Sustainable Living

A Regenerative Farmer Shares Her Number One Tip for Living a More Sustainable Life

Emily Laurence

As more people have woken up to the fact that what we eat not only affects our bodies but also our environment, curiosity surrounding regenerative agriculture has naturally started to grow.

Not sure what it is? Regenerative agriculture refers to holistic agricultural practices that help, rather than hurt, the environment. This often includes reducing tillage (or how much land is plowed) and the use of pesticides and herbicides, using cover crops (plants grown between harvests to slow soil erosion and increase biodiversity), practicing crop rotation, cattle grazing, and more. The goal is to prioritize soil health and land management practices that emulate nature and rehabilitate the land. While many of today's agricultural practices are responsible for a full quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions, regenerative agriculture does the opposite, giving back to the earth instead of just taking away.

Even knowing the definition, regenerative agriculture can still seem pretty nebulous; it's hard to know what it actually looks like unless you, well, see it. Want to go on a little field trip? In the latest episode of What The Wellness, Well+Good's director of creative development, Ella Dove, took a trip to Plumcot Farm, a regenerative farm located in Malibu, California. While there, she picked up some tips we can all put into practice in our own lives.

At Plumcot Farms—which is certified organic and family-owned—you'll find pomegranates, peaches, avocado, bananas, and seasonal row crops (such as beets, chard, and kale), among others. This being a regenerative farm, Alison Hersel, owner and farmer, explains in the video that everything is grown in a way that gives back to the earth more than what's taken from it. For example, she explains the benefits of growing avocados and bananas near each other. "When you plant avocados and bananas together, they're using the same amount of water than if it was a single tree," Hersel says.

While many people might not have the outdoor space (or weather) required to grow avocados and bananas in tandem, Hersel also shows how to make something that can pretty up anywhere we live: Wildflower seed bombs. "The idea behind wildflower seed bombing is re-wilding our public spaces," Hersel says. "If there's a vacant lot in your neighborhood or walkway that's dead and overrun with weeds, drop your seed bomb." The result? A patch of colorful flowers.

When it comes to the number one thing we all can do to live a more sustainable life, Hersel says it's as simple as this: Ask more questions about where your food is coming from. "Whether it's takeout, eating at a restaurant, or we're buying our food at the grocery store, it is really important to ask," she says.

Watch the episode to find out how to use that question to make the most sustainable food choices possible as well as to hear Hersel's other tips—including how to make wildflower seed bombs yourself.

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