THE FUTURE IS
Let’s start from the beginning…
Since the beginning of agriculture it’s been common practice for Farmers to let their fields fallow (rest), letting the soil rebound from damage caused by overuse. Failure to fallow would result in infertile soil. The assumption was that harvesting from the land NECESSARILY results in soil degradation over time as it was thought that plants grow from the soil, and we are removing the plants at harvest.
In response to land degradation over time our reaction was an attempt at conservation; the “do less harm” movement. However, sustainability is only sustaining the current state of things – that which had already been depleted. The definition of sustainable is “able to be used without being completely used up or destroyed”, and that is largely where Agricultural practices stand today: an attempt to keep the ground producing at a steady, albeit, slowly declining yield.
The Regenerative model is totally different. It’s the natural model. All things in the natural world recycle and regenerate. The regenerative model is based on biomimicry – using the “technology” of natural systems to allow for the regeneration of land while in production.
Meet Farmer Brown
This is Farmer Brown of North Dakota. Yes his name really is Farmer Brown (Gabe Brown) and he has got a great story.
Several years ago, Gabe was a conventional farmer – pretty much on the path of degeneration. But Gabe was hit and hit hard by 4 years of hail storms and drought making four years of crop failure. The bank refused to give him the loans needed to keep operations. Without the loans Gabe wouldn’t be able to do “business as usual”.
He had to make a big choice: sell the farm, or find a way to make it work without the expensive overhead.
Instead of selling the farm Gabe turned to Regenerative Agriculture, and as a result was able to naturally increase his land’s soil organic matter (SOM) from 2% to 8%, and now Gabe boasts greater water retention and production yields than the farm next door.
Can you guess them all right? *Pay attention!
GOOD vs BAD
A definition: Though still technically undefined, regenerative agriculture has been described as:
“Agricultural that works inside a whole-system framework, improving ecosystem
resources it uses rather than destroying or depleting them.”
“Farming practices that reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter
while also restoring degraded soil biodiversity”.
“It’s an agriculture method that is emerging worldwide in response to climate change, our currently
degenerating soils, and our increased dependence on commercial seed, herbicide and pesticides.”
“It’s beyond organic. It’s beyond sustainable. It’s biomimicry and it’s regenerative!”
Note: combining practices can help ensure that one practices’ benefits are not undermined by other continued degenerative practices. For example, a “no till” farm that still uses heavy chemical herbicides will greatly reduce the carbon sequestration potential of the no till conversion.