Abundance Thinking

Abundance Thinking

An excerpt from Courtney White's Grass, Soil, Hope: a Journey Through Carbon Country recounts his visit to Dorn Cox's 250-acre organic family farm. Cox is a carbon farmer, fueling most of his farm with biofuel grown on the farm. Cox believes that humans are approaching soil from the wrong stand-point: farmers need to adopt a lens of abundance rather than scarcity. He asks, “with lots of fertile soil, forests, water, and capable people, why can’t we make an independent, abundant living once more?” Cox explains, “the soil here is like a bank to which I’m making a deposit of carbon which will create a natural form of compound interest. Invest one seed, get one hundred back, return the carbon residue to the soil, and invest seed once again next season, and get one hundred twenty back. This absolute return is the real discount rate, and the carbon the real collateral. Any economic returns achieved above the real biological rate of return are by definition extractive and, therefore unearned.” Currently our agricultural system incentivizes these extractive, unearned economic returns, but now it's time to transition to a model that rewards farmers for building soil.

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