‘Kiss the Ground’, currently streaming on Netflix, has huge relevance for the massive environmental and health problems we face today. Although mostly looking at American agriculture, it includes inspiring examples from Africa, China and Haiti.
The fertility of the soil is one of the most vital, if not the most important factor in farming. The soil is the very basis of agriculture!
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.”
While they may not agree on what has gotten them here, growers like Rosmann and Peterson are thinking beyond politicized climate change arguments to figure out solutions. They’re trying to adapt to the differences they’re experiencing, and even trying to mitigate them.
Along with fellow PFI members, they’re approaching agriculture more regeneratively: focusing on soil health, planting cover crops, reducing chemicals, and minimizing the runoff that contributes to the Gulf of Mexico’s fishless “dead zone.”
I believe it’s time now for a global “soilshot” to heal the land. Rebuilding healthy fertile soil on the world’s agricultural lands would require fundamental changes to agriculture, and a new agricultural philosophy.
For as long as humans have engaged in agriculture, and even before, we’ve relied on healthy soil and the organisms it supports.
The good news is that despite the barriers mentioned earlier, conservation agriculture is catching on—it’s just happening more slowly, spreading from the ground up as farmers note that the local weirdo using these practices keeps getting better yields.
The truth is that for thousands of years Black people have had a sacred relationship with soil that far surpasses our 246 years of enslavement and 75 years of sharecropping in the United States.
The idea behind regenerative farming is simple and ancient: The mother soil, which nurtures the harvest, in turn has to be nurtured and protected.
Regenerating soil to change the piece of the planet where you live is possible at multiple scales. It might be a city yard like ours, rooftop garden, community garden, or working farm. Add up these efforts, and we can restore fertility to degraded soils, end hunger, and pull some carbon from the sky.
In focusing on soil, Camp Altiplano’s ultimate goal is to learn how to bring degraded land back to life. If current rates of global soil degradation continue, it’s estimated we may only have 60 years of farming left.
While awareness of soil health is increasing, current global agricultural regulations and policy and market incentives do not lead agriculture toward a sustainable future.