Through the winter months, our primary tasks are to:
• keep the water running,
• over-commit to volunteer efforts, and
• knit tiny chicken sweaters from organic wool.
We also make time to continue the unending process of learning that goes hand-in-hand with being a regenerative farmer. As I write this post, we are travelling home from the 11th annual Grassfed Exchange in Santa Rosa, California. This year we also attended the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association conference in Texas, as well as our annual local go-to gatherings — the COABC Conference in Vernon and a Young Agrarians Mixer in Williams Lake.
These gatherings give us a chance to convene with incredible people from around the region and around the world. You may not realize it, but being a regenerative grazier can get a little lonely. We often say that our “neighbours” are within 8 hours’ drive and philosophically aligned. We regularly consider extending that driving distance factor. We have mentors and friends in our own community, of course, but to find our peers and role models in regenerative ag, we have to look a little further afield.
The people we meet at these events are immensely inspiring. Looking out at the innumerable challenges we face in regenerating landscapes and livelihoods can feel overwhelming. The big picture view is bleak, and the status quo is unacceptable. Yet, we cannot regenerate our farms if our mental state is degenerating. We cannot tend our pastures and herds if we cannot care for our families. Learning from and celebrating the success of our peers and heroes energizes us for the busy season ahead and shakes up our paradigms so that we can continue to innovate and expand our impact.