soil at Yeo Valley Organic farm soil at Yeo Valley Organic farm

The re-generation game

Monday 25th January 2021

Cows grazing on the Yeo Valley Organic farm
Our cows grazing on the Yeo Valley Organic farm

January is the traditional month for resolutions, for cutting out and giving up, but lately more and more people are starting to question whether exclusion is the right way to go? And whether a more balanced food and farming system is actually better for us and the planet. In fact rather than giving up things our resolution is always to do something positive.

There’s a growing new approach for farming in the UK which believes animals, plants and humans can coexist in the food chain while boosting biodiversity, capturing carbon and restoring the soil – it’s called regenerative farming.

Our very own Tim Mead has been talking about the benefits of regenerative organic farming for some time. Yeo Valley Organic is over 25 years old, and he believes that 2021 has the potential to be the eureka moment for the balance of nature and a greater recognition of regenerative organic farming.

British farmers have been getting behind the phrase Regenuary, spearheading the fight back to Veganuary. Regenerative farming techniques are now seen as a way of producing, nutritious healthy food while combatting climate change.

Clover is very good at pulling carbon into the soil

Regenerative farming is a system which priorities soil health and one of the crucial components to making healthy soil is the magic of animals. In short, their manure becomes a natural fertiliser. You won’t be surprised to hear from us that cows do this really well!

In the Valley our cows munch down our lush green pastures, full of plants with different roots like clover and chicory; and the photosynthesis of these plants locks up even more carbon into the soil. The cows also leave natural fertiliser behind which they tread into the ground and micro-organisms feast on. Healthy soil is full of biological life, which we can’t see. Nematodes, bacteria and fungi are just some of the real super-heroes under our feet, weaponising our soil naturally.

Balance as in nature is the key and a New Year doesn’t have to start with ditching the red meat and the dairy. British farming is taking a lead in producing sustainable food which is good for you, for wildlife and the world and it doesn’t need to cost the earth.

If you want to find out more you may also find this Farmers Guardian ‘Over the farm gate’ podcast of interest, with chef, soil activist and Yeo Valley Organic fan Gizzi Erskine. Click here to listen.

Yeo Valley Organic supports the Sustainable Soils Alliance and they have a new community hub for all things soil:

Comments on “The re-generation game”

  • Fully agree. We have 4 compost bins. We never use the brown bin , just compost grass clipping and all suitable kitchen waste. We even use the hedge clipping for kindling. Recycle, Reuse, Repair and stop the land fill as much as possible.

    john on 23rd February 2021 at 11:50 am

  • Thank you for helping to bring this approach to farming and the environment to a wider public. Definitely the way forward.
    I recommend Graham Harvey’s book ‘The Carbon Fields’ published by Grass Roots in 2008.

    HOWARD on 1st February 2021 at 11:17 am

  • This way of farming is more important than ever now. We need to wake up to the fact that our planet is being destroyed by our seemingly never ending desire to produce cheap food using harsh chemicals in the process. I have visited Yeo Valley several times for various tours and I am always impressed by the ethics, the amazing staff and the whole philosophy on the way forward. If you can get more and more farmers and in particular governments to listen then we may still be able to reverse the damage we have done.

    Linda on 30th January 2021 at 9:09 am

  • Sensible balanced view. Regenuary encapsulates it.
    Margaret Beasley

    Margaret on 27th January 2021 at 5:30 pm

  • Sensible, balanced view. Regenuary encapsulates it.

    Margaret on 27th January 2021 at 5:28 pm

  • I agree with Daphne. I shouldn’t be made to feel unworthy because I like eating meat and dairy. Vegans need to take vitamin and mineral supplements to replace the types of vitamins only available in animal products. Each to their own I say, be vegetarian or vegan if you want but don’t force everyone else to follow your example if they would prefer this option instead. Let’s return to the old, more sustainable ways of farming now we are free of EU quotas!

    Mojo on 27th January 2021 at 4:53 pm

  • Definitely the way to go. I try hard to follow the principles and have done for some time.

    Jennifer Lang on 27th January 2021 at 11:53 am

  • Very interesting.

    Just want to mentions love you produce. Yoghurts, butter etc

    Ann C Forrest on 27th January 2021 at 8:31 am

  • Love it , but my concern is that most cow muck now contains residues of worming compounds that survive the gut complex ,and pop out the other end entering the soil killing microbes and reducing earthworm population.
    Think…when was the last time you saw a muck heap steaming?? It doesn’t happen in modern farming due to the worming compounds killing off the bacteria that help break down the bio mass.

    John on 26th January 2021 at 7:25 pm

  • Living in balance is, and always had been, thumbs up from me.👍

    Deanne on 26th January 2021 at 5:03 pm

  • I read an article a couple of years ago about exactly the same thing. Couldn’t find it again. So thank you

    Diane Sadler on 26th January 2021 at 2:44 pm

  • Roll on organic farmers. We support you, and want the government to as well. Glad to hear what you’e doing. So upset to hear about sugar beet and neonicotinoids now being allowed. Have we heard correctly? What can we do to fight it?

    Fizz on 26th January 2021 at 1:42 pm

  • Yes, yes, yes! That has cheered me up. I see this pandemic as an opportunity for us all to wake up to a new way of living and feel so disheartened when people talk of getting back to normal. This promise of real food is very heart-warming and I do hope that the common sense spreads.
    Thank you!!!

    Jill on 26th January 2021 at 1:21 pm

  • Brilliant!!

    Jullee on 26th January 2021 at 1:19 pm

  • In Total agreement with that we moved house to have a garden we could do something with and it’s working well

    john on 26th January 2021 at 1:08 pm

  • absolutely agree

    Daphne on 26th January 2021 at 11:39 am

  • First sensible thing I have read this year and just so glad there are people who think like me, not into cutting things out but very much into living in the natural balance . I practice this in my own microworld, in my garden and in my kitchen.
    If ever there was a month for using up all the goodies left over from the festive season ,food and drink, it’s January.
    Thanks for the common sense.

    Betty Black on 26th January 2021 at 10:40 am

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