Nature gives us a chance each day to regenerate our cells as they turnover and new ones are created. The choices that we make through our food, water, air, emotions, and stress affect our overall health and it’s natural regenerative cycle. The soil isn’t any different.
What is our role in the regenerative cycle?
I believe it is up to us farmers and ranchers as a collective to decide how we are going to steward over this process. Nature is working to do it with or without us, but if we facilitate the process to enable what is naturally taking place we all benefit.
For example, my friend, Will Harris from White Oak Pastures models “Traditional” farming. As my Grandmother would have said, “that was the way we used to do it.” This way of production has merit and naturally regenerates not only the land, water, soil, and human health, it also affects the prosperity of the surrounding community, pollinators, air quality, and the environment as a whole.
It's a beautiful thing
When the energy, carbon, mineral, microbial, and water cycles are in a state where they can flow freely these cycles completely support each other and a regenerative system is restored. Microbes feed plants, which feed animals, which spread urine and feces which in turn feed the microbes and the cycle keeps flowing.
Part of that cycle is the carbon cycle. Keeping the science simple, soil health = regeneration. Land management practices are looked at for how much carbon can be put back in the soil and stored, also termed as carbon sequestration.
Soil Health = Regeneration
Part of that cycle is the carbon cycle. Keeping the science simple, soil health = regeneration also termed as carbon sequestration.
Leading by example
By allowing nature to flow freely on Will Harris’s farm, White Oak Pastures has been producing high-quality livestock that have become a staple in EPIC’s products which are 100 percent grass-fed, animal-based protein bars. In 2016, General Mills acquired the company to help expand distribution and offer the humanely raised meat products to a wider audience. Recognizing the work that Will was doing, Jerry Lynch, (who at the time was General Mills Chief Sustainability Officer) brought a team of scientists to White Oak Pastures to measure the impacts of his work. After rigorous testing, measuring and quantifying that for every one pound of meat that is produced on his farm, 3.5 pounds of carbon is sequestered. Yes, that is correct. In a livestock production system on a farm, it is possible to have a negative effect on the environment. As a result of their practices, White Oak Pastures beef has a carbon footprint 111% lower than conventional beef. As a matter of fact, as a result of the scientific study, this is how White Oak Pastures measured up against other proteins.
Image Credit: whiteoakpastures.com
Letting nature flow freely
Time has shown that the current agricultural model that we are breaking out of is no longer serving us well and we are at a point in choice. Do we try to continue with what has “worked” based on trying to keep a level of comfort with something we “know” or are we willing to also acknowledge there can be a better way and to trust that working with nature to remove what has been congesting it and adding what will support it is an option.
We can make it happen
There is a lot of curiosity around how “possible” it is to build an organic and/or regenerative dedicated supply chain that is produced domestically, with verified crop quality and traceability. If you are a farmer a brand or a buyer and are open to having a conversation around the opportunities of building a strategy and shifting agriculture, contact us.