At Grassroots Farm, we’re obsessed with dirt.
All of our activities are focused on promoting the health and fertility of the soil. When the land is in good shape, it can support healthy animals and a diverse, balanced ecosystem.
We use an approach called regenerative agriculture. Instead of relying on external inputs like pesticides and artificial fertilizers, we step back and let the soil, plants, and animals work together to create a sustainable cycle of growth.
Rotating our animals through the pastures gives each species a chance to do its job:
- The cows mow the grass with their mouths… and then fertilize the land with the other end of their digestive tracts. We move them regularly, every 2-3 days depending on the growing conditions, so that they don’t overgraze - maintaining the grasses in their prime growth stage for absorbing carbon out of the atmosphere.
- The pigs aerate the soil where the cows are wintered by breaking down the manure piles and recycling the nutrients.
- Then, we give the land a chance to rest and regenerate, before the cycle begins again.
We realize that our farm is part of the ecosystem that surrounds it. Through our agroforestry practices, we are selectively harvesting trees to create silvopastures - grazing fields dotted with trees, which provide shade and shelter to the animals, and make a home for diverse species of local birds and insects.
It all comes back to the natural cycles of the land. Rather than fighting against nature with chemicals and industrial farming practices, we’re harnessing nature’s own processes and structures to cultivate a healthy, active, and resilient ecosystem.
Want to learn more? Here are a few TED talks that inspire us:
- Allan Savory: How to green the world’s deserts and reverse climate change
- Joel Salatin: Cows, carbon, and climate
- Gabe Brown: Regeneration of our land, a producer's perspective