Farming Sustainably with Regenerative Agriculture | Restoring Paradise


I think a spiritual journey goes on
hand-in-hand with an environmental one. Which I guess has got me personally to
an understanding that life is about service. You know we’re blessed to have this farm and so how do we use this for the
greater good? It’s a traditional sheep and cattle farm,
it’s 610 hectares or 1500 acres and has been farmed you know traditionally with
sheep and cattle since about the 1850’s. It’s back about fifteen years
ago when we had our first child that you started thinking about the future, you start thinking about the food that you’re giving your children and that sort of
lead us on a journey to find a more sustainable regenerative way of looking
after our property and also looking after the future. That journey has led us
to learn about organic agriculture biodynamics, biological agriculture and
have made some pretty big changes on the farm over the last ten years. Back in 2008 we approached Air New Zealand with an idea for people to be able to use
air points to donate to an environmental tree planting project and we were just at
the right place at the right time and very fortunate to get some funding from
the Air New Zealand environment trust and over a three-year period we planted
85,000 trees and the majority of those are New Zealand native trees which are
now flourishing and really transforming the landscape and we’ve also planted you
know a lot of nut trees and fruit trees where we can just to create that
abundance and vibrancy in the farm and one of the catch cries for the farm is diversity diversity diversity and as much as possible we’re
creating that diversity. We’ve got the cattle going around, we have hens following along behind the cattle, there’s pigs on the farm too – and we’re
milking a few dairy cows and all that is really about using a perennial crop like
grass, pasture with you know forage from trees and that around as well without
relying on so much of the annual grains and all the energy that’s involved in
producing them one of the biggest One of the biggest changes that we’ve made has been reducing our sheep numbers and getting more cattle onto the farm and that’s
because we’re moving to a system of holistic grazing. So holistic grazing is a management technique that’s been devised by a Zimbabwean man Allan Savory
and he was observing the large herds of buffalo and Africa and it could be
bison in America and just you know massive herds of
ruminant animals and these animals were constantly on the move because there’s
generally some lions or something just just on their back and
wanting to pick off any of the weak ones and so our system that we’ve adapted
the holistic grazing from the Allan Savory thing is we
like to have large mobs of cattle and we’re shifting them daily and so they’re
constantly on the move. but instead of lions keeping them bunched together we have electric fences and each day they’re going on to fresh grass
and it’s long grass and so they’re not eating at all some of us getting
trampled in with the dung and urine and that and with the grass being trampled
it creates a mulch on the surface and I guess it’s like kind of making a compost
right in situ on the land and with a healthy soil biology that will break
down and form humus in the soil. Conventionally farmers it’s all about
keeping the grass short and in a vegetative state so it’s growing vigorously. Through that whole process you’re actually degrading the soil and just
topping it up with fertilizer inputs and that system and relies on bringing in
particularly phosphate fertilizers largely from North Africa and a whole
system that requires digging up that fertilizer and trucking it and then
shipping it and then trucking it and then processing it and then flying it onto
hills, it’s a system that’s not going to work in a future with less fossil
fuels. Other farmers might be looking at us and saying you’re just wasting all that grass because it gets dry and stalky and what have you but you know
my reply is that waste as a human concept, nature doesn’t do waste and
so we are using that pasture as part of our fertilizer program because that’s
what’s getting put down on the soil and broken down and going back into building
soil. When the grass is grazed under the holistic long grazing system
it gets cut off short by the animal and it also sheds it’s roots at that time and so
that’s how you’re increasing the carbon into the soil and I guess one of the
most exciting things and drivers of what we’re doing is the potential that that
has for helping with climate change issues and you know the potential for
getting carbon from the atmosphere down into the soil is an absolute must despite you know so many websites and environmental groups saying
how damaging cattle are and the way they are farmed conventionally it’s
absolutely right, through feedlot systems and all that cropping and energy involved with bringing their food and then the issues with their
wastes and manure it is a big issue. Under this system they are sequestering more carbon and are part of a natural cycle that is
actually beneficial you know although I Although I don’t obviously have all the answers, one observation is that there are no vegetarian eco systems and so
animals are part of nature and so it is a whole lot more balance that we need to
put into our food system and cattle can be part of that. I totally accept that if for whatever
spiritual reasons or whatever people choose not to eat animals, respect
their decision to do that but for me there is no life without death and it’s
how we look after the animals. All life is sacred to us and so we honor
these animals by giving them a fantastic life looking after them the best we can and then I guess at the end of the day to justify killing one of these beautiful
creatures we have to good life and do the right thing to to
honor that animal. We’re not concentrating on optimizing our
production or profitability our focus is to optimize life and I think the profitability will come as a consequence of that. New Zealand being probably one of the youngest countries on the planet as far as when humans came to be here, I just sort of would love to see what this
place was like a thousand years ago which is such a brief period in
ecological time and in time we’ve sort of stripped most of the native
vegetation and done a whole lot of damage and we’ve gone about as far as we
can down that road and so now it’s time for us to try and find the balance and
restore those ecosystems but find a place for humans living harmoniously
within it. Ultimately it’s all about trying to restore paradise. You know nitrogen-fixing trees and you
know shade shelter all that stuff. Is that a bumblebee? Excuse me. We like nature. Hey there guys thanks for wathcing. If you want to see more of our films you can check out these two here or if you want to help support us in making more films you can
visit our Patreon page there’s a link to it in the description. So thanks again
for watching and I’ll see you all in the next film.

