At Rainshadow we go beyond sustainable to Regenerative!
The basic principle of Regenerative farming is to leave the land better than you find it, each year improving its capacity to support the plant, animal, human, and insect communities that dwell on the land in an interwoven ecosystem. Native communities have been using regenerative practices for thousands of years in the way they graze, harvest, plant, burn, etc.
Modern agriculture is mostly depleting and, at best “sustainable”. To sustain something is to stay the same. To regenerate is to improve. In biology, regeneration is the process of renewal, restoration, and tissue growth that makes genomes, cells, organisms, and ecosystems resilient to natural fluctuations or events that cause disturbance or damage.
At Rainshadow Organics, we have been certified organic for 13 years. We comply with the National Organic Standards, which is a comprehensive list of organic practices that we employ daily and exclusively. The certification process is primarily an audit of our record keeping. The record keeping is very important for our own information as we evolve in our land stewardship practices and understand our timing, varieties, soil tests and amendments. We record our work daily and refer back to our records all the time. What organic certification does not do is 3rd party testing as part of the yearly organic audit.
We are wildly excited to work with UVE, as part of the Savory Network, to actively monitor our lands so that we can scientifically track our environmental impact. We believe that the relationship between the plant and the soil microbiome is where the magic happens. Our diversity of cover crops, pastures, vegetables, and grains, plus all of the compost and teas that we use, amplifies the soil’s glory. The soil then has a capacity to fix carbon and take nutrients right out of the air in exchange for oxygen. It’s a living, breathing thing. And it’s beautiful.
Not only are we in a long term monitoring program; we also receive valuable insight on how we can improve our practices each year. We are always learning on this farm. As a team, we are a mix of seasoned farmers as well as first-year farmers. We offer a uniquely immersive paid apprenticeship for aspiring farmers to learn what it takes to cultivate a full-diet farm ecosystem and bring it all the way to the table as farm-driven cuisine. In addition to feeding hundreds of families in our community, we are dedicated to producing farmers to feed even more people, here in Central Oregon, across the nation and the world. Land stewards are essential. The tools to understand and improve the impact of their work are also essential.