Regenerative Agriculture is a Promising Approach to Building Better Food Systems.
Regenerative agriculture is rapidly becoming a buzzword, largely because it offers great promise for restoring soil and environmental health while building farm profits and improving human health and nutrition. What is not to love about the concept?
Food Systems are Built on Four Interdependent Cornerstones
When we began building End-O-Fite Enterprises LLC back in 2012, the term regenerative agriculture was not on our radar. Nonetheless, primary concepts of regenerative agriculture were the core of our foundation. We saw our mission as one of rebuilding food security by restoring endophytes (and other beneficial microbes) to our agricultural and environmental systems, and rebuilding our human microbiomes for better nutritional health.
We knew none of this could be achieved without addressing the social factors that affect access to healthy food. The more we explored these social factors, the more we realized they could all be summed up as problems stemming from lost liberty. This is when we began describing the four cornerstones of food systems. We see a clean environment, healthy people, regenerative agriculture, and critical levels of personal and economic freedom as the essential components of healthy, sustainable food systems.
In the years since 2012, the way we present these cornerstones has fluctuated. This is not because our concept of what makes a food system has changed, but rather because our understanding of the complex social and political issues that are fundamental to creating diversity has expanded. We have always believed that economic diversity, biodiversity, and cultural diversity are essential for creating food systems that implement the biomimicry essential for leveraging nature to maximize productivity. We even embraced network marketing, primarily because it offers an original approach to building the entrepreneurial mindsets necessary for diversifying our economy.
However, the more that we have worked with people from communities around the Southwest, the more convinced I’ve become that the primary barriers to creating this diversity are the government policies that bind us all to a set of rules that differs drastically from the laws of nature that govern food production. In an op-ed article I wrote about networking to build food systems, I replicated my original description of food security cornerstones.
The COVID-19 Pandemic Highlights the Necessity for Basic Freedoms.
Then, 2020 arrived, bringing with it a global pandemic. COVID-19 threatened people from all walks of life. But while the virus itself was devastating for many, others suffered due to the draconian policies that distanced us from our loved ones, shut down once-thriving businesses, and accelerated the growth of financial disparities. While none would argue that there are situations that warrant social distancing and the use of personal protective equipment, the large scale enforcement of social distancing policies has put many of our most vulnerable populations at risk of financial ruin, Others have suffered severe health consequences simply because COVID-19 policies have made basic health care inaccessible.
Yet within rural communities and urban neighborhoods around the globe, local initiatives that effectively reduce the risk of COVID-19 while allowing people to do business, obtain healthcare, and spend time with the people most dear to them are systematically halted by governments who insist that there is only one way to fight this virus.
What is lost with this kind of approach is the opportunity for diversification that would build resilience against the rapidly evolving variants of COVID-19. Individuals who are using nutritional remedies, herbal supplements, and emerging energetic therapies will never receive the R & D funding that goes to vaccine companies. Neither will those who are combatting the environmental issues that Harvard researchers have linked to increased risk of COVID-19 complications.
Freedom is Essential for Adaptation to Environmental Threats
COVID-19 policies are just one example of how governments prevent individuals from responding appropriately to environmental threats. This is why our updated illustration of food system cornerstones includes “Freedom to Diversify” rather than simply “Diversity.” Other changes to the illustration are aimed at illustrating those types of agriculture, health, and environmental parameters that promote the healthiest food systems.
Future articles will explore steps you can take, beyond showing up at the polls, to claim basic freedoms that are vital for establishing healthy food systems.