77 thoughts on “Farming Sustainably with Regenerative Agriculture | Restoring Paradise

  1. thanks as always, great stuff. Spot on with the point about nature having no vegetarian systems, i can see the vegans freakin out now.

  2. If everyone had one acre we would be healthy and happy
    But we have been living with a government that chooses corporations and currency manipulation over people

  3. When you get a Happen Films video in your subscription feed, you know it's going to be a great day. Another awesome video, thanks!

  4. Weird "reason" to eat meat. We as humans don't need meat, obviously. Therefore eating meat is just an act out of "desire" which means, that you wish (not need) to eat meat. Considering the benefits of eating meat, and just not doing it, eating meat is clearly not a logical decision.
    Pro's of eating meat: your desire got satisfies. (thats it, basically)
    Con's of eating meat: -supporting a business (any businesses are causing harm to something in some way, to convert money out of something)
    – pollution. – killing out of no necessity – harder to digest – and so on.

    Just because you get born into a society that teaches you to love eating meat, dosen't mean that you are not allowed to think about it in a critical manner. That we don't need meat is obvious, as there are many vegetarians and vegans out there (alive and healthy).
    Doing something that has no real benefit and a lot of bad results, for the world you live in, is.. well, a mistake, right?

    Having said that, i respect the approach they are taking, really appreciate it, when people try to protect the environment 🙂

    I always like to ask myself, if i want the world to be worse, because of the fact that i existed, the logical answer would be no. So we probably should stop using up earth and instead try to protect it from all these braindead shortsighted humans that don't care.

  5. Bummer! I love your films. Animals are not here for us to eat. They exist for their own purposes. Plenty of vegan permaculture sites and homesteads out there that work with animals and use their manure but simply choose not to kill and eat the animals. Love love your films all the same. Great messages of hope we need in this world.

  6. love, love, LOVE this! Saving to reference anytime I end up in a binary discussion on the place of animals in agriculture. I was already looking forward to your feature film, now I'm even more excited! Great to see people including holistic grazing in discussions on sustainability 🙂

  7. Haha, article titled "fighting climate change" and is about animal agriculture. Irony up the wazoo. I do approve of small scale regenerative farming though, so definitely this is an upgrade to factory farming, but still pumping out methane.

  8. "There are no vegetarian ecosystems"??? You can have animals without slaughtering or eating them. I agree with the desire to be sustainable and sequester carbon but I wish there was more scientific evidence that this system works. We can't just do things that seem to be doing what we want and are agreeable, we have to prove it works. Nature has it's systems and science doesn't bend to our wishes.

  9. Great video. Don't think there is enough engagement with a more middle if the road approach were established farms are changing to become more eco friendly. A lot of people in the community talk down people who dont commit to the most idealized life style choice. That I think this turns people off taking the first small steps to a better future.

  10. Y'all need to chill and read "Meat: A benign extravagance" by Simon Fairlie.
    Remember people: every time someone blames the poor cow for climate change, Shell and Exxon heave a sigh of relief.

  11. 5:05 Not JUST websites and environmental groups. The UN also speaks out about the damaging effects raising cattle has on the environment.

