A recent docu-series now on the internet is called the Farmer’s Footprint. You can learn more about it and watch the first episode of the series at: https://farmersfootprint.us/. The focus of the documentary is to educate the public about the grassroots regenerative agriculture movement that is addressing the pressing problems of soil erosion, water pollution, diminished soil health and nutrition of the food grown on that soil, and the health issues that arise from the amount of pesticide and herbicide that remains in the food as it makes its way through the food system.
The first episode features Holistic Management practitioners Grant and Dawn Breitkreutz who manage the 950-acre Stoney Creek Farm near Redwood Falls, Minnestota and who won the 2016 BEEF Trailblazer Award. It also features HMI Advisory Council member Allen Williams who does a great job explaining how farmers like the Breitkreutzs have shifted their practices and are a great role model for other farmers who feel like they are stuck in a broken system that leaves them with no profits (usually losses), a diminished natural resource base to steward, and work that they feel conflicted about (spraying pesticides and herbicides that poison the food and water).
More and more scientists and doctors are recognizing the connection between soil health and the nutritional quality of food, as well as the negative impacts on health because of how a crop or product is raised. One school of thought is to remove ourselves from actually raising food in the soil (hydroponics or laboratory-raised meat) because humans should be removed from nature given our propensity toward extractive use of it. But at HMI, we believe that humans cannot be removed from nature because we are a part of nature. Our task as Holistic Management practitioners is to partner with nature and develop symbiotic relationships with all the biodiversity we can nurture, so that we not only heal the land, but we also grow and support healthy food, and develop thriving families, communities and economies.
These critical conversations will be at the forefront of the 2019 REGENERATE Conference that we will host with The Quivira Coalition and the American Grassfed Association as we collaborate to convene ranchers, farmers, environmentalists, land managers, scientists, medical professionals, nutritionists, students, teachers, and others for four days—November 19-22, 2019 in Albuquerque, New Mexico—to explore ideas of Health from the Soil Up.
As a state of complete well-being, health can describe everything from soils to economies. Health of people, animals, plants, and the whole planet are fundamentally connected. At its root, the source of health is in the land; it provides food, medicine, (bio)diversity, tradition, and home. Regenerative agriculture embodies a shift away from extractive practices, and toward holism, prevention, and proactivity.
The systemic connections between food, medicine, plants, animals, soil, and climate impact the health of people and planet. The enormity of these systems and their relationships can inspire and be daunting—but ultimately we all play a role and have responsibility in how they function and contribute to health. How do we reconnect and learn from existing knowledge, practices, and experience about the intrinsic connections between health and nature? What can food production and land stewardship teach us about health and its cycles? How do we engage with the land in ways that heal and nourish soil, our bodies, wildlife, communities, economies, and the climate? How do we adapt agriculture for healthy, regenerative food and medicine systems into the future?
If you are interested in these questions and want to network with hundreds of inspiring regenerative agriculture advocates from around the world, I encourage you to set the time aside to come to this conference and attend the workshops. We are in the process of confirming the speaker line up for this conference, so keep your eye out for updates on this conference and for registration in July at: https://quiviracoalition.org/regenerate/
I hope to see you all there!