Food, Agriculture and Climate Change

Tap each section title to view more resources on how climate change impacts -- and is impacted by -- the food system.

Videos & Films


Kiss the Ground. “Kiss the Ground” 2020 
This award-winning documentary, narrated by Woody Harrelson, describes the potential of soil to stabilize Earth’s climate, restore ecosystems, and generate a healthy and abundant food system.

Kiss the Ground. “The Soil Story.” 2014 
This great 4-minute video explains the carbon cycle in simple terms and how regenerative agriculture can draw down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through plant photosynthesis and then store the carbon in the soil.

Kiss the Ground. “The Compost Story.” 2017 
This spirited 6-minute video explains the importance of compost in building healthy soil. It shows what makes healthy soil, and how recycling food scraps and yard waste closes the carbon cycle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from landfill, and helps farmers build healthier soil that sequesters carbon, holds more water, and grows healthier food.

Michael Pollan. “The Great Challenge: Farming, Food and Climate Change.” 2014 
Keynote speech at the New York Times "Food for Tomorrow" Conference. A 30-minute video on how restoring living soils to ranches, farms, and gardens could lessen or eliminate climate change.

Michael Pollan. Soil to Climate Solutions.” 2015
A brief but informative 4-minute video on solving the climate crisis by restoring the health of our soils.

Patagonia (Chris Malloy). “Unbroken Ground.” 2016 
An intriguing look at the connection between the food we eat and the health of our environment. This 24-minute documentary focuses on four areas of agriculture that can either continue to destroy our land or can repair our relationship to land and oceans: regenerative agriculture, regenerative grazing, diversified crop development and restorative fishing.

Lois Robin. “The Dirt on Climate Change.” 2018 WebsiteTrailer
Filmed in Northern California, this educational film interviews a rancher, a vineyard owner, homeowners, a government agency, and a forest scientist who are all helping solve the climate crisis in California's semi-arid climate by building healthy soil that sequesters carbon and by capturing rainwater that restores water cycles. Through informal interviews and graphics, the film's host shows how to think holistically about land use strategies for combating climate change.

Advocacy & Educational NGOs


4 Pour 1000 (The “4 per 1000” Initiative) 
International initiative borne of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference focusing on food security and climate change. This initiative includes partners from around the world to take action to offset their annual carbon emissions by increasing soil carbon storage by 0.4% per year through agroecology, agroforestry, conservation agriculture, or landscape management.

American Farmland Trust 
A national organization that speaks for the land and for people who grow our food by advocating for farming practices that prevent erosion and rebuild soil health, recharge aquifers, support wildlife and biodiversity, and sequester carbon through no-till, cover crops, crop rotations, and intensive rotational grazing. American Farmland Trust works to keep farmers on the land, protect farmland, and promote conservation practices.

CalCAN (California Climate & Agriculture Network) 
CalCAN is a coalition of farmers and ranchers, scientists, and others within California advocating for the transition from environmentally destructive agricultural practices to sustainable and organic practices that build food security, protect our water supply, mitigate climate change (through reduced greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration in the soil), and create community.

Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems (CRARS), California State University, Chico 
The goal of CRARS is to promote regenerative agricultural practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, restore soil resiliency, increase the sustainability of farms and ranches, and address food and water security. CRARS is working to enhance our understanding of regenerative agriculture through applied research, establishment of a national network, educational program (certifications and minors/majors in regenerative agriculture), farmer to farmer networks, and discussion around a peer-reviewed journal in regenerative agriculture.

Civil Eats 
Civil Eats is an award-winning news source for in-depth, unique reporting, and commentary on the US food system’s most important and complex stories. They cover news stories on food and food policy issues, food justice, farming practices, health and food safety issues, and agricultural issues relevant to climate change and the environment.

Regeneration International 
Regeneration International is a global grassroots movement working to promote, facilitate, and accelerate a global transition to regenerative agriculture and land-use practices that cool the planet, feed the world, and promote public health, prosperity, peace, and democracy. They partner with regional organizations around the world to identify regional best practices, guide their global campaigns, and ensure their message of hope through regeneration reaches even the most remote communities. Their Annotated Bibliography contains a wealth of resources: 

Rodale Institute 
The mission of the Rodale Institute is to improve the health and well-being of people and the planet through organic leadership, research, education, and support. Their newly created Regenerative Organic Certified food label establishes a high-bar standard for regenerative organic agricultural practices focused on soil health, animal welfare, and social fairness.

