Work in Beauty House: Gallup, NM

The Eco-Regenerative Learning Center, Candy Kitchen NM


Healing the Earth

& it's Inhabitants  


Updated: Oct 27, 2018

Mending soil by creating diversity in compost.

By Owl McCabe

Regenerative Agriculture is an agricultural system that regenerates the soil, regenerates farming as an occupation, and regenerates our communities. In a regenerative agriculture system, you leave the soil in better shape after your harvest then it was before. This means putting more organic matter into the soil every year. Build the soil and the soil will feed the crops. You do this is by not tilling the soil, using cover crops, and promoting a diverse soil life. It is estimated that the farm land in the US had an organic matter content around 6% to 8% before tilling started. It is now around 1% to 2%, so low that you must have inorganic fertilizers to grow a crop. Also at this low amount of organic matter, the plant is more stressed and thus more susceptible to insect pests. When you up the organic matter to about 3% or greater while ensuring a good diversity of soil life, you can reduce or eliminate the need for inorganic fertilizers. The plant is less stressed so insect pressure is reduced. The farmer ends up paying less for fuel to run the plow and less money is spent on fertilizers and pesticides if at all. In addition, the soil contains more available plant nutrients and thus the crops produced are more nutrient dense.

Using regenerative agriculture in our area is imperative if we wish to create a local food system. Rainfall is sporadic and flood irrigation is rarely available. You can go from dry to wet to dry again all in a month. If you use regenerative agriculture you increase the soil’s organic matter. For every one percent increase in soil organic matter you increase the soil’s water holding capacity by 20,000 gallons per acre. If you were able to increase your soil’s organic matter to 8%, a typical average for farms that have been using regenerative agriculture for a few years, you would be able to hold 160,000 gallons of water. This is water that does not peculate down below the root depth of the plants nor will it evaporate since regenerative agriculture principles dictate keeping the soil covered. This amount of water is equivalent to almost 6 inches of rainfall being stored in your soil for your plants to use. In this case, a week without rain would not affect your plants. Water from winter snow will be stored for later use. Water is used more efficiently.

Regenerative Agriculture has other major benefits. It removes CO2 from the atmosphere – the opposite of conventional agriculture. In Trade and Environment Review 2013 - Wake Up Before It Is Too Late, a study put out by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), it found that up to 50% of all greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere are the result of our food system. In addition, the study found that we can greatly reduce that figure if we switch to regenerative agricultural. We can not only eliminate these greenhouse emissions but also start to sequester the excess carbon back into the soil.

The biggest obstacle to widespread use of regenerative agriculture in our area is education. The concept is new to most people. Big Agricultural companies are not interested in promoting this form of agriculture since it would result in loss of revenues for them since inorganic fertilizers and pesticides are not used. It is up to organizations such as ours to spread this knowledge. Funding is needed for training growers and establishing demonstration gardens throughout the area were people can learn more about regenerative agriculture as it is practiced in our area.

Updated: Oct 1, 2018

Creating more local growers equals a healthier planet

Recently I moved to New Mexico and found myself in what I believe to be a very sacred and special land. The natural landscape is breathtaking in the day, the night sky inspires me with wonderment and the peace that I feel here is like non other I have experienced. A simple life lived with purpose, joy and love is what calls me and I hear it in the winds that blow across these lands.

As a human being on planet earth each of us have our own unique vantage point/perspective and outlook on the situations we encounter, interactions we engage in, our surrounding environments and the experiences that come out of those. Many of us can get stuck in old patterns, old beliefs that no longer serve us. The mind races around and the ability to use a focused energy goes away. As a result, inner peace, joy, cheerfulness, harmony and health of our mind, body, spirit become harder and harder to obtain.

I was involved in a car accident some years ago which left me with a broken back. I now know that this was a gift offered to me by the Creator as a valuable life learning opportunity. I had a lot of time to reflect while being on bedrest. I learned to walk again and that experience taught me patience, self acceptance, to value life and health.

