New Year’s Resolutions for the Regenerative Grower - Modern Farmer

New Year’s Resolutions for the Regenerative Grower

Take a more mindful, environmentally friendly approach to your garden this year.

Get inspired with these resolutions.
Photography by l i g h t p o e t on Shutterstock

It’s hard to believe, but 2020 is finally behind us. For many, the New Year represents a clean slate, a time to reset and reflect on how we can change our lives for the better over the next 12 months. 

There are the classic resolutions that everyone’s heard before: drinking less, eating better, exercising more and prioritizing finances. But if you were one of the many new gardeners who started growing vegetables during the pandemic, maybe you’ll include some changes to make your gardening a little more eco-friendly this year. 

For your inspiration, look no further than regenerative gardeners and farmers, who live by principles such as soil health, carbon sequestration and responsible water management that nurture the land while they grow their food. We spoke to professionals in regenerative farming, gardening and landscape design to see what growing goals they have this year. May it inspire you to do the same. Happy New Year! 

Acadia Tucker, a regenerative farmer and the author of Growing Good Food: A Citizen’s Guide to Backyard Carbon Farming 

My New Year’s resolution is to set aside a space in my garden, specifically for saving seeds. In the past, I never gave seed saving much thought because I’m easily persuaded by the beautiful photographs found in seed catalogs, and each year I end up with more seed than I can plant. I believe that saving seed is a great way for any gardener to directly contribute towards regenerative growing by cultivating backyard resiliency.

I normally clip my cilantro plant once it starts to bolt, but this year I’ll let it bloom, and watch pollinators flock to the lacy white flowers. Allowing some crops to be pollinated before I deem them “useless” will only help to increase my local insect and plant biodiversity. 

Rishi Kumar, a regenerative farmer, gardener, educator and consultant on regeneration

My gardening resolution for 2021 is to keep folding more and more of this world into my garden. The idea that the healing of the Earth and the healing of ourselves are separate, is a lie. Indigenous communities across the world have long recognized that the healing we are all in need of goes far beyond the putting carbon into soil. 

As I move my experience beyond the “practice” focused world of permaculture and regenerative agriculture, towards the holistic healing of Indigenous cultures, I resolve to help others find that same healing, while also working towards the dismemberment of the colonial society which has stripped so many of us of our homelands and cultures. 

Daron “Farmer D” Joffe, the founder of Farmer D Organics and Citizen Farmers

For 2021, I’d like to spend more time with my hands in the soil, my body in motion, my mind at ease, my thoughts on paper and my heart open. One of my main mentors, Hugh Lovel, the author of “A Biodynamic Farm” and “Quantum Agriculture,” passed away this year. Thinking back on all he taught me I feel inspired this year to dig deeper into my study of biodynamic farming and regenerative agriculture. 

This year, I’d like to make more compost and plant more cover crops to build organic matter in the soil in my garden and on my consulting projects. I plan to use less tillage and more mulch, compost and cover crops like buckwheat, white clover and annual grasses. I also want to plant lots of fruit trees this year in all my family and friends yards.

Karen Washington, a farmer, gardener, activist, co-owner Rise and Root Farm and a former president of the New York City Community Garden Coalition

As a farmer you are so thankful to be growing food to feed people, especially those who are less fortunate and in need. My farm, Rise and Root, is in the Black Dirt region of Orange County in New York. Soil there is high in organic matter. 

My resolution is twofold: number one, to be mindful of the people who once were on that land, the Lenape people. May I give gratitude and be of service as a steward of the land and secondly: when farming, be reminded that what I take out from the soil, I put back in greater with my labor and appreciation. 

Owen Wormster, a sustainable landscape designer and author of Lawns Into Meadows: Growing a Regenerative Landscape

I resolve to deepen my practice and support for grassroots level regeneration. I’m excited to continue exploring ways to effectively and affordably reestablish rare and critical species. Meadows are a great way to make this happen, but I also look forward to my own experimentation with re-wilding plants like ginseng, American chestnuts, and even native orchids. 

If we are ever going to create widespread ecological health and abundance on this planet, it’s time to take things into our own hands and literally start growing the world we’d like to see. 

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