Savory Institute 
The Global Savory Institute is the pioneering organization co-founded by Allan Savory, a Zimbabwean ecologist and livestock farmer, on holistic management of livestock to facilitate the large-scale regeneration of the world’s degraded grasslands to mitigate climate change, address food and water security, and create thriving communities. The Savory Institute offers holistic management training, online resources, and an extensive global network.

Zero Foodprint (ZFP) 
This award-winning organization helps fund regenerative farming programs by applying a 1% tax to customers at member restaurants and diners. Tax proceeds are distributed to farmers and ranchers through local resource conservation districts for carbon farming projects that build soil health, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and return carbon to the soil. 



Paul Hawken. Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation. Penguin Books, 2021 
A visionary and inspiring book that describes how we can solve the climate crisis together with social justice, equity, biodiversity, and human dignity issues in one generation by addressing current human needs that go beyond solar, electric vehicles, and tree planting to include the fifteen-minute city, bioregions, azolla fern, food localization, fire ecology, decommodification, forests as farms, and the number one solution for the world: electrifying everything. Look for the series of initiatives to be launched with the publication of the book.

Paul Hawken. Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming. Penguin Books, 2017 
“At this point in time, the Drawdown book is exactly what is needed; a credible, conservative solution-by-solution narrative that we can do it. Reading it is an effective inoculation against the widespread perception of doom that humanity cannot and will not solve the climate crisis. Reported by-effects include increased determination and a sense of grounded hope.” —Per Espen Stoknes, Author, What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming

Paul Hawken. The Drawdown Review: Clinical Solutions for a New Decad- A Project Drawdown Publication, 2020 
A one-of-a-kind research-based book on the top 100 solutions to address global warming. Among the top 25 solutions published in the 2020 review, 40% are related to food and agriculture as follows: reduce food waste, eat a plant-rich diet, silvopasture, managed grazing, perennial staple crops, tree intercropping, regenerative annual cropping, conservation agriculture, abandoned farmland restoration, and multistrata agroforestry. 

Charles Massy. Call of the Reed Warbler: A New Agriculture; A New Earth, White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2017 
A revolutionary story of the power of regenerative agriculture to restore our soils, our food supply, our planet, our health, and our communities and the courageous farmers transforming their land. Farmer Massy, an award-winning Australian author, shares the stories of farmers and ranchers, including himself, who have moved beyond the use of destructive industrial farming and ranching practices into a regenerative agricultural system of healing the land and way of life.

Kristin Ohlson. The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers, and Foodies Are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet. 2014 
The inspiration for the Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter Soils Committee and the California Sustainable Agriculture Committee, this book provides an overview of how scientists and farmers are discovering that healthy soil enables plants and crops to pull carbon dioxide from the air, and can help lessen or even reverse global warming.

Judith D. Schwartz. Cows Save the Planet: And Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2012 
The book highlights the pivotal role that soil health plays in Earth’s ecology and economy. The author outlines the multiple benefits derived from planned holistic grazing, including reduced carbon emissions, healthy soils, and improved water cycles, in contrast to the degradation of agricultural land caused by (over)grazing and (under)grazing and the resulting carbon emissions contributing to climate change. 

Judith D. Schwartz. Water in Plain Sight: Hope for a Thirsty World. New York, St. Martin’s Press, 2016 
This essential book highlights the importance of looking at water through the lens of Earth’s natural and farming ecosystems. The movement of water is dependent upon the health of our land and climate. By repairing Earth’s natural ecosystems and landscapes, we repair the water cycle and move to reduce effects of climate change.

Laura Stec with Eugene Cordero PhD. Cool Cuisine: Taking the Bite Out of Global Warming. Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith, 2008 
A delicious book demonstrating the carbon footprint of the food we eat. The book includes recipes created by Chef Laura Stec that are both low-carbon, nutritious, and very flavorful. The book is written by Laura Stec, a San Francisco Bay Area chef and environmental advocate, and Dr. Eugene Cordero, professor of meteorology and climate science at San Jose State University. 

