Farming must not be about sustaining a process of destruction or a plateau of health; it has to be regenerative.
If we want to improve our food system we must start with the soil.
The soil houses the microorganisms that play an integral role in providing minerals and nutrients to the plants that in turn, feed the animals and us. If one link in the system is not optimally functioning than the whole system is inefficient.
It's critical that we support all areas of the system, mimicking the natural environment, to help keep a balance and improve conditions.
This is why we utilize grasses, cover crops and use no tillage in our soil. What this means is, our soil is not disrupted which keeps the complex microorganism environment in tact. We plant crops directly into the old crop that decomposes on top, thereby adding armour for the soil and creating a stronger barrier against erosion.
As the organic matter builds up, we add a great deal of resiliencey to the soil. 1% increase in organic matter can add about 20,000 gal of water holding capacity to help during those dryer times of the years. If also drastically improves the ability of holding nutrients to slow down the problems we are dealing with in water bodies(algae blooms).
Our ruminant livestock graze our pastures managed by strip grazing (aka. rotational grazing). This practice limits their soil compaction and forces a more even manure spread. They eat the grasses, cover crop and weeds while the chickens, ducks and hens focus on the insects. We work with local beekeepers for the ability to capitalize on bees to keep our plants plentiful and our system working in synchrony.
We do not want to be carbon neutral - we want to be carbon negative - putting more carbon into the ecosystem than we are removing.
Although past operators of the land used conventional tillage and monoculture practices, they believed they were making good of the land and filling demands of the market. Now, we are humbled by the complexities and yet simplicities of nature and have taken note of the ways fighting against the natural cycle does not work.
We are continuously working towards reducing farming costs and artificial crutches (synthetic inputs) striving to improve our land stewardship. Although not always the cheapest method of farming and certainly more labour intensive, the end goal of having land that is truly living, at micro and macro levels, is our priority.