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Making Carbon Gardening Attractive

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Making carbon gardening attractive
by Daria Chekalskaia

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Chekalskaia Daria
environmental engineer & climate communicator
● Consultant, Climate Investment Funds
● YOUNGO Climate Fi...

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It’s been a long journey…
Jk

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Making Carbon Gardening Attractive

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Making Carbon Gardening Attractive
Ms. Daria Chekalskaia (Youth Climate Activist)
RCE Youth Webinar: Art, Actions, and Perspectives for Biodiversity Conservation
12 August, 2022

Making Carbon Gardening Attractive
Ms. Daria Chekalskaia (Youth Climate Activist)
RCE Youth Webinar: Art, Actions, and Perspectives for Biodiversity Conservation
12 August, 2022

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Making Carbon Gardening Attractive

  1. 1. Making carbon gardening attractive by Daria Chekalskaia
  2. 2. Chekalskaia Daria environmental engineer & climate communicator ● Consultant, Climate Investment Funds ● YOUNGO Climate Finance WG member ● Youth4Climate delegate of Russia ● Instagram blogger @daria_check ● Ecopreneur ● Permaculture gardener
  3. 3. It’s been a long journey… Jk
  4. 4. Is there a regenerative way to grow food? Can soil absorb CO2 and mitigate climate change? Can my garden become part of a solution?
  5. 5. Primary goal of these agro-methods is to encourage biodiversity, sequester carbon, create healthy soil and happy plants (and people). Carbon gardening, Regenerative gardening, Permaculture
  6. 6. Before
  7. 7. ✅ ❌ Do not dig - destroys the layers & soil ecosystem
  8. 8. Cover the ground - Mulching with straw, grass, cardboards, organic matter - Cover crops (grains, legumes, broadleaves), crop you grow for the soil, not your plate ❌ ✅
  9. 9. Grow for yourself & pollinators ✅
  10. 10. ● Compost ● Ditch chemicals ● Rotate crops ● Plant native plants ● Permanent beds
  11. 11. After (now)
  12. 12. Sharing is caring
  13. 13. “So what?” method What: I am not digging my garden. Context, past or future: Current agrotechnology is a disaster. We need regenerative methods. I decided to learn about it by doing. How does it work: Digging destroys soil communities. I use permanent beds, mulching and cover crops instead. Your emotions: I feel excited to try it out and see what will happen. Message, call to action: I invite you to join. Just try it with one bed. So what? So what? So what? So what?
  14. 14. Connect: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chekalskaia/

Editor's Notes

  • I am Daria moved from Russia to Finland to study environmental engineering. I am a climate communicator & youth climate activist. I am most active with social media, attended several UN conferences and work in online education & climate finance. Today I am also sharing my story on biodiversity as a permaculture gardener.
  • Gardening has always been in my life. But only after I got my education as an environmental engineer, the world of climate change, biodiversity loss and disrupted food system opened up to me. I started to question the way we grow food. Our global food system is the primary driver of biodiversity loss. We need to change what we eat, where we farm and how we farm.
  • So the questions that led me to my experiments were the following:
  • Visiting ecovillage around Europe, searching the Net and talking to people I found the answer. It is a set of nature-based practices that work in concert with ecological systems, such as the carbon cycle, soil food webs, and growing spaces. It is a biomimicry in essence, as we are inspired by how nature grows food and try to recreate it.
    You can watch the movies to get inspired, and I will also talk through the main principles. So, I wanted to get into the action, I was really lacking the practical knowledge. And as soon as I created a request, by accident I found a community garden in my town, 4 big fields where you can rent 10m on 10m plot for yourself to rent over the summer. This is the aerial view on the field where I am renting, the one on the left down corner in the weird pizza shape is my carbon garden.

    Permaculture is not about just digging a hole, planting a seed and expecting it to grow. It is primarily about observation. Permaculture is about seeking out these patterns and enhancing what you need by working with the land not against it.
  • This is with what I have started 3 years ago. Experienced eater of food grown by parents, but no experience in growing stuff by myself. Surrounded by neighbours with whom w do not share a common language or garden practices. And here I started applying permaculture or regenerative principles:
  • First, no digging.
    Have you ever seen nature digging the soil in forest to increase productivity? No, nature covers the ground, grows plants on it, bringing soil biodiversity to work the land.

    After I created permanent beds I have not dig soil. Digging is like earthquake, tis a disruption. We expose those microorganism that do not like air to oxygen, killing it, and those who love being on top we put underneath cutting them from light and air. We kill soil biodiversity, disrupt water channels, emit CO2 by tilling the ground.

    I agreed with garden organization from whom I am renting that my soil will not be touched by a tractor and they agreed which was a big victory in my regenerative garden journey. And by the way my neighbours also slowly start to ask the same and now half of the field is not digged which is an awesome change because more soil microorganisms can stay happy.
  • Next is covering the ground. Nature will always try to cover the ground either with leaves, organic matter or weeds.
    So we should do the same, mulch the ground, which is basically covering soil with any organic matter: leaves, grass, cardboards or plant cover crops. This reduces the loss of carbon molecules from the soil into the air, keeps soil microorganisms happy, maintaining moisture and moderating soil temperatures. The primary function of a cover crop is to protect the soil surface, but in addition, it can provide your soil environment rest, nutrition, aeration, or “exercise” – or a combination of those benefits. Mulching and composting also boost your soil’s ability to store carbon so we actually not emit but sequester carbon; plus, you won't need to water as much or use chemicals for fertilizer or weed killer.
  • Here is not much to say, only the fact that it’s super important to plant flowers for pollinators, as they are the ones responsible for creation of your food. Also the right combination of flowers can protect your crops and make your day happier.
  • Compost all your food scraps and garden waste. You will not only reduce the greenhouse-gas emitting waste that ends up in the landfill, but also provide food and habitat for the bacteria, fungi and tiny critters that healthy soil needs.
    The use of synthetic agricultural chemicals is destructive of soil carbon. Toxins like pesticides are lethal to soil organisms, which play a crucial role in enhancing plant vitality and photosynthesis. Fertilizers have also been shown to deplete soil organic matter.
    With perennial plants such as trees and shrubs, you really don’t need to till or dig the soil. Once established, they require much less care than annuals, and all those big roots going deep into the ground and creating more forest-like habitat means greater biodiversity in your garden… and more carbon stored in the soil. The options are endless: fruit trees, berry shrubs, nut trees or shrubs, rhubarb, artichoke…
    One of the keys to supporting the microbial life in the soil is to encourage diversity. One principle of nature seems to be that the more biodiversity there is in a system, the healthier and more resilient it is.
  • Here is where I am now. I can spot now way more insects protecting and working my garden, improving soil each year. Yes, ny garden does not look tidy or clean as traditional ones but it brings way more happiness to me and hopefully nature.
  • After I figured some practices of regenerative gardening I decided to apply my social media skills to multiply the efforts and invite others to join the journey. I publish reels and stories on Instagram reaching thousands of people. I find this work meaningful as I receive hundreds of messages how other youth are now trying to rethink garden practices both for their gardens and also their parents’ ones. Covid attracted a lot of people to connect with nature, and I am attracting them to connect with nature more meaningfully. I am ready to share the most important method I use to help spread the message.
  • I call it So what method, its really easy to use if you are a curious person by yourself. So I use it to create a coherent story to attract more fellow youth to the topic of permaculture and educate them in social media.
  • Thank you and let’s connect around the conservation and regeneration. Feel free to reach out if you have questions, concerns or awesome projects to share.

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