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Fix the Soil, Feed the Planet, Save the World: The Power of Regeneration


Fix the Soil, Feed the Planet, Save the World: The Power of Regeneration

Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

Seeking to elevate sustainable forms of agriculture such as agroecology, holistic grazing, cover cropping, permaculture, and agroforestry over industrial practices that degrade soil, introduce toxins to the food supply—and exacerbate climate change—a group of farmers, scientists, and activists are convening for the Regenerative In


Old school farming with high tech applications and measurement. We actually use to call this just " farming ". Before it became Agri-Business. When you get hoodwinked, bamboozled and hornswoggled with phrases like " green revolution ", " feeding the world " and " farming fence row to fence row " like we did in the late 1960s, the results aren’t pretty. Lots of blame to go around on this boondoggle. Time to get some dirt under our collective fingernails, again.


I am an urban dweller with 2.5 cubic foot soil generator: indoor composting with red wiggler worms. Maintaining a nearly spotless small apt. these critters take vegetable and fruit peelings from the farmers market and co-op and fair trade coffee grounds etc. and turn them into the black gold of worm castings. If a neighbor asks for some castings it takes a few weeks with maybe an increase in my potato consumption (and popping peelings into the blender to accelerate microbial exposure) for these critters to generate about 5-10 lbs with the worms for their garden.
No odor other than something akin to a wet forest floor - virtually a fragrant perfume in the city. I guess you could say I’m a volunteer micro producer. Inspired to start following agriculture in the region, I joined the National Farmers Union - figure my membership dues also contribute to my education and awareness of activism opportunities on concerns affecting all of us - and maybe a micro contribution to the NFU funds supporting young folks who feel moved to go into farming. I’d encourage anyone to get started post haste. Mend the false separation generated by agribusiness and support the farmers and gardens all around us. Just one of a number of great ways to ‘starve the beast’ in our midst.


Yes, even this article continues to spread the same deluded beliefs. Showing a photo that doesn’t even remotely represent the techniques that will sequester carbon, and then using as the only example even briefly explained, grazing instead of plant-centered techniques is a way to say to people “oh, you don’t have to change anything about your diet; you can go on as you are, ignoring the problem and somebody else will fix it”. In the same way, the article and almost all other media the US public is exposed to constantly tell them they don’t have to change anything else about their lives.

Such grazing techniques as Allan Savory’s methods (what they’re talking about, though the article tries to avoid attracting lightning by not mentioning the name) MAY be applicable in some places. But these are mostly unproductive lands in general–dry, high, rocky or cold–and most of the world will have to be fed by plant-centered, low-meat perennial-based permaculture systems in places with the right amounts of heat, water, good or recoverable soil and sun.

It’s past time to get beyond short, simplistic and misleading articles like this in rarified outlets and inform the public of the real costs of the indulgent party they’ve been engaging in their whole lives. Personal action and inner change must happen, but political change is what’s necessary to reverse our course, and that will require massive changes in the way most people in the developed world, especially in North America, live in the next decade.

Probably the best 3 things you can do personally are to stop or drastically cut back on eating meat; buy local organic food, and stop driving and flying. But those changes are secondary to using our political power to change the way decisions are made. Voting alone isn’t enough; as has often been said, if voting could change anything it would be illegal. Agitation and demands for more radical change are also necessary, right now, for us to have enough time to make the societal changes needed to avoid climate catastrophe.


I was amazed at how non-offensive the odor was even when raised inside.


Resonance in the thread!! theres hope! If someone had told me 25 years ago that I would be celebrating red wigglers and solitude I’d have made faces at them, laughed and probably walked away -such is life.
May they be prolific and the microbes merry.


Thanks for the prompt on the NFU, i’m familiar with them but never considered joining, as an extreme urban composter and gardener. i’ll look them up and drop them a dime!


My late uncle was Secretary of NFU when Kennedy Adm. had Orville Freeman as Secretary of Agriculture. I grew up on his knee when " politickin ’ was fun and a real education in how things got done. The programs were then " diverted acres " , " sealed grain bins and silos; the reserve " and real crop rotation. Supported by a small is beautiful mentality from the Feds with real supports. Complete with gardens of 3/4 acres, orchards, strawberry, rhubarb and berry bushes. And, even our own homegrown popcorn. Livestock, cats and dogs everywhere. It wasn’t out of the norm, either. All pretty much organic What a hoot. Thanks for supporting the NFU. They’ll always hold a special place for me.


