Living roots in the soil year round are vital for feeding the microbiology at the base of the soil food web.
WHAT IS REGENERATION?
The only goal that makes sense for humanity is drawdown, a year-to-year reduction in carbon in the upper atmosphere. Anything else is climate chaos. If we want to achieve drawdown, we have to go thank the Earth and start to farm and grow our plants and trees in an entirely different way. In other words, the very practices that heal our soils will also heal our climate.
- Kiss The Ground (2020)
LIVING ROOTS YEAR ROUND
KEEP SOILS COVERED
Cover crops and/or stubble residues protect the soil from wind, rain and sun.
Monocultures do not happen in nature and our soil microbiology thrives on variety.
Tillage sets the soil ecosystem back and releases carbon into the atmosphere.
Because perennial plants don't need to be planted each year, soil disturbance is minimized and soil organisms thrive.
John Strohfus, Field Theory, Hastings, MN
In 2020, we launched a new cereal that featured an upcycled sunflower protein. You can read more about that here. We had always heard great things about the resilience of Sunflowers but wanted to learn first hand how they fit into a regenerative crop rotation, so we started with 40 acres in Hastings, MN with John Strohfus of Field Theory. We are incentivizing John up to $100/acre for using regenerative practices such as no till and cover cropping.
- Why Sunflowers? The deep root system of the sunflower reaches the full measure of moisture and nutrients in the soil. Sunflowers are an excellent rotational crop, often used to pull up nutrients washed deep down into the soil.
- Regeneration benefits: crop diversity, cover crops, reduced chemical usage, living roots in the ground year round, pollinator friendly.
OATS IN THE CORNBELT
Since 2018, Seven Sundays along with Oatly, Practical Farmers of Iowa, Grain Millers and Sustainable Food Lab have been increasing the demand for food grade oats in the corn belt (IA, MN, WI – where corn and soybeans are king). We are providing support to farmers in the form of cost sharing and incentives for transitional and organic practices. In the 3 years of the program, we have increased our oat acreage from 1 farmer with 100 acres to 5 farms totaling almost 500 acres enrolled in the program.
- Why Oats? Research out of Iowa State University has shown that by adding oats into a corn/soy rotation, followed by a cover crop, reduces the need for chemicals, improves soil and water health, and increases farm profitability.
- Regeneration Benefits: crop diversity, cover crops, reduced chemical usage, living roots in the ground year round.
Scott Weidemeijer, Grassway Farms, Maynard IA
Doug Hilgendorf, Whole Grain Milling, Welcome, MN
From the very beginning of Seven Sundays, we have worked with Whole Grain Milling in Welcome, MN to source our organic grains. Looking to transition to gluten free, we started buying their organic buckwheat in 2017, and this was when we made the connection to the power of plants to restore the health to our soils, pollinators and people. After a visit to the farm in July when the buckwheat is in bloom and the bees are buzzing, it is easy to conclude "This is how food should be."
- Why Buckwheat? Buckwheat is a hard working, fast growing crop that farmers love to grow. It is a perfect rotation crop.
- Regeneration benefits: crop diversity, cover crops, reduced chemical usage, living roots in the ground year round, incorporating livestock, pollinator friendly.
ARE YOU A FARMER?
We are always on the lookout for creative farmers looking to grow things differently. Leave your email address below and we will reach out before next growing season.