nutrients, hold water, increase biodiversity, and strengthen the microbial community.
Using the Soil Mentor Regen Platform as their data management app, they can analyze changes in different soil health indicators from year to year, compare results from farm to farm and in their bioregion. COMET Planner is the evaluation tool that allows them to calculate and validate carbon sequestration potential occurring on their farms by providing estimates of the net greenhouse gas reductions for specific agricultural management conservation practices.
They are dedicated to investing in building soil biology to increase our resilience. Their program demonstrates how we can leverage carbon farming investments to create real equity, and highlights the importance of accessible and affordable tools like the microBIOMETER® to their success in analyzing soil and compost across our farms’ network in an efficient and effective way.