Regenerative farming and extending human life on earth
Place human existence on a 24 hour clock representing planet earth since the beginning of time, and we’ve been around for less than two minutes.
This begs the question, will we be around for a long time to come?
The many man-made substances that have been added to our environment are contributing to health problems because we are not able to evolve quickly enough to adapt to them. Dioxins are just one example of thousands of chemicals that are upsetting the balance.
In addition, the impact humans are having on climatic conditions, along with our choices to give food production and distribution over to an industrial model, are threatening our ability to maintain a steady food supply from a rapidly eroding land base.
Is there a solution — or should we head for Mars?
I venture to suggest that one of the solutions capable of driving a complex chain of multiple benefits and give humans a chance to extend life on earth beyond this century, is the building of healthy soils.
The first benefit of healthy soils full of microbial life is healthy people who can co-create healthy societies.
The second benefit that is being so eloquently described by Ethan and Gregory at Terra-Genesis is significant carbon sequestration.
They have just launched a website and are welcoming discussion and input around the definition of Regenerative Agriculture at regenerativeagriculturedefinition.com.
Regenerative Agriculture — Definition
Regenerative Agriculture is a system of farming principles and practices that increases biodiversity, enriches soils, improves watersheds, and enhances ecosystem services.
Regenerative Agriculture aims to capture carbon in soil and aboveground biomass, reversing current global trends of atmospheric accumulation.
At the same time, it offers increased yields, resilience to climate instability, and higher health and vitality for farming and ranching communities.
The system draws from decades of scientific and applied research by the global communities of organic farming, agroecology, Holistic Management, and agroforestry.
The following figures represtent the potential of regenerative agriculture in:
Metric Tonnes of carbon captured / Hectare / Year.
Organic annual cropping 2–6
Managed Grazing 0–4
Perennial Crops 1–26
Source: The Carbon Farming Solution by Eric Toensmeier
A Global Toolkit of Perennial Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices for Climate Change Mitigation and Food Security
Carbon sequestration is simple in essence.
Photosynthesis converts CO2 from a gas to a liquid then transfers it to the soil via plant roots and the soil life.
My vision is that farming transitions quickly to regenerative practices and becomes a foundational building block in the process of planetary healing.
Farming has changed a great deal in the 40 years since I was working on dairy farms as a young lad. The scale of the average farm has grown, along with mechanisation and increased use of chemical additives.
My question is: Where are the leverage points for changing farming practices so they become regenerative?
How can we open up the dialogue to consideration of the benefits to of healthy soil on the plants and animals so that less inputs are needed and the outputs are increased and of a better quality.
How can we inspire farmers and land custodians today to, at the very least, become informed and educated, then experiment with different ways to manage the land, soil and carbon resources?
Are the kinds of presentations such as this one by Joel Salatin, just a few days ago in the UK, sufficiently inspiring to drive the early adopters to change?