What is Efficient Farming, Really?

In many parts of the world, we are now feeding ourselves through intensive, large-scale agriculture. But the price of this kind of agriculture might be too high. It is the price of losing our most precious good, fertile soil and an intact environment. We can do better than that.

Fine Fleece at Stone Steps Farm

The small goats and sheep are very easy on the land. Stone Steps Farm is participating in Fibershed’s soil sampling protocol, and the family hopes to implement grazing practices that sequester carbon and increase soil organic matter. They also aim to decrease wildfire risk by using their goats to clear brush that provides a fuel ladder, and by using their sheep to keep grasses down during fire season.

Herdshare & Healthy Soil at Free Hand Farm

Melissa and Spencer lease from the ARC now with the agreement that the land is to be maintained as a working farm. Melissa is excited about soil testing, so they can show the Conservancy how soil health, viewed through carbon content and soil organic matter, can improve over time with proper livestock management.

An Ear to the Ground at Flying Mule Farm

Arriving at Flying Mule Farm on the cusp of lambing season and on the heels of a snowstorm in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the fields are damp with recent rain. Ewes and lambs call to each other and in the morning light. It’s easy to get sentimental about spaces like this where the animals match the rhythms of the land.

Grazing At the Cutting Edge

Building off one another’s enthusiasm, the Irwins describe their model of ranching that pulls from agrarian traditions of the past and present to create diverse, resilient agricultural systems that are the engines for ecosystem restoration for our future.