Dirt to Soil: One Family’s Journey into Regenerative Agriculture
Gabe Brown didn’t set out to change the world when he first started working alongside his father-in-law on the family farm in North Dakota. But as a series of weather-related crop disasters put Brown and his wife, Shelly, in desperate financial straits, they started making bold changes to their farm. Brown—in an effort to simply survive—began experimenting with new practices he’d learned about from reading and talking with innovative researchers and ranchers. As he and his family struggled to keep the farm viable, they found themselves on an amazing journey into a new type of farming: regenerative agriculture.
Brown dropped the use of most of the herbicides, insecticides, and synthetic fertilizers that are a standard part of conventional agriculture. He switched to no-till planting, started planting diverse cover crops mixes, and changed his grazing practices. In so doing Brown transformed a degraded farm ecosystem into one full of life—starting with the soil and working his way up, one plant and one animal at a time.
In Dirt to Soil Gabe Brown tells the story of that amazing journey and offers a wealth of innovative solutions to our most pressing and complex contemporary agricultural challenge—restoring the soil. The Brown’s Ranch model, developed over twenty years of experimentation and refinement, focuses on regenerating resources by continuously enhancing the living biology in the soil. Using regenerative agricultural principles, Brown’s Ranch has grown several inches of new topsoil in only twenty years! The 5,000-acre ranch profitably produces a wide variety of cash crops and cover crops as well as grass-finished beef and lamb, pastured laying hens, broilers, and pastured pork, all marketed directly to consumers.
The key is how we think, Brown says. In the industrial agricultural model, all thoughts are focused on killing things. But that mindset was also killing diversity, soil, and profit, Brown realized. Now he channels his creative thinking toward how he can get more life on the land—more plants, animals, and beneficial insects. “The greatest roadblock to solving a problem,” Brown says, “is the human mind.”
For the Love of Soil
Learn a roadmap to healthy soil and revitalised food systems to powerfully address these times of challenge. This book equips producers with knowledge, skills and insights to regenerate ecosystem health and grow farm/ranch profits. Learn how to:- Triage soil health and act to fast-track soil and plant health-Build healthy resilient soil systems-Develop a deeper understanding of microbial and mineral synergies-Read what weeds and diseases are communicating about soil and plant health-Create healthy, productive and profitable landscapes.Globally recognised soil advocate and agroecologist Nicole Masters delivers the solution to rewind the clock on this increasingly critical soil crisis in her first book, For the Love of Soil. She argues we can no longer treat soil like dirt. Instead, we must take a soil-first approach to regenerate landscapes, restore natural cycles, and bring vitality back to ecosystems. This book translates the often complex and technical know-how of soil into more digestible terms through case studies from regenerative farmers, growers, and ranchers in Australasia and North America. Along with sharing key soil health principles and restoration tools, For the Love of Soil provides land managers with an action plan to kickstart their soil resource’s well-being, no matter the scale.