Regenerative vs. Degenerative Agriculture
A wide-ranging conversation with Kevin Watt, strategic advisor at TomKat Ranch in Pescadero, California, about the hazards of degenerative agriculture around the world, and the evolution toward new ways of thinking about productivity, healthy food, and thriving on a crowded planet.
1’14 regenerative vs. degenerative agriculture
5’25 the example of degeneration in the nation of Malawi
6’14 turning from native crops to tobacco and cash crops
7’39 destruction of ancient forests to dry tobacco
7’51 eating traditional/local food became low status
9’17 civil unrest as a result of anger and frustration
13’06 comparison to the US
13’25 four phases of our relationship to the natural world
15’41 integrated environmentalism–the idea that humans are part of the natural world
16’35 taking responsibility as stewards of the planet
17’28 letting go of the idea of industrialism as a reliable default
18’18 visualizing topsoil loss
19’07 maximizing yield and other ways of thinking about productivity
19’31 setting positive goals
21’41 the question is not about feeding 9 billion people, but about how we all thrive
22’21 a lot of food currently raised only for calories without consideration of other issues, human and environmental
23’15 doing the work of accepting dynamic systems and being in a community
24’13 profit vs. revenue
24’35 the importance of diversification
25’52 thinking about profit per acre instead of yield
28’15 project of traveling through the West to talk to producers doing regenerative ag–and the diversity of results
28’58 Kevin lost a hundred pounds through regenerative ag.
29’22 hidden costs of the degenerative system
31’13 reconnecting to our individual needs for nourishment
33’06 California food program for school children
33’59 craving the foods we ate when we were young
34’46 watching healthy animals on pasture
35’20 Kevin’s children eat sauerkraut and cod liver oil
36’14 is regenerative agriculture only for the wealthy?
38’39 shelf price vs. real price of food
39’57 study of the real cost of regenerative vs. conventional beef
41’32 policy that would internalize heretofore externalized costs
43’05 focus on internalizing the benefits
45’02 the idea of disruption in agriculture
47’34 how do you deal with the harmful entities with the most power and political clout
Brennan Washington is an agriculture Renaissance man. He farms, promotes farmers markets, provides resources to limited-resource producers, and produces the Sustainable Ag Rider podcast.
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Jillian Hishaw works with farmers to protect themselves, their families, and their land–legally and financially. Attorney and food systems strategist, she provides free or low-cost services, particularly to African American farmers.
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Diana Rodgers is the author of several books and is working on a new book and documentary film project, Sacred Cow. She hosts the Sustainable Dish podcast, and she lives and works on an organic farm in Massachusetts.
Dr. Robert Fetsch has for decades been helping farmers and ranchers deal with disabilities — from injuries brought on by hard work, to mental health problems like anxiety, depression, and anger.
Nicole Masters is an agro-ecologist and educator in regenerative agriculture. She’s founder of Integrity Soils, and author of the new book, For the Love of Soil.
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Graeme Hand teaches Holistic Management, and how to restore grasslands with cattle–and his techniques might surprise you!
Joel Benson applied his training in holistic management to his business, and then to the government of his small town where he was mayor for eight years. The results are inspiring — and remind us of the power of systems thinking.
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A long-time Quivira Coalition leader and proponent of regenerative agriculture, Kate Greenberg is now the Commissioner of Agriculture for the state of Colorado. We talk about what it means to take a regenerative and “Radical Center” approach from her position in government.
Richard Teague is Professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management at Texas A&M University. He shares with us his deep understanding of the science of holistic management, soil science, and the psychology of changing over to new practices and paradigms.
Ed Roberson is conservation director at the Palmer Land Trust, and he’s host of the Mountain and Prairie podcast. We talk about some of the problems surrounding water in the West–and some new approaches to balancing urban and agricultural water needs.