ST. PAUL — Green Lands Blue Waters and its network released a new paper this week: Our Journey to a Transformed Agriculture through Continuous Living Cover – Why continuous living cover crops and cropping systems, and a human-centered, equity-focused approach to their implementation, are imperative and exciting, and how this can look on the agricultural landscape.
Most of us can agree that the agricultural landscape should mutually sustain human and natural communities over the long term. And yet, we cannot deny today’s ecological conditions as a result of how we farm most of our acres in the United States: high levels of soil erosion and loss of topsoil; water quality impairment from agriculture-related pollutants in ground and surface waters; and agriculture’s contributions to climate change.
The crops and cropping systems that offer the most promising way forward share a common characteristic with each other and with the prairie and forest ecosystems that preceded them on the landscape: they provide Continuous Living Cover (CLC).
Our collective goals have also long been about more than food and natural resources. Agriculture is about good lives for people. And so, agriculture needs to engage in straight talk on equity and justice. In particular, we need to acknowledge a history – and the enduring nature – of systematic discrimination, stolen land and broken treaties, slavery, and denied economic opportunities for Native Americans and farmers of color, and take meaningful steps to make it right.
“By implementing continuous living cover agriculture with people at the center, agriculture can be a big part of the solution to our shared environmental and social challenges,” says Erin Meier, Green Lands Blue Waters Director.
Read stories from the heart of Iowa, like how the Severson Family was able to bring another generation back to the farm with the extra income from re-integrating livestock. Hear how an aunt-to-niece land transfer at Singing Hills Dairy is building a bridge for equitable land access and creating space for Black Minnesotans on the farm. Learn about stewardship practices on the Tsyunhehkw^ farm on the Oneida Nation in Wisconsin. Hear from young scientists Hannah Stoll and E. Britt Moore about their plans to equip the next generation of agricultural professionals. Read about policy and research innovations in action and more.
Get inspired by the stories of these and many other champions for a new agriculture. Envision agriculture as the solution.
— Green Lands Blue Waters