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Black Soil

"Despite all our accomplishments, we owe our existence to a

six-inch layer of topsoil and the fact it rains."

-Paul Harvey


It's all about the soil...

Regenerative farming is not about using historical methods. It is about using all of our knowledge, understanding and tools to build a better future.  

It is estimated that 30-40% of excess carbon in the atmosphere can be sequestered in the soil, where it belongs, by using regenerative farming practices. And we know that healthy soil gives rise to healthy plants, which feed animals and people. 

Soil. That is where our focus should be. Paul Harvey once said, “Despite all our accomplishments, we owe our existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil and the fact it rains.” 

If we leave that six-inch layer of soil uncovered, it blows away in the wind and washes away when it rains. So a key principle in regenerative farming is to keep the soil covered with vegetation. This protects it and promotes the natural cycles of carbon, nutrients and water. 

A simplified version of these cycles works like this. Plants capture sunlight and CO2 and send nutrients into the soil to feed the microbes that live there. That soil life community (up to a billion microbes in a handful of soil) builds the soil structure and converts nutrients the plant needs into a form it can access. The improved soil structure holds more water and carbon, and it supports more plant root growth, making the entire system more resilient. 

Regenerative farming practices aim to promote and benefit from these natural cycles. Synthetic fertilizers and chemicals are not used because they kill the microbes and other life in the soil. Dead soil cannot store as much carbon or water, or produce healthy plants the way that living soil does. Encouraging soil life and harvesting sunlight and carbon are at the heart of regenerative farming. 

If this sounds old-fashioned, maybe it is because nature has been doing it successfully for a very long time. We might be able to fight against nature for a short time in a limited space, but recent climate and health trends may be telling us that we are losing the larger battle. On our farm, we have decided to work with the powerful forces of nature instead of fighting daily against them. 

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