Our soil is under threat.
It’s estimated that we’ve got just 60 years of topsoil left, with 24 billion tons of fertile soil lost every year.
With most of the food on our plate dependant on soil, its declining health is a major issue.
“The word humans comes from the word humic, which means soil,” explains regenerative farmer Gabe Brown. “We need to realise that soil is a part of us.”
The basis of regenerative agriculture is observation, explains Brown – who taught himself about how soils really function.
“You have to look at the landscape and say, ‘What’s this soil really trying to tell me?'”
On his own North Dakota ranch, Brown started encouraging cover crops and avoiding tilling were he could – and has seen a boost in soil health. Farming in this way comes big benefits too – regenerative agriculture could deliver up to $1.4 trillion in increased crop production, without using any more land.
Failure to act isn’t just bad news for our food system, though. Loss of topsoil leads to more wildfires, droughts and floods – and accelerates climate change.
The 5 principles
As a result, Brown has developed 5 principles to mitigate the loss of top soil.
1. Minimise mechanical or chemical disturbance
2. Armour the soil
3. Promote diversity
4. Leave living roots in the soil
5. Use animals as nature intended
You can find out more about each of these in the video below.
“Regenerative agriculture has become my life,” concludes Brown. And it’s not just good for him and his family, but for society as a whole, he believes.