Paul & Lacey Cannon
Valley Center, California
Paul Cannon, Kumeyaay-Ipai from the San Pasqual Indian reservation made the decision it was time for change. Alongside his wife, Lacey Cannon, they returned home to his people and the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians reservation. As a dynamic duo, Paul and Lacey launched Indigenous Regeneration in 2017 when they moved from the coast to the Reservation 6 years ago to build a house and raise their 2 sons. They immediately knew they wanted to do something to make the reservation a better place to raise their boys.
The inspiration to bring a garden to the Reservation was planted three years ago by a friend and the wisdom and guidance from Paul’s late grandmother clarified the vision. Proceeds from their first benefit concert funded their 501c3 formation and three years later what has manifested on their land is something to witness.
Indigenous Regeneration now consists of three project sites including Mata’Yuum Farm & Garden, San Pasqual Elders Medicine Path and Constructed Wetlands and the Ishpa Kumeyaay Food Forest.
Valley Center, CA 92082
Everything comes back to the soil
When we asked them more about the connection between human health and soil health, they shared how it’s all woven together into the tapestry of the ancient and traditional tribal value to honor and connect with the land, “We choose to live within the cycles that promote healthy soil because it directly reflects the health of our minds, bodies and souls. When we live within the cycle of nature, health and wellness follow”. – Lacey Cannon
The focus on soil health is how Lacey and Paul align their priorities. On any given day they are elbow deep in the soil and these core areas of focus:
- Traditional and contemporary food cultivation
- Environmental awareness and re-connection to the land
- Traditional plant education and integration
- Indigenous primitive survival skills
- Healthy self expression through music
- Art and cultural activities
- Regenerative agriculture concepts
- Sustainable building techniques
All of their programming is designed from an Indigenous view, overseen by elders and aligned with holistic practices for modern benefits.
Regenerative Practices are Alive and Well
Regenerating land is a process and Paul and Lacey have integrated an impressive and multi-layered approach to learn and maximize their ability to nurture the land.
In the works: With the recent addition of a tractor to their farm they are beginning a regenerative composting program where they will be cooking large piles of compost to continue regenerating the soil over the whole 6 acres.
Here’s a look into their active regenerative practices:
- No till operation
- Zero chemical inputs
- Ground covers
- High biodiversity
- Utilization of companion planting for pest control
- Focus on pollinators fully integrated within the wider crop system
- Rainwater capture
- Rain run-off flows into catchment systems to raise the ground water table and give life to riparian basket weavers trail.
- Spreading clover and native seeds to help them take over an invasive weed problem
Lessons learned and wisdom found
We asked Paul and Lacey what their biggest struggle has been and the lesson they learned from it in hopes their experience resonates and helps regenerative farmers learn. Here’s what they had to say…
“Our biggest struggle at Mata’Yuum was in our first cycle of growing food, we had a dry well. We are an off grid operation and so our solar panels will only power our well pump during the day. However, in 2018 it was such a dry year that the groundwater would drop too low for our well to pump when the solar was able to work for us. We definitely learned how to be water wise and save up days of water to spread between the gardens and medicals to keep everything alive.”
“We plan to store our solar energy to batter grids so we can pump at night when the groundwater rises after sunset. Additionally we fell in love with the idea of condensation catchment systems as a remedy to drought in San Diego. Thankfully 2019 had plenty of rainfall and our avocado trees were grateful!”
Paul and Lacey’s vision is to not only create beautiful farming spaces on their Reservation for today’s community, but also future campus’ for an outdoor Environmental Building Sciences and Self Sovereignty accredited School Program for generations to come.
Their vision is to create an education center that teaches everything from regenerative agriculture to all earth building styles, food forestry, systems technology, husbandry and ethnobotany in order to heavily impact tribal communities and create a platform to help their community get off grid and to be more self sustained.
To Paul and Lacey, sovereignty means having control over their food, medicine and housing in a way that frees their people from the colonized systems of the modern world and allows space for all to thrive while building a greater connection to the land.
You can learn more about Paul, Lacey and Indigenous Regeneration here: