National Regenerative Agriculture Day 2023
Feb 13, 2023
Of course, we know that the 14th February is Valentine’s Day, but did you know that February 14th is also National Regenerative Agriculture Day.
It makes perfect sense really because Regenerative Agriculture is all about loving the earth #heartyourfarmer
So, what is regenerative agriculture?
Broadly, regenerative agriculture is principles and practices that enhance and restore ecological function to not just maintain sustainability but regenerate the earth while harvesting high quality nutrition.
At Good Harvest we successfully farm using regenerative principles that fit our context. All farms are different so all systems will be unique to the land, farmer and production. Good Harvest is a vegetable cropping market garden system and our regenerative techniques have seen our production increase along with our soil quality, nutrient density and production output.
Through the use of our regenerative techniques we have built our soil organic carbon by 1% per year (the avg is .5%). This means that our soils are holding onto more nutrients, water and microbial life every year, which means that our fertilising is more effective and less is required over time.
It’s about farming in a style that nourishes people and the earth, with specific practices varying from grower to grower and from region to region. The emphasis is on the interconnectedness of the sun, water, soil, plants, animals and humans.
Solar Energy Cycle – ensuring plants and vegetation are maximising leaf matter to continue biological processes such as photosynthesis for essential regrowth.
Good Harvest employs tight crop rotations and cover crops to keep our ground covered with solar panels (green leaves).
Water Cycle – ensuring vegetation and organic matter has a maximum coverage on soils to increase infiltration and water storage capacity as well as conserve and stabilise topsoils. Increasing soil carbon means that our soil can hold up to 85,000lts per 1% per year.
Soil Mineral Cycle – ensuring all minerals in soils from the macro to micro level are adequate with a focus on increasing soil carbon (through effective sequestration and storage in root biomasses etc).
We employ the use of microbes to drive our mineral cycle and unlock all the minerals ensure our plants are healthy and nutritively dense.
Dynamic Ecosystems – ensuring there is a high level of diverse and native plant species in paddocks that help to increase landscape functions numbers 1, 2 and 3. We use crop rotations that include a diverse range of over 25 different harvestable crops through the peak of the season.
The Human-social Element – first introduced by Charles Massy, this focuses on changing the human mind from the traditional and ‘mechanical’ mindset to one that is more aligned, ‘organic’ and in tune with nature itself.
Most of the food we produce ends up on the tables of our community, through this we get to connect them to the land and the story of how their food was grown. This helps them to see and understand difference between organic and regenerative food and make conscious decisions.
- accepting the general status quo for farming and grazing
- using extremely toxic and at times prohibited chemicals, pesticides and herbicides
- heavy tillage and degradation of the soil through compaction
- high production year after year and season after season in the same paddock
- lack of plant diversity
So how are we practicing regenerative agriculture on our Good Harvest farms?
Firstly, we’re a certified organic farm, which means we grow food without the use of toxic chemicals.
We’re regenerating the soil, water, air, and plant systems through:
- Applying organic composts, fertilisers and bio-amendments – our main focus in farming is on our soil
- Encouraging natural biological cycles and nutrient transfer
- Engaging in low tillage/no till practices, particularly in our market garden
- Regularly rotating crops and crop types, including using cover crops for resting periods
- Aiming for sustainable production (sustainable for planet and people)
How to get behind the regenerative agriculture movement?
- Vote with your plate – stop supporting nutrient deficient produce supply chains and stop eating food laden with chemicals
- Practice it in your backyard – explore the interconnection on a micro scale in your own veggie garden
- Connect with producers and farmers working to regenerate the planet not just with your fruit and veg, but also meat and other food types
- Talk about it – tell your friends, family, and especially your kids, farming is meant to be connected and regenerative
- Learn more – research more about regenerative agriculture – there’s lots of resources out there that are easily digestible (pun intended), and informative. Zac Efron touches on Regenerative Agriculture in Season 2 of Down to Earth on Netflix. There’s also lots of books to immerse yourself in: https://regenfarming.news/articles/224-10-must-read-books-for-regenerative-agriculture
- Follow the movement: https://carbon8.org.au/about/ https://www.nrad.org.au/