Watch the Carbon Sponge pitch video then learn more about the project in their own words below:
Carbon Sponge started in 2018 with a question: what could carbon farming look like in New York City and how can anyone track the increase or decrease of carbon in soil over time?
Carbon sequestration in soil as a means to mitigate climate change and improve soil health has become newsworthy lately; even President Biden has called upon farmers to lead the way in offsetting greenhouse gas emissions through regenerative agriculture techniques. But what can we do in the city?
According to the New York City Soil Survey, 36.2% of NYC is already covered by soil and this does not include rooftop gardens. NYC is home to over 550 community gardens and another 700 gardens and three urban farms in NYC public housing. Carbon Sponge is a group of artists, scientists, agroecologists, community gardeners and educators based in NYC dedicated to participatory science and transparency in research as well as using art to engage broad audiences.
We established a pilot Carbon Sponge garden in 2018 at the New York Hall of Science to study how various plant combinations and cultivation techniques can impact the amount of carbon retained in urban soil over time. This is in partnership with CUNY Grad Center's Advanced Science Research Center. Simultaneously, we are developing a kit to allow anybody to get an easy, quick and affordable read on carbon in soil. We have led workshops, tours, museum demonstrations and more to share our work and bring people into the conversation. We built a second pilot at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn in 2019 and tested the kit with five existing green spaces in 2020, forming a network of carbon farming land stewards throughout the city.
The Awesome Foundation grant will be used to purchase necessary materials to expand our pilot to include two new NYC community sites in 2021!
Funded by New York City, NY (April 2021)