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I’ve just returned from a four-day strategic gathering focused on the global movement to regenerate the planet’s soils. By drawing down carbon and water, science – and practice – have shown that large-scale soil regeneration is the best way to reverse climate change, reduce droughts and flooding, support biodiversity, and improve the nutritional quality of our food. But such dramatic outcomes call for major changes in how we all interact with the land, particularly for farmers.

I came away from the strategic gathering with the sense that three things need to come together to support this massive transition. Read more

I decided to take a chance and ask the group of farmers a bold opening question. These times call for boldness, I find. And overalls notwithstanding, I had reason to believe there was more to these particular men and women than popular stereotypes would suggest. Read more

[Traduction par la merveilleuse Aimée LeBreton de Traditions Global Expressions, avec des conseils et des encouragements généreux de Gene Bergeron]

Je suis revenue depuis peu du Symposium Sols vivants organisé par Régénération Canada, auquel j’ai eu le privilège d’assister à titre de co-animatrice. En dépit de la grande fatigue que j’éprouve à la fin de ces quatre jours de rassemblement, je n’aurais voulu me trouver à nulle part ailleurs. Les méthodes de régénération de l’agriculture et d’aménagement des terres proposent la solution la plus prometteuse aux changements climatiques, quoiqu’elle soit possiblement la plus méconnue. Elle propose d’activer la capacité innée des sols sains à séquestrer des milliards de tonnes de carbone chaque année. Cette pratique offre également la possibilité de contrer de nombreux enjeux, dont l’insécurité alimentaire, la pollution et la pénurie de l’eau, la perte de biodiversité, la désertification et les risques à la santé publique. Contrairement aux méthodes conventionnelles d’agriculture qui détériorent activement les sols, les méthodes régénératrices sont axées sur la création de conditions qui favorisent le développement sain des microorganismes vivants dans le sol. Il s’agit de travailler avec plutôt que contre la vie. Pour toutes ces raisons, le Symposium a attiré 500 participants, dont des agriculteurs, des éleveurs de bétail, des transformateurs alimentaires, des détaillants, des scientifiques, des journalistes, des bailleurs de fonds et des décideurs politiques, tous empreints d’un sentiment d’urgence et d’un espoir prudent. Read more

I’ve just come from co-hosting Regeneration Canada’s Living Soils Symposium. As tired as I feel right now at the end of the four-day gathering, there’s nowhere else I would have chosen to be. Regenerative approaches to agriculture and land management offer the most promising – and perhaps least known – solution to climate change, activating healthy soil’s ability to sequester billions of tons of carbon each year. These practices also have the potential to address food security, water pollution and scarcity, biodiversity loss, desertification, public health, and more. Unlike conventional methods of agriculture that actively degenerate soil, regenerative approaches focus on creating the conditions for the living microorganisms in the soil to thrive. It’s about working with life instead of against it. For all these reasons, the Symposium attracted 500 farmers, ranchers, food processors, retailers, scientists, journalists, funders, policymakers and others, each with a sense of urgency and cautious hope.

Over the four days, there were many separate sessions covering a range of topics and practices. But in conversations between sessions, I heard one frequent refrain: we understand the importance and value of regenerative approaches to soil; but how do we convince the others? How do we get them – consumers, politicians, retailers, but most of all farmers – to change their thinking and behaviors? Read more