Some of you may have heard me use terms like;
biological, huglekultur, regenerative, whole system, sustainable agriculture, biochar, permaculture and many other similar terms in a previous class that I have taught, and/or a garden meeting or an article or post I have written? I use these terms a lot, especially when I have spoken or speak about the paradigm shift that has been happening in agriculture!
I have been putting these terms into action for nearly two decades. I proudly advocate for low and/or no till, less waste, using a whole system approach, no pesticides/herbicides, and how doing our part to help the environment, plants and animals however small they may seem can create positive change.
When we participate and take actions that improve our health and environment we contribute in a mighty way to improve our local communities and local economies too.
For the past 10 years I have talked about this paradigm shift occurring in agriculture, not just the crops we grow but the way in which we raise livestock and care for our immediate ecosystems in this country and globally, this shift I speak of is known as "regenerative agriculture".
The meaning of the term "Paradigm Shift"; "A fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions."
This shift is the change from industrialized agriculture to regenerative agriculture, and folks it is global!
As consumers are becoming more and more educated and aware of the destructive role industrial agriculture has been putting on our environment, and how it has depleted the nutrients in the soil and therefore in the food; fruit and vegetable crops, as well as all meats produced, they have been seeking alternative growers in a big way, these consumers are finding what they seek in "regenerative farmers".
At the core of industrial food production is monoculture—the practice of growing single crops intensively on a very large scale. Corn, wheat, soybeans, cotton and rice are all commonly grown this way in the United States.
Monoculture farming relies heavily on chemical inputs such as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. The fertilizers are needed because growing the same plant (and nothing else) in the same place year after year quickly depletes the nutrients that the plant relies on, and these nutrients have to be replenished somehow. The pesticides are needed because monoculture fields are highly attractive to certain weeds and insect pests.
Industrialized Livestock Agriculture;
Stockyards were created for increased demand and to put more money in the producers pockets, which has created the out of control use of antibiotics and growth hormones in animals. Livestock feed then had to be mass produced to feed the stockyard animals, so this increased the use of pesticides on grain, legume and hay crops, which the animal consumes and then back to the human consuming, which has created all sorts of environmental issues, and so forth.
What is Regenerative Agriculture?
Regenerative agriculture (RA) is an approach to food and farming systems which aims to regenerate topsoil, increase biodiversity, improve water cycles, enhance ecosystem services, support biosequestration, increase resilience to climate fluctuation, and strengthen the health and vitality of farm soil, by recycling as much farm waste as possible, as well as adding compost material from outside the farm.
Regenerative agriculture is guided by a set of principles and practices.
Here at our farm we are focused on whole system regenerative farming;
Whole system farms FOCUS on soil health and fertility, forest health, LOCAL FOOD, no cides, animal welfare, biodiversity, NO GMO's
no antibiotics, no hormones,
sequestering carbon, less waste, local communities, educating and interacting with people.
These traits are also what we look for in our collaborative partner farms.
This subject is no doubt a controversial one, but I feel it is a VERY important one and one worth sharing. We are past the shift and entering into a new paradigm in agriculture. I am grateful to be a whole system pioneer and excited to be a part of this whole system regenerative agriculture movement.
If you believe in the goals, values, principles and practices of the regenerative agriculture movement, please LIKE, SHARE, subscribe and promote these farms, OR go start one yourself if you haven't already!
This is an exciting time, a new era! If you are unable to become a regenerative farmer, then why not become a "regenerative consumer"! I am coining this phrase.... "REGENERATIVE CONSUMER" LOL
Thanks for reading!
What is Amaranth?
Amaranth is classified as a pseudo-cereal, but they are not in the same botanical family as true cereals such as wheat or rice.
It is not a commonly used grain. They are even less common grown as a plant used in the microgreen community, however it is gaining popularity. One of the main reasons I think a lot of microgreen growers may not be growing it, is because of the high cost of organic high quality seeds, germination rates and the fact that it is one of the more difficult microgreens to grow? Speaking from my own experience and as an educated guess, of course.
I have chosen to grow it as a microgreen primarily for the amazing health benefits and I LOVE the texture and visual interest it lends in plate presentation.
Some of the amazing things you may not know about amaranth;
It is a gluten-free grain
Amaranth contains the important amino acid Lysine, which is a protein building block
It is higher in protein than other grains. 1 C. of Amaranth contains 28.1 Grams of protein compared to Oats, which contain 26.1 Grams.
The plant can be consumed as a microgreen, (the seeds have to be cooked first)
It was a staple in the Aztecs diet
The leaves are high in Vitamin C, Folate, Zinc and Vitamin A
High in Calcium. The oils and phytosterols it contains helps to lower LDL and triglycerides.
It is HIGH in Antioxidants and Minerals
Works as an appetite suppressant
Easy to digest
Improves eye sight
Amaranth helps to reduce premature hair graying with its high mineral content. (Use after shampooing).
Amaranth can boost energy and aids hydration too!
I think that the research makes this a definite SUPER FOOD! If you haven't tried Amaranth, I highly suggest them.
I will be honest they DO NOT have much flavor! I eat the leaves and shoots for the health benefits and I LOVE to plate them on dishes and top salads with them. They are very pretty!