The Wheat Industry Takes on Regenerative Farming
Last weekend, I read an interesting article in the Financial Times titled, Flour power: three men and a farming revolution. Exploring the paths of the founders of Wildfarmed – a new company that grows and mills nutritious grain through regenerative farming – this piece highlights the importance of healthy soil and further the recent growth in regenerative farming.
As expressed throughout my blog, regenerative farming is a crucial conservation and farming practice for our planet. Whether it improves the quality of the soil, sequestered CO2, or provides sustainable materials for the fashion industry, regenerative farming is the future of sustainable land management.
As a reminder, regenerative farming focuses on improving an ecosystem – from the plants to the soil to the nature surrounding it. Instead of relying on chemicals and pesticides, natural remedies are used throughout the farm to ensure the environment is growing organically.
To achieve these goals, farms need to have high-quality soil. That is what I have found when farming at Ewhurst Park – and when speaking with specialists and farmers located throughout the UK. Andy Cato, one of the founders of Wildfarmed and a regenerative farmer, agrees.
Cato shared in his interview with the Financial Times that since his introduction to farming, he has followed Charles Dowding’s no-dig companion method of planting. In this practice, you plant goods, whether it is fruits, vegetables, herbs, forage, or other plants, in the soil without ‘breaking it up’ or tilling it. This helps retain the moisture in the soil and allows one to plant further into the Earth. Additionally, as noted in the Financial Times piece, by planting a variety of species near one another, they can naturally help each other.
Testing it out on his vegetable patch in France, Cato still uses this no-dig method at Wildfarmed’s 295-hectare headquarters in the UK.
Additionally, Wildfarmed has committed to using natural goods that are free from harmful chemicals. Whether it’s the wheat they grow, purchase, or mill on-site, Wildfarmed has ensured another essential aspect of regenerative farming – natural, chemical-free produce – is at the forefront of their practices.
These qualities and values are very familiar to me and those following my blog, as I am passionate about regenerative farming. Acknowledging the influential role these methods can have on our local and global ecosystem has encouraged me to practice regenerative farming. With hedgerows, a forest garden, a market garden, and many more upcoming projects, regenerative agriculture is a large part of Ewhurst’s mission.
As the home to many animals and livestock, Ewhurst is actively engaged in a rewilding programme, which reinforces Ewhurst’s regenerative practices and commitment to biodiversity.
Cato concludes in the Financial Times piece, “making a conscious choice every time to eat well-grown produce … we improve the food system.” As regenerative agriculture continues to make the headlines, more and more individuals can consciously improve the food system by eating well-grown produce.
Read more of Mandy’s articles in Sublime Magazine