Regenerative agriculture is a way of farming that fosters the health of our ecosystem in this moment, while also building toward a healthy future. This approach has many components, one of which we instituted last year: no-till planting. That means that instead of preparing the fields for seed by overturning the soil from a depth of six to eight inches below the surface, we’re leaving the soil intact and transplanting seedlings from the greenhouse directly into undisturbed topsoil.
One of the benefits of no-till planting is that it dramatically reduces erosion. It takes a long time to create topsoil — countless centuries of cyclical growth and decay — and scientists estimate that 23 billion tons of that precious commodity are washed into rivers, lakes, and oceans every year. At that rate, it will be gone completely in four or five generations. The primary cause of so much soil loss is industrial plowing, because loose soil is carried away by water, whereas undisturbed soil is like a great big sponge.
So one of the reasons we’ve stopped tilling our soil is to keep it on our fields, where it can grow delicious, life-giving food for many years to come. Next week we’ll talk about another reason: preserving the soil’s ecosystem.