Grounding Carbon Farming

Organised by Organised by WIMEK in collaboration with SBL, ENP, NGO myclimate, and the farm "La ferme de Hyaumet".

Sat 14 September 2024 until Fri 20 September 2024

Duration 5 full days during a week on site on a farm in Dampierre-en-Bray, Normandy, France. Arrival afternoon of the 14th, departure in the morning on the 20th.


As the climate changes, the environment degrades, biodiversity declines and the world population increases, agricultural ecosystems are increasingly looked at, both as culprit and saviours. Agroecosystems and their soils are indeed key to support a multitude of ecosystem services, but their degradation worldwide jeopardises this ability.

Carbon farming is proposed as a solution. Carbon farming designates any agricultural management practice resulting in carbon sequestration in soils or vegetation, and the business model should allow farming to get paid for each ton of carbon sequestered. It is claimed that carbon sequestration, particularly in soils, has the double benefit of supporting climate mitigation (as carbon is drawn down from the atmosphere and “locked away”) and the multitude of ecosystem services provided by soils (as carbon is the backbone of organic matter and central to soil health and fertility).

One approach – soil carbon sequestration - to solve the climate crisis and revert environmental degradation caused by agriculture while feeding a growing world population… is that too good to be true?

Learning goals

After the course students should be able to:

1. Appraise the role of soils, and particularly soil carbon, in climate change mitigation, adaptation and farm sustainability

2. Evaluate some of the environmental, social and economic implications of soil carbon sequestration in the farming context

3. Understand and relate to the perspective of different stakeholders, including farmers, on sustainability transition and the role of soil carbon in it

4. Critically assess soil carbon related policies and propose alternatives considering farming context

Assumed knowledge

None, but some background knowledge in soil science or agronomy or socio-economics of farming preferrable.

Principal themes

In this course, we go onsite on a dairy farm where many of the current recommended practices are implemented. We talk to soil and social scientists, legislators, carbon certifiers. We also talk to the farmers, we eat their food, we trample their fields. Using a transdisciplinary and immersive approach, we seek to see, to witness, experience, and truly understand:

  • What is carbon farming?
  • Is it really sustainable, socially, economically and environmentally?
  • Does carbon sequestration really guarantee sustainability and climate change mitigation?
  • Can the potential benefits of carbon farming practices really be captured by the unique carbon sequestration metric?
  • And from there, is legislation focusing on the promotion and framing of carbon credit certification schemes, really up to the enormous task of nudging agriculture towards sustainability, climate action and global food security?

Outline of the course

Day 1: Arrival and welcome dinner

Day 2: Background: lectures on soils in the global carbon cycles / farm tour

Day 3: Monitoring soil carbon: lectures on theories and methods / field measurements / data analyses

Day 4: Soil carbon and sustainability: lectures trade-offs and synergies / cider making factory visit / farmers interviews

Day 5: Soil carbon and European policies: debate and Q&A with Claire Chenu and Roman Hüppi / serious game

Day 6: Final assignment: pitch your policy to the EU commission (the teachers in disguise) in 20 min / good-bye dinner

Day 7: Departure



The course is composed of a series of lectures, discussions, stakeholder debates, group reflections working toward a final assignment (a presentation pitching a scientifically and socially grounded and relevant farm sustainability policy), farm visits, farmers interviews, field measurements and takes place on the farm (accommodation is 600m from the farm) for an immersive experience. The course will start on Saturday in the late afternoon (4-5 PM) with welcome drinks and dinner. Course activities terminate with a goodbye dinner on Thursday night and departure from the site is on Friday after breakfast (10am).

General information

The course fee includes coffee, tea, all meals and accommodation for 5 days, with dinner on the day of arrival and breakfast on the day of departure. We are able to provide vegetarian and vegan meals, but are unfortunately not able to cater for strict allergy related diets.

The fee does not include the travel from Wageningen to the venue and back; you need to organise and fund this yourself. For those travelling with public transport we will provide a pick-up from Beauvais station. Make sure you have travel insurance for the duration of your trip and are insured during the course.

The course will take place on a farm and accommodation is in a house about 500m from the farm. You can find information about the accommodation here and about the farm here. Note that you will need to share a room and facilities with other people; we cannot offer single rooms. Also note that the accommodation house is an old farm renovated in a traditional style. Comfort is decent but basic.

Selection of participants

A maximum of 20 participants can partake, therefore we ask all participants to upload a motivation of max 150 words describing what your personal and professional motivations are for attending the course. Specifically, we ask you to answer how the course relates to your research or professional activity and to your personal background.

Registration will open on the 20th of March, with the early bird registration ending on the 14th of May. After the early bird deadline, we will select PhD candidates based on the answers, while keeping in mind the need to create a diverse, but knowledgeable group in terms of scientific and regional background.

You can register for the course here.

Additional Information

Credit points 2 ECTS
Language English, being able to speak (some) French is an advantage but not necessary
Group size 17-20 people


Role Early (before 1 June 2024) Regular (after 1 June until 14 June 2024)
WUR PhDs with TSP 475 525
SENSE PhDs , WIMEK postdoc's and WIMEK staff 950 1000
Other PhDs 1030 1080
All other academic staff 1030 1080
Others/non-academic 1900 1950


  • If you need an invoice to complete your payment, please send an email to, including ALL relevant details that should be mentioned on the invoice (e.g., purchase order no., specific addresses, attendees, etc.).
  • The Early-Bird policy is such that the moment of REGISTRATION (and not payment) is leading for determining the fee that applies to you.
  • Please make sure that your payment is arranged within two weeks after your participation has been confirmed, according to the instructions stated in the confirmation email. Your registration is only completed once we have received your payment.
  • It is the participant's responsibility to make sure that they (or their secretary) complete the payment correctly and in time

Cancellation conditions

  • Up to 10 (ten) weeks prior to the start of the course, cancellation is free of charge.
  • Up to 6 (six) weeks prior to the start of the course a fee of 50% will be charged.
  • Up to 4 (four) weeks prior to the start of the course the full fee will be charged.

Note: If you would like to cancel your registration, ALWAYS inform us.

Also note that when there are not enough participants, we can cancel the course. We will inform you if this is the case a week after the early bird deadline. Please take this into account when arranging your trip to the course (I.e. check the re-imbursement policies).


Register for the course here: