As many co-op shoppers know, soil is a valuable natural resource essential to agriculture. Healthy soil helps plants soak up essential nutrients, capture carbon from the atmosphere, and resist drought and disease. Many in the organic and natural foods industry are increasingly focused on practices that enrich, rather than degrade, the Earth’s soil. A conversation has begun around agriculture moving beyond sustainable, and towards true improvement or regeneration of the resources it uses. (See links at right for further reading on a proposed regenerative organic certification.)
From Feb. 14-27 at the Franklin and Friendship stores, 3% of all Cascadian Farm purchases will be donated to The Land Institute, supporting healthy soil. The Land Institute is focused on introducing perennial grains and transforming agriculture with regenerative, more sustainable production. Some of the grains used in intercropping systems include Kernza ®, sorghum, silphium, perennial wheat and legumes.
The Land Institute and their partners are not working to tweak the current predominant industrial, disruptive system of agriculture. They are working to displace it.
Due to agricultural processes including higher volume tillage and the use of pesticides and fertilizers—the health of our soil is decreasing at an alarming rate, and without healthy soil, we face more pollution and less cultivation. For over 10,000 years humans have depended on soil. Today, soil depends on us.
It is possible to provide staple foods without destroying or compromising the cultural and ecological systems upon which our society depends, but only if we understand and work with the constraints and capacities of the natural systems.