In February of 2019 I attended a youth led conference put on by some of Ontario’s most passionate young farmers. I was struck by two things. The first thing was the sheer passion these young famers had for working on solutions for the climate crisis. The other was the amount of female farmers in attendance which brought a whole different energy and conversation to the room.
One term that came up over and over during the conference was “regenerative farming.” Put simply, regenerative farming is the form of farming that has the greatest potential to fight climate change. I was taught the concept by Amber Payne, a livestock farmer from Greely, Ontario. I initially met Amber at the Ottawa Farmers market and now buy delicious and nutritious grass fed meat from her regularly.
Amber has been featured in several articles explaining the concept, such as the CBC article, How ‘regenerative farmers’ help reduce greenhouse gases and the Edible Ottawa article, The Big Picture – Amber Payne. Here’s a quote from Amber from the Edible Ottawa article:
“I use the cattle as a tool to improve grasslands…the meat is strictly a bonus. If we looked at wealth as in rich soils and carbon building, it would be a huge paycheque.”
– Amber Payne, The Big Picture, Edible Ottawa
Amber isn’t the only female farmer out there interested in regenerative farming through the use of livestock. At the youth conference, I met Freya Kellet, a 21 year old farmer from British Columbia. She eloquently explained the concept of regenerative farming and the misconception surrounding the use of livestock to fight climate change. To hear her articulate explanation, click on the video featured at the top of the page (it’s highly recommended!).
We should all be proud of Amber, Freya and the many other young farmers out there making a difference in the world by providing food that’s delicious, nutritious and good for the planet. If you eat meat, these are the very farmers you should be buying from. And if you don’t eat meat, similar rules apply. Make sure you are sourcing your veggies and veggie options from farmers that are giving back to the land, and not just taking from it.
…and remember, Tasty food and healthy food are not mutually exclusive.
Until next week,