Ecological Farming aims to produce high value food in a sustainable way, based on science rather than conviction, and in a fashion that lends itself for application on a commercial or industrial scale.
Modern agronomy starts to recognize that soil health is the foundation for a healthy food supply. If done well, ecological farming will improve soil health, enhance the soil's microbiological diversity, improve the soil's water absorption and retention capacity.
A healthy soil is more drought resistant and needs less (or no) external inputs (such as fertilizer) to grow crops or forage. When paired to a high diversity of crops, the food produced on these soils will be richer in compounds as well, and be healthier for people.
Breeding and raising grass fed beef cattle on pasture in a holistic or high density rotational grazing approach, has been proven to sequester up to 7 tons of carbon per acre - which is more than the carbon emissions from the methane the cattle produce.
Grass fed, pasture based beef is not just healthy for people, it is healthy for the planet too!
- For a video of a presentation by Ray Archeleta on Soil Heath, click here.
- For a video of a presentation by Gabe Brown on Soil Health click here.
- Paul McMahon, partner with SLM wrote an excellent paper on investing in ecological farming which can be downloaded from the SLM website.
- The Grass Fed Exchange is an excellent source for information on grass fed beef for various production paradigms, as is the website of the American Grass Fed Association (AGA).
- For more on the link between soils, nutrients quality of food and human health, read "Our Landscapes, Our Livestock, Ourselves: Restoring Broken Linkages among Plants, Herbivores, and Humans with Diets that Nourish and Satiate" by Fred Provenza (et al.), professor emeritus of Behavioral Ecology at Utah State University, which can be downloaded here.
- For more on soil health, see this video of a presentation by USDA NRCS's Ray Archuletta, or read this article about soil health by Bill Spiegel.
- For more on the human health benefits of grass fed beef, check out the work of Dr Duckett and others, summarized and listed here, and the website of the George Mateljan Foundation, with a long list of reserach, here.
- For a not very detailed, but reasonably fair summary of the debate "grain" versus "grass" see this article by Tamar Haspal in the Washington Post.