Understanding how to apply the principles of regenerative farming and gardening, we gain the skills to develop practical solutions that work well for our climate and other growing conditions. The challenge is knowing which principles to use.

Here are the principles we use at Learning from Nature.

Table showing Eco-logical Principles

These principles emphasise getting the ecosystems in our farms and gardens functioning again. We do this because the commonly accepted regenerative goals – improving biodiversity, soil health, organic matter levels, water infiltration and storage in soil, are the products of functioning ecosystems. We need ecosystems that work for these to improve.[1]

The Eco-logical Rationale

Ecosystems are complex, but nutrient and water cycles and solar energy capture are the three key ecological functions that drive most of the action in our farms and gardens.[2] Virtually all of the natural resource issues holding us back are resolved by ‘regaining these ecological services’.

 

Icon illustrating nutrient cycle - part of what is regenerative farming and gardening

Nutrient Cycles

Repairing our nutrient recycling systems, soil organisms recycle the nutrients in plant and animal waste materials, unlock nutrients from mineral particles, and make the nutrients available for plants to reuse.Icon illustrating water cycle - part of what is regenerative farming and gardening

Water Cycles

Water cycles are enormous, but we can improve them by increasing water infiltration and storage in our soil and reducing water loss through evaporation. Done on a regional scale, cloud cover increases, and we get more rain.

Icon illustrating Capture of Solar Energy - part of what is regenerative farming and gardening

Capture of Solar Energy

Why do we only think of fertilisers when we want to grow more food? Plants capture and store solar energy using their photosynthetic panels. Growing more solar panels, we increase energy supplies for the ecosystems in our farms and gardens.

Building connections, we purposely recruit plants, livestock, and other living organisms to create beneficial relationships that improve these ecological functions, and enable us and our ecosystems to efficiently use the energy and resources these functions make available. We use biodiversity strategically – functional biodiversity – to enhance the productivity and resilience of our ecosystems.[3] [4]

Using eco-logical approaches to regenerative farming and gardening, it makes sense to “grow from our strengths,” because we rely on the ecological services provided by our plants, livestock, and other living organisms, rather than on fertilisers, pest controls, and other inputs. We “Mimic Nature,” learning how she maintains ecosystems in similar growing conditions, and shift our energy to “CoCreating with Nature,” working with succession to develop complex, adaptive food-producing ecosystems.

Work in Progress

These eco-logical principles are a work in progress. We would appreciate your thoughts on the focus of ‘getting our ecosystems functioning again’, and on the guidelines we have used to design them:

  1. Do the principles emphasise what’s crucial, enabling us to focus our efforts on what is essential and will make a real difference?
  2. Are the principles clearly explained, easy to understand and straight forward to apply?
  3. Can the principles easily be used as a guide regardless of climate, growing conditions and how we grow food?

References

[1] Wendy Seabrook, 2021, What is Regenerative Farming and Gardening. Learning from Nature

[2] Eugine P. Odium, 1971, Fundamentals of Ecology. Publ W.B. Saunders Company

[3] Wendy Seabrook, 2019, Eco-logical Farming Handbook, Publ Learning from Nature

[4] Wendy Seabrook, 2019, Eco-logical Gardening Handbook, Publ Learning from Nature

Support with using this Eco-logical Approach

  1. What is Regenerative Farming and Gardening
  2. How to do regenerative Farming and Gardening
  3. How to choose Regenerative Practices
  4. Library of videos on the supporting science and stories from leading farmers and gardeners on the Learning from Nature YouTube Channel
  5. Publications from Learning from Nature – Get help with growing from your strengths creating a GrowMap for your land, fixing your nutrient cycling with Feed your Plants without Fertilisers, and your water cycle with Drought-Proof your farm or garden. Or better still the Eco-logical Farming and Gardening Handbooks.

Image showing Learning from Nature Publications

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