Dispatches from the Hill — Regenerative Agriculture RSS



On Becoming a Savory Institute Accredited Holistic Management Professional

As many of you know, we've been practicing some facsimile of Savory's holistic livestock management on our farm since 2012—to tremendous effect. Our yields are up. Our resiliency is up. The nutrition of our forage is up. Our sheep are incredibly healthy and now 100% grass-fed. Our dollars generated-per-acre is WAY up. And our inputs are...zero. None of this would have been possible had I not stumbled across Allan Savory's TED Talk at 3am one night while bouncing my colicky baby boy and panicking about the state of our farm. The chain of events (and research and experiments) that started that night have transformed our farm and my life in amazing ways. But, we can do better. I will admit...

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Of Hogs and Hugels: Creating a Perennial Food Forest

As regenerative farmers, our top priority is to sequester carbon into the soil. There are many methods to do this—and the most effective method for a piece of land depends upon the makeup of the land being regenerated. Since our farm is mostly pasture, we use sheep and poultry to holistically manage the land’s water, carbon, and nutrient cycles. The system we’ve built mimics the natural grassland ecosystem (of hundreds of years ago) and takes advantage of the fast growth of perennial grasses and forbs. The sheep graze, trample, and poop their way across our fields, the birds follow pecking,scratching and further fertilizing, and the pasture comes roaring back—rebuilding the ecosystem from the soil up. Using this system, we’ve been...

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Personal Thoughts on the Upcoming Vermont Regenerative Soils Program Legislation

Today, Senator Brian Campion will introduce to the Vermont Legislature our second attempt at a bill that, if passed, would incentive the responsible stewardship of our state's ecosystems through the regeneration of our state's soils. I'm immensely proud of this bill and will publish a post tomorrow with the nitty-gritty details and text. For now, though, I offer only a few of my thoughts on why this bill is incredibly important for Vermont, for Vermont farmers, and for Vermont's future generations. On Vermont Farm Economies Vermont farmers are the heroes of this state. They've been able—under decades of incredible economic and regulatory pressures—to keep Vermont farmland working and open to the benefit of all Vermonters. Unfortunately, Vermont farmers and farmers...

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The Regeneration at Studio Hill: A Slideshow

I had the pleasure of presenting the story of our farm—from it's roots as a dairy in the '30s right up to it's current iteration as a regenerative farm—at this year's Vermont Energy & Climate Action Network (VECAN) Conference at the beautiful Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee, Vermont. I was joined in our workshop by Didi Pershouse of the Soil Carbon Coalition and Andrea Colnes of the Energy Action Network. Our session was put together by Paul Cameron. Our workshop presented the side of climate change that you don't often here in today's discussions: hope and practical action. Didi did a wonderful job explaining and demonstrating why it is vital for us to include soil as an ally in our fight against climate...

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Jesse Discusses Regenerative Agriculture in this Upstream Podcast

This spring, Mark Phillips, on a tour of regenerative projects in the northeast, was kind enough to stay in our area for a night and spend the day walking around our farm. In the afternoon after our tour, I had the honor of sitting down with Mark in the studio on top of Studio Hill and talking about our farm, regenerative agriculture, regenerative economics, Studio Hill's goals for the future—but most importantly, how a shift to generational thinking leads to better stewardship of the planet. Mark recorded our conversation and the good folks at the Upstream Podcast (iTunes | SoundCloud) polished it into this interview. My heartfelt thanks goes out to Mark and to Upstream for their hard work on behalf of the planet. Keep up...

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