By Cindy Ann Bowers for Earth Caring Ministry
What’s a summer picnic without fried chicken? Everyone has to eat, right?
How we eat and what we eat can impact the future of our species and the climate of the planet. For the past 10,000 years or so, humans have been experimenting with agriculture. Instead of searching for our food, as was done in the days of nomadic hunting and gathering tribes, we figured out how to produce food where we want it to grow. Farms allowed humans to settle in one place, watch our plants and animals grow, and develop cities. Find out more here.
Some of the methods we’ve used haven’t been all that good for the land. Slashing and burning, plowing and the use of manufactured fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, these methods have depleted the land of its natural, healthy soil. In addition to destroying the very soil we depend on to produce food, those agricultural practices also contribute to water pollution, erosion, and greenhouse gases.
Farmers and scientists now realize that our agricultural practices need to evolve to prevent further destruction of our soils, waterways, and atmosphere. Our Earth Caring Ministry’s June theme is Regenerative Agriculture. The goal of restructuring our agricultural practices is not only to restore healthy soil and to prevent the concurrent pollution that accompanies industrial agriculture but to restore our relationship with the land, water, and air that feed us. Regenerative agriculture includes respect for indigenous agricultural knowledge, respect for the living biological web of organisms that sustain us, and respect for growers and herders that tend our food supply.
Regenerative Agriculture is a worldwide movement that fosters knowledge exchanges and a reorientation of our attitudes and relationship with what and how we eat. In our own neighborhood, Living Web Farms is a working farm that specializes in education about regenerative agriculture. They offer instructional videos on their website and in-person workshops from their farm in Mills River.
Additional North Carolina organizations involved in regenerative agriculture practices are:
Regenerative Grazing NC, a Duke-based study group.
Slow Farm, a farm utilizing brush goats, kunekune pigs, and a flotilla of free-range poultry to improve the soil.
Hickory Nut Gap, a meat farm using regenerative methods.
Triangle Land Conservancy, focused on experimental methods on the Williamson Preserve.
Carolina Farm Stewards, article on regenerative farming