Grant Schultz is on a mission to prove it’s possible to produce food without making global warming worse.

Schultz's farm

Schultz: “We’re trying to develop a modern food system that is in line with nature and produce a whole human diet on a single farm.”

To prove his concept, he founded Versaland, a 145-acre experimental farm in Iowa. He raises livestock, and grows crops that are well-suited to the local climate, including nut and fruit-bearing trees, and perennials like elderberries.

Trees capture and hold a lot of carbon. And since Schultz does not plow the land for crops like corn, the carbon in his soil is trapped, keeping it out of the atmosphere so it does not contribute to global warming.

Grant Schultz
Grant Schultz

Schultz says his method is a viable alternative to modern farming practices.

Schultz: “It’s more profitable per acre. I have a lower input cost – I’m not paying for as much diesel fuel. I have no fungicide inputs, no insecticide inputs. So you can see the advantages of it from an economic perspective.”

And then there’s the food.

Schultz: “At present, we’re producing pork, chicken, duck, turkey, eggs, goose. We have yields of chestnuts, apples, pears, nectarines, peaches, honeyberries, elderberries, asparagus …”

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… proving that one farm can produce a well-rounded diet.

Reporting credit: Jason Jackson/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photos: Courtesy of Grant Schultz.

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Daisy Simmons

Daisy Simmons is a freelance writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience in research-driven storytelling. In addition to contributing to Yale Climate Connections since early 2016, she also...