STORIES

We believe in the power of stories. The sharing of information. The change of perspective. We’ve curated this content series around all the social and environmental niches of agriculture; from natural farming to the wine industry to migrant workers and Victory Gardens. We hope you engage, dive deeper into topics that interest you, share what you’ve learned, and continue your quest of curiosity. We are here to sow, grow, and share the bounty of knowledge, experiences, and perspectives, together.

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VICTORY GARDENS

World War I and II was an unprecedented time in US history for localized, homegrown food. The Victory Garden Movement encouraged millions of Americans to start home gardens to prevent food shortages so commercial crops could feed soldiers; women came together to learn new skills like preserving and canning, while schools encouraged children to also participate in the food growing process. This became the way American citizens could take part in supporting the war effort within their own homestead.

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NATURAL FARMING

Masanobu Fukuoka was a Japanese farmer and philosopher who pioneered the concept of “natural farming.” Natural farming falls under the umbrella of regenerative agriculture, and works specifically to revegetate desertified lands by effortlessly working with the power and order of nature.

“The essence of natural farming is in nurturing the fundamental relationship between farmer and land.”

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MIGRANT WORKERS

Migrant workers make up a large portion of our food system, yet are the most neglected. A migrant farmworker is defined as “an individual who is required to be absent from a permanent place of residence for the purpose of seeking remunerated employment in agricultural work.” According to a 2005 US Dept. of Labor survey, 53% of farmworkers are undocumented, 25% are US citizens, and 21% are legal permanent residents.

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NATURAL WINE

We normally don’t associate wine with chemical additives or pesticides. However, the wine industry lacks regulations and transparency when it comes to what is actually in the bottle. Is there a safe wine to drink? Yes, and it’s called Natural Wine!

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Natural Wine II:
Dry Farming

Dry farming is an ancient way to farm that works with the amount of water nature naturally provides. In other words, there is no irrigation on dry farms. When we talk about the optimal wine making processes for ecological and human health, natural wines that are dry farmed are top on our list!

Dry farmers work to conserve moisture within the soil.

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Indigneous Women’s Influence in Agriculture

On average, women comprise 43% of the agricultural labor force, producing 60-80% of food crops in lower income countries (Project Drawdown). Historically and culturally, Indigenous women have been the wisdom keepers of how to steward the land in a way that respects and honors the entire ecosystem. We can learn a lot from Indigenous women, like Buffalo Bird Woman and Josephine Waggoner on this topic.

Buffalo Bird Woman’s Garden was published in 1917 and holds immense Indigenous Hidatsa agricultural knowledge.

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Bison and Regenerative Agriculture

Bison, when ethically and properly managed, play an important role in regenerating the health of our soils. And to Native Americans, the health of the bison reflects the health of their people.

The colonists and American military are responsible for the near-extinction of the American bison as a means of war against the Native Americans.

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GMO GOLDEN RICE

A major argument with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) is the power structures involved and the way it objectifies and dehumanizes the farmers who grow our food. The promise of GMO Golden Rice was for higher yields and more nutrients. The reality? It took away Filipino peasant farmers’ power and freedom in choosing seed varieties, omitted their agency over land and agricultural production, and resulted in lower yields.

Golden rice is a crop that is genetically modified to produce beta carotene.

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Silvopasture

Silvopasture is the integration of trees within agricultural production. It appeals to many farmers because the intermingling of trees and grazing livestock on shared land sequesters carbon in both the biomass aboveground and in the soil below.

SILVA = Latin for forest

PASTURE = the pasturing of livestock

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Farming’s
Indigenous Roots

When we talk about regenerative agriculture, it’s easy to forget this new concept is simply the old way of farming- the way of Indigenous Peoples. We can find many solutions and alternatives to the conventional agricultural practices if we turn to the Indigneous farmers who are still connected to these ancient farming techniques.

4 regenerative techniques that originate from Indigenous peoples are agroforestry, crop rotation, intercropping, and water harvesting.

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Nelson Mandela’s Prison Garden

Did you know Nelson Mandela was an advocate of gardening? While in prison, he tended to over 900 plants, and used food as a means to challenge the food inequality linked to racial discrimination in the prison system.

Apartheid
and racial discrimination was manifested in what South African blacks ate.

Sources:

NATURAL FARMING:
FARMING’S INDIGENOUS ROOTS:
Silvopasture:
Indigneous Women’s Influence in Agriculture:
VICTORY GARDENS:
  • New York Times – Food Supply Anxiety Brings Back Victory Gardens
  • Living History Farm – Farming in the 1940s; Victory Gardens
  • Atlas Obscura – The Meatless, Wheatless Meals of World War I America
  • History Channel – America’s Patriotic Victory Gardens
  • Asle – Gardening in Hard Times: A Hidden History from Jim Crow to COVID-19
  • Green America – Reclaiming Victory Gardens from Our Racist History
  • Quartz – The dangerous economics of racial resentment during World War II
  • OurDocuments.Gov – Executive Order 9066: Resulting in the Relocation of Japanese (1942)
  • NPR – Farming Behind Barbed Wire: Japanese Americans Remember WWII Incarceration
  • History – George Washington Carver
  • Smithsonian Library – Gardening For the Common Good: Victory Gardens
  • Smithsonian Magazine – This African American Artist’s Cartoons Helped Win World War II
NATURAL WINE I:
NATURAL WINE II + DRY FARMING:
MIGRANT WORKERS:
Nelson Mandela’s Prison Farm:
Bison and Regenerative Agriculture:
GMO Golden Rice: