As a generational handover approaches, it’s good to take a step back and imagine the kind of agriculture we want to practice in the decades to come. Everything is accelerating and we are convinced that a profound change must take place, to better meet challenges of global warming and to respond to the aspirations of humankind. Our reflection has been enriched by contributions from our daughter Isabel and our teams: Eudes, Laly, Christophe and Laurent.
Over time, pressure on prices have pushed agriculture towards mechanization, standardization and more than its share of chemicals. We are all witnesses to the disappearance of hedges and wooded areas, as well as and the diminishing diversity of crops. Whole ecosystems have disappeared while agriculture structures have gotten bigger and bigger. Most farmers get up most mornings thinking about what they’ll be killing off that day: “weeds, insects, fungi?” And too few of us wake up thinking “what can I do to nourish my farm’s environment?”.
For us, the switch to organic farming was just a first step. We are determined to reinvent the way we practice our profession, without losing the fragile economic balance that allows us to continue. We are inspired by the notion of managing agriculture ecosystems and the premise of regenerative organic farming. More than a simple concept of agriculture, it is both a societal choice and a lifestyle. By focusing on practices promoting: 1. healthy and living soils ; 2. biodiversity (through polyculture that includes a presence of animals) ; and 3. promote economic resilience in our farming communities ; regenerative agriculture addresses many of today’s larger issues.
The topics covered are vast: food quality and its role in our health; the regenerative potential of lands for future generations; carbon sequestration for the atmosphere; the quality of the water we drink; the biological diversity around us; the role of animals in the microbial life of the soil; proficiency in cover crop management; and finally the quality of life for agricultural workers so that those to come will find a true sense of purpose in the vocation of farming.
I’ll be developing each of these different interdependent topics in our newsletters and our upcoming blog articles. We are fortunate to have never given up on polyculture and the diversity of plant life, and, as always, we are open to experimentation. The path we will clear for ourselves will be strewn with pitfalls, but we are determined to learn from our missteps because the stakes are so very high and the rewards invaluable for us all!
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