  12. Great video! Yes balance is the key to healing the planet… but sadly most humans dont understand balance if its not beneficial to them…

  13. [email protected] the vegan hate. I am 100% vegan and I fully support the cooperation between humans and animals in these regenerative farming practices. Whether it be cows, chickens, or insects. I see nothing wrong with getting some rescue animals or whatever and building up a system like this. My only difference would be to not eat the animals. Srsly tho you vegan fucks, if you have some animals on your farm they give so much value to your cycle, they can put in work for the life you give them.

  14. Great film @Happen Films- I really enjoyed hearing Greg Hart speak about holistic grazing and the effect its having on the environment he lives in.
    I really these short films- it gives me hope that there are others on this planet who care about it and want to make a positive and balanced change for the better and to see people working within their heart energy makes my heart sing and my face smile 🙂

  15. Excellent film as always. Animals seem to be quite content and healthy. It is nice to have a sounding board for vegetarians, too bad it is ALWAYS negative. Must be liberals…

  16. Thanks Antoinette and Jordan for piecing together such a great snapshot of Mangarara and its vision!

    I've been working at Mangarara for about 9 months now (escaped the camera!) after years as a climate change activist and then working on land use/water quality for government. As it's topical on this thread I've also been both vegan and vegetarian for extended periods, and felt as healthy as I do now, but eventually settled on 'ethical omnivorism' (for lack of a better label).

    Greg and Rachel's vision for Mangarara – and its broader reach into New Zealand farming communities – has the potential to have a far reaching positive impact, developing farming systems that; sequester carbon in trees and soil; increase biodiversity; improve soil health and consequently water quality + flood + drought resilience; and produce quality nutrition & eating experiences. This is by no means the 'easy' path as NZ farming systems have been directed towards simple input in – output systems out over many decades, with many on the negative consequences of these systems beyond most farmers abilities to 'see' or understand (due to a lack of ecological education in agricultural sciences).

    Many of the visitors and woofers that come by the farm are vegetarian or vegan, and we respect their choices of diet, as they respect the vision for Mangarara and understand how animals are an essential component of that transition and vision (although it's not uncommon for 'environmental vegetarians' to feel quite comfortable eating our meat).

    One of the challenges for us is effectively communicating the complexity of farming, what practices are good for the planet and people, and which are harmful. The difference between a 'good' and 'bad' farm practise can be hard to discern when trying to account for energy, climate, soil, water, plant health, animal health, nutrition produced and profit.

    The local context (natural resources, human resources, markets etc) is key. There's a good argument in NZ for ethical eaters to source their protein and nutrition from holistically managed NZ farms with livestock, rather than imported beans, grains, nuts produced in high input systems (unless you prefer not to eat meat of course). If we are successful we will be planting a growing increasing amounts of fruits, nuts, timber, vegetables and native corridors integrated into our current pastoral landscape.

    We have an open gate policy and welcome visitors to the farm (ideally with some notice) and always enjoy two-way feedback on how we are doing and where we could go : )

  17. I agree completely with this man that animals can be used to regenerate land, but completely dissagree that you should eat them.

    His words; "All life is sacred to us, and so we honor these animals by giving them a fantastic life, looking after them the best we can and then, I guess, at the end of the day to justify killing one of these beautiful creatures, we have to live a good life and do the right thing to honor that animal."

    Sorry, but doing the right thing to honor that animal would be to let them live their life out fully, instead of cutting it short for your own enjoyment. They are helping you, as you said, let them be your co-workers instead of your food.

  18. I am so sorry about all the negative comments on this video. Please ignore them, and keep doing what you're doing.

  19. Fantastic to see all those trees being planted. One thing that struck us when travelling in NZ was how denuded large stretches of the countryside looks and how breathtakingly beautiful the old still existing forests are. Great to learn that there are people making this effort to restoring these landscapes.

  20. This is such an important message to be getting out there : it depends on the producers of food, the sustenance of life, to make sure their models are sustainable and fight climate change. I just recently started learning about regenerative farming and am absolutely convinced it is the way of the future!!

  21. Nice vid. What's the benefit of planting native trees on a farm? Would you not be better off planting trees with a return such as fruit trees?

  22. In nature we would also have natural predators to keep the population of the cattle down. How many natural predators do you have on your farm? And no, humans are not natural predators from a dietary point of view. The scientific evidence shows that there is a high probability that animal protein is bad for human health.

