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Your Nutrition begins with Our Soil

March 20, 2021

It was 2009 when the lightbulb went off in my head. I had the opportunity to listen to Ray Archuleta and Gabe Brown talk about how we can create healthy and sustainable soil that will heal our land resource. It was all about operating in the way nature intended. I couldn’t sleep just thinking about all the opportunity in front of me and the chance I had to heal the soil my grandparents had left to me. It was a way of returning to their practices of diverse animal species being on the farm with a diverse crop rotation. Somehow, we had drifted away from that way of life into what we thought would be better and more efficient. Limited animals --as they could be a burden, and then just a few crops that we could get the highest yield from ---with little concern about what was happening to the life underneath our feet. I was taught as a young child that all choices come with a consequence-- either good or bad. I (we) had now realized that getting more “efficient” is not always best for the whole of things. And so began our story...or the re-writing of our story.

Healthy Soil became my passion! Soil is truly our foundation and the literal foundation of our world. Without healthy soil we would be nothing. Eventually everything will become soil again. For me, soil is forgiving and powerful. At McIntyre Family Farms we have witnessed with our own eyes that when you properly manage the soil ( that is keeping soil armor always on top, minimizing soil disturbance, plant diversity, continual living roots as much as possible, and some sort of managed livestock integration on the land) nature can begin healing itself quickly within just one season. Through this management style, we can create/facilitate all the nutrition needed to provide a nutrient dense crop which will then translate into a nutrient dense You... or animal if they consume that plant. We are mimicking nature just as before when the massive herds of buffalo, elk, deer, and antelope (just to mention a few) roamed this great continent. They were followed by even larger flocks of birds, rodents, and many types of creeping things. Nature was in sync with itself and provided all it needed without human command.

Soil holds the key to remediating some of our greatest disasters as humans. Soil has the power to heal our bodies and our animals’ bodies through proper nutrition. Soil has the power to sequester carbon from the atmosphere through living plants feeding the soil with root exudates. As farmers, gardeners, and stewards of the land we hold one of the main keys to helping alleviate carbon levels in the atmosphere. If we follow the principles I mentioned above, we can sequester more carbon in each square foot of soil on our properties every year. We can be the change that is needed. Every one of us has the ability to manage in the way nature does and evoke change in our little part of the world. You might ask what you can do in your corner? Plant a garden, try not to disturb your soil when planting, then when your garden is idle plant a cover crop, plant some pollinator species, get creative if possible with small species of animals on your property, and if none of this is possible for you or you can’t produce enough for your family, get to know your local farmer that is doing a great job. As I mentioned above soil is forgiving and in one short season the produce from our land will in return nurture our bodies and our world as we care for it. A little moto from our family farm that we feel so passionate about is “Your nutrition begins within our soil”. It’s truly our foundation!

brad mcintyre

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