Jose Robles spreads mulch and compost under his almond trees with help from a California climate change grant. Electric cars and solar panels are the most visible signs of California’s ambitious climate change policies. But now the state is setting its sights on a lower-tech way to cut carbon emissions: soil. It’s spending millions of dollars to help farmers grow plants, which absorb carbon and help move it into the soil where it can be stored long-term. This makes California home to some of the first official "carbon farmers" in the country. Not that almond grower Jose Robles thinks of himself that way. Climate is something they talk about in the state capital Sacramento, he says, not around Modesto, where he lives and works. But in December, the ground under Robles’ almond trees was a carpet of green, full of mustard plant and clover. It’s not a common sight in the Central Valley. After all, most farmers hate weeds. "Everybody wants to have the orchards nice and clean," Robles says. His neighbors really don’t understand it. "I’ve heard them say, ‘We’re in the business of growing almonds, not in the business of growing weeds,’" he says, laughing. Robles got […]


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