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Farming Sustainably with Regenerative Agriculture – Restoring Paradise



I think a spiritual journey goes on hand-in-hand with an environmental one which I guess has got me personally to an understanding that life is about service you know we've blessed to have this farm and so how do we use this for at the greater good it's a traditional sheep and cattle farm at 17 hectares or 1500 acres and has been farmed you know traditionally with sheep and cattle since about eighteen fifties it's back about fifteen years ago when we had our first child that you started thinking about the future start thinking about the food that you're giving your children and that sort of lead us on a journey to find a more sustainable regenerative way of looking after our property and also looking after the future that journey has led us to learn about organic agriculture biodynamic biological agriculture and had made some pretty big changes on the farm over the last ten years back in 2008 we approached near New Zealand with an idea to for people to be able to use air points to donate to an environmental tree planting project and we're just at the right place in the right time very fortunate to get and some funding from the EMU Zealand environment trust and over a three-year period we planted 85,000 trees and the majority of those are New Zealand native trees which are now flourishing and really transforming the landscape and we're also planted you know a lot of nut trees and fruit trees where we can just to create that abundance and vibrancy in the farm and you know when I catch quotes from farmers diversity diversity diversity and and as much as possible with me creating that diversity we've got the cattle going around we have you know fence following along behind the cattle this pigs on the farm – and we're milking a few dairy cows and all that is really about using a perennial crop like grass pasture with you know forage from trees and that around as well without relying on so much of the annual grains and all the energy that's involved in producing them one of the biggest changes that we've made has been reducing our sheep numbers and getting more cattle onto the farm and that's because we're moving to a system of holistic grazing so holistic grazing is a management technique that's been devised by a Zimbabwean man Allan savory and he was observing the large herds of Buffalo and Africa and you could be bison in the mirror and just you know massive herds of ruminant animals and these animals were constantly on the move because there's generally you know some lions or something just just on their back and wanting to pick off any other weak ones and so our system that we've adapted this list of grazing basically you know from their Allan savory fingers and we like to have large mobs of cattle and we're shifting them daily and so they're constantly on the move but instead of lions you know keeping them bunched together we have electric fences and each day they're going on to fresh grass and it's long grass and so they're not eating at all some of us getting trampled and will sit down in urine and that and with that grass being trampled it creates a mulch on the surface and I guess it's like turn of making a compost right and set you on the land end with a healthy soil biology that will break down and form tumors in the soils conventionally farmers it's all about keeping the grass short in a vegetative state so it's growing vigorously you know through that whole process you're actually degrading the soil and just topping that with fertilizer inputs and that system and relies on bringing in particularly phosphate fertilizers largely from North Africa and a whole system that requires digging up that fertilizer and tracking it and then shoving it and then tracking it and then processing it and then flying it under house it's a system that's not going to work and in our future with less fossil fuels other farmers might be looking at something old you're just wasting all that grass because it gets dry and stalky and what have you but you know Micra pliers that waste as a human concept Nature doesn't do waste and and so we are using that pasture is part of our fertilizer program because that's not getting put down on the soil and broken down and going back into building soil when the grass is grazed and the end of the holistic long grading system it gets cut off short by the animal and it also sheds throat at that time and so that's how you're increasing the carbon into the soil and I guess one of the most exciting things and drivers of what we're doing is the potential that that has for helping with climate change issues and you know the potential for getting carbon from the atmosphere down into the soil as an editor must despite you know so many websites and environmental groups saying you know have been damaging cattle are and in the way there I found conventionally it's absolutely right now through feedlot systems and all that cropping and an energy involved with bringing their food and then the issues with with their wastes and manure you know as a big issue you know under this system they are sequestering more carbon in our part of a natural cycle that that has actually beneficial you know although I don't obviously have all the answers you know one observation is that there are no vegetarian and eco systems and so animals are part of nature and so as a whole lot more balance that we need to put into our food system and cattle can be part of it I totally accept that for whatever spiritual reasons or whatever people choose not to eat animals and respect their decision to do that but for me there is no life without debt and that's how we look after the animals you know all life is sacred to us and so we honor these animals by giving them a fantastic life looking at them the best we can and then I guess at the end of the day to justify killing one of these beautiful creatures you know please still have a good life and do the right thing to to honor that animal we're not concentrating on optimizing our production or profitability you know our focus is dr. Myers life and you know I think the profitability will come as a consequence of that New Zealand you know being probably one of the youngest countries on the planet as far as you know when humans came to be had I just sort of would love to see what this place was like a thousand years ago which is such a you know brief period in ecological time and that time was sort of stripped most of the native vegetation and done a whole lot of damage and we've gone about as far as we can down that road and so now it's time for us to try and find the balance and restore those ecosystems but find a place for humans living harmoniously within it ultimately it's all about some yeah trying to restore paradise you know nitrogen-fixing trees and you know shade shelter all that stuff little bumblebee this we like nature had the guided thanks for watching if you want to see more of our films you can check out these two here or if you want to help support us in making more films you can visit our patreon page there's a link to it in the description so thanks again for watching and I'll see you all in the next film

24 Comments

  1. Sam Lang

    Thanks Antoinette and Jordan for piecing together such a great snapshot of Mangarara and its vision!

