Developing food resilience for hard times ahead

THU, JAN 26, 2023

While the last few tumultuous years have heightened uncertainties about our food supplies, there’s some good news coming out of the regenerative agriculture movement. Regenerative practices restore degraded land, increase soil productivity, sequester carbon and store water. Because protein is needed by people of all ages, and a decrease in protein could exacerbate health problems among the poor and especially in children, access to a consistent supply of healthy meat is important.

This presentation outlines proven, science- based practices for producing grass-fed beef that can be adapted to climatic conditions anywhere in the US. Widespread adoption of regenerative grazing of beef cattle can shorten supply chains and make every region of the country more resilient to shocks to the food system, such as pandemics, fire, ransomware attacks, war and extreme weather events.

Instead of the current centralized beef-production system, whereby a number of states in the Corn Belt are largely devoted to growing grain that is trucked long distances to feedlots, we can raise and fatten healthy beef cattle region by region, entirely on grass and forage, with no grain. We will describe the principles and benefits of regenerative grazing, and offer a model that farmers and ranchers all around the US can adopt in order to supply healthy, 100% grass-fed beef to nearby communities: stores, restaurants, CSAs, and institutions.

This talk is part of the series “Life Saves the Planet” produced with Biodiversity for a Livable Climate.

Resources

Link to the book Lynne and Ridge co-authored

2 Simple Maps That Reveal How American Agriculture Actually Works - Huffpost.com

Regenerative grazing triples biomass production

Health-Promoting Phytonutrients Are Higher in Grass-Fed Meat and Milk

Chris Gill, “Desert Grasslands Restoration: Manejo Holistico in Chihuahua–Las Damas Ranch,” June 15, 2015, Pitchstone Waters,

https://pitchstonewaters.com/manejo-holistico-in-chihuahua-las-damas-ranch/.

Jennifer Hayden, “Cattle Are Part of the Climate Solution: A Conversation with Rangeland Ecologist Richard Teague, PhD, Analyzing the Role that Adaptive Multi-Paddock Cattle Grazing Plays in Sequestering Carbon,” Rodale Institute, August 28, 2020,

Peter Bruce-Iri, “Methane Sources, Sinks, and Uncertainties,” Research Gate, Technical Report, October 2021

+ BIO: Lynne Pledger

Lynne Pledger is a writer and environmental advocate. For decades she has worked with Ridge Shinn to preserve heritage livestock breeds and increase regenerative grazing in the Northeast United States. She has also worked on public policy issues such as waste reduction, climate change, and energy in affiliation with NPOs, including Clean Water Action, Sierra Club, and Upstream.

She has been a guest lecturer on sustainability topics at UMass Amherst, Smith College, Lesley University, and the Harvard School of Public Health. In addition, she home-schooled her two children and one grandchild. Now living in western Massachusetts, she is writing fiction and poetry.

+ BIO: Ridge Shinn

Ridge Shinn is the founding CEO of Grazier LLC, aka, Big Picture Beef, a 100% grass-fed beef company partnering with farmers throughout the Northeast United States. Early in his career he became interested in heritage breeds of livestock and co-founded the group now known asThe Livestock Conservancy. He was also the founding director of the New England Livestock Alliance, which helped farmers find markets for their meat.

In addition to managing his Devon herd in central Massachusetts, Ridge has consulted all over North America, in New Zealand, England, Uruguay, and Argentina, and for the Lakota of the Cheyenne River Reservation. His work has been recognized in Smithsonian, the Atlantic, the New York Times, and Time magazine, which dubbed him a “carbon cowboy.”

Partner
Biodiversity for a Livable Climate
Series
Life Saves the Planet