Regenerate: To bring new and more vigorous life
Nature does this every year with the arrival of spring. The snow is beginning to recede and little green plants are peeking out. New animals are being born and everything is refreshed and renewed. It’s my favorite time of year.
As farmers we get an opportunity to work with nature in this regeneration process if we are prepared to do so. And when we do, we get to reap the benefits of healthier food and a healthier planet.
To work with nature we need to first have a mindset that allows us to do so. This mindset has 3 important components:
1. Humans are part of the system
Modern life has been designed to separate people from the system which gives us life. But as much as it can give this perception of separation the truth still remains that everything that you do or don’t do is going to move this system in a direction. What you choose to eat or buy and even what activities you choose to undertake for leisure are all changing the world that we live in. The other part is then that these changes that occur from our choices cause changes in us.
2. The system is dynamic
We try to use static images to describe the system in which we live to simplify it and make it easier to understand. However when we do this we can often forget that what’s really happening is dynamic and constantly changing. Adding to or taking away one thing from the system can have a ripple effect that changes all aspects of the systems. This addition or deletion can also shift equilibriums that are present to favor different outcomes. It’s never as simple as adding or removing one thing and getting a single change out that we want.
3. The system has feedback loops
Nature is always sharing information. Plants communicate with each other, with microbes and with animals sharing information regarding their health and their needs. The same goes for animals and even people if we are paying attention. We can listen in to this information through testing to find out how we can work with nature to get the best possible outcomes. We can also learn a lot through observations/continual monitoring through the growing season. Eye/ear/smell tests, in addition to science lab tests.
I encourage you to look at your own mindset and see how it might be helpful or hindering in your desire to have healthier food and a healthier planet. Then look for farmers who are doing the work to make better food a reality.