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Dirt to Soil: One Family’s Journey Into Regenerative Agriculture

Story at-a-glance -

  • The challenge facing most farmers today is that conventional agriculture has decimated the topsoil with tilling and synthetic fertilizers, which disrupt and destroy the microbial life necessary to grow nutrient-dense food
  • Mycorrhizal fungi grow in healthy soils and are responsible for nutrient transfers between plants and soil biology. The most critical thing in a plant’s life is its relationship with mycorrhizal fungi, which is why tillage and synthetic chemicals should be avoided
  • The five basic principles for building a healthy soil ecosystem are: not disturbing the soil microbiome, protecting the soil surface with cover crops, diversification, maintaining living roots in the ground as long as possible and integrating livestock and insects
  • For change to occur, farmers must decide they want to change, and consumers must demand nutrient-dense foods produced in a regenerative manner that benefits the ecosystem as a whole
  • The farm program keeps farmers trapped in the conventional model, which destroys soil — an essential resource — and locks them into a monocrop system with dwindling financial returns

By Dr. Mercola

Gabe Brown is a pioneer in regenerative land management, a holistic strategy that helps restore soil health. Last year, I visited his 5,000-acre farm in Bismarck, North Dakota, on my 63rd birthday. We reviewed many of his techniques in "How to Use Regenerative Farming Principles to Grow Healthier Food in Your Own Garden."

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