COP26 and the promise of repairing the damage humans have wreaked on our planet seems a bit of a distant memory right now. So off the back of the January “Regenuary” initiative, and the fact that we want to keep the issue of climate change, sustainable living and regeneration alive, we wanted to focus on some projects that work tirelessly throughout the year, promoting phenomenal farming practices and ways of producing food that helps enrich the environment.
As our ethos is all about regeneration here at Farm2Fork, we love throwing a light on others that share our vision for looking after this planet we live on.
The projects we’ve focused on show how growing and working the land in a sensitive way can actually encourage thriving and biodiverse environments – something we actively work towards here.
The Savory Institute
Set up by Zimbabwean Allan Savory, the Savory Institute is now a world-leading farming network that promotes the regeneration of grasslands through effective management and grazing. It’s so effective that the institute teaches other farmers how to implement their methods, and its reach is enormous.
When you consider that the world’s surface is effectively one-third grasslands and that 70% of that grassland has been degraded, what the Savory Institute does is not only revolutionary, but also necessary.
The practice of “holistic management”, coined from the method of moving livestock across grassland helps to enrich the soils, prevent desertification – where grassland turns to desert, and encourage biodiversity, has seen a whopping 13 million hectares of grassland regenerated through this process. Mimicking nature through sensitive farming practices, and by moving livestock across the pastures, helps to enrich soils and allow recovery.
Many of the practices used through the Savory Institute are implemented at Farm2Fork, to ensure we continue to enrich our farmland and not deplete it.
We are massive fans.
Linking up with the Savory Institute, along with other institutions and charities that work towards the regeneration of depleted soils, Soil4Climate helps support the ethos that soil needs a helping hand.
In 2017 they launched a project called the Maasai Lands Restoration Project, which aims to provide food, water and climate benefits through grazing – using the methods implemented by the aforementioned Savory Institute.
The project focused on the degraded soils of Maasai-owned land in Kajiado County, Kenya, which constantly faces drought and desertification. The idea is that through grazing the lands, nutrients can be reintroduced to the depleted soils, and the healthier soil will in turn sequester more carbon to help reverse climate change.
Soil4Climate helps other organisations to work with the soil, create healthier habitats and regenerate the depleted land.
The Land Institute
Across the prairies of North America, the Land Institute has hit on a bit of a winner when it comes to crop production and improving soil quality.
They’ve developed unique perennial crops, which will grow year on year, saving the need to cultivate the soil.
Last year, more than 765 million metric tons of wheat was produced globally. This was an increase of 30 million tons from the year before.
The soil producing this wheat – an annual crop – is dug up over and again, depleting nutrients and releasing CO2 into the atmosphere through carbon loss.
Perennial plants, on the contrary, do not have to be reseeded or replanted every year, so the need for annual ploughing or herbicide application is removed.
Perennial crops are robust; they protect soil from erosion and improve soil structure. They increase ecosystem nutrient retention, carbon sequestration, and water infiltration, and contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation. Overall, they help ensure food and water security over the long term.
The Land Institute is completely reconsidering agricultural practices for food production, harnessing natural systems rather than continuing with the brutal extractive methods of industrial farming.
They state that given that grains make up over 70% of our global caloric consumption and global croplands, transitioning from an extractive annual model to a perennial model is the best chance we have to create a truly regenerative food future.
You can find out more about all these projects through the following links: