NCAT Regenerative Grazing Specialist
The Daily Climate is today running an article excerpted from a book by Liz Carlisle. Liz features Nikiko Masumoto, a female farmer of Japanese descent:
“Whenever I begin conversations about myself and my relationship to the land, it’s always through my grandparents and great-grandparents who touched this same soil,” Masumoto says. “There is a gift of that, which is thinking of my life in a lineage that is much more important than my own individual life.”
This sense of connecting across generations is central to regenerative agriculture, Masumoto believes. “So many of the methods that develop soil take time—the horizon is long. When you’re wanting to leave a farm to several generations in the future you have a vested interest in taking up those practices.”
“We are the ones that the world needs in this climate crisis,” Masumoto says, referring not just to Japanese Americans but to other communities of color who have experienced oppression. “Because we have those stories, we have that sense of fighting against the impossible.”
Liz also interviews Olivia Watkins, a Black female farmer from North Carolina:As I continued my research, I heard Masumoto’s sentiments echoed dozens of times. From Hawai‘i to New York, Montana to Puerto Rico, young farmers and scientists of color were reviving ancestral regenerative farming traditions in a self-conscious effort to respond to climate change and racial injustice in tandem. These farmers and scientists understood regenerative agriculture not as a menu of discrete, isolated practices from which one could pick and choose and then tally up into a sustainability score. Rather, they saw regenerative agriculture as their ancestors had—as a way of life.
And the capstone message to me from the article is:“There are so many pieces involved in growing food that don’t just have to do with the crop itself. The fungi in the soil. The wildlife in the area. How does water fall on the land? All those things are intertwined, so for me, the question is always, how can I be mindful of all those things?”
Watkins is equally mindful that she’s conserving not only forest but also Black-owned land, which her family resolutely held on to over the course of a century when 98% of Black landowners were dispossessed.
“With the history of oppression around land, the fact that we are stewarding the land and taking care of it is revolutionary,” Watkins says.
What a wonderful and necessary story of regeneration! Please give it a read at https://www.dailyclimate.org/regenerative-agriculture-2656907170/regenerative.On Watkins’s and Masumoto’s farms, what’s being regenerated is not just soil but a complex web of relationships. As both women described to me, this form of regenerative agriculture can only be fully realized when the entire web is repaired so that the interconnected parts can function as a whole. This means attending to a component of the farm often left out of scientific discussions: people. . . . What is the objective of this activity? To convert plants into money? Or to foster the health of all beings?