Hawthorne Valley Farm (HVF) is pleased to participate in a trial on Enhanced Rock Weathering (ERW) with the Yale Center for Natural Carbon Capture (YCNCC). As part of the study, 160 tons of crushed basalt was spread on one of the farm’s pastures in November.

ERW is a technique utilized by the YCNCC to help accelerate the earth’s natural process of sequestering carbon when rain falls on silicate rocks. By crushing rocks like basalt, a volcanic rock, and spreading it onto farmland, ERW creates more surface area for the chemical reaction to occur between rain and the rock to capture the carbon from the air. The process also helps release important nutrients in the soil that can increase crop yields. You can learn more about this technique and the science behind it here.

The YCNCC is partnering with farms like HVF for a pilot program to apply rock dust to test plots in farm fields. The fields are then routinely monitored to measure rock weathering rates and soil pH levels. With funding from the USDA, farmers in the trial receive compensation based on the acreage in the test plots on their farms.

To learn more about the Yale Center for Natural Carbon Capture and the ERW trial, please visit their website here or contact Alexis Weintraub, Grant Manager, at [email protected].

The crushed basalt used at HVF came from a quarry in Massachusetts, and is a by-product of regular quarrying activity. HVF’s participation in the trial aligns with Hawthorne Valley’s Net Positive Initiative that strives to more explicitly address factors such as climate resilience, ecosystem regeneration, ecological literacy and pedagogy, and human flourishing in its work in order to give more back to our environment and community than we take out. To learn more, please contact Sushannah Laurange, Communications Manager, at [email protected] or 518-672-4465 x224.

Photos by Jonathan Miller. Additional photos and video available upon request.