On our home plot and on other plots we have been investigating what little we can do to stimulate a better return without having to use unnatural fertiliser and other disruptive farming/soil modification techniques.

Our small step: At a plot that we had access to, in 2019 we planted in a mixture of sunflowers, beans, peas after the land had been used for a potato crop. We don’t sadly have full control of the land, otherwise, we would have planted more ground cover plants to reduce the amount of moisture loss (which is high in late summer), and to increase the soil richness allowed legumes mulch down, and if allowed would have run sheep through the area – and ultimately wouldn’t have allowed the entire area to be cultivated and turned over. Much of the farming practices seem quite disruptive to soil biology and unnecessary.

Research: A few years ago we attended a University of Canterbury ‘What if Wednesday’ night time lecture series and we started to gain a better understanding of what the global issues that we as a wider community faced. We also attended a number of Blinc Lincoln University events and have been interested to witness changes in the farming technical community.

Change: There seems to be a growing sense of urgency for the environment, and instead of a drive to continue to pump goodness into the land via sprays that kill weeds, that the weeds and other beneficial plants may, in fact, be assistive of regenerating the life of the soil and the microenvironments that all co-exist to make productive soils.

It appears to us that the farming style is changing and that we as humans may be drifting towards a far more sustainable approach to the use of land, and how to benefit the most from the land – by caring for it, rather than fighting against it.

Media is starting to pick up on how attractive a regenerative approach is, and it is great to see many starting to really take an interest in how this can work for their own farms and changing their current practices: