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Farming with Nature

A definition of regenerative farming:

  • Farming in harmony with nature

  • To build and/or restore eco-system function

  • Thinking about life in the soil

  • And life above.

In short we can produce food, nurture our eco-system home and enjoy thriving communities.

Principles

Understanding Agriculture, a US based farming consultancy, offers the following six principles (I've shortened them):

  • Context

  • Do not disturb

  • Cover

  • Diversity

  • Living roots

  • Integrate livestock.

IMG_0409.HEIC

Context

Where you farm, who you are etc etc define your context. If you farm in Europe or the Mexican desert your context will differ. Some elements of your context are controllable, some not, but they're yours. Understanding and managing for them is crucial.

Do not disturb

Management of the farm should avoid soil disturbance e.g. ploughing, or even compaction by e.g. driving heavy vehicles over fields in winter or static animal feeding points that create paddling.

Cover

Bare soil will lead to wind/water erosion and nature will cover the ground with 'weeds'. Leaving living and dead plant matter on the surface will insulate the soil to retain temperature, prolonging microbiological activity and prevent nutrient loss into watercourses. Taller living plants will also photosynthesize, regrowing faster after a grazing event.

Diversity

Not just plant diversity, but also animal diversity. Research shows different plants complement each other and create a healthy soil. Animals derive benefits from a diversity of plants and diversity of grazing animal produces a differing, positive, behavioural impact.

Living roots

Soil is a biological system and needs to be fed - photosynthesis can occur at any time of year when the sun shines; the more roots in the ground the more the accumulation of bacteria and fungi about the rhizophere, feeding the soil.

 

Integrate livestock

organic manure  organic matter  microbiological activity

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