We’ve degraded the soil through industrial ag, turning millions of acres into dirt, not soil.
And growing food on dirt requires a lot of synthetic chemicals.
The more we implement these practices, & degrade soil biology, the more & more inputs we need to grow food.
External costs rise, profits of farmers dwindle, while the profits of agrochemical companies, like Bayer, rise.
These chemicals have severe environmental & human health consequences!
Intensive agriculture near the Mississippi River, for ex, has led to fertilizers leeching into the river, & ultimately the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in a huge oxygen-deprived dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.
A new report by USGS, National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project, reveals the presence of pesticides is widespread in U.S. rivers & streams, with almost 90% of water samples containing at least 5+ pesticides.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention says Americans now have an average of 43 different pesticides in their bloodstreams.
We can grow food without these nasty chemicals, but this requires working with nature & restoring the soil biology with regenerative agriculture practices.
Regenerative ag refers to a set of farming practices with the main goal of improving soil health. Some of these practices include holistic planned grazing, biodynamic farming, permaculture, agroforesty, silvopasture, integrated livestock crop management, & diverse cover cropping. The strategy selected for a given farm depends on the farmer’s goals & what makes sense to the farm’s ecosystem & location.
These practices leverage the power of photosynthesis to close the carbon cycle & restore the balance between carbon in the atmosphere & carbon stored in the soil.
In proper functioning soil, plants intake carbon from the atmosphere, convert it into sugars, & then pump some of the sugars through their roots to feed microorganisms that use the carbon to build soil.
In exchange for these sugars, the microorganisms (that are not “fed” & are killed off by industrial ag practices) send water & a wide array of nutrients back to the plant. A beautiful symbiotic relationship, how nature intended.