    I've been working at Mangarara for about 9 months now (escaped the camera!) after years as a climate change activist and then working on land use/water quality for government. As it's topical on this thread I've also been both vegan and vegetarian for extended periods, and felt as healthy as I do now, but eventually settled on 'ethical omnivorism' (for lack of a better label).

    Greg and Rachel's vision for Mangarara – and its broader reach into New Zealand farming communities – has the potential to have a far reaching positive impact, developing farming systems that; sequester carbon in trees and soil; increase biodiversity; improve soil health and consequently water quality + flood + drought resilience; and produce quality nutrition & eating experiences. This is by no means the 'easy' path as NZ farming systems have been directed towards simple input in – output systems out over many decades, with many on the negative consequences of these systems beyond most farmers abilities to 'see' or understand (due to a lack of ecological education in agricultural sciences).

    Many of the visitors and woofers that come by the farm are vegetarian or vegan, and we respect their choices of diet, as they respect the vision for Mangarara and understand how animals are an essential component of that transition and vision (although it's not uncommon for 'environmental vegetarians' to feel quite comfortable eating our meat).

    One of the challenges for us is effectively communicating the complexity of farming, what practices are good for the planet and people, and which are harmful. The difference between a 'good' and 'bad' farm practise can be hard to discern when trying to account for energy, climate, soil, water, plant health, animal health, nutrition produced and profit.

    The local context (natural resources, human resources, markets etc) is key. There's a good argument in NZ for ethical eaters to source their protein and nutrition from holistically managed NZ farms with livestock, rather than imported beans, grains, nuts produced in high input systems (unless you prefer not to eat meat of course). If we are successful we will be planting a growing increasing amounts of fruits, nuts, timber, vegetables and native corridors integrated into our current pastoral landscape.

    We have an open gate policy and welcome visitors to the farm (ideally with some notice) and always enjoy two-way feedback on how we are doing and where we could go : )

    Reply
  2. Achal Gupta

    I am from India.. We are following the organic farming for many thousand years until WESTERN MEDIA/COMPANIES starting to promote that only we can increase production only by using chemicals……Now the world is realizing that best way to run farming is to have balance in usage of chemicals OR no chemcials at all………Only sad thing is this that no one in the world questions the HYPOCRISY from western world

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  3. LeJimster

    While I think this is a huge step in the right direction, I just don't agree or see the point with the anti-vegetarian message at the end. While cows and other livestock produce fantastic natural fertlizer, you by no means need livestock to bring life back to an ecosystem or to grow abundant, nutrient dense crops organically.

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  4. Triplaglol

    All nice things to do but don't bother trying to reduce CO2 output because it's plant food and doesn't affect the climate. The sun drives climate and has cycles. Man made global warming is fake news.

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  5. LITTLEMUSTANGFILLY

    Amazing. Love seeing people who are actually making a change as opposed to just complaining on the internet about what they think is wrong with the world. I hope to do this one day when I have my own little farm. I look forward to it. I’ve always wanted to be more actively involved with ecological processes.

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  6. Ethan Petit

    Obviously this way of raising cattle is orders of magnitude more sustainable than the norm however if he truly cared about the environment he would just reforest the land

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  7. Darien Bragg

    Fantastic ideas and solutions throughout this video. I hope these ideas can be translated to more populous countries like the UK (especially the reduction of sheep grazing)

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  8. Arijan Bejtulahi

    Permaculture is proven to be much better then agriculture.
    Humans need plants to survive but not animal flesh or their secretions.
    Animals can still graze,live freely,be eaten by other animals and the circle of life can continue,but humans have no justification to enslave them and use them other then for profit..
    It's not necessary any more.
    We can grow food forests and mimic nature,let chickens and other birds take care of bugs,let cows graze etc and fertilize the soil.
    We should always strive for better ways.

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  9. Plant Sugar

    In nature we would also have natural predators to keep the population of the cattle down. How many natural predators do you have on your farm? And no, humans are not natural predators from a dietary point of view. The scientific evidence shows that there is a high probability that animal protein is bad for human health.

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  10. RYAN WATT

    Nice vid. What's the benefit of planting native trees on a farm? Would you not be better off planting trees with a return such as fruit trees?

    Reply

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