As we move forward into the New Year I am grateful for all the people and organizations in our network that made 2018 such a successful year. In particular, I am still replaying memories from the REGENERATE 2018 Conference we helped host on October 30th-November 2nd in Albuquerque, New Mexico with the Quivira Coalition and the American Grassfed Association (AGA). We had over 600 people attend that conference (the largest group of people to attend an HMI conference in our history). I believe that conference is a reflection of where the regenerative agriculture movement is heading (to see pictures and learn more about the conference, click here).
It was such a big success that HMI, Quivira, and AGA have already begun talking about a joint conference for next year so be ready for our save the date email soon. We also want to hear from our HMI community about other locations where you’d like to see future conferences or regional meetings as we work to meet the needs of our growing and diverse community.
I welcomed people to the REGENERATE 2018 conference by acknowledging that at the heart of regenerative agriculture is our reliance on healthy soil for life and our commitment to engage with, learn from, and tend this precious resource. I quoted Wendell Berry from his book The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture:
“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”
But soil can only be the great connector of lives, if we work to understand it and make it part of our community, building relationships with it. That is the task of the Holistic Management community—sharing our experiences and inviting others into this circle of soil stewards who view life and engage with the world holistically.
It takes a lot of work to put on a conference like REGENERATE 2018, but I think there is such value in bringing people together to not only learn from each other, but to be inspired, and build relationships. I hope that each of you take the opportunity to attend some conference in this coming year. (The Western Canadian Holistic Management conference in Russell, Manitoba is coming up on February 1-3, 2019—click here for more details.) I know I left the REGENERATE 2018 Conference filled with new ideas, new hope, and renewed passion for the work ahead of us.
As 2019 begins I’ve been thinking of the question that the great poet Mary Oliver asked: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do/ with your one wild and precious life?” It’s not a question I think about every day, but it is one I think of every time I come to a conference like REGENERATE 2018 or when I talk to the farmers and ranchers and funders and see the passion they have for this work and the incredible dedication they have for the land, the communities they are connected to or for whom they feel responsible. These people remind me that we do have choices and opportunities to make a difference in our own lives and the lives of those around us—in our homes and communities—the lives on top of the soil, and in the soil and water. Our “one wild and precious life” is inextricably bound with the precious and wild lives of all those in our circle of influence.
So as you begin this new year and explore all the opportunities to regenerate your land, family, businesses, and relationships, I ask you, as well, to consider the question: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do/ with your one wild and precious life?”