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Soil health

Farmers are key players in achieving our climate goals

Our farmers and their healthy soils are part of the solution to climate change.

The challenge

Farmers have a front row seat to the impacts of climate change. GHG emissions from agriculture are projected to increase by 2030. Certain agricultural practices promote soil health, reduce GHG emissions on the farm and increase resilience and adaptability to the impacts of climate change.

The challenge is to get the agricultural sector to transition towards regenerative soil practices.

Did you know that ?

Barely 2% of the total area of Quebec is devoted to agriculture.

 It is time to think big. Canadian, provincial and territorial governments have an unprecedented opportunity to demonstrate forward-looking leadership by placing a real priority on soil health. People, planet and profit will all benefit as a result. 

Excerpt from "The Power of Soil" report

Équiterre's work 

Through its climate agriculture projects, Équiterre aims to support a global transition to a more resilient, low GHG-emitting agricultural sector. Équiterre propels this transition by mobilizing stakeholders, influencing policy and highlighting agricultural practices that have the potential to increase carbon sequestration, reduce GHG emissions and provide many other ecosystem benefits.

At the pan-Canadian level, Équiterre has identified, through the Power of Soil report, agricultural practices that improve soil health. We are using the knowledge, evidence and ideas from this report to inspire the federal government in the development of various policies and programs. We also support initiatives in some Canadian provinces, and belong to several coalitions such as Farmers for Climate Transition (which Équiterre helped create) and the Green Budget Coalition.

At the provincial level, Équiterre, in partnership with Coordination services-conseils (CSC) and with the financial support of MAPAQ, has launched a three-year (2020-2023) technology showcase project on soil conservation approaches in conventional field crops. Équiterre also sits on the follow-up committee for the implementation of the Plan d'agriculture durable (sustainable agriculture plan) of the Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec.

Consult the "Power of Soil" Fact Sheet


At the pan-Canadian level

  1. Identify agricultural practices that improve soil health and reduce the GHG footprint from the Canadian agricultural sector;
  2. Ensure that public officials and elected officials make soil health a priority in their policies and programs;
  3. Raise awareness among the Canadian public that agriculture can be part of Canada's climate solutions.

At the provincial level

  1. Highlighting field crop producers whose practices have been proven in the scientific literature to benefit the environment soil health;
  2. Stimulating interest in these practices and encouraging their adoption by a greater number of Quebec farmers;
  3. Increasing the resilience of Quebec's agricultural enterprises and protecting production capacities in the long term;
  4. Monitoring the implementation of the Sustainable Agriculture Plan to ensure that it meets its stated ambition.

Our impact 

5 webinars held in 2021 with over 400 attendees

25 videos featuring 11 participating farms

Project history


Pour concrétiser des changements à fort impact pour la protection des terres et des activités agricoles tout en informant la population ainsi que les décideurs de tous les paliers, Équiterre initie l'Alliance SaluTERRE.


Consultations are under way to establish the next agricultural policy framework at the federal level.

In June, Équiterre presents its brief "An ambitious agricultural policy framework for the climate and for farms".

In February, Quebec announces measures to reward agri-environmental practices as part of its Sustainable Agriculture Plan.


Équiterre publishes the report entitled Power of Soil in collaboration with the Greenbelt Foundation.

Ottawa announces the On-Farm Climate Action Fund, a $200 million fund over 3 years to support the adoption of three types of farming practices that benefit soil health.

Following a three day meeting in Guelph, federal, provincial and territorial agriculture ministers prioritizes addressing climate change and protecting the environment. This priority should be reflected in the next agricultural policy framework (2023-2028)

Équiterre joins the monitoring committee for the implementation of Quebec'sSustainable Agriculture Plan.


Canada's Climate Plan recognizes the importance of soil health and its ability to sequester carbon.

Quebec announces a Sustainable Agriculture Plan with clear and measurable objectives to reduce pesticide use, improve soil health, promote biodiversity, optimize water management and improve fertilizer management.

In July 2020, Équiterre presents the Agri-Resilience brief to the members of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food


Release of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that examines land use under climate change and warns that successfully containing climate change will require changes in how land is managed and food is produced.

2015 | COP21

The Paris Agreement acknowledges the role of agriculture in the fight against climate change.

The 4 per 1000 initiative, launched on December 1, 2015, suggests that increasing the amount of carbon stored in soils by 0.4% per year would offset the annual increase of CO2 in the atmosphere.

The federal government's climate plan recognizes the power of agricultural soils to sequester carbon.


The term "regenerative agriculture" is first used by the Rodale Institute.



A collaboration with the Ontario-based Greenbelt Foundation, the pan-Canadian project is funded by the Metcalf Foundation, Clif Family Foundation and Echo Foundation, and has also received funding from Patagonia. The Farmers for Climate Transition coalition is also a lead partner in the project.
  • Fondation Greenbelt
  • Fondation Echo
  • Fondation Metcalf
  • Clif Family Foundation
  • Patagonia
At the provincial level, the Vitrines en santé des sols project is a joint venture with Coordination services-conseils. This project is financed by the ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec under component 2 of the Prime-Vert program.
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  • Gouvernement du Québec

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