Reconnecting with—and regenerating—our grasslands

Author: Deanna Pogorelc

This farmer and rancher says an important global movement is underway.

After working for several years as a farmer and rancher at a family farm in the Sacramento Valley, Chris Kerston is now helping promote large-scale restoration of grasslands through holistic management as the director of events and public outreach for the Savory Institute.

While there’s still a lot of work to be done on restoring the land, there’s a big, global movement happening on every continent: Kerston notes that more than 60 million acres of land across the globe being are managed holistically.

He’ll be joining Organic India CEO Kyle Garner, IFOAM Organics International President Andre Leu and Organic Connections Editor Anna Soref on a soil health panel at Natural Products Expo West to talk about just that. Here, he provides some background and context to frame the conversation.

What are some of the major barriers that are keeping more producers from looking at livestock in a more holistic way?

Chris Kerston: This is a difficult question to answer because everyone wants a tangible thing that is what’s in the way to opening this up to the whole world, and the sad part of the answer is that what’s in the way is the human mind. It’s what people believe is possible and what matches with their culture and with how they think things are supposed to be. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t market and policy barriers, but the biggest barrier in terms of widespread global adoption toward regenerative farming is in the way that we think. It’s ‘is this possible?’ and, if somebody believes it’s not possible, they’ll find every way to make it not possible.