There was a point where sustainable agriculture could have been the answer. Instead, today we have to look at a much bigger journey to sustainability by restoring our land to the way we found it over 500 years ago.
The way forward is regenerative agriculture and Rose and I sat down with Doniga Markegard, a regenerative cattle rancher who is leading the farming industry to a truly sustainable place with all of our future generations in mind.
Would you just touch a little bit more on what exactly regenerative farming is just for those who don’t know.
Yeah, absolutely. So, regenerative, which I hope will become more of a common term because a number of brands are picking that up and only sourcing their raw materials from regenerative sources like Patagonia and Timberland that are really leading the way. There was also a Netflix documentary that came out that I was featured in called Kiss the Ground that talks all about regenerative agriculture and soil health. So the principle is that, we’re producing more life, with every life that is, is taken.
Not necessarily just life in the form of food for humans, but also, food for wildlife. We’re regenerating, grasslands or regenerating, the carbon in the soil while producing food. And so that’s really great for me because what I’m really concerned about is, all of those species in nature that are holding on by a thread.
In regenerative agriculture, and on our ranches, we work with a lot of scientists and we see that that abundance is actually increasing. That grassland birds are increasing, biodiversity is increasing. So when we ranch our farm in a way that mimics nature, then we can build soil carbon. We can promote photosynthesis, which draws carbon from the atmosphere. We can help to promote biodiversity.
We don’t need to sort of put a fence around it and till it up and keep all the wildlife out on our ranches. You know, we have so much wildlife on our farm while we’re also producing grass fed beef. As you tapped into it, we hear the word sustainability so much more nowadays. But we want to focus on regeneration, right?
If you could touch on that a little bit.
Yeah, absolutely. So it’s not just enough to sustain what we have right now because, the state of the climate and the state of nature, we need to actually regenerate nature and we need to regenerate that soil so that we can begin to be back in balance with this planet.
I was just having a conversation the other night with someone and we were talking about nutrition and talking about nutrition in the later years of life and awareness of lack of minerals and how important minerals are and how we’re really kind of starved and it’s necessary for absorption and all of these things.
You know, we used to get all of that from the land and we just really can’t rely on that anymore. So I 100% agree with you. It’s not enough to just try to maintain. It’s like we have a lot of reversing to do.
To hear our full conversation with Doniga Markegard and to hear what little things that you can do that could have a huge impact, go to our Wah Gwan® podcast.
Doniga has a background in nature and permaculture. This has given her a perspective on the real risks that we are facing as a species. In her youth she was mentored by some of the leading wildlife trackers, naturalists and Native spiritual elders. She spent years alone and with a small group of passionate youth in the Western Washington Wilderness learning the ways of the ancestors, immersing in nature, bird language, survival skills and wildlife tracking.
Along with her husband and four children, Doniga owns and operates Markegard Family Grass-Fed LLC raising grass-fed beef, lamb, pastured pork, chicken and dairy supplying the Bay Area with local, nutrient dense foods. The family ranch leases land throughout the Bay Area spanning over 10,000 acres.
She is dedicated to finding ways to regenerate lands and community through ranching practices that build soil, sequester carbon, capture and purify water and enhance habitat.
Doniga is featured at the Exploratorium Museum in San Francisco and has written 2 life changing books, “Dawn Again” and “Wolf Girl”. She has been featured on many podcasts and publications as well as the Netflix documentary “Kiss the Ground”.
You can follow her amazing work here: