1 day ago
these days, these intense days when we are searching for solutions to ecological crises, i’ve been reading about regenerative farming. i’m beginning to understand how people are working with animals and plants to build soil, to sink carbon, to increase organic matter, to absorb more water into the land, simply enough, by moving animals as they would move naturally in herds. they’ll set up animals to graze, browse, forage an area briefly, trample much of it, manure it, then move them on to fresh ground, not to return for some time. the roots of the plants, mirroring their aerial parts, self-prune and break down into new soil. the parasite cycles are broken as the hosts move away. mulched and fertilised, increasing organic matter slows and sinks water. carbon draws down and everything grows stronger, rapidly. intensive rotational grazing. understanding these principles on paper is one thing. in practice, translating to this land, at a small scale, with these particular animals and plants is a process of experimentation. for now i’m observing what the kid goats eat and how they like to move on the land. if i stand firm with their leads, being the tether, and watch what they choose to graze and browse versus when i allow them to lead. how they graze the orchard or browse in the thicket. how i might move them with fences. observing how the chickens and the ducks move on the land in different weather and thinking about how we might rest areas of the garden and open others to them while meeting their needs and our own. how grazing geese might contribute. i’m not regenerating grassland so much as garden, orchard, food forest, but the principles ought to scale. for now i’m playing with how a regenerative practice might work with daily life that resembles backyard chicken homesteading more than pasturing herds of cows or sheep. translating the language of electric fencing a field to the sort of fences one might live with, in effect, at home in one’s garden. regenerative practice the way my family might engage with it, to not only restore our own soil, not only raise healthy animals, plants and people, but to actually contribute to a positive carbon cycle.