Agriculture and the farming of the Earth’s soils is the foundation of the health of our economy, and the health of our world. Our current degenerative global agricultural system results in 75 billion tons of topsoil loss per year through erosion. This has an estimated cost of USD 400 billion to farmers and society (Lal, 2001). In addition, agriculture currently releases up to 12 gigatons of CO2 equivalent per year, with the food system as a whole releasing up to 16.9 gigatons per year (Gilbert, 2012). Meanwhile agribusiness and food are a $5 trillion business globally (Goedde, 2015). At the same time, agriculture holds the potential to become a massive net carbon sink sequestering billions of tons of CO2 per year into the world’s soils and above-ground biomass (Toensmeier, 2016). The value that healthy soil brings—not only to the nutrient density of our food, but also as soil’s key function in the carbon cycle that regulates the earth’s atmosphere—is not accounted for in the financial ledgers of agribusiness. Considering the market trends in the outpacing of natural products over conventional products in consumer-packaged goods, and the growing market power of labels like organic, “eco,” “green” and “sustainable,” we can see there is considerable consumer interest in taking our planet’s needs into account. However, critics point out that these “market led” efforts have mostly failed to create significant change. To achieve needed health and sustainability, we are launching the IOWA XPROJECT.
For the past 100 years Iowa has led the world in agriculture and is preparing to take the lead for the next 100 years. We intend to do this by making it an urban and rural issue and recruiting both city dwellers and rural farmers as activists. Urban Iowa needs to know how its food is being grown, what is its nutritional quality, and where it is coming from? We all need to know the “altered science” behind GMO foods, and understand that “cheap food” is not cheap and may be causing degenerative health challenges for our families and communities. If our food is our medicine, then good food and good agricultural policy can no longer be relegated to politicians and industrial aggregators.
Our planet is sick, and our world is being prescribed the wrong kind of medicine. Our soil, food and water are our medicine, but during most of the industrial period of the 19thand 20thCenturies, the global food and farming industries have been fixated on Industrialized Farming, and bio-engineering to feed the world and provide as much food as cheaply as possible. To do this they put poison on our soils and food to grow it and allowed poisons and chemicals to filter into our natural water ways and sources of drinking water. Any connections between farming, nutrition, food and health were either assumed or ignored. But human health cannot be maintained apart from our soils and eating natural, WHOLE and healthy nutrient dense food, which requires clean-healthy soils, and safe-clean water to hydrate and grow healthy plants, animals and humans.
The goal of the IOWA XPROJECT is to be a model for the future of agriculture, and regenerative living. It has built into it a “domino effect” that will regenerate the health of our nation and our socio-eco-polity systems They are all connected. We chose Iowa because it was recently determined by the US News and World Report to be the best state in the nation to live in, based on a variety of criteria. And Iowa has a goal to be the healthiest state in the nation. But the state’s water quality, addiction to industrialized agriculture, animal confinement farms, and on-going erosion of precious topsoil has made Iowa Ground Zero for a model of REGENERATIVE change.
As consumers we need to vote with our pocket books, and as citizens we need to have our voices and values heard by those who represent us in “true” democratized governance and political systems. We need to be informed of how our food is produced and know whether or not the collective food chain is selling us good medicine. Agriculture and our food growing systems are key intervention and leverage points that can lead to regenerating the social, economic and environmental health of our cities and towns, as well as regenerating the health and future of our world. Everything is connected
As we launch The IOWA XPROJECT, we’re also giving birth to Regeneration Nation™ and a 50 state initiative that starts in the Midwest to advance agriculture and 21stCentury living into a “new regenerative culture.” This culture makes scientists and “foodies” of us all and integrates soil management with precision farming and big-data to help cool the planet while healing our communities with the medicine of food and consumer education. This holistic approach applies farming principles, and production practices that increase biodiversity, enriches soils, improves watersheds and water quality, while enhancing natural ecosystems, and producing nutrient-dense food to “heal the health” of our world. From the soil and ground up we can build a healthy global economy, and robust local economies that can be sustained. Welcome to the CALL. Welcome youth, community, business and political leaders to The IOWA XPROJECT, and the seeding of Regeneration Nation.