The following in an excerpt from Charles Massy’s “Call of the Reed Warbler”. Great summation of the importance of Regenerative Agriculture!
“Work by Fred Provenza and his colleagues has huge implications for livestock and human health when we consider that both we and our grazing animals coevolved in diverse landscapes and that we also still exist in complex creative systems. Thus, grazing animals managed in a holistic grazing regime, where they are regularly moved through diverse pastures, shrubs and landscapes, are functioning in close approximation to how they coevolved in landscapes.
This is in stark contrast to animals in an industrial system, where monocultures or near monocultures of restricted diversity exist; where such feed is pumped full of industrial nitrogen and an imbalanced range of other minerals; and where “improved” industrial forage species bred by multinational agribusiness and scientific organizations are targeted to have low levels of secondary compounds (i.e. less saponins in lucerne; less alkaloids in grasses such as fescues; less tannins in trefoils; less cyanogenic glycosides in clovers). That is what these controlling powers have done is to eliminate secondary chemicals that, in low doses, play vital roles in animal (and subsequently human) health.
If we now examine industrial agriculture at its next level – that of feed lot beef and lamb for example – we have an even more warped an unhealthy situation. Here, feed is mixed, thus eliminating animal choice. Pure grain (of which is totally unnatural to ruminants) is fed, with potentially major negative health impacts for gut health (such as lactic acidosis). Because of this health-damaging artificial environment, doses of antibiotics (in addition to ingredients such as growth hormones) need to be added. Little wonder that such meat is bereft of a diversity of phytochemicals and has major negative health implications for humans. In short, humans in industrial agriculture are contravening every major principle whereby healthy landscapes, functioning as complex creative systems, mutually sustain the health of herbivores that are coevolved to graze them in a synergistic fashion.
Artificial, monoculture, highly fertilized pastures and feedlots thus constitute an obscene travesty in terms of healthy natural function. The next frightening part is that these artificial industrial systems are largely managed to feed humans. The consequence is food bereft of essential primary and secondary compounds for which we were coevolved on the same landscapes as these herbivores. As a double whammy, our food is also laden with by-product toxins or damaging additives such as antibiotics and hormones. If we then add to this the alarming evidence that major herbicides such as glyphosate (the active ingredient in Round-up) are getting into our food, it is of little wonder that there is an alarming explosion of modern health epidemics across the spectrum.
Quite simply, modern industrial agriculture has crudely and violently destroyed healthy soils, healthy functioning landscapes and ecosystems, healthy animals, healthy behavior of animals and humans in landscapes, and healthy people. This is the harmful whirlwind that the Mechanical mind taken to the extremes through industrial agriculture, has visited on Mother earth.
When Fred Provenza talks about “health from the ground up” and how “the health of people is entwined with the health of the landscapes” he reiterates, “landscapes with diverse arrays of plants are nutrition centers and pharmacies with vast arrays of primary and secondary compounds.”