What: ZeroDig horticulture fixes and stores carbon in the soil by nurturing the soil micro-biology to create a living soil. Micro-organisms in the soil have a symbiotic relationship with the vegetables planted. Using photosynthesis, these plants take the C02 out of the air and trade the sugars produced with the soil micro-organisms who create stable forms of carbon in the soil. Our climate action target is to increase the organic matter content of our soils at Oakbrook by 0.5% per year (corresponding to an increase in soil carbon content of about 0.3%). At 30 cms depth and assuming a bulk density of 1.0 this gives us about eight tonnes per hectare per year of carbon and means that ZeroDig horticulture at Oakbrook will be taking just over 20 tonnes of CO2 taken out of the air every year. Turning horticulture from a source of carbon emissions into a carbon sink.

How: ZeroDig uses the latest advances and understanding of soil micro-biology and the symbiotic relationship between plants, animals and the soil. Living soils are able to sequester and store carbon. Even more carbon can be stored in soils whose micro-biology is actively managed for carbon storage and trees are planted. By deploying modern agro-ecology farming practices that focus on a clear understanding and management of soil health – especially the role of micro-organisms – we will not only produce significant amounts of healthy food but we will also sequester carbon from the atmosphere and store it in the soil and above ground biomass – especially trees. We will do this in a dynamic social context that will also create viable livelihoods on small-scale farms. In addition to storing carbon in the soil we will be increasing the above ground storage of carbon by planting trees for wood chips and aiming to further increase the ZeroDig carbon storage target. One hectare of healthy trees is estimated to sequester 6.4 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Direct Carbon Saving: 2,000 kgCO2e/yr

Further Information: ZeroDig at Oakbrook is a one hectare horticulture farm producing a range of vegetables for the local market and aiming to demonstrate the commercial and social viability of small scale intensive horticultural operations to: (a) create and sustain rural livelihoods; (b) increase bio-diversity; and (c) sequester carbon in the soil.


  • Solution: Food & Agriculture > Agriculture & Land > Soil Improvement > Regenerative Agriculture


Lead Group: Oakbrook Farm

Contact Name: Christopher Upton

Contact Email:

Contact Phone: 07974118008

Partner Groups Role:


Postcode: GL6 7QW

Locality: Stroud, Stroud Uplands, Stroud, Gloucestershire, South West

Initiative Created:

Last Updated: