Regenerative farming: Food 3.0 #7 #cong20
Our industrial/financial based society does not provide us with food that is healthy, fresh, grown in healthy soil by a fairly rewarded producer. It’s methods damage the soil and the climate.
Regenerative farming can change this and also strengthen our communities and societies.
I am searching for a person who would develop a regenerative horticultural enterprise on my farm.
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- Have a diverse diet.
- Support research on regenerative farming.
- Develop local resilience by supporting local enterprises.
- Your society provides your food. If it’s not good enough, change it.
About Conor O'Brien
I come from a tradition of cooperative and local involvement and have always been involved in community and farming organisations. I am a member of the Board oversight on Mitchelstown Credit Union. Chairperson of Knockmealdown Active that develops outdoor activities there. Also involved with a local group using walks on the Knockmealdowns and the Galtees to build the community. I help to organise a storytelling workshop on Cape Clear island in October every year. Learning more about the soil every day. Reading. Local history.
Contacting Conor O'Brien:
By Conor O’Brien.
Communities, and societies, developed so that people could manage their food, shelter, and health by coordinating how they used their resources. Various power structures evolved to do this. Some structures were benign, others oppressive; but all depended for their survival on satisfying their peoples material needs.
In simple terms Society 1.0 was pre-industrial, based on what a specific place and people could produce; Society 2.0 is the present industrial cum financial society based on maximising the growth of capital, with no ties to place or people. In Society 3.0 people will use the ICT developed in Society 2.0 to build their own virtual communities with no need for a common sense of place
During Society 2.0, our present industrial/financial age, the connection between people’s between their material needs and the means of providing them was gradually broken. One contributed to society by engaging in the market; by selling one’s labour for a specialised task, while buying one’s food and material goods from others who also did specialised tasks. Growing the return on capital became more important than any other need of society. This alienation from the sources of our well-being is not a minor matter of harmless ignorance.
Our health is directly related to the nature of our diet. Diversity and freshness in our diet is essential to the proper functioning of our bodies. Our present system of food production and distribution drastically reduces the opportunity for food diversity and freshness. We need a system that produces healthy food near us, grown on healthy soil, with a decent income for the producer. Regenerative farming is the new Food 3.0 that can do this
The core principle of regenerative farming is that the fungi in the soil can mobilise any elements that are in the soil which are needed by the plant. These are exchanged through the root system for the sugar produced through photosynthesis in the leaves. It depends on diversity of plants and the biome; protecting the soil with plants; integrate livestock and reduce ploughing.
In the conventional system of using artificial fertilisers the plant does not need to exchange any sugars with the fungi and the die off. Without the fungi the rest of the biome that are essential to the natural cycle will lack essential nutrients.
Applying herbicides and fungicides to correct the resulting crop ailments further destroys the fungi and the soil biome. Without these the soils water absorption potential is reduced. This is a soil catastrophe because the weaker molecular and physical ties within the soil leads to erosion and carbon loss from the soil. About 40% of the worlds agricultural land is seriously degraded.
The photosynthetic sugars are the currency of all living things. Our industrial Society 2.0 depends on the photosynthetic hydrocarbons trapped in the fossil fuels from millions of years ago. Burning these fossil fuels is driving a climate catastrophe. We are burning the currency that enables us to access the resources to maintain our society.
On the other hand, regenerative farming stabilises the carbon cycle, and sequesters carbon in the soil. The improvement in the soil’s water holding capacity reduces the effect of both droughts and floods.
There is another, social, effect. Regenerative farming is human capital intensive rather than financial capital intensive This makes it much more difficult to scale up and enables more people to make a living directly from farming. Being local and people intensive it provides both energy and resilience to communities, and consequently to the broader society.
At Christmas 2018 my brothers and I found that we had independently begun looking at regenerative agriculture and realising how little we know about plants and the soil. It has been one of the most productive learning periods of our careers.
I am now actively looking for someone who would be interested in developing a one to three acre regenerative horticultural operation on my farm at a reasonable rent.
So if you know someone who might be interested in starting a horticultural regenerative farming enterprise, let them contact me at: