Carbon Farming

Contra Costa Resource Conservation District is proud to work with farmers that want to develop carbon farm plans and maximize carbon sequestration within their farm or ranch to promote soil health and enhance agricultural conservation.

Contra Costa RCD staff work with farmers and ranchers to address farm issues through management practices that also sequester carbon dioxide, providing a number of benefits to the farm, and the community. If you're interested in developing a carbon farm plan for your operation, please contact Ben Weise or Derek Emmons.

Frog Hollow Farm Carbon Farm Plan

In Summer 2018, Contra Costa RCD wrote the first Carbon Farm Plan in Contra Costa County in partnership with Frog Hollow Farm. Through this document, RCD Staff worked to capture a snapshot of Frog Hollow Farm and their current estimated carbon sequestration on farm as a result of various management practices including cover cropping and compost application among others. RCD Staff site visited with Frog Hollow Farm staff to further identify potential carbon sequestration opportunities that may also address on-farm issues like weed issues, water usage, or pollinator habitat availability.

Ben Weise

AGRICULTURE CONSERVATION MANAGER

925-690-4145

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Ben Weise

Skills: Permitting, conservation on agricultural land, illegal dumping prevention

Fun Fact: Eagle Scout, former member of the University of California Marching Band, aspiring birder, and a Contra Costa native raised in Southern California.

Ben Weise

Ben started working with Contra Costa RCD in January 2017 after receiving two Masters degrees from Indiana University in Natural Resource Management and Environmental Policy following undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley. Ben manages the Voluntary Local Program, the EcoStewards Program, and other conservation programs focused on agricultural lands.

Derek Emmons

AGRICULTURE CONSERVATION coordinator

925-276-0725

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Derek Emmons

Skills: Regenerative land management and community engagement

Fun Fact: Student of life that nerds out on eco-cultural restoration, hangs out on hilltops, at home cruising in the Subaru, swimmer looking for water.

Derek Emmons

Actively pursuing opportunities for collaboration, Derek engages land managers, urban and rural farmers to identify strategies that balance immediate social needs with the long-term vitality of our ecological systems.

Raised in the East Bay, Derek’s professional experience includes non-profit work in urban forestry, environmental education, permaculture design, and community development through Peace Corps Nepal.

Graduating in 2010 with a BA in Environmental Studies: Sustainable Food Systems from UCSC, Derek holds an MA in Geography from CSULB 2020.  His thesis research focused on the social drivers of riparian restoration on the working lands of the upper Tule River watershed of Tulare County, CA.

His current interests include identifying and showcasing farms demonstrating regenerative practices such as soil carbon sequestration, storm water infiltration, hedgerows, biodiversity enhancements, rematriation, and management for ecological flow regimes.

Derek’s vision of scaling up regenerative land management, agroecological resilience, and food justice includes embracing diversity with a holistic perspective on collective wellbeing.

Marianna Zavala

AGRICULTURE Conservation COORDINATOR

707-227-5116

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Marianna Zavala

Skills: Low-stress livestock handling, ag and farmworker policy, environmental education, community engagement, general hype person.

Fun Fact: An extraverted enneagram type 2/7/9 who loves sleeping in her Subaru named Pepita, riding horses, blue oak woodlands, rangeland management, and bonfires on the beach.

Marianna Zavala

Marianna (she/her) was raised in the Napa Valley, where she spent much of her time following her Papá in the vineyards, or exploring her Grandparents' ranch. Growing older she began to recognize the disparities that exist between these two worlds, many of them reflected in her own experience as a mixed Chicana. With a desire to learn more about the intersection of agriculture, conservation, and racial justice, Marianna has since earned a B.S. in agricultural communications from Cal Poly SLO, worked for nonprofits engaged in farmworker advocacy, food justice, and community development, and helped manage regenerative grazing programs on ranches in California and Colorado. With a deep passion for community building and wellness, Marianna is excited to bring her skills and energy to the CCRCD team, supporting farmers, ranchers, educators and learners across the Bay Area. Her North Star remains working to uplift BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) voices in agriculture and conservation, and always learning how to be a good ancestor.