During my healing journey I began to see that being healthy has so many layers. It is not just what we eat or how we exercise our bodies, however, those are two very important aspects which I had to synergistically integrate. I believe being healthy starts with our thoughts. What do you think about most often? How does your physical body react to those thoughts? How does your spirit move you in your day to day routines? Do you feel inspired in how you spend your time? Are you grateful for life and the infinite abundance accessible to all? These are a few of the questions I asked myself along my journey and honestly I was not happy with the answers that came. I then began to take action towards a holistic approach to life which I still practice today.

A light of conscious awareness illuminated my everyday activities over the years which revealed that many things are taken for granted, “simple” things. I also started to understand the true value of being able to move freely in the outdoors; that an intimate connection to mother nature is the same intimate connection we need to ourselves. We are the same. Health of the planet, health of the humans; interdependent, interconnected.

Humans use energy (life force) to create and the supply of energy varies from person to person. That valuable life force energy can be used up by over thinking and focusing on fear based thoughts. If our physical bodies are unwell, stressed, not given the proper fuel and we’ve used up the valuable energy in the racing mind, humans as a whole suffer.

There are many ways to create, build, develop, nurture and harness energy. Eating foods that are grown in healthy soil, in healthy gardens/farms, lead us to good health.

The sun and elements found within the earth give humans energy. A beautiful exchange happens through working in the earth and eating plants. We can actually eat the suns energy when we eat plants! Having a direct connection to the sun is an unescapable part of life. All living things rely on the suns energy.

All of the technology that we have access to gives us many opportunities, and can be extremely useful in the modern world in which we live. Having a balanced approach to the ways we use it and the amount of time we dedicate to using it is key to sustained health. Pandemic health issues have arisen out of the lack of movement, exposure to screens, and the disconnection from nature has created a disposable culture unaware of many things, like what whole foods are and how to respectfully grow. Benefits of growing ones own food equal a greater awareness and appreciation for food and what is being put into ones body. The health of the physical body directly correlates to the health of ones mind and spirit. In rural areas, choices for all resources are very unique and molded by the immediate environment. A solution for access to whole foods is created for families when, personal and community gardens a planted. Seasonal, local farm to table eating, can and does improve the environmental and health crisis we are faced with today. When individuals begin to invest their time and energy into something like growing a garden or taking care of animals, awareness is raised.

The human body is designed to move. Physical movement is also a part of planting, maintaining and harvesting. A few health benefits of gardening are stress reduction, mental clarity, cognitive function, lower blood sugar levels, improved heart health and joint function.

The positive benefits of growing are exponential and compound over time.

When ones body and mind feel healthy and strong the individuals spirit is elevated and that positive energy goes out to family members, friends, community and the world. All life on planet earth is connected and interdependent. The planet and the human body’s ability to heal and regenerate is the same.

Together we can improve the health of the whole universe, we simply need to start with our personal universe - mind, body, spirit.

Exercise # 1

A.) Pick a time or multiple times in your day for one week, and write down what your thinking of.

Example: At 3:00PM I was thinking about my lack of finances.

B.) Once you have that answer define how it makes you feel - mentally, physically, spiritually.

Example: Mentally, physically, spiritually that makes me feel exhausted, stressed all over, tight in my neck and uninspired.

Exercise # 2

Take a minute, literally, one minute each day for one week to focus on only your breath cycle. It sounds funny right, one minute, what the heck will that do? Trust my experience to give you confidence that it makes a huge impact. Over the days, weeks, months you can increase the time by adding a minute. The point here is not for how many minutes your focusing on your breathing, but for the clearing of mental clutter to naturally occur. It is different for everyone and benefits vary too.

The first step is gifting yourself time.

The second step is being disciplined and staying consistent.

The third step is accepting if you miss a day and don’t get down on yourself. Simply begin again.

The fourth step is observation. How do you breath? Are you breathing through your nose, mouth or both? Is the breath shallow or deep, long or short?

The fifth step is to continue doing this exercise for as long as you feel you are receiving something positive from it.

We are all powerful beings with untapped potential inside of us. Our minds are one of the most powerful tools available to us. Let’s think of them as gardens. Thoughts are seeds, actions are what is growing and what is harvested is what we can give to others.

Eva Wynne

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