Mark Cohen presents a workshop on regenerative agriculture

REGENERATION GAP: Farmer, ethnobotanist and educator Mark Cohen will discuss the complexities and potential of the regenerative agriculture movement at a Living Web Farms workshop on Oct. 12. Photo courtesy of Cohen

Regenerative farming, an agricultural approach that promotes healthy, mineral-rich soil by fostering biodiversity, is trending now, and not just among the sustainability-minded set. Even the business and finance sectors are buying in. “Investing in regenerative agriculture has the potential to address not only the food supply but also climate change, peace and conflict resolution and the water supply to boot,” reads a 2018 story in Forbes.

To offer some insight into this multifaceted movement, Living Web Farms brings farmer, organic inspector, ethnobotanist and educator Mark Cohen to the Mills River Educational Farm on Saturday, Oct. 12, to lead Putting the Pieces Together: The Diverse Potential of Regenerative Farming. In the half-day workshop, Cohen says he will explore how “healthy soil and the biodiversity that generates and maintains it are key in simultaneously improving food security, watershed health, preventive medicine and climate mitigation.”

Topics will include natural systems design, nutrient density of food, agroecology, agroforestry, intensive grazing, forest management, riparian and watershed management, ethnobotany, seed diversity, distributed renewable energy and medicine.

“I hope to approach the subject very holistically, [viewing] our land use as a cultural relationship with the biosphere, agriculture being embedded in that process,” says Cohen of his plans for the class. “Exploring exactly what we are regenerating, I will widen the general scope to include all land and water systems. By emulating the natural processes regulating nutrient and water cycles, habitat and biodiversity enhancement, and climate stability, we will generate a tool kit for how to locally displace destructive trends with regenerative ones.”

The workshop isn’t aimed at just landowners and growers, he says. “Practical methods are available for everyone to participate in this if they want to, from very small to large scales,” Cohen explains. “We should have plenty of time for conversation and questions to develop a wide diversity of roles in this process.”

WHAT: Putting the Pieces Together: The Diverse Potential of Regenerative Farming
WHERE: Mills River Educational Farm, 176 Kimzey Road, Mills River, livingwebfarms.org/workshops
WHEN: 1:30-7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, $15 suggested donation.

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About Gina Smith
Gina Smith is the Mountain Xpress Food section editor and writer. She can be reached at gsmith@mountainx.com.

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