Save Our Water Series, Vol. 2: Sustainable Agriculture and The Importance of Supporting Regenerative Practices

In our first volume of the Save Our Water Series, we spoke about rain barrel production and the benefits on small gardens to big farms.  Today’s volume will illuminate the myriad of important information gleaned when researching sustainable farming, and what it can do to really save our planet.

We will begin by understanding what Sustainable Agriculture is.  In short, this type of farming practice keeps the greater good in mind. It protects the environment, public health, animal health and habitat, and allows us the ability to produce good food without hindering the next generations ability to do so.

Well what is GOOD FOOD? Great question. “Good” food, in my opinion, is local(the further it travels, the more preservatives have to be used), truly organic (get your round up out my face) properly fed (grass fed, or true omnivore diet for chickens because chickens are NOT vegetarian), non hormone or GMO enhanced (screw you Monsanto and the three headed , genetically modified horse you rode in on), FOOD grown or grazed in soil that not only is rich in proper nutrient densities and ratios, but also maintains a pesticide and herbicide free grade.

Let’s break down the difference between Industrial Practices and Sustainable practices.

Industrial Crop and Livestock Production

So basically, Industrial crop and livestock production uses a type of monoculture. What is Monoculture, you say? Oh, let’s let the experts explain.

“Monoculture is a common practice in modern agriculture in which large acreages of land are planted with one type of crop, usually multiple years in a row. Often such techniques are used to supply goods to other regions or countries. Monocultures deplete the soil and crops grown in this manner become more susceptible to pests and disease than those grown in a diverse crop environment, thus requiring larger amounts of chemical sprays (i.e. pesticides). Monoculture on animal factory farms refers to the raising of one type of animal (generally chickens, turkeys, cattle, or pigs) confined in densely packed expanses, often treated with hormones and antibiotics to maximize growth and prevent the diseases that would otherwise spread quickly through the farm. These operations produce much more waste than the surrounding land can handle, and the farms are associated with numerous environmental hazards as well as animal cruelty. The government calls these facilities Concentrated (or Confined) Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).”

Sounds AWESOME, right?

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This seems, to me, that they are operating under the notion that they are gonna treat everything like crap, just to “feed the world” chemically downgraded food that is low in nutrients, and high in toxic crap.

Sustainable Livestock Production

Farmers that use practices with sustainable focuses allow their animals to eat an instinctive, natural diet, to move freely on pasture, and to eliminate the stress and disease (hello no disease, no antibiotics needed…f*#%ing DUH) that a cramped environment produces.

People are led to believe that in order to feed more people, we must use genetics to produce food that can withstand drought, bugs, weeds, and weather patterns. That is just untrue in a lot of cases. Sure, the big companies take a hit in the wallet when these things happen, but to truly teach sustainable farming will impact our whole world.

“Regenerative Agriculture describes farming and grazing practices that, among other benefits, reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity – resulting in both carbon drawdown and improving the water cycle.”

I cannot explain the benefits any better than Regeneration International can in their well researched list below.

A Global Shift to Regenerative Agriculture Can:

  • Feed the world: Small farmers already feed the world with less than a quarter of all farmland. > Read the GRAIN Report
  • Decrease GHG emissions: A new food system could be a key driver of solutions to climate change. The current industrial food system is responsible for 44 to 57% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. > Read the GRAIN Report
  • Reverse climate change: Emissions reduction alone is simply inadequate. Luckily, the science says that we can actually reverse climate change by increasing soil carbon stocks. > Read the Rodale Institute Report
  • Improve yields: In cases of extreme weather and climate change, yields on organic farms are significantly higher than conventional farms. > Read the Report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
  • Create drought-resistant soil: The addition of organic matter to the soil increases the water holding capacity of the soil. Regenerative organic agriculture builds soil organic matter. > Learn More
  • Revitalize local economies: Family farming represents an opportunity to boost local economies. > Read the FAO Report
  • Preserve traditional knowledge: Understanding indigenous farming systems reveals important ecological clues for the development of regenerative organic agricultural systems. > Read the Action Aid Nepal Report
  • Nurture biodiversity: Biodiversity is fundamental to agricultural production and food security, as well as a valuable ingredient of environmental conservation. > Read the Report
  • Restore grasslands: One third of the earth’s surface is grasslands, 70% of which have been degraded. We can restore them using holistic planned grazing. > See the Evidence
  • Improve nutrition: Nutritionists now increasingly insist on the need for more diverse agro-ecosystems, in order to ensure a more diversified nutrient output of the farming systems. > Read the Report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food

We Can’t Afford Healthy Food

This is a legit concern as health food stores are quite pricey when it comes to organic food. Finding your local farmers market (yes, they have them in cities all the time) or finding a crop sharing organization such as Agriberry here in Virginia and Maryland, helps keeps the cost of truly organic farm fresh foods down.  It also provide the added benefit of having your family eat what is in season, which requires less industrial farming interventions.

