It’s January and many parts of the country are buried under snow or deluged in rain. Farmers wait for spring when they can till, plant, reap and then repeat. Despite the reduced amount of land used for farming due to consolidation and loss of small family farms in economic distress, the average size of farms grew. Today’s mainstream farming mainly encompasses commodity crops like corn, wheat, soybean, cotton and rice - the basis for much of our processed food, animal feed and government subsidies artificially driving down costs. This method of farming, often referred to as conventional, in the last 70 years has become dependent on synthetic chemicals, and has significant downsides. Heavy rotation schedules and an emphasis on output maximization takes a toll on the environment and depletes nutrients, reduces biodiversity, increases soil erosion, and contributes to environmental concerns like deforestation. So we ask, what if there was another way?
For those new to it, there is a renewed emphasis on regenerative organic agriculture. Put simply, it's a method developed by Bob Rodale in the 1980’s that focuses on three elements: first soil health then animal welfare and social fairness. The effort is picking up momentum thanks to champions like Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, who claims the regenerative ag is the “number one thing humans can do to combat global warming." He believes this so strongly that the company has dedicated substantial efforts and funds to educate consumers, lobby government, and bringing in more companies to evangelize the organic approach.
Not only are better farming methods needed to turn lifeless dirt into living soil capable of sequestering carbon, but these same methods have a direct impact on the biodiversity in the soil and in turn improve nutritive qualities of our food - the food we put in our lunchboxes and in our bodies each day. Studies now show the vast difference the farming practice has on the quality of food we buy, especially imperative for our children’s growing bodies as we face a more toxic environment.
As Doctor Zach Bush explores in his practice these conventional chemically-dependent agricultural practices are identified as a root cause of the current chronic disease epidemic. His recent regenerative film shares Minnesota farmer’s stories from turbulence in traditional farming to soil-building triumph. His teachings have been instrumental in further educating us about the long-term benefits of mindful ag and sourcing. Dr. Bush is not alone, he is among a growing multidisciplinary medical community offering culinary medicine to prevent disease and heal. Culinary medicine is an emerging evidence-based field that blends the art of food and cooking with the science of medicine where source and farming methods matter. We’ll be sharing more from these practitioners with tips on food shopping and meal prepping.
No less exciting is the momentum picking up as even more startups like us gain traction and rally around farmers. Take for example, Indigo, launching efforts to accelerate regenerative agriculture by incentivizing farmers with $15 per metric ton of carbon sequestered. Their goal? To capture 1 trillion metric tons (a teraton) of carbon dioxide worldwide.
Not only do we support the shift towards regenerative ag, but we are actively engaged in the movement to lift up these farmers who dedicate their life to growing food for health. Perhaps for you, this means taking a step toward sourcing food from farmers following this paradigm, stopping in for a composting workshop or starting your own backyard garden. We look forwad to empowering your journey to taking that high-quality food wherever you go.
reVessel’s purpose is to redefine convenience as a long-term solution. Our vision is to inspire virtuous interactions with food to shape a sustainable future for humans and the planet for generations to come.
We’ll be attending Edible Institute’s regenerative ag conference this month, so be sure to follow along and check out our social and future blogs posts as we share what we learn and how we bridge the knowledge with the practical everyday steps to being better stewards.