Our soil is a living ecosystem that contains millions of living organisms including microbes that feed plants which feed the animals which spread urine and feces to microbes which feed the plants which feed the animals. We need both plants and animals in order to produce a healthy, nutrient-dense soil, and when tended to and cared for in the proper way, our soil can sequester more carbon than the animals who graze on it omit.
Healthy soil is diverse, rich in fungi, bacteria, bugs, and earthworms that break down the organic matter that produces nutrients for plants to use. In order for soil to be productive, it has to stay alive and it has to remain healthy. Soil not only provides nutrients, it also purifies the air, and stabilizes the ground, playing an essential role in regulating the Earth's atmosphere.
Our soil is in crisis. For the past 70 years, the nutrient-density in our food has been declining as modern farming practices take from the land yet neglect to replenish what they are taking out. This in turn depletes our soil and food of critical nutrients and nutrient density declines so does our health.
But synthetic fertilizers, often used to address this issue, are not the answer as they hinder the diverse microbiology of the soil. When our soil is weakened this way, the nutrients that do exist don’t stay on land, but rather, wash away in what little topsoil exists.
There is a solution to this crisis. Regenerative farming.
By definition, regenerative agriculture is a system of farming principles and practices that protect and enrich the soil, increase soil biodiversity, integrate livestock, and improve water retention–basically mimicking nature’s systems as closely as possible.
Regenerative agriculture goes beyond organic farming and pasture-raised and cage-free and adds conservation and rehabilitation of existing lands to create a healthier ecosystem.
Just as the gut is the foundation of wellness in the body, our soil is the foundation of wellness in our food.
Preserving our topsoil is more important than ever as the UN Food and Agriculture Organization predicts that 90% of our precious topsoil will be at risk by 2050. Regenerative agricultural works to prevent soil erosion via no-till farming, cover cropping, and diverse crop planting using no synthetic fertilizers or harmful chemicals. These practices increase below-ground plant matter and organisms that sequester carbon instead of releasing it into the atmosphere. The end result is soil teeming with life that absorbs water for less and runoff and erosion, and thus less flooding.
When crops are planted and harvested, nutrients are drawn from the soil. Conventional agriculture attempts at replacing these nutrients with chemical fertilizers that produce greenhouse gas emissions, is a poor practice at best. Regenerative agriculture doesn't pillage and plunder; but rather replenishes with a rich compost of ground bone, blood, and animal manure, just as nature intended. Thereby, restoring and healing the soil so the entire ecosystem can flourish.
In addition, regenerative farmers minimize or eliminate tillage as tilling releases carbon into the atmosphere and plant cover crops to protect against erosion, capture carbon, and increase moisture retention. And of course, they do not use synthetic fertilizers that devastate the soil biology.
Biodiversity boosts our ecosystem’s productivity. Each species plays a role and healthy biodiversity ensures our ecosystems can better withstand and recover from a variety of disasters. Plants, animals, and animal waste, feed the soil which in turn nourishes the microbiome in the soil that feeds the plants. Rodents bore under the fields and aerate the soil which improves water retention. Bugs and worms grind organic matter from the surface soil and leave behind enriched droppings. Remove one species and you remove a major contributor to our soil’s health.
Industrial-farming techniques like clear-cutting land, tilling, monocropping, and spraying harmful herbicides and pesticides, destroys the rich biodiversity in the soil. Different plants mineralize different nutrients, so diversity of plants in the soil leads to a healthier farm and more nutrient-dense foods.
And last but certainly not least, many farmers plant trees and shrubs that attract birds and pollinators who are born to spread diversity across the land.
Regenerative offers a system that values animals as more than a commodity; they are an integral part of the earth’s natural cycles. Livestock are walking, breathing composters. They contribute to healthy soil biology by spreading manure across farms and pastures.
Regenerative farming not only helps pastures flourish, it helps people flourish as well.
As a young girl, I was often running and playing in the fields of my grandparent’s farm, a conventional farm where nitrogen was pumped into the soil while the manure was shipped away. It wasn't until I became an adult and suffered a major health crisis that I learned this farming practice robs our food of vital nutrients.
For decades, the nutrient-density in our food has been declining. The pervasive idea that the food our grandparents ate is healthier than what we’re eating today isn’t a myth; it’s scientifically proven. Multiple scientific studies show that many fruits, vegetables, and grains grown today carry less protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin, and vitamin C than those grown decades ago. In fact some nutrients, like protein, have fallen 6% while other nutrients, like riboflavin, have fallen as much as 38%.
Regenerative farming reclaims nutrients and yields dramatically more nutrient-dense foods at a time when we couldn’t need them more.
Take glutathione for example. Glutathione is a master antioxidant and is needed for a healthy, functioning immune system, as well as the making of DNA and other essential functions in the body. One of our partnering chicken farms recently tested the glutathione levels in their regeneratively-raised chicken and the tests showed six times more glutathione in their chickens than in an organic, cage-free chicken.
FOND is committed to supporting regenerative U.S. farms that are rebuilding our topsoil so that we can better nourish our current and future generations. Each jar of FOND bone broth is made from only regeneratively-raised animal bones, beyond organic herbs and veggies, and recyclable and biodegradable packaging. In addition, our entire slow-simmer, 18-hour brewing process is 100% plastic and aluminum-free.
We want to create the most nutrient-dense, highest-quality, best tasting, bone broth that you can buy (or make at home!). And if we can provide a nourishing, healing product that also heals the soil it comes from…that’s (bone broth) gravy.
When I started FOND I knew I wanted to do better. I was committed to using the highest quality ingredients and bones and I wanted to give back to the land that made our little jars of healing possible. This is where regenerative came in.
Taking care of the land isn’t just the responsibility of farmers and ranchers. As food manufacturers, we have the responsibility to ensure our ingredients come from a sustainable source. Our job is not to pillage and plunder, but to cultivate and restore. At FOND, our greatest joy is being a part of renewing the land. We’ve seen firsthand the changes to the land after a few years of farming regeneratively, and the results are absolutely stunning.
In FOND’s early days, I visited a farm and stood on pastures that had been regeneratively farmed for 1, 2 and 3 years respectively. The first year looked healthy, but not much different from my backyard. The second year was lush and thick, but the third year was flourishing - an embarrassment of riches and unleashing of the beauties and treasures in nature. I will never forget it.
We have stuck by our principles and have always chosen to work directly with U.S. regenerative farmers so we know exactly where our ingredients are coming from, no imported meat or bones here. Today I am proud to say that we support twenty two verified regenerative U.S. farms and are the only Land to Market verified bone broth on the market.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with nutritionist and author, Kelly Leveque to talk about FOND's commitment to regenerative farming. Watch the video below!
Bone broth has become a victim of food industrialization.
FOND is committed to proving that each jar of bone broth you purchase from us makes a tangible difference to the health of our pastures, our earth, and you. In an era where greenwashing is prevalent and regulations are slow, FOND’s Land to Market Verification provides customers with assurance and ecological impact verification that their purchases are healing not only people, but the pastures our products come from.
Land to Market prevents this from happening by verifying the ecological impact of every farming partner we work with. It takes over two years to make it through Land to Market’s verification program as a farmer (a year or more for a brand) and this is for several reasons; they measure soil health, water health, carbon and nitrogen health, and the pollinator count. By measuring each of these critical factors, we preserve the importance of the regenerative name and verify to our customers that their purchases are in fact changing the health and future of our soil. You can support the integrity of regenerative farming by only purchasing regenerative products that are Land to Market Verified, or, Regenerative Organic Certified.
The Savory Institute
Regenerative farming documentary: Kiss the Ground