 

In small towns, like ours here in Virginia, farmers markets supply these local farms a venue to sell the fruits of their hard labor. We utilize these markets for produce, and have a gone in for several years on purchasing a cow sharefrom a local SUSTAINABLE farm here in Orange, VA called Renewed Pastures Farms.

Farmer’s Market Setup

The owners, Jason Goforth and his wife, invited the family and I to tour the farm and see exactly what the farm does to remain sustainable. We could even see how the cows live and graze if we wanted to!

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‘Sup, Jason?!

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In the health food store, a pound of Grass-fed meat is roughly $6-$8 depending on the store and the company. Over time if you are an avid beef eater like we are, the tax, price for gas for the trip, the packaging, and price fluctuation in the market adds up quickly. So, we do a cow-share with some friends of ours. We get 1/2 a cow that is cut to order and will last us roughly 8-12 months. At less than $8 per pound, we get filets, flank steaks, London broils, and even or ground beef allotment for a STEAL compared to grocery store. And Jason delivers it right to our deep freezer!

So we have local (within 100 miles), preservative free (freezing is their only method), and true sustainably farmed meat that our family can rely on for an unbeatable price.

How can we NOT afford that?

*** Check out this PDF on Grass-fed Cow Market News.***

The simple truth is this, we have to support our farmers who work their butts off to uphold truly sustainable farms. They rely on us to purchase their products, be it produce or meats, in order to keep their higher standards up. So let’s get out there and support our local folks!

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Kristy, Au Naturale: Home delivery S.T.E.A.M. projects for parents who can’t DIY

If you have a kid like mine: an active, energy-filled seven year old boy, you can commiserate with me on how hard it is to get them to sit still to do…well… ANYTHING. My son, OG we’ll call him, can literally sit still for only three, maybe four seconds before fighting the urge to make a musical beat, a funny noise, or to try and make us laugh with his latest made up karate move or a full sentence in his made up language.

Talk about trying to focus on homework in the first grade? Nope. Nopes. All the no’s.

He has always been able to focus, however, on things involving art, science, technology, adventure, and music. He’s developed an affinity for math in his Montessori school (a skill he definitely doesn’t get from me) so we longed for a way to incorporate all these things into a parent/son project at home.

S.T.E.A.M. if you don’t already know, is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics.

Engineering? WHAT? For a kid who likes to throw things just to see how many pieces they will break into against the wall? The one who likes to pull apart his whole room in order to create an elaborate fort/putt putt course/cookie stand all in one that he drew in his blue prints the day before….BINGO!

Welcome to our sanity (other than a crisp Nobilo Sauv Blanc).

Kiwi Crate:    https://www.kiwico.com/

Kiwi Crate is a monthly, age-based home delivery project kit. All the parts and pieces come inside the themed box, (Thank you sweet Lord for me not having to lug two kids into Michael’s without having multiple panic attacks and visions of a bull in a china shop) along with the instructions for three projects to do throughout the month. Our son has built everything from kites, to robot arms, to sewing and stuffing felt organs to paste on a full size paper person to teach human anatomy!

When my husband said he was subscribing to a monthly project system I admittedly did an eye roll thinking “you think he’s gonna sit still long enough to warrant spending that money?” To my surprise, that’s exactly what he did. The first crate we got was building a full working pinball machine out of rubber bands and cardboard.

Which he Maguyver’ed the eff out of, following the instructions, all by himself! No help at all. And the best part was…he focused! He had a blast, too. I was SOLD. Onto the next and the next…finally coming to his favorite one: The Spy Kit….(pictured below)

Ok enough gushing about my amazingly awesome kid’s productivity…

How it works.

If you’re like me and you’re too lazy to go to the website above I’ll give you the rundown.

  1. Pick a line based on your child’s age: 0-16plus (yes, they even have one for toddlers and a newborn pack!)
  2. It will ship to your home once a month
  3. Watch the excitement on your child’s face when the box arrives and its for THEM! Now they can have some independent or parent led learning time at home.

How much is it?

Packages vary depending on if you buy one month at a time or more, up to 1 year at a time. starting cost for a month is $19.95 – The more you buy the less you pay.

$19.95 and what do we get?

The benefits are many. Your child can feel a sense of being:

  • productive
  • accomplished
  • creative
  • engaged and connected with you
  • independant
  • successful in learning a new task
  • inventive
  • oh….need I say more?

And you can either help, or lie back and smile with your wine glass full snapping photos of how much of a kickass decision you made to watch you kid’s mind grow and explore.

I wonder which one I chose to do 😉 #noshameinmygame

https://www.kiwico.com/Refer?i=MichaelW131 you can click here if you want to try and give us some referral credits!🤙🏻