The Permaculture Podcast

    1733 – Drawing Down Carbon: Eric Toensmeier on Agroforestry and Climate Change

    How do we limit the damage of the greatest terrestrial environmental disaster ever, climate change?

    By drawing down carbon.


    Click here to download the episode. | Open Player in New Window


    How we do that, and the most effective ways possible, form the base of this conversation with Eric Toensmeier, as he shares his ongoing research about the impacts of agriculture and how we can use agroforestry to increase productivity and sequester carbon.

    As an overview of the global state of carbon farming, Eric also discusses the reality of what we can do, through dietary practices and engaging in our own food production, to create change. For those of you inclined towards policy and top-down approaches, you’ll hear plenty of possibilities of how you can move the conversation in your community and with your legislators.

    Find out more about him at, and The Carbon Farming Solution at


    Visit our partner: Food Forest Card Game


    Given the range of topics touched on regarding climate change, the resources below include not only those that Eric mentioned, but also a number of previous interviews with Dr. Laura Jackson, Keefe Keeley of The Savanna Institute, small-scale farmers Lee and Dave O’Neill at Radical Roots, and the market farmer Jean-Martin Fortier, as well as Jerome Osentowski of Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture. In the conversation with Jerome, he even touches on the impacts he’s seeing of climate change after his many years in the high altitude environment of Colorado where CRMPI calls home, and the focus of his decades of work on greenhouses.

    As I put together the notes for this show, I’m left thinking about how to move forward in a meat-reduced world and have questions I need to answer. How viable is meat on leftovers? What systems do we need to implement to capture food waste so it gets to animals instead of the refuse bin?

    I should have expected to be left with more questions after speaking with Eric, so am going to keep digging into this and will share more as I find it.

    I would like to have Eric back sometime to continue the conversation about permaculture and food production on marginal land. If you have questions about this or anything else we covered in today’s conversation, leave a comment in the show notes below, or get in touch.

    Call: 717-827-6266

    Or you can send me a letter if you prefer something analog:

    The Permaculture Podcast
    P.O. Box 16
    Dauphin, PA 17018

    From here, the next conversation is from guest host David Bilbrey, who sat down with John Seed to talk about Saving the Los Cedros Biological Reserve.

    Until then, spend each day creating the world you want to live in by taking care of Earth, yourself, and your community by capturing carbon wherever you can.

    The Carbon Farming Solution
    Project Drawdown
    Perennial Solutions

    The Center for Agroforestry at the University of Missouri
    Agroforestry at Virginia Tech
    IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

    Trees on Farms by RJ Zomer, et al. (PDF)
    Savanna Institute
    Steve SolomonGardening When It Counts
    John Jeavons – Grow Biointensive
    Legal Pathways to Carbon_Neutral Agriculture by Peter Lehner and Nathan Rosenberg (PDF)
    Diet for a Small Planet

    Interviews for More Information
    Modern Agricultural Systems with Dr. Laura Jackson
    The Savanna Institute with Keefe Keeley
    The Market Gardener with Jean-Martin Fortier
    Radical Roots Farm with Dave and Lee O’Neill
    The Forest Garden Greenhouse (Jerome Osentowski)

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    1 Comment

    1. Steve boniwellSteve boniwell
      November 30, 2017    

      Hi guys, thanks for the interview. I always appreciate Eric naming species that i might use one day in dry tropics Australia.
      One aspect that wasnt mention was holistic management planned grazing etc that manage animals intensively, create top soil, rehydrates landscapes. This is a fast way to sequest carbon, create fertility and create long term employment. Management of grazing animals is very important in brittle landscapes. Conservation in humid landscapes works. ‘Conservation’ with no grazing animals doesnt work in brittle landscapes.
      Not implying that your tree polycultures are a conservation hands off method. But i do want to stress the point that much of the worlds land can come to life with the correct management method. There isnt a lack of land, there is a lack of effective management. Thanks again and keep up the content.

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