Regenerative farming - healing the land, our food, and ourselves

I have been hearing a lot lately about regenerative agriculture and organic farming. Here are a few talks I’ve enjoyed listening to.

How regenerative farming can help heal the planet and human health - Charles Massy, TEDx Canberra 2018

GMOs, Glyphosate and Healing the Gut - Zach Bush, MD on Rich Roll podcast #353

The Science and Spirituality of Human and Planetary Transformation - Zach Bush, MD on Rich Roll podcast #414

Cows, Carbon and Climate - Joel Salatin, TEDx Charlottesville 2016

I wonder … would more people be inclined to buy organic if transparency laws were passed, requiring that every product’s ingredient list include every single chemical used at any stage in their production, including fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides etc …?

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This is a topic I have been reflecting upon for several years now. I even made the choice to STOP buying organic, in favour of supporting the survival of local non-organic farmers, because I could see that the organic story was leading us more rapidly to the edge of land destruction and total loss of food security. The problem is we are NOT ready for transition into regenerative agriculture, we have to be evolutionary not revolutionary, looking ahead towards our idealism whilst taking steps from connection to realism.

The biggest threat to our very humanity (leaving us at the mercy of artificial social control systems) is losing the capacity to grow our own food, on our own land and becoming reliant on technology to produce food (at the moment they are working on growing insects in laboratories and meat in petri dishes, amongst other unthinkables). Mass desertification is obviously the biggest global food production problem, but there are insidious and dangerous under stories that threaten lands closer to home too and many of them sing the song of the organic movement…as our farmers buckle under the strain and sell their land to those who have no interest in the soil beyond it holding their money in a safer place (and sub-contracting the land to chemical agriculture farming methods). Organic farming ideals will lead to our farmers selling their land…which will actually stop us converting to organic farming!

The regenerative movement in the arable farming world is encouraging cover crops to draw carbon back down into our soils and build up our soils, even water management companies are paying for the cover crop seeds, (as they have seen the cost benefits in terms of reduced fertiliser run off into groundwater supplies), but…farmers are using huge amounts of herbicide to kill off the cover crops before planting and the organic options of crimper rollers just isn’t effective on a larger scale. Thus cover crops are increasing herbicide use and contamination of food. With the impending ban on glyphosate (it has now been thrown to the wolves, due to it’s patent expiry and lack of profitability- queue mass legal action as it’s full horror is revealed), a new saviour will rise up in the form of newer herbicides connected to the new gene modification known as liberty link. The problem here is that this herbicide is patented and after farmers planting cover crops are made financially dependent on carbon credit schemes and water resource management funding, they will be forced down the funnel of buying the new herbicide. Probably just in time for the trade deal with America to include GM food production and the privatsation of our healthcare system…leading a big wodge of cash straight into the hands of Bayer.

We have limited options in front of us. The only way forward I can see, that doesn’t lead us straight to an AI controlled world or one that drives all our money into the Pharmaceutical (soon to be technological - nano-chip/nano-bot world), is to initiate a global movement of holistic land management which includes utilising livestock as a tool to re-green our deserts and re-fertilise our soils whilst also, producing food in as many ways as we know how. We need lots of people growing in their gardens, communities, setting up aquaponics and hydroponics in under-used buildings. But we also need to begin evolving large scale arable agriculture into small-medium scale intensive agriculture modalities urgently, if we aren’t going to poison ourselves with herbicides, I think we need to get rid of all the labels and accept that whatever food we produce locally to us is what we have to get behind. Then perhaps we can become passionate enough to make a contribution and ask our farmers what we need to do in order to help them transition and maintain a viable business.

I have been looking at how we fund farmers to help them transition and we need the people on the ground to get behind this. We are at a fork in the road, ecological collapse is just around the corner and unless individuals begin to take responsibility for themselves and ask what they can do in their community to support food production, I am afraid a world ran by Bayer and AI is waiting to make life much more comfortable for us, as we won’t need to worry about our humanity or making decisions for ourselves. That is if AI and Bayer manages to stop us destroying ourselves and the planet entirely, (destroying ourselves would be a kinder ending let’s be honest).

