Sav­ing Farms

Better Nutrition - - 7 WAYS -

Brown's Ranch in North Dakota is a prime ex­am­ple of re­gen­er­ated land. Gabe Brown bought his farm in 1991 and started farm­ing the usual way, till­ing the land and us­ing chemi- cal fer­til­iz­ers and pes­ti­cides, and it didn’t go well. Sev­eral years of hail­storms and droughts left him on the brink of ruin, un­til he started learn­ing about al­ter­na­tive meth­ods.

“I was a farmer, but I didn’t know about the soil,” he re­calls. For ex­am­ple, he says, “Till­ing the land is re­leas­ing car­bon into the air in­stead of feed­ing the plants,” so he stopped till­ing. Plant­ing many va­ri­eties of cover crops and ro­tat­ing an­i­mals on graz­ing land are among the other re­gen­er­a­tive tech­niques that grad­u­ally made his land much more fer­tile and able to with­stand ex­treme weather changes and pro­duce more nu­tri­tious food.

One of the ways soil sci­en­tists eval­u­ate soil health is by mea­sur­ing how much rain­fall it can ab­sorb in an hour— bet­ter ab­sorp­tion pre­vents fl oods, stores wa­ter for times of drought, pre­vents ero­sion, and helps keep lo­cal streams clean. Brown’s farm went from ½ inch to 8 inches per hour. One day, 13 inches of can’tc ab­sorb wa­ter. Brown’sBrow farm has be­come very he has be­come a lead­ing ad­vo­cate of re­gen­er­a­tive farm­ing, help­ing other farm­ers to res­cue their land. “We have to be­come re­gen­er­a­tive to fix the hu­man health cri­sis,” he says. And, he en­cour­ages ev­ery­one to buy food pro­duced this way and help drive the growth of this type of farm­ing. “We un­der­es­ti­mate the im­por­tance of our buy­ing de­ci­sions,” he says.

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