We are all about Restorative and Regenerative farming practices here at Restoration Acres Farm. Our animals are raised in ways that mimic the natural patterns found in creation. What you won’t find under our care are overgrazed fields, mud lots, concrete dirt lots, or animals standing ankle deep in their own manure – all of which are breeding grounds for pathogens and about as lifeless as it gets when it comes to natural landscapes (no natural habitats for wild animals, birds, beneficial insects, etc).
Instead, what you will find is a series of beneficially impacted “paddocks” (small fenced or formerly fenced sections of pasture or woods). We move our animals to new or rested land on a regular basis for the benefit of the animals and the land. You see, animals are never stagnant for very long in nature. Predators, food and water sources, and weather are all factors when it comes to how long an animal or group of animals is in one area. Once the food runs out or predators move in, the animal moves on to the next area in search of safety and nourishment. Not only does this keep the animal or herd healthy, fed, and safe, it also greatly benefits the earth and it’s ecology.
Pigs, for instance, were created with little “shovels” on the tip of their nose to aid them in digging for food and making nests in the ground. This simple act of digging, or tilling, helps loosen compacted soil, aerate the soil and stirs up the ancient seed bed allowing new plants and grasses to start growing. Their manure, of course, feeds the worms, bugs and microbes, eventually building soil.
After 7 years and hundreds of pig moves, we have developed a keen eye for beneficial pig impaction versus harmful or over-impaction. We have seen heavy brush laden woods and fields begin to turn into savanna’s and healthy pastures.The fields we began running our pigs through this last year were filled with thick brush and briers with barely any grass for the cows to graze. With just one pass with the pig herd we are already seeing new grasses grow and thickets beginning to thin. And while you may envision a field recently plowed through by 70 hogs to be nothing but mud and destruction, what you will actually find is an array of habitats either made or enhanced by the pigs, many species of birds thriving in the partially cleared out briers and feeding on the small pieces of grain left behind, small retention ponds created by the pigs with most of them being on contour with the land, and then other areas with nothing but mud and soil waiting for young tender grass shoots to emerge in just a few weeks. Even young tree saplings are left behind and given more room to grow thanks to the thinned thickets.
Allowing these impacted areas to rest for an ample amount of time before bringing the pigs back gives the land time to regenerate and grow its new grasses and plants. It gives the worms, insects and microbes time to process the manure and distribute the nutrients. Any pathogens that were present will die off due to lack of hosts to live in (99% of pathogens are species specific. I.E. a pig pathogen will not infect a chicken or deer!)
When you raise animals in harmony with nature instead of against its patterns, the end product is not only healthier for you but also has a vastly superior taste and texture.
We hope to see more regenerative farming practices being adopted by farms everywhere as it is the most sustainable way to grow food and care for our earth. Here at Restoration Acres Farm we will restore and heal as much land as our strength and resources allow, and we will continue to bring you the highest quality, most nutrient dense, best tasting food we can produce!
Matt, Rachel, Jackson and Virginia Palma
Restoration Acres Farm