When we talk to people about the stuff we do in our free time, their typical response is: 'How do you find time to do everything'. We have fulfilling jobs, 4 boys that are in activities, and all the other time commitments of modern life. I'll expand on that balance in a later blog post. The 'How' question is usually closely followed by the question: 'But why?', and to me, that's really the most important question to answer. If we aren't aligned on the 'why', our plans will fall apart the instant there's any adversity. There's a very simple yet important answer to the 'Why' question - we are saving the planet!
That sounds pretty grandiose, and I'll admit that we will not single-handedly be able to save the planet. That being said, we are doing our part to pitch in with systems that we have some control over. I spent a great deal of my youth (I now consider that to be my life before age 40) complaining about the fact that people 'just don't get it' or 'aren't doing anything to make a difference'. Since I'm clearly not very bright, it didn't dawn on me until recently that I wasn't really doing anything to make a difference either… other than just complaining.
It's not up to politicians to pass the right laws and regulations, although that needs to happen too. It's not up to corporations to start acting with the health of the environment as their first (or second, or third, or fourth…) priority, although that needs to happen too. There is no 'Captain Environment' super hero that is going to swoop in and save us, although that would be pretty sweet. We also can't sit around and wait for our billionaires to fix everything, as they seem to be focused on getting to space and leaving this planet behind for greener(?) pastures.
I decided a while ago to embody my favorite bumper-sticker-ification of something that Ghandi said and to: be the change you want to see in the world. That aligned pretty well to a lot of the self-help work I was also doing at the time. I realized that I was pretty good at getting stuff done - even really big things sometimes, and that if the world is to really change for the better, it will take a lot of people like us to move the needle.
Now this is in no way an endorsement to check-out of the political process. Staying active and engaged in trying to help shape policies and casting your vote is still incredibly important. We just can't wait around any longer for other people to do this work for us. We need to do it ourselves and we need to do it in very large numbers.
It's very easy these days to get dragged down into the pit of despair by very real but very negative findings and warnings by the scientific community (like this one from recent headlines as an example). We can't give up on our planet and the beautiful natural world that it currently sustains. There is still a chance to right the ship and put us on a path that aligns us more closely to living in harmony with nature.
All that being said, how does this 'Why' align to our goals as a farm? We have chosen to implement methods that will make our farm a net carbon sink, increase biodiversity, raise livestock humanely, and produce food with a focus on maximum nutritional value. We want to raise the most delicious pork, nuts, fruit and vegetables you've ever tasted in a system that is beneficial to restoring nature. Just generally, this can be called a number of things, but mostly I think it's captured by the term Regenerative Agriculture.
Using this blog, I will do my best to share with you the ups and downs of taking this journey, and hopefully we can all learn something together. It will not always be glamorous (I spend a decent amount of time in knee-boots covered in pig manure) and I will do my best to not hide the failures from you. This will not be a polished idealistic Instagram-like filter applied to the sometimes harsh realities of farming. As I try to teach at my 'day job', failure is an important part of learning.