WHY SHOULD WE REGENERATE THE ENVIRONMENT?
Organic farming is not just about making a higher profit. Most of us realize that in our bones. Sure, we have to make a living. And, sure, we live and die on the gritty details of compost and cover crops, tillers and no-till. But we are stewards of more than just our soil and our farm and we all draw meaning and sustenance from what we accomplish beyond our own fence posts.
By farming organically, we are regenerating the soil, returning the land to its natural state. We are also regenerating the health of ourselves and our family by reducing or eliminating chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.
Beyond our farm, by not using chemicals, we are regenerating the wildlands and local environment. Wildlife and beneficial birds return to help keep down insects and other pests. Our local watershed has less pollution in the streams and creeks which come off our land.
Finally, we are helping to regenerate our communities by recycling organic waste that would otherwise be an economic or environmental problem. By providing organic food to consumers, we are making the planet a healthier place--our products are helping to regenerate the world.
So organic farming is more than just agriculture–and it's good to remind ourselves of this from time to time. We're helping to create a healthier, better future for everyone. It's Regenerative Agriculture. Regenerative Agriculture has become a whole science over the last 20 years, involving more than just farming and selling products. As we regenerate local woodlands and streams, as we help regenerate our local communities, many benefits come to us, monetary and otherwise. That gives most organic farmers a satisfaction beyond mere profits.
By farming organically, we're helping society in many different ways. We interact with the local community on whole new levels, perhaps by local marketing, organic matter recycling or entertainment farming. Or maybe by hosting a Farmer Field Day to show new transitioning farmers how we do it. Teaching others: That's when you really start Regenerating!
Thinking in terms of Regenerative Agriculture reminds us of the true importance of farmers in our society. The ridiculous image of the farmer as hick and redneck is forgotten. We remember that agriculture is the foundation of all civilization, that when you improve agriculture, you elevate the whole society. And we affirm that agriculture is an absolutely essential part of any world-wide effort to improve our environment and health.
I have been writing about how to regenerate the environment using agriculture for quite a while now… but I have never actually written about why it is a good idea to regenerate the environment in the first place! I will remedy that oversight here…
Why should we regenerate the environment?
Oxygen for us to breathe.
- Living, photosynthesizing plants produce oxygen. We need oxygen in order to live. Therefore, the less total plant growth on the planet the less oxygen available for us to breath. (reference)
- Regenerating landscapes almost always increases the plant growth on those landscapes. Turning a wild landscape into cropland almost always reduces total plant growth on that landscape (reducing the oxygen produced). Therefore, when landscapes degenerate and lose plant growth, we are putting our oxygen supply at risk.
Which landscape is producing more oxygen?