ORGANIC’S DEEP THINKER FRED KIRSCHENMANN EXPLAINS WHY REGENERATIVE-FARMING-IN-SOIL IS FOUNDATIONAL TO ORGANIC AND WHY HYDROPONICS IS CONTRADICTORY.

In Fall 1994, ‘National Geographic’ sent Colorado Front Range photographer Jim Richardson to Wood prairie Family Farm for three days in order to record our potato harvest so it could be included in an upcoming article on Sustainable Farming. During his stay, Jim took eight hundred photographs. One – “Megan and Baby Caleb” – ended up being published in the December 1995 NG issue which featured that farming article along with s story on Jane Goodall.
In this photograph, our oldest child, Peter almost four years old, is using an appropriately-scaled paint bucket to hand-pick seed potatoes. To us that green glove represents a can-do attitude which is an achievement for anyone anytime in life. Jim & Megan

Longtime organic farmer Fred is one of organic’s elder statesman. He was on the ‘Organic Seed Alliance’ Board of Directors while Jim was President. Fred is always worth listening to. He speaks with rare gravitas and explains how the world must learn to farm better and why that is essential. Jim & Megan

“I would argue that the difference between input-intensive agriculture and regenerative agriculture is the important context we need to consider as we make our decisions concerning the future of organic agriculture! The industrial, input-intensive, era of agriculture in which we convinced ourselves that we humans were in charge, that we could ‘control’ nature, and that our ‘human cleverness (Wes Jackson) could always find ways to successfully continue our control management of nature, is a deeply flawed and increasingly dysfunctional strategy…

“In an effort to get beyond the ‘food fight’ debates, some of my farmer friends are now framing this with an interesting new question: ‘however you are farming now, can you still do what you are doing once crude oil is $300 a barrel, phosphorous is $2500 a ton, we only have half the fresh water we are currently using, the water quality in our communities is no longer safe to drink, and we have twice the number of severe weather events?’…

“Of course, proponents of growing organic food hydroponically, argue that hydroponics is resource-efficient because it can use less water than growing food in soil—something that can be important under desert conditions, like the western United States, where most of the country‚Äôs hydroponic production is located. However, what that argument for resource efficiency overlooks is that such hydroponic production is the antithesis of a regenerative agriculture system because it requires all crop fertility needs to be imported into the production system, often from great distances. For example, many hydroponic producers use hydrolyzed soybean meal to feed their hydroponic crops. Such hydrolyzed soybean meal is usually produced thousands of miles away in the middle or eastern parts of the country and transported westward for the industrial hydroponic production in the desert…

“Consequently, I would argue that the kind of regenerative, resilient agriculture which an agriculture grounded in soil management for soil self-renewal and self-regulation is essential to the future of organic agriculture, and is the reason that organic agriculture should not even consider transitioning to a system that was dependent on external inputs, as hydroponic agriculture is!”

https://www.keepthesoilinorganic.org/fred-kirschenmann