Agriculture emits more Co2 than all forms of transport combined. Deforestation and widespread desertification is the legacy left us by industrial farming. The Co2 that healthy soil sequesters is released into the sky as land is ripped up in the soil-destructive cycle of monoculture.
Regenerative farming is a term for a collection of proven farming methods. Many were abandoned for the alluring promises of large scale farming. Exchanged for the massive application of artificial fertilizers, chemical herbicides and deadly insecticides. Degraded soils, devoid of the cocktail of microscopic life that builds soil health and sequesters carbon, is the disheartening result. We have been quite literally losing the plots.
Regenerative farming recognizes healthy topsoil is the underpinning of life on Earth. This method of agriculture creates layers of new healthy soil each year. Healthy topsoil sequesters enormous quantities of Co2 – industrial agriculture, by contrast, releases vast amounts of Co2. Rejecting abusive inputs like pesticides, chemical fertilizers, fumigants and GMOs to push production, regenerative farming uses a set of proven principles that are about continuously improving resources rather than exploiting and depleting them.
Regenerative farming produces healthier, more nutrient-dense food in abundance. Continual increases in soil quality and quantity allow productivity on these farms to swell. It goes far beyond the rather flaccid goal of being merely sustainable. To create enough food without destroying our natural resources and health, we need to embrace regenerative agriculture on a significant scale.
If a mere 20% of all the world’s cultivated land moved to regenerative farming, it could store enough carbon to halt then reverse the buildup of Co2. We, the world’s food purchasers, are the only power enabled to force change on a scale that alters the predicted trajectory of the health of our planet.
We each express our values with every dollar we spend on food. We will make thousands of food purchases in our lifetime. We can, through purposely directing those purchases, speak to corporations and agriculturalists in the language which they listen most attentively: their market-share, their sales and their profits. Every dollar spent on food not only sustains families, but it also sustains industries and agricultural systems. It turns out; it’s our choice after all. Through our spending, we support agricultural systems or let them shrivel on the vine (so to speak).
The 20% of currently cultivated land required to be farmed regeneratively (a vast acreage) is scattered across borders, separated by oceans, rivers, cultures, politics, beliefs and seasons. No single entity has governance, but fortunately, none is required. The force that can convert agricultural practice to regenerative farming is also scattered across borders and oceans and separated by politics, race, mountain ranges and rivers – it is we – the purchasers and consumers.
Our request for, and insistence upon, regeneratively farmed food can help to ensure Earth has a lush future. You can be this revolution. There is no clash of arms, no muscle and bluster, just the purposeful application of values common to us all, consistently expressed in food choice.
It is not pie in the sky – we are already doing it. Plant-based milk, a category milkadamia operates in, is proof. Mighty dairy, once a virtual monopoly, is being reduced and humbled as consumers across the globe, acting on environmental, health and ethical values, redirect their spending away from dairy. This alone demonstrates it is our spending that enables food companies to bloat to seeming invincibility – or not. We chose who grows what, and who doesn’t, and that is a fantastically promising idea as we face pressing eco-challenges. That folk, from all over, are independently making food choices based on the values they hold is a heartening and invigorating cultural phenomenon – and our best hope.
We are not helpless, we are not uninformed and we are not mere pawns in a game played by corporations and governments. As powerful as they seem, in this game of food supply and demand, we are the queens and the kings, they serve us. They may have forgotten this – we must not. We may individually be small, but we know how to be defiant when the situation calls for it.
By demanding regeneratively farmed products at the grocery and restaurant, we have in our hands a lever that can achieve that goal of 20% of cultivated land becoming regenerative. There is a long way to go– we are starting small and regenerative products may be hard to find at first, but our purchases will force the change faster than any legislation or protest can achieve.
Food companies cannot continue to view us as a compliant herd if we demand to be heard. We are more informed than ever. Discounting our ability to influence, and even wholly alter outcomes, is to accept we are helpless. For those of us who love the world (and who doesn’t?) the question is – How much more will we allow them to take from us? – when it is, in fact, we who regulate the taking.
The eco issues threatening us are not external to us – they are us. We are the change we seek, the hope we need, and it is “we” who can save us.
We can take Responsibility.
We can Refuse to be passive bystanders.
We can up-Root destructive agricultural practices.
We can Restore productivity by supporting regenerative farming.
We can Rise up.
We can be this agricultural Revolution and be the fix.
Jim Richards, CEO, milkadamia
PS – milkadamia has one macadamia farm – Jindilli Farm. Not all the macadamia nuts we use in milkadamia come from our farm. However, the ones that do are grown using regenerative methods. We are still learning: life on Jindilli Farm has become a knowledge quest for the best ways to build healthy new topsoil. We have plenty to learn, we are not fully there yet, but we are fully committed.
Our purpose for Jindilli Farm is to develop it into an influence for regenerative farming within our rural community and far beyond. However, our hope is that we, and our farm, will quickly become an irrelevance because folk have far surpassed any influence we may have had through their widespread support of regeneratively farmed food.
Meanwhile, like all farmers who turn to regenerative farming, our enjoyment of farming, hope for the future and love of the land has also been regenerated and elevated. The beauty of our farm, the entwining, interconnectedness, and cross-dependence of life there, along with the idea that photosynthesis and subterranean microbes are the silent engines of life on our planet, and that we are entirely dependent on them humbles – as it should.
Long, long may it all continue.