What is regenerative agriculture? A short answer to the question is that we grow food using methods that leave the soil and water in better health than how we found it. A longer answer would include looking at these indicators of an ecologically healthy farm system:
- Decreasing signs of degradation or resource losses
- Decreasing dependence on external inputs
- Increasing soil quality/quantity
- Increasing water quality/quantity
- Increasing nutrient cycling
- Increasing landscape diversity
- Increasing crop and animal diversity
- Increasing genetic diversity
- Increasing plant health
- Increasing levels of food self-sufficiency
- Increasing flows between farm components
- Increasing resilience to external disturbances
In the next 12 weeks, we will cover some of the basics of each of these indicators. You’ll notice some overlap because, well, it’s all connected. That’s the point! Each field or crop or stream or tree or animal or person or bee doesn’t exist in isolation but is part of a whole. It’s our job as land stewards to weave the strands of the ecosystem back together.
Examples of degradation or resource loss on the farm include soil erosion, water runoff, loss of biohabitat (suitable places for a variety of bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals to live), loss of biodiversity–directly connected to loss of biohabitat, but also related to planting too much of one thing, the planting of identical seed (clones) rather than seed of rich genetic diversity.
Invisible yet extremely important is the health of the microbial life at the root level of plants. This living network in the soil is absolutely necessary for plants to join the powers of the sun and water through photosynthesis. For this soil sponge to exist, it requires living plant roots and for the soil to be protected from the sun. Have you ever notice how quickly ‘weeds’ pop up to protect bare soil? That’s by design–nature’s design. These pioneer species are what we referred to a few weeks ago as the ‘first responders’ They arrive on the scene to bandage the damage. This is why we keep the soil covered with living plants when possible and with mulch when it’s not.
Another loss is the direct connection between human beings and the living earth. As you know, and science has proven, touching rich, healthy soil with your feet or hands positively affects your mood and stress level. People are regularly transformed by a day at the farm working in the fields or in the woods. We hope you’ll join us! Plan to visit the farm during our free annual Harvest Festival on Sunday, October 14 from 2 to 4, or contact us about setting up a time to volunteer.
Interested in beekeeping and don’t know where to begin? Join us for Beekeeping for Bee-ginners! This two-hour class on October 11 is an introduction to the fundamentals of keeping bees. You’ll gain an understanding of honeybee biology, basic beekeeping practices, and guidance on how to start keeping bees.
Maybe you’re an archer who loves hunting with a bow and arrow. Maybe you’re a woodworker who would love to learn a new skill. Or maybe you’re someone passionate about learning techniques for survival and self reliant living. Whatever the reason, this is your chance to learn how to make hunting-quality, wooden bow and arrows from scratch with your own two hands. You will leave with your own finished bow! This four-day workshop starts in October. Check out Bowmaking!
CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Shares
Here is what we plan to include in this week’s CSA shares:
We are looking forward to trying this recipe: Squash Steaks with Brown Butter and Sage. Enjoy!
September 29 – Primitive Butchering and Cooking
September 30 – Children’s Discovery Series: The Compassion Project
October 6, 7, 13, 14 – Bowmaking
October 7 – Children’s Discovery Series: Let’s Bee Friends
October 11 – Beekeeping for Bee-ginners
October 13 – Foraging: Wild Soup
October 14 – Harvest Festival & Annual Open House
October 16 – Bread Baking Basics
October 26 – Offal: Tongue, Brains, and More!
October 20, 21 – Wilderness Skills Overnight Immersion
November 17 – Bread Baking Full Day Workshop
November 17 – Foraging: Roots
December 8 – Foraging: Winter
See you at the farm!