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Regenerative Agriculture

Community Contributed

By Kyle Franks, UH CTAHR Jr. Extension Agent, Molokai

When we delve into the subject of regenerative agriculture, we touch upon a holistic approach to farming. This method is gaining traction among Molokai farmers, and it emphasizes various practices that rejuvenate and restore the environment. Some key indicators of successful regenerative farming include enhanced topsoil quality, a rise in biodiversity both above and beneath the soil, increased soil carbon levels, augmented water retention ability, and overall systemic resilience. The essential dynamics and interconnectedness of the system are paramount to its success.

To harness the full potential of regenerative agriculture, it’s crucial to understand the natural rhythms and sequences found within ecosystems. These begin with various ecological successions, from primary stages to canopy development. This ongoing process ensures that the soil remains enriched and covered. As the system matures, it gradually morphs into a youthful forest. Here, animals play a pivotal role, and the farmer’s responsibility shifts to orchestrating this animal-led symphony.

As the ecosystem continues to evolve, activities such as selective pruning, chop and drop methods, and managing animal movement (if livestock is integrated) become the primary tasks. Proper maintenance involves meticulous pruning techniques tailored to various trees like biomass, timber, and fruit trees. While a single crop in this system might yield less compared to industrial farming, an overall analysis of energy input vs. output often showcases the superior efficiency and caloric production of regenerative methods. Furthermore, several other benefits, like enhanced water retention due to improved topsoil and an amplified photosynthetic process, solidify its efficacy.

In stark contrast, industrial farming often overlooks the intricate processes that define regenerative agriculture. Industrial approaches focus on mass production, leading to vast monoculture fields, excessive chemical usage, and detrimental runoff, among other issues. This method essentially dismantles a thriving ecosystem, perpetually keeping it at an early succession stage, often resulting in unsustainable practices.

The future of food production is increasingly leaning towards perennial food systems. Farming and timber harvesting methods that are energy-efficient and yield greater returns will become indispensable. Notably, some Molokai farms have already embraced these sustainable techniques., if you’d like to do the same, find agriculture harvesting products here! And if you need cattle for your farm, then you may consider this Miniature Highlander.


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