Regenerative Farming All Over the World
This past December I had a unique opportunity to travel to Puerto Guadal, Chile, and visit two farms in the area. The first farm I visited was called Huerto Cuatro Estaciones, a farm growing mixed vegetables, herbs and flowers using biointensive, low-tillage methods on a scale similar to Chatfield Farms. I attended a five-day course covering tools, techniques and team and workflow organization methods used at this farm. I also visited Raices Floridas, another farm nearby growing a variety of medicinal plants, herbs and flowers using hoop houses and no-till beds to create value-added products.
Farmers in this region experience similar geographic challenges to Front Range farmers such as high winds, unpredictable and extreme weather, pests and disease. They also share a similar history of agricultural practices and land management programs that have degraded soils and ecosystems. Their solutions to these challenges reflect current movements in small-scale agriculture towards more regenerative systems.
Both farms focus on and teach about encouraging and protecting biodiversity as a key part of maintaining a healthy agricultural system. They also focus on sustainability by minimizing external inputs by necessity as they are in rural areas, several hours of rugged driving from any city. I was inspired by their focus on good land stewardship, their dedication to the improvement of soil health through closed-loop composting systems and no-till practices, their focus on supporting pollinator and beneficial insect populations, their innovative wind and weather protection structures and commitment to community building.
Our goal is to demonstrate many of these same practices at Chatfield Farms, and to continue to be a great educational resource for our guests, local producers, and members of our community supported agriculture program. Through this opportunity I was able to make new connections and widen our net of information sharing helping keep Denver Botanic Gardens and our members apprised of current agricultural movements, tools and techniques used all over the world.
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