James and Josee Morin raise their four children and make their livelihood on their family farm, Kipling Ridge Farms, down the highway in Verner. Using Regenerative Agriculture brings benefits for their farm, their community, and the environment. James tells us more.
Regenerative Agriculture describes a way of farming and grazing that, among other benefits, can help to reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity – resulting in both carbon drawdown and improving the water cycle. Our planet’s soils currently hold about 4 trillion tons of carbon, and can hold a lot more with the right practices. By incorporating a suite of practices, from using cover crops to ensure the soil is never bare (and that also add organic matter and other nutrients), to properly managed livestock within cropping systems, these techniques have the ability to revolutionize our food production systems. It is important to highlight that there are also social and economic benefits.
For Kipling Ridge Farms, we utilize a number of strategies. We have a diverse mix of livestock (cattle, hogs, poultry) that is managed in such a way as to continuously improve the yield of our pastures. Cattle are moved frequently during the grazing season to ensure they are always on fresh grass. The hogs and poultry are used to repair degraded areas, in pest/fly management and in our forests. We have begun the process of incorporating an orchard on to the property that will add to the overall biodiversity on the farm, while also providing an ability to run certain livestock through the alleyways. This helps with pest management and fertility in the orchard, which helps to offset those costs while also generating revenues.
The taste, nutrient density and peace of mind that comes from our farming practices is hard to define (both for us and our customers). A key component of regenerative agriculture is that it addresses social/community issues as well as economic ones. For us, that means that we are not only able to earn a reasonable living selling our products, but also support several other local businesses in the region. It means that residents across North Eastern Ontario have access to delicious and nutritious food for their families.
Our global food production systems are almost entirely based on the industrial model. Whether it is thousands of acres of a single crop, grown and treated with a variety of chemicals, or thousands of animals stuffed into a barn and fed completely unnatural diets, the system is broken. The environmental devastation of these systems is apparent, not to mention the ethical and economic issues. We strongly feel that biodiversity is a key element to a healthy farm, and as primarily livestock producers, these animals deserve to be raised in a setting that is as close to natural as possible.