Destruction of the Eastern portion of the continent’s prairie region — the tallgrass part — was caused by conversion to corn and soybean fields and is nearly complete. Less than 1 percent of the original tallgrass prairie ecosystem survives. Farmer’s like Gabe Brown and showing us a better way to feed the world.
As California farmers and ranchers, our livelihoods as well as the ability to feed America entirely depends on the climate. Working close to Nature, we are the first to notice shifts in weather. On our land and in our harvests, we bear the brunt of floods, drought and rising temperatures.
Compared to cropland, grasslands “harbor significantly greater plant, microbial, and animal diversity, and generate higher levels of nearly all agriculturally vital ecosystem services, including pest suppression and pollination.” To break prairie, then, is to dismantle the very supply chain that underpins American agricultural abundance.
The Industrial Food Chain uses 70% of the world’s agricultural resources to produce just 30% of our global food supply. Conversely, the Peasant Food Web provides 70% of the global food supply while using only 30% of agricultural resources.
Farming has sustained mankind for millennia. Industrial farming, on the other hand, has managed to create a series of unsustainable situations in less than 70 years, and evidence suggests we will not make it until the end of the century if we continue along the path of degenerative food and farming.
As the world moves towards large-scale plantation agriculture, it’s crucial poor countries protect small farmers to meet the food needs of a growing global population, said a study from Australian researchers published on Wednesday.
Restoring fertility to degraded agricultural soils is one of humanity’s most pressing and under-recognized natural infrastructure projects, and would pay dividends for generations to come. It’s time for a moonshot-like effort to restore the root of all prosperous civilizations: Our soil, the skin of the Earth.