  23. Permaculture is proven to be much better then agriculture.
    Humans need plants to survive but not animal flesh or their secretions.
    Animals can still graze,live freely,be eaten by other animals and the circle of life can continue,but humans have no justification to enslave them and use them other then for profit..
    It's not necessary any more.
    We can grow food forests and mimic nature,let chickens and other birds take care of bugs,let cows graze etc and fertilize the soil.
    We should always strive for better ways.

  24. Fantastic ideas and solutions throughout this video. I hope these ideas can be translated to more populous countries like the UK (especially the reduction of sheep grazing)

  25. Obviously this way of raising cattle is orders of magnitude more sustainable than the norm however if he truly cared about the environment he would just reforest the land

  26. Amazing. Love seeing people who are actually making a change as opposed to just complaining on the internet about what they think is wrong with the world. I hope to do this one day when I have my own little farm. I look forward to it. I’ve always wanted to be more actively involved with ecological processes.

  27. All nice things to do but don't bother trying to reduce CO2 output because it's plant food and doesn't affect the climate. The sun drives climate and has cycles. Man made global warming is fake news.

  28. amazing…illustrates the balance and fit of man in nature and how to follow its rules but still to our advantage..well done.

  29. While I think this is a huge step in the right direction, I just don't agree or see the point with the anti-vegetarian message at the end. While cows and other livestock produce fantastic natural fertlizer, you by no means need livestock to bring life back to an ecosystem or to grow abundant, nutrient dense crops organically.

  30. I am from India.. We are following the organic farming for many thousand years until WESTERN MEDIA/COMPANIES starting to promote that only we can increase production only by using chemicals……Now the world is realizing that best way to run farming is to have balance in usage of chemicals OR no chemcials at all………Only sad thing is this that no one in the world questions the HYPOCRISY from western world

  31. Very inspiring. We believe that working with animals, along with agroforestry systems, is one of the most powerful ways of regenerating soils and ecosystems. Congratulations on the work!

  32. It's certainly more appealing and beautiful than modern farms. https://skepticalscience.com/holistic-management-rebuttal.html

  33. Yeah all our animals are killed in the prime of their lives.. but as long as we live good lives it's ok to kill them.
    That's some elitist bs right there.
    Don't need animals to build soil. There is nothing magic about poo or.. tearing roots?
    Even if there was there is still no need to kill these beautiful creatures because you like how they taste.
    Veganism is not a spiritual belief it's a logical moral philosophy based in reality.
    Unlike this humane slaughter paradox they had a good life time to betray their trust offal that you are spouting.

  34. It
    would require 3.7 billion acres of grazing field to produce enough grass-fed beef for all Americans, and there is only 1.9 billion acres in the USA.

    Feeding all these cattle with
    grass would require the surface of all of the US, Mexico, half of
    Canada and a good part of South America, ALL turned into grazing
    land, to satisfy US meat demand alone.

    I agree that pasture raising animals is good for the green house gases but in order for us to eat like this we would have to switch to eating a lot of vegan food and only a little meat, dairy, and eggs, basically everyone would have to become flextarians.

    A cow fed with grass takes 23 months to grow to the size it will
    be slaughtered. When it is fed with soy, corn, wheat etc… it takes only 15 months. Grass-fed beef takes 8 months more of water consumption / land use, and creates 8 months more of waste.

    I myself am vegetarian, 95% of the food I eat is vegan, the remaining 5% is pasture raised organic dairy and eggs, people would have to eat meat like this for this model to work. Most of my protein comes from tofu, pinto beans, and black beans.

    If people want to eat "meat" and dairy regularly it will have to be vegan meat products like beyond meat, quorn, impossible burger, field roast, oat milk, just egg (mung bean) etc… and only real meat, dairy, and eggs sparingly.

    A huge problem in this area is cost. The government subsidizes factory farmed meat, making it DIRT cheap. Pasture raised meat, dairy, and eggs is SUPER expensive even more so than regular organic animal products and most vegan animal product alternatives are also expensive. People would have to be primarily living off tofu, beans, and lentils for protein since they are cheap which imo sounds unrealistic, people like meat WAY too much for this model to work.

  35. This how everyone should farm! It is not only up to the farmers it’s also consumers who have to help. Buy your food local. You know what you get and don’t waste food mileage. You are supporting your local community and you invest in a better local environment.

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