The one video that changed our lives, and our family’s fortune.
Life in Syntropy
Almost every day we take actions to incorporate the principles of syntropic farming into our own farm.
It is incredible to think in just 2 years since viewing the film we have been able to achieve so much, it has become a great place for all of us to learn.
We now have our own place for the permanent inclusion of humans.
Our family’s awareness of regenerative agriculture took a giant leap forward when we had the opportunity to meet Gabe Brown.
Gabe in his humorous, no frills presentations blows the lid off “conventional agriculture” from so many perspectives.
Through his own real life experiences he explains the benefits of multi-species farming systems, the traps of artificial chemical fertilisers, and the benefits of direct marketing and the resilience of a farm closing the loop by value adding byproducts that may otherwise go to waste. He describes it better than I can so go look him up with your favorite search engine, enjoy.
The magic number is eight.
Eight is the minimum number of different plant species needed in an area to boost biological processes in soil and achieve incredible results.
We hope one day to host Christine Jones on our farm.
Until then check out her website and watch her videos that scientifically prove the benefits of Regenerative Agriculture.
No more herbicides here.
Almost every day I find another reason to support our decision to cease using herbicides on our farm.
Whether it is detrimental effects to the soil micro-biome, and therefore nutritional content of produce, or harm to farmers.
There have been many issues to deal with during our detoxification, but planning and using the principles of soil cover and shade, have been crucial to developing a system to manage our vegetation. Yes, we still have to use some physical effort, but it is no longer a war on weeds, it is much more a negotiation. We have to earn the right to be regenerative farmers, just like all of the other genuine regenerative farmers who have helped us see a better way.
How regenerative agriculture changes us
Even though I see myself as a farmer, my father’s words, “we are all consumers” still ring true.
What began as a battle to farm without poisons and fertilizers, has taught me many lessons.
- we need to differentiate our product from the mainstream
- all of the systems that are part of the current production and supply chain are optimized for scale, to the disadvantage of regenerative farmers,
- most agricultural products are priced below their true cost of production
- consider the health risks to myself and my family of consuming product of dubious origin
- I no longer trust the systems that pretend to protect us
- there are no short cuts,
Mostly I am surprised by my own willingness to pay a higher price for product, now that I have experienced some of the challenges faced by organic, bio-dynamic and regenerative farmers.
Why eucalyptus trees? Because Syntropic farming is solar powered
I often find myself explaining how we can farm without artificial fertilizers. One of the benefits of syntropic farming is it is designed to capture solar energy, producing sugars in the plants. Some 70% of these sugars are shared by the plants to the soil microbes.
If we picture a functional syntropic system we have many different strata or layers in the canopy, each has a different light requirement. For example if we have eucalyptus as the emergent strata intercepting its share of the sunlight, creating the ideal environment lower down for the medium strata that may include, avocado, banana, and below that are ground covers like pumpkins, ginger and turmeric.
Now compare this to any mono-culture where we have one main crop plant and maybe a few weeds, an avocado for example grown in full sunlight, not the environment it evolved for. The result is wasted solar energy, creating increased irrigation requirement and needing artificial inputs so the avocado can survive in this less than ideal environment.
It is the diversity of plant species and large solar energy harvest that fuels the the soil food web which makes essential minerals available to the plants need.