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Sacred Cow: Can regenerative agriculture feed the world?

"Understanding and replicating natural systems results in better ecological and personal health"

This is a quote and underlying philosophy from a new documentary: 

Sacred Cow: The Nutritional, Environmental, and Ethical Case for Better Meat

This is also the philosophy that sits behind Patch to Table (see the Patch to Table Food Manifesto)

So it's speaking my language!

Understanding and mimicking nature

It's why I started with a focus on chickens. 

And it's why I take a truely natural approach to chicken keeping. A natural approach that mimics nature is the best for the chickens, it's best for the environment and it produces the most nutritious eggs you can get. 

It's a must watch!

If you care about the food you eat, its affect on your health, the environment and the ethical treatment of animals - then this is a must watch.


Here are a few of my favourite quotes, with some of my thoughts to go with it:

Disconnection from the food system has left people very confused 

"Modernity is getting as many people as possible into towns and cities and getting them as far away as possible from Soil, blood, killing and growing anything - this was progress. Nobody thought this thing through - what will people think about food if they never have any contact with it. And there are a lot of people that are just very confused. And they are trying to make really important moral and ethical decisions about what they should eat and how they should live, but it's quite hard....if you don't know very much. It's easy to fall for extreme simple answers."

Growing your own food and raising chickens is the perfect, hands-on way to reconnect with food and where it comes from. There is nothing more satisfying (and tasty and nutritious) than eating food grow and produced freshly in your own backyard. 

Animals are a key part of a natural food system

No meat = monoculture

"If the end goal is a closed system then animals have to be there and be a part of it"

"The no meat solution pushes us further down to monoculture path - which means soil degradation, pesticide use and poor health"

"You know when you have no life in the soil, you have this acid smell or no smell at all. When you smell it (sniffing a cow patty), it has this beautiful earthy smell."

This is why my focus to start with has been on chickens. Chickens are the foundation of a closed loop system in your home. When chickens are fed in a more natural way, they are key to eliminating food waste. Every scrap of food waste in our house goes to our chickens or to our worms. The worms in turn help feed our chickens and build our soil.

Cows are not the issue, its how we manage the cow

"the reality is it's not actually the cow itself, it's how we manage the cow. If we managed cows in a way that mimics nature, it would help us restore huge tracks of land that are already degraded. We don't have to fight nature, we can work with nature to restore the original habitat"

This is true for chickens as well. The way chickens are managed in factory farms is as farm away from natural as you can get. The average backyard chicken has a way better life, but the approach usually still hangs onto the industrial mindset. The approach I take is focused on understanding and mimicking nature. It's the best for chickens, it's best for the environment and it produces the most nutritious eggs. 

Modern processed food is making us fat

"Its no big secret why obesity rates are rising. Farmers have known for thousands of years if you want to fatten up animals, you put them in a pen where they cant run around and get physical activity and you feed them lots of grain - humans are like that too."

A healthy diet is based on a diverse range of whole foods, including plant and animal based food. And home grown is the best of all. Sticking to whole food simplifies all the diet advice out there. With whole food, you really can't go wrong.

The real problem lies with refined food and especially too many refined grains. Everything you buy in a packet is made with refined corn and wheat, with a bunch of salt, sugar and artificial stuff added to make the food tasty and addictive. Nature has packaged up food perfectly for us, in a form we have evolved to eat over millions of years. Processing mucks with this and throws everything out of whack.

Can regenerative agriculture feed the world?

"Regenerative Agriculture is the only way we are going to be able to feed the world. The current system is degrading faster than we can feed ourselves." 

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