✦ When we think about farming, we imagine large machinery cultivating the earth to grow vast quantities of monoculture crops...
Whether it is carrots, pumpkins, corn, or grass for livestock, this is the picture that comes to mind and covers the pages of most children’s farming books.
These are the thoughts of Peter Armstrong from Grazed & Grown Farm.
“As farmers, we hold a huge responsibility as caretakers for vast amounts of land. How we care for this land, our actions, intentions and management all come into play and will either build nutrition and improve the land, or deplete nutrients from the land and slowly but surely damage our environment,” Pete said.
When Grazed & Grown Farm first started, Pete and his family were new to farming. They had little idea of where to start and no preconceptions of what farming should look like, so they listened to their hearts, used their intuition, got loads of advice and help from other farmers from all types of farming backgrounds, and have found themselves working hard to regenerate their neglected 176 acre property.
What is regenerative farming?
Regenerative Farming is a method of farming based on principles of increasing biodiversity, enriching soils, improving water cycles, and enhancing ecosystem services. It aims to capture carbon in the soil and in above-ground biomass (plants), at the same time, it offers increased yields, resilience to climate instability, and better health and vitality for farming communities.
“At Grazed & Grown Farm, we are following a Holistic planned grazing system, which means we plan as much as possible to rotate our cows, sheep, pigs, meat chickens and layer hens around our property, allowing for every conceivable event we can think of. The results so far are nothing short of amazing. Without the use of artificial fertilizers, chemicals, or any “cides” we have seen a huge impact. One key skill we have learnt is measuring and quantifying the improvements we are seeing,” he told us.
Remarkably, in 12 months of rotational grazing in one of their paddocks, soil PH has gone from 4.4 (very acidic with poor carbon capture ability) up to 6.5, which is near perfect.
Soil PH is just one of the many things they monitor, and the knowledge helps them to adjust their animals' diets, ensuring the final product is as nutrient dense as possible.
Coming to farming with a passion for optimising human nutrition, Pete is constantly amazed at the lengths other farmers will go to, to test and improve their land, but they would never consider testing themselves in the same way.
“Our bodies need to be in balance and have access to the right micro and macro nutrients to perform at our best. If you had a million dollar race horse, you would employ the best trainer, nutritionist, access the right supplements, provide a healthy and stress free environment, and do whatever else it took to ensure that horse was performing at its peak,” said Pete. ” Well wake up, we are that race horse, and we need ALL of those things if we want to live a full and rewarding life, without burdening others through health crises caused by bad lifestyle decisions.”
Where can we start then?
Finding a local source for regeneratively farmed chemical free foods means you are getting fresh produce that hasn’t travelled across the country in cold storage.
On the surface these foods cost a bit more than the supermarket option, but if the shelf price indicated cost per vitamin, per mineral, per amino acid, the locally farmed produce is far cheaper. Hence the saying, “you can pay the farmer now, or pay the Doctor later.” Another saying could be “Pay the farmer now, or hand the next generations a nutrient depleted world”.
“So let’s work together to turn the tide. Let’s embrace change, let’s aim to improve our health, the health of those around us, and the health of our planet for future generations to enjoy,” Pete said.
Or if you would like to connect on a deeper level, visit the farm, meet the farmers and see the changes taking place or try some recipes using "real food" by clicking the images below.
Grazed & Grown Farm
Ph: Peter 0419 219 994
Ph: Rebecca 0400 164 270
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