A former archaeologist and Sierra Club activist, Courtney dropped out of the ‘conflict industry’ in 1997 to co-found The Quivira Coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to building bridges between ranchers, conservationists, public land managers, scientists and others around the idea of land health. Today, his work concentrates on building economic and ecological resilience on working landscapes, with a special emphasis on carbon ranching and the new agrarian movement. His writing has appeared in numerous publications, including Farming, Acres Magazine, Rangelands, and the Natural Resources Journal. His essay The Working Wilderness: a Call for a Land Health Movement” was published by Wendell Berry in 2005 in his collection of essays titled The Way of Ignorance. In 2008, Island Press published Courtney’s book Revolution on the Range: the Rise of a New Ranch in the American West. He co-edited, with Dr. Rick Knight, Conservation for a New Generation, also published by Island Press in 2008. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with his family and a backyard full of chickens.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve found the news headlines over the past month to be difficult to bear. I don’t know why we’re at each others’ throats politically and culturally in this nation. At one point, not so long ago, it felt like we were making progress on important issues, including food, water, and climate challenges. In the spirit of reflection, I’d like to share two stories of regeneration and hope – one about a milking cow who had to learn how to eat grass and one about a moment of human connection during a march in downtown Manhattan.
February 14, 2020
As Australians grapple with the consequences of the fires in upcoming months and embark on the necessary journey of regenerating themselves and their land, I hope they will look to nature – and farmers like Colin, Eric and others – for inspiration.
January 31, 2020
Words matter. Here’s what various dictionaries say about the word regenerate: to be formed or created again; to be renewed to a better, higher, or more worthy state; to be spiritually reborn; to generate or produce anew, especially after an injury; to restore to original strength or properties; to revive, reform, rekindle, rejuvenate, reconstruct, redeem, reawaken, or reanimate.
January 24, 2020
In 2004, cattle ranchers Tom and Mimi Sidwell bought the 7,000-acre JX Ranch, south of Tucumcari, New Mexico, and set about doing what they know best: earning a profit by restoring the land to health and stewarding it sustainably.
January 17, 2020
Best of all, regenerative agriculture was acknowledged as a shovel-ready solution to climate change. That’s a big reason why over one hundred nations, NGOs, and agricultural organizations signed onto the original ‘4 For 1000 Initiative’. “[It] has become a global initiative,” said French Agriculture Minister Stéphane Le Foll. “We need to mobilize even more stakeholders in a transition to achieve both food security and climate mitigation thanks to agriculture.”
January 10, 2020
My crazy idea turned out to not be so crazy after all. In a few short years, the idea of sequestering atmospheric carbon in soils took off thanks to the hard work of many people and organizations. It’s become a movement, which I’ll discuss in the next issue – a hopeful thing indeed!
January 3, 2020