Josh Tickell. Kiss the Ground: How the Food You Eat Can Reverse Climate Change, Heal Your Body, & Ultimately Save Our World. New York, NY: Enliven Books/Atria Books, 2017 
Filled with facts and illustrations, this book explains the power that soil has to reverse climate change, and how eating a regeneratively-farmed diet not only delivers better health and wellness but also rebuilds our most precious resource—the ground that feeds us.

Courtney White. Grass, Soil, Hope: A Journey through Carbon Country. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2014 
Founder of The Quivira Coalition, Courtney White offers solutions to what we can do about climate change, global hunger, water scarcity, environmental stress, and economic instability. He focuses on ranching practices in the Southwest that restore living soils and revive riparian habitats while producing meat from intensively grazed animals.

Journal Articles


Garnett et al. Grazed and Confused? Ruminating on Cattle, Grazing Systems, Methane, Nitrous Oxide, the Soil Carbon Sequestration Question – and What It All Means for Greenhouse Gas Emissions. FCRN (Food Climate Research Network), 2017 
The effect of grazing animals on carbon sequestration is time-limited, reversible, and at the global level, substantially outweighed by the GHG missions they generate.

Harvey. This Is Why When You Talk About Climate Change, You Can’t Ignore Agriculture. The Washington Post. August 23, 2017  

Jordan. Soil Holds Potential to Slow Global Warming, Stanford Researchers Find. Stanford News, Oct 5, 2017 
Article includes links to supporting research papers: The ecology of soil carbon: pools, vulnerabilities, and biotic and abiotic controls; and Networking our science to characterize the state, vulnerabilities, and management opportunities of soil organic matter.

Lal. Soil Carbon Sequestration Impacts on Global Food Security and Climate Change. Science. June 11, 2004 (304):1623–1627
Dr. Rattan Lal, Professor of Soil Science, Ohio State University, outlines soil carbon sequestration as a strategy to achieve food security and offset fossil fuel emissions through improvement in soil quality.

Lal. Carbon Sequestration. Royal Society. 30 August 2007: 813–830 

Lal. Carbon Sequestration in Soil. CAB Review. 2008:3(30) 
Dr. Rattan Lal, Professor of Soil Science, Ohio State University, discusses principal strategies for soil organic carbon sequestration including restoration of degraded / desertified soils through conversion to perennial land use, and adoption of recommended management practices including no-till farming, manuring, agroforestry, and use of biochar as a soil amendment.

Massy. Farmers Want a Revolution: ‘How Is This Not Genocide.’ The Guardian. September 22, 2017 

Nargi. Can Cows Help Mitigate Climate Change? Yes, They Can! JStor Daily. December 19, 2018 

Carbon Sequestration: A Practical Approach. Institute for Sustainable Agricultural Research. Las Cruces: New Mexico State University, 2011 
NMSU soil scientists detail soil-building and farming techniques that can store 50 tons of carbon per acre in New Mexico’s arid climate and increased the soil’s water-holding capacity by 30 percent. This is a keystone study for claiming carbon sequestration can mitigate or reverse anthropogenic climate change. 

Ruddiman. The Anthropogenic Greenhouse Era Began Thousands of Years Ago. Climatic Change. 61: 261–293 
Analysis of hypothesis that alterations in atmospheric CO2 and CH4 began thousands of years ago, not with onset of Industrial Revolution

Jordan. Soil Holds Potential to Slow Global Warming, Stanford Researchers Find. Stanford News, Oct 5, 2017 
Article includes links to supporting research papers: The ecology of soil carbon: pools, vulnerabilities, and biotic and abiotic controls; and Networking our science to characterize the state, vulnerabilities, and management opportunities of soil organic matter.

Schwartz. There’s Another Story to Tell About Climate Change. And It Starts with Water. The Guardian. April 3, 2017 

Stanley, et al. Impacts of Soil Carbon Sequestration on Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Midwestern USA Beef Finishing Systems. Agricultural Systems. 2018 162: 249-258.
Adaptive grazing could offset greenhouse gas emissions, which means the finishing phase of beef production could be a net carbon sink.

Teague, et al. The Role of Ruminants in Reducing Agriculture’s Carbon Footprint in North America. Research Editorial. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 
Long-term studies of grazing methods in Texas tallgrass prairie show cattle can actually help mitigate climate change.

The Dirt Issue. Yes! Solutions Journalism. Spring 2019 
Zomer et al. Global Sequestration Potential of Increased Organic Carbon in Cropland Soils. Scientific Reports 7:15554 (2017).