We Need YOU!… to Regenerate America

In 2016, I was living on a commune in Willits, California. It was incredible living on 5,000 acres of field, forest, stream, and pond. The current generation of community members and land stewards—some who were born on the land and had raised their own children and grandchildren on the land—had deeply committed to sustainable, regenerative, and organic agriculture and holistic animal husbandry, which is why I was there.

Now, it feels important to note that I was not a member of the commune. I was there to support my former partner who landed his dream job as a farmer-teacher-researcher for John Jeavon’s Ecology Action. We lived in a shared, run-down yet vibrant farmhouse with interns from Taiwan, Kenya, Nigeria, and Canada. We were practicing John Jeavon’s Grow Biointensive mini-farming method—the most radical regenerative organic agriculture I’ve come across, and an evolution of Rudolf Steiner’s biodynamic and Alan Chadwick’s integrated biodynamic/French-intensive methods.

It was here I developed a curiosity about the relationship between agriculture, civilizations, and the environment. I dug into David Montogmery’s Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations and Andrew Rimas and Evan D.G. Fraser’s Empires of Food: Feast, Famine, and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations. These historical reviews opened my eyes to how drastically humans have altered the shape of the Earth, how much extractive agriculture contributes to climate change, and how imperative it is we take responsibility for agricultural stewardship that supports regeneration, not degradation, of our soils. This is what drew my attention to something many Americans take for granted, the Farm Bill.

“The nation that destroys its soil destroys itself” – President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1937

THE FARM BILL – WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

The Farm Bill is a piece of highly complex federal legislation that impacts nearly every aspect of farmers’ lives and consequently our nation’s food supply chain—ecosystems, infrastructure, and people. The Farm Bill is renewed every five to seven years, and the next development cycle is happening now.

Like other major industries, “Big Ag” has enormous pockets—according to the USDA’s Economic Research Service, “Agriculture, food, and related industries contributed $1.055 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020[1].” With these deep pockets, Big Ag has enormous capacity to lobby congress for policies—like the Farm Bill—that favor industry over people or planet.

But who’s going to lobby for us? The people, the planet, the climate?

Thankfully, our friends at Kiss the Ground answered that call by convening REGENERATE AMERICA—an unprecedented coalition of farmers, individuals, and more than eighty businesses and nonprofits from every corner of our country and all political stripes. Together, we are elevating the voices of farmers and ranchers demanding that the 2023 Farm Bill shift resources & support towards regenerative agriculture.

Together, through Regenerate America, we are:

  • Strategically outreaching, educating, and aligning with Congress Members who are drafting the 2023 Farm Bill to ensure key provisions supporting regenerative agriculture are included
  • Engaging the media to raise awareness around the 2023 Farm Bill and why it’s imperative regenerative agriculture be prioritized
  • Developing a grassroots campaign to build public support for regenerative agriculture, amplify our voices, and demand Congress support regenerative agriculture now and into the future

WE NEED YOU!

We need an “all-citizens-on-deck” war-scale effort to transition our agricultural system from monolithic monocultures to biodiverse regenerative organic farms. We need to build soil, not destroy it. I’m reminded of FDR’s WWII era Victory Gardens campaign that organized citizens into an heroic movement to grow food for the war effort. This time, it is us—as engaged citizens—who must organize our elected officials to prioritize regenerative agriculture for the survival effort. And the survival effort is not hyperbole…

“We are losing 30 soccer fields of soil every minute, mostly due to intensive farming.” – Volkert Engelsman, International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements

“If current rates of degradation continue all of the world’s top soil could be gone within 60 years[2]” – Senior UN Official, 2014

Here’s how you can help Regenerate America

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Thank you for being an engaged citizen, our world needs you.

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[1] Scientific American. 2022. “Only 60 Years of Farming Left If Soil Degradation Continues.” Reuters. Last modified December 5, 2014. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/only-60-years-of-farming-left-if-soil-degradation-continues/ .

[2] USDA Economic Research Service. 2022. “What is agriculture’s share of the overall U.S. economy?” Ag and Food Sectors and the Economy. Last modified February 24, 2022. https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/ag-and-food-statistics-charting-the-essentials/ag-and-food-sectors-and-the-economy/ .

Author Profile
Astarae Metcalf

As Dr. Bronner's Senior Strategic Partnerships and Campaigns Manager, Astarae Metcalf has worked on many public education, sales and marketing, and political campaigns to advance hemp, regenerative organic agriculture, social equity, the environment, and other issues.

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