Hope for a Better Food System (and for the Planet)

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Do you ever just feel really discouraged about all that’s happening in the world?  Something I think about a lot is the way we (as humans and particularly as Westerners) are producing our foods right now. It’s disconnected. It’s hurting our bodies, our communities, our ecosystems and affecting life on earth at every level. It’s toxic. But there are a lot of signs of change and hope for finding a better way.

One Ted talk in particular got me really excited, and I believe we’re on the cusp of dramatic, positive change in the ways that we are handling our resources and feeding our population. Please watch this video– I think you will get excited, too. Then let’s meet up again afterward.

Holistic Management is all about managing for nature’s complexity. We treat the social, environmental, and economic factors as part of a greater indivisible whole. We must start raising our livestock using nature’s model. The natural predator-prey relationship prompts high-intensity short-duration grazing scenarios with wild herds. Wild grazers are constantly bunched and moving. It’s a subtle change, but we need to be managing for timing and less for number of animals per acre. Grasslands actually depend on being grazed, but they depend on periods of rest too. You can over-graze and over-rest. But every landscape on the planet from the tundra to forests to prairie utilizes wild animals to play a role in nutrient cycling. It makes sense that our foodsheds should mimic this pattern of biodiversity.

Pretty exciting, right? I saw this months ago, and loved all that he had to say… And yet felt that all of the things he talked about seemed so far away from me. What can I do? How can I participate?

NZ89PRUO5RDwCZbwOf6ZyiTQA3vQXaZOecSasBhxJOM A few weeks back, I got an email from Chris at The Savory Institute about a conference that is happening nearby– in London. I am really happy to see so many smart, experienced, progressive and positive people meeting together to spread ideas about sustainable food systems and regenerative, holistic land management. And if you are available, you are invited, too!

Savory Institute’s Annual International Conference will be held in London on August 1st and 2nd, 2014. This central location will allow our partners and collaborators from around the globe to join us and contribute to this special event. We will spotlight grasslands for all their underappreciated beauty and value. We will also foster conversations around the unifying language of the land, which bridges all cultures. Our movement is about real people with dirt under their fingernails and families to feed, people unified by a love of the land, a desire to understand nature’s rhythms and cycles and the magical beauty of abundant life in the soil. These are people that want security for their children, prosperous landscapes, and a life filled by a deep personal connection with nature.


There is an undeniable need for humans to honor the complexity of the natural world. We’ve seen a new awakening among people to embrace living in harmony with their environment. The movement has reached critical mass and is exploding all around the globe. Holistic Planned Grazing is currently being practiced on every habitable continent. We’re seeing lands of all types dramatically improve, with increased soil organic matter, water holding capacity, productivity, and biodiversity. As the world shifts to this new paradigm many are open to the business opportunity that is developing as human culture shifts towards regeneration and needs ongoing knowledge and support in this new endeavor. Savory Institute’s burgeoning network of affiliated Hubs around the world is an exciting reflection of this.

I don’t know how many of you will be able to be in London in less than two weeks time, but I wanted to share this with you, in the off chance that even a couple of you are interested in participating, or might know someone else who would love to. And if nothing else, I wanted to share these ideas with you, as well as some resources for you to learn more about supporting sustainable food practices.  I believe this is something we all should feel a sense of responsibility for– we are talking about food security for our kids and grandkids and beyond, as well as the well-being of the planet that sustains each of us.

You can check out all of the details about the conference here. Even if you are unable to attend, it will be a great place to find some resources to learn more about sustainable food systems and holistic land management.


And if you can attend, I hope to see you there!

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3 Responses to Hope for a Better Food System (and for the Planet)

  1. Myste July 21, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

    Edible Portland ran an article last year about Oregon ranchers successfully implementing Holistic Management:

    “Following the Savory way, ranching is a regenerative activity that also produces meat—all of it 100 percent grassfed. In this model, there are no feedlots for finishing, no monoculture crops solely for animal feed, no competition with human food production.”

    Very inspiring!

    • ariana July 30, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

      Oh, that’s great Myste– thank you for sharing!

  2. CG September 14, 2014 at 11:11 pm #

    Hi there! I’m new to your blog, but loving it already. I also feel strongly about sustainable food sources and we recently started a small hobby farm with lambs and chickens. Great topic, thanks for sharing!


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