I was always interested but it has taken time to become free. I use worm castings to make teas for the garden microbes. I have changed from feeding the plants to feeding the soil and success in the garden production and quality has and is continuing to improve.


, in the summer of 1969. This was also my first experience with seriously compacted and depleted soil. The previous tenants of this house had used the back yard as a place to park their cars and burn/dispose of garbage. When I hand tilled the soil, I also dug up pieces of broken glass, tin cans and old door knobs. I grew a lot of vegies in this garden but I was a bit disappointed that they did not look and taste as good as the organic food I got at my mom’s health food store.

Back then I did not fully realize that soil is home to an incredible web of life and that it is the foundation of the ecosystem.

View the rest of my garden story by googling:

“I planted my first organic garden, in the back yard of the first house I rented”

I believe that garden life on earth is the best way of guardin’ life on earth:
garden-life dot ws


Exterminate - etymology: 1540s, “drive away,” from Latin exterminatus, past participle of exterminare “drive out, expel, put aside, drive beyond boundaries,” also, in Late Latin “destroy,” from phrase ex termine “beyond the boundary,” from ex- “out of” (see ex-) + termine, ablative of termen “boundary, limit, end” (see terminus).

heres wiki on it


Common dreams is certainly doing much to improve our hopes and dreams, I only hope the staff writers know about other efforts not driven by the need to rise money. My project will help common dreams attract many more viewers, hits, and interest from like minded intelligent aware brothers and sisters. Permaculture for example is design science that with widespread implementation (along with stop digging fossil) would reduce significantly the impact of future climate change. see image at savetheworldfree.ning.com/photo


What a unselfish wonderful project. I’m an organic consultant in South Africa. Would love to hear more.
That’s the way we put Big At out of the picture. Let me know more if you like. plantworxinc@gmail.com. view saoso.org. Might find something useful there. Take care.
Ernest Kilian


I often enjoy your comments, Old Goat, but this time I must say that I truly admire your efforts. As Ernest Killian says, this is a real interesting project you have going. May I kindly suggest that you write a small article about that project of yours, and post it here on Common Dreams. We can then respectfully request Common Dreams to publish it for the benefit of us all. I, for one, would be happy knowing more about it. My husband and I (we live in Mozambique) are, in our free-time, working on starting-up an agro-ecological project to the advantage of poor people in our area. All the information we can get, based on good experiences, is warmly welcomed.


You tube has tons of videos on vermiculture. For instance what I’m doing with red wigglers - you would need to identify a local worm species that I’ll bet most indigenous farmers would be knowledgeable about. In warmer regions the wigglers could become a pest. They die in the cold where I live. I tend to see what I’m doing as living with some disabilities and looking for the ways that I love life.


There are lots of videos on you tube about vermiculture with a wide range of personal experiences - its where I went to explore - and that really is the operative notion - to explore where you are, what already exists and what is known in the community.

Two things come to mind:
Ashoka https://www.ashoka.org/about
Have you heard of Moringa Olifeira? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moringa


Thanks Old Goat. Still, please, consider to write a piece:)


Even if you can’t have a worm bin in your house where it is warm enough for them to work 12 months of the year, if you have a garage that doesn’t stay below freezing for more than a few days at a time during winter, you can locate the worms in an outdoor shady spot six to eight months of the year and put them in the garage during the cold months where they hibernate.


You’re way too harsh on Fulton, who is a staff reporter here and is simply reporting on the gathering in Costa Rica, and giving a few quotes and references. Instead of zeroing in on the brief reference to “holistic grazing” you might also have zeroed in on the brief references to agroecology, permaculture, agroforestry, etc.

It’s as plain as day that Fulton did not add the one-sentence additional explanation of holistic grazing in an effort to “constantly tell [the US public] they don’t have to change anything else about their lives.”

i like a lot of your posts and i like your own “best 3 things you can do personally” here. Which of course could be trashed as “short, simplistic and misleading.”


Your “facts” are absurd. Worms are by no means depleting soil. You’re free to take your evolutionary history out of context and make erroneous assertions about the roles of worms, but your erroneous assertions about the roles of worms are absurd. Depleting the soil! Thanks for the laughs.

In forests in Canada that have remained without worms since the Ice Age, the reintroduction of worms is disrupting those ecosystems. Much of the world’s ecosystems are in turmoil simply from the human spread of species into places those species did not currently exist. But worms are not “depleting the soil.” Good grief.

You might look up Charles Darwin, who spent much of his life researching and writing about earth worms. Darwin waxed eloquent and at length about the fantastic array of services worms provide. You could learn something!