We need to stop thinking about chemicals, labels, farming methods and focus on what we can do to evolve food production in our own communities, whilst humans still own the land.

I am putting together a call to action with my local farmers to put to our community, the next step is finding ways to diversify food production and farmers income streams so they can keep their farms. We are living in very uncertain times indeed, with so many people not even looking at the elephant that is now so big it’s actually sitting on us!

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This is great, Teri, thank you!

I’m particularly interested in this:

and this:

A superordinate/meta question that continually lurks in my mind is how to attract people and money into this “Game B” system, and away from the known-and-comfortable “Game A” system. What are the most motivating factors in our decisions?

Some possibilities (where Game A still has the upper hand):

  • Convenience and reliability
  • Availability, accuracy, relevance and timeliness of information
  • Price (both financial and in terms of time, attention and other personal resources)
  • Culture, social value alignment
  • Lifestyle coherence
  • Personal value alignment

It would be fascinating to get an insight to how the people who are still very much living in the “Game A” system think … why do they keep using it? What would influence their decision to switch to “Game B”?

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I don’t know a huge amount about regenerative farming. Everything you’ve both said, here and elsewhere, especially about the urgency of moving into this way of approaching our relationship with the land (something you articulate Teri), makes complete sense to me. I seem to find it difficult to retain information on this in a way I don’t with other things, but the core aspect of needing to move into farming that supports us and Earth with true health and sustainability is a no-brainer (to me). And moving into smaller scale modalities feels very right.

I was wondering where you both see hemp production in this? I keep seeing lots of information about how regenerative hemp is for the land, and its many uses: how we can produce hemp-plastics and hemp-based clothing, amongst other uses, along with the health benefits of hemp and CBD.

Hemp … hmm. I’ve not really ever looked into the details of one fibre vs another, but my curiosity was roused by your question and I found this: Top 5 eco-friendly fibres

I was pleased to see that the author of that article considered multiple dimensions in his assessment of these fibres’ relative eco-friendliness. Generally speaking, when it comes to material goods (including food and clothing), I see a need to move away from ‘fast, efficient, cheap mass production’ that relies on extraction and shipping everything all around the world and ultimately encourages a high level of waste of what we’ve extracted … and more towards getting the best, longest, least wasteful use out of what we already have extracted, slowing down, considering context, increasing regeneration and localisation and tailoring our ‘solutions’ to truly meet our needs.

This is nothing new, of course. I think that pretty much everyone looking at these problems from a systemic perspective sees the same ‘need’. The ultimate question I see is: How do we get from where we are now to where we need to be? Clearly (to me, anyway) the tactics of raising awareness and trying to persuade people to change their behaviours and push politicians to change legislation are not moving the needle fast enough, because much of the time it’s like trying to make water flow uphill. Most people simply won’t switch from taking a cheaper, more convenient 1 hour trip to a supermarket to spending a more expensive half-day wandering around farmer’s markets and various stalls and shops scattered around their local community, no matter how much they’re ‘encouraged’ to do so. Somehow we need to change the decision landscape itself so the water naturally flows in the right direction …

I think this is spot on. I feel hugely moved to make decisions in my life that bring about the world I want to, but I find myself frustrated and restrained by budgets and the time and energy involved seeking out and going to buy from local producers. When I moved here to France I spent a long time seeking out where could I buy local, raw milk from; where are the nearest markets so I could buy veg from suppliers directly instead of from the supermarkets; where are the most humane local meat suppliers etc etc, and the reality I’ve found is exactly as you said it. Here, I could be driving an hour and back to get some ‘local’ meat. And what’s really shocking to me is that many people here - and I’m very tempted to do it because of the prices - get monthly deliveries from the UK supermarkets to stock up on meat because it’s so expensive out here and the cost of buying it from England and having it driven all the way across France works out cheaper for them than buying local, or even regional meat. And it’s not just meat, veg out here is often old and sad looking and so much more expensive than in the UK.

