April 22, 2016
Earth Day is an important holiday to us at Advancing Eco Agriculture. Earth Day began in 1970 as part of an effort to bring awareness to the mounting environmental problems of that era—soil erosion, air pollution, and drinking water contamination. Since that first Earth Day, some advances have been made, but there are still many important issues to solve.
In the Midwest, every one pound of beef produced still costs us six pounds of precious topsoil lost to erosion. In many areas of the country, lakes, rivers, and streams are still being choked with algal blooms caused by excess phosphate runoff. And the evidence is mounting that many of the tools that we use to keep insects and diseases away from our crops are having drastic and unintended consequences on other species in the ecosystem.
As farmers, it is easy to see something like Earth Day and the environmental movement it grew out of as a threat; as a group of people trying to limit our use of fertility and crop protection tools that can ensure our productivity and profitability.
At AEA, we tend to take a different view. We believe that environmentalists and farmers ultimately have the same goal, to find ways to protect the land that feeds us all, and to make it more productive.
We understand that farmers need to grow healthy and productive crops to make a living in the challenging and uncertain world of agriculture. And, we also know that scientific evidence is increasing that we are negatively affecting the planet we live on with many of our farming practices.
We are living with the consequences of the choices made in agriculture over the last 100 years, and they are catching up with us quickly. Many of the decisions we face in agriculture are very complex, but one of them is not. The food we eat can be one of the most powerful medical tools we have, or it can be another of the many factors bringing us closer to disease and death. As farmers, we can choose if we want to grow food as medicine.
Advancing Eco Agriculture empowers farmers to make the choice to grow food that can be medicine by giving them the fertility tools and nutritional know-how to maximize the health and productivity of their plants and by helping them to let go of the fears that always come with moving to a new system of production.
To me, one of the most crucial aspects of regenerative farming systems is that they make it very practical for farmers and conservationists to come together by showing the way to grow safe, healthy food, increase farm profitability, and improve the land and water ecosystems in which we live, work, and raise our families.
We only have one planet to call our home. Let’s work together to make it as healthy, vibrant, and productive as possible.