Where regenerative agriculture gets it wrong and what we can do about it with Chris Newman of Sylvanaqua Farms
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We’re having an important conversation today about the intersection of race and agriculture, the glaring issues within the clean food movement, and how regenerative agriculture keeps getting it wrong with Chris Newman. Chris is the co-founder of Sylvanaqua Farms, which is based in the D.C. region. They raise forest-raised pork, grass-fed beef, and pastured chicken and eggs. Chris offers a unique perspective on regenerative agriculture and where mainstream regenerative ag gets it wrong.
A member of the Choptico Band of Piscataway Indians, Chris places a heavy emphasis on the indigenous ethics, values, and knowledge serving as the (often unacknowledged) foundation of the modern permaculture movement, and the decolonized worldview necessary to ensure the sustainable stewardship of natural resources. An engineer and technologist by trade, he also accepts and explores the potential of modern scientific innovation to address the gaps left by ecosystem farming in solving a sustainability problem wherein timeliness is a factor.
- Chris’ farming journey and how Sylvanaqua Farms came to be
- Common issues with small farming practices for farmers, consumers, ecosystems, and the food system in general
- What “democratizing agriculture” means and how it’s different than the model most small farms are using today
- The issue with the notion that all beef should be grass-fed and grass-finished or that all livestock must be farmed regeneratively for its entire life
- The presence of environmental racism, inequality, and what it means to be “Thunberged”
- Books and resources to learn more about environmental racism
- Why conscious consumers can’t just “zero waste” their way into a climate-change-free future
- What we can do to be an active part of an environmentally-sound future
- Chris’ vision for the future of Sylvanaqua Farms
- Preorder The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee
- Chris’ “Grass-Fed Cows Won't Die for Our Sins” essay
- Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
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