The Story Behind an Early Adopter of Cover Cropping; Gabe Brown – Part 5

Taking his farm from failure due extreme climate adversity to a world leading example of soil health and profitability

Gabe Brown is very aware of the connection between feeding the world and maintaining and building a healthy soil food web. Gabe says even if you’re not a farmer, you can still have an impact by implementing the regenerative aspects of no-till, plant diversity, and using ground cover such as wood chips into your own home garden. If you’re adding carbon, you’re going to increase the fungal component and you’re going to increase the mycorrhizal fungi [that] secrete glomalin, which starts the formation of soil particles.”

Along with that, plant some pollinator species to provide a habitat for pollinators. Monarch butterflies, for example, need milkweed to feed and reproduce. When purchasing bee-friendly plants, make sure they have not been pretreated with pesticides that are toxic to bees, as this could actually do the bee population more harm than good… Most importantly, as a consumer, use your dollars to drive change, and educate others as to the importance of nutrient-dense food.

Gabe notes “We’re spending more money on healthcare than any other country, but look what it’s gotten us…. “The United States of America is now the 42nd healthiest country in the world. We’re first in cancer, autoimmune diseases, attention-deficit disorder (ADD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and obesity. Why is that? We’re degrading our resource so much that we no longer have the nutrient density in our foods in order for people to get healthy diets… We need to start thinking of food as health. Food is preventative medicine. The nutrient density of our foods has decreased anywhere from 15 to 65% for the last 40 years. That’s uncalled for. It can’t continue…

He says that we must change our farming model, because chemical-based monoculture is leading us straight toward the drop-off at the end of a cliff…

Look at our operation. We grow a diverse number of cash crops. We grow cover crops. We have beef, cattle, sheep, hogs, and chickens. I haven’t even talked about how we allow beekeepers to come onto our land. There’s a myriad of other potential income streams and enterprises that we can stack,” Gabe says. “Feeding the world is absolutely no problem if we change the production model. For the small producers, it’s simply a matter of stacking enterprises. Once you do that, you’ll find that not only will you have more income streams to make your operation more viable, but you’ll actually regenerate the soils much, much quicker.

Recommended reading: Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations. by Dr. David Montgomery who talks about how all the civilizations such as the Incas and the Romans, their rise and fall occurred because of the degradation of their soil resource. When Gabe visited him recently he asked him, ‘How long do we have as a nation before this occurs to us?’ And without blinking an eye, he said, ‘Less than 50 years.’ He said, ‘We cannot continue on this path of degrading our resources like we have.’… [N]o-till is a piece; cover-cropping is a piece; diversity is a piece; and livestock integration is a piece. We have to bring all of these things together.


Ref: Regenerative Soil Management: A Special Interview with Gabe Brown By Dr. Joseph Mercola