Please don’t think that I’m not aware that I have a choice every single time, and I could choose to spend more of my budget and more of my time to get the most local and supportive choices. But I’m not doing that, and I’m one of the people that is really aware of the need for local farmers and suppliers to be supported, and I hate chain anything, especially supermarkets. What I do need are better options: options that work for my budget and my time.

But you’ve absolutely hit the nail on the head when you say:

It’s been obvious, to me, for a long time now that we have the technology and the knowledge, and often the desire, to move into more regenerative ways of being. I believe we need a change in systems; not a replacement system, not a new political system, but something that comes in from ‘sideways’ and offers a totally new approach, like the GCT :smiley: I truly believe that if we can do that, all of these regenerative ways of being will burst to life because the old system that smothered them won’t be there anymore. The restrictions will finally be lifted and they will naturally flourish.

Apologies for the delayed response, I have been off line for a few weeks.

It’s increasingly clear to me that expecting people to use game B systems, when they are stuck in old paradigm thinking is going nowhere and as Anna Marie expresses, even with a paradigm shift in the awareness of the importance of our choices, those choices can seem so difficult, as to be almost impossible. Evolution not revolution has to be the name of the game here and part of that is us all making better choices more frequently, not necessarily each and every time. There needs to be some market created for evolved methods in order to at least begin building the pillars of a better way forward. There are an increasing number of people making more conscious choices, how do we work with this and begin by meeting the demand this is creating? There are many people that know how serious things are, how do we combine forces (and demand for game B produce) and make change happen?

The urgency of our situation is resounding deeply in the ears of those whom are willing to hear, but it only reaches the people that are already evolving in awareness. For others it just serves to drive heads deeper into the sands of denial, ignorance and abdication of responsibility, in the face of such complex wicked problems.

What I do see as necessary is for those that are able to think for themselves to fully commit to the application of their evolved awareness. There has to be a wave of change makers, making those difficult and challenging choices to get the momentum of the steam train underway. This usually involves a level of effort that is beyond what seems possible and yet when we push the boundaries of our limits, we find they are more fluid than we thought. Personal healing, fulfilment and deep satisfaction, greater harmony in our daily lives and an unfolding ‘rightness’ in our life direction and purpose are but a few of the hidden treasures waiting those willing to step into a better way. No-one said it was easy, but no-one said it should be either. I like this quote by Dorothy Height ‘Greatness is not measured by what a man or woman accomplishes but by the opposition they have overcome to achieve their goals’.

The last thing we want is to go straight from game A to game B without there being challenges, learning and the development of a deeper understanding and wisdom. How much are we willing to make the changes ourselves? Would we move house? Would we take on an additional job? Would we sacrifice comforts for a while? The benefits are commensurate with the effort applied in making the right choices. We are not all meant to leave game A together, it is a transition process, some people have bigger challenges, greater awareness and a louder call to action than others and we either chose to act on it and make it happen in our own lives, or we retreat from the enormity of the challenges ahead.

There are more than enough people that are aware enough to get this steam train moving in time, it’s just a case of making the commitment to change and doing it, we need to build the evolved systems that will form the new pillars and those that are aware will need to be the market for those systems. If they aren’t built, then i’m sure China will ensure their control of trade, artificial intelligence and social systems will leverage enough power to make us all wish we had done more.

The real learning for me, is not considering what would support/encourage game A people to switch, nor how we could make game B more appealing/accessible to game A, it is in rising to the challenge of how do we work with what we have, with where we are, with what nature and our current level of evolution provides to create the change we need to see. It will be tricky committing to overcoming the challenges necessary to find the co-creators of game B’s new systems, building them and using them to create a new way forward, but it will be far easier encouraging a paradigm shift to game B, if it already exists precisely when it is needed and finally called for en-mass.

How do we commit to, build and live out game B as fully as possible, whilst we wait for others to cross the bridge in their own time, when/if they are ever ready?

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