What is Restoration Agriculture?
Generally speaking it is a form of land and animal management that has as it’s core value the regeneration of the ecosystem that calls our land home. Hundreds of years ago our vast continent was home to incredibly diverse flocks and herds, flora and fauna, and fish and birds. Mankind lived well here too, but we utilized our resources differently than we do today. Our continent once consisted of vast grasslands, clean rivers, woods and forests – all of which worked as part of a fantastic system that we don’t see so much anymore. The early settlers were astonished at this rich land, a land of bounty, a land of hope and promise. Our land is not able to produce the vast quantities of crops that it once was and our animals are not thriving as they once were, and restoration agriculture focuses on how we can restore what we’ve lost.
Restoration Agriculture has grown out of permaculture, and permaculture is a blend of two words – permanent and agriculture. Permaculture focuses primarily on perennial crops (fruit and nut trees, perennial grasses) as opposed to annual crops (corn and soy). Many things that have become part of “the way things are done” are more destructive than we realize and as we learn more we are adjusting so that we do things with less destruction and more regeneration. The idea is that the ecosystem we manage; the land, soil, microbiology, insects, fish, birds, wildlife, and domesticated animals all work together for mutual benefit of every species – especially humans.
This is a holistic perspective, meaning that we recognize that the whole is made up of many parts that function independently and yet are vitally connected to one another. We understand that if one part suffers, the other parts can pick up the slack for a time but if that suffering part does not recover and dies off the whole is greatly affected. Like our bodies are comprised of many parts and systems, we understand that each system is interconnected and should one part or system ultimately die the whole is greatly affected. We instinctively understand that each of us is a single whole made up of many parts and systems. Everything in creation is part of at least one system or part, and that system or part is just a piece of a greater whole, and each whole is just a part of an even greater whole, and on it goes.
Restoration Agriculture fascinates us because we look toward the day when all things are restored, when “the perfect comes” and once again it can be said, “it is good“. We firmly believe that in order for all things to be brought back to the state of Eden, Paradise, that mankind must learn to work with the nature that our Creator called into motion as opposed to against it. We need to learn and do, to participate in the restoration that we long to see take place. The time has come, and we have seen with our own eyes this promised restoration beginning to take root all around the world. As we do our work here on our own land we find a deepening appreciation for our Creator, His wisdom, His Word, and every thing that He breathed the breath of life into. For our family, nothing is quite as exciting as this!