The Power of Food: Food Is The Foundation of Our Culture


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Mackinzee Macho | March 19, 2021

Mackinzee Macho is an undergraduate student and Senior Program Manager in Human and Ecological Systems Transformations for the Foresight Lab. The Foresight Lab is a think-tank that shifts culture toward social, economic, and ecological well-being through consulting. This series, “The Power of Food,” explores topics like carbon sequestration and regenerative farming.

Food plays many different roles in our lives. It can be a peace-offering, welcoming gift, medicine, or a gatherer of friends and family. It is the centerpiece of cultures and heritage; and similar to folktales, recipes are passed down through generations and never forgotten. Food brings on a sense of wonder and creativity for those cultivating, harvesting, cooking, processing, or consuming it. It comes in all shapes and sizes, from different areas of the world with a variety of flavors. Our sustenance is more than just something to fill our stomachs – food is an attribute of shared culture.

Every living being on earth needs nourishment to survive. This visceral need connects us to the natural world. For us, around 95% of the food we consume comes from our soil, which we depend on for our survival. Unfortunately, two-thirds of Earth’s surface is experiencing desertification according to Allan Savory, an ecologist and founder of the Savory Institute. Through poor soil management practices, our soil is turning into dirt. This threatens our food supply. In the last 150 years, we have lost half of Earth’s fertile topsoil. At the rate of decline, scientists predict we only have 60 harvests left until our fertile topsoil is gone. Without topsoil, Earth’s ability to sequester carbon, filter water, and feed people diminish.

As citizens and community members, we have a role to play in soil health and carbon sequestration. Protecting the quality of our soil also gives us a powerful response to the climate emergency. Soil degradation is the largest carbon sink and protecting it has the power benefit us in numerous ways. We can garden fruits and vegetables, grow local plants, and preserve wildlife that promotes natural soil health and biodiversity. By purchasing organic and regenerative products, we send a strong message to the market that we are interested in regenerative, carbon farming. In this way, we can build a more regenerative future together.

Food is integral to culture and connection. If we continue eroding soils, we can no longer grow food to support our expanding populations. We are connected to Earth and each other. We must take actions that perpetuate our collective wellbeing We must assess the system as a whole and integrate carbon farming and gardening to bring about positive, measurable gains in social, economic, and ecological wellbeing.

The Power of Food: Create a Thriving Ecosystem in Your Backyard


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Mackinzee Macho | February 26, 2021

Mackinzee Macho is an undergraduate student and Senior Program Manager in Human and Ecological Systems Transformations for the Foresight Lab. The Foresight Lab is a think-tank that shifts culture toward social, economic, and ecological well-being through consulting. This series, “The Power of Food,” will explore topics like carbon sequestration and regenerative farming.

In just under two months, spring seedlings can be planted outdoors. Now is the time to begin planning what you want to plant in your garden. Vegetables, herbs, flowers, and fruits can be used to create a thriving garden, but the real opportunity is to use regenerative gardening practices to promote healthy soil and nutritious plants. 

Carbon gardening maximizes your soil’s sequestration and carbon storage potential through regenerative and sustainable agricultural management practices. These practices include using natural fertilizer and integrated pest management. Carbon gardening is better for plants, soil, and surrounding ecosystems since it promotes a healthier soil environment. In contrast, synthetic chemicals from inorganic fertilizers and pesticides can leach into nearby waterways, burn your plants, and damage the soil ecosystems that are crucial to plant health. The choices are between positive methods that build health and vibrancy, or degenerative practices that cause harm.

The relationship between soil, microbes, and plants – all under ideal conditions – sequester carbon. When soil is healthy and soil organic carbon levels are high, it has the structure to capture carbon, enhance water retention capacity, and build higher fertility rates. Soil organic carbon is determined by the growth and death of plant roots along with the transfer of carbon-rich nutrients from plant roots to soil microbes. The plants supply fungi with carbon-rich sugars which allows the fungi to produce integral nutrients for plant health and growth. As organic matter increases – which includes microbes, plant roots, and stocks – carbon is stored within them. You can reverse the effects of climate change, harvest delicious food, and feel good about boosting the health of your soil, and your family.

Using compost and native weeds to attract pest-consuming insects maintain soil health. These practices restore and regenerate soil, sequester carbon, and increase your yield. Soil that is full of microbes and soil organic matter improves its wellbeing and the food it produces. Healthy soil creates healthy people and a healthy environment. When we nourish our soil, we nourish ourselves and the environment.  

The Power of Food: We Can Reverse the Climate Emergency by Working Together


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Mackinzee Macho | February 12, 2021

Mackinzee Macho is an undergraduate student and Senior Program Manager in Human and Ecological Systems Transformations for the Foresight Lab. The Foresight Lab is a think-tank that shifts culture toward social, economic, and ecological well-being through consulting. This series, The Power of Food, will explore topics like carbon sequestration and regenerative farming.

Collective action can alter the course of history. The climate emergency is intimidating, but together we can change our behavior to reverse it. The science is clear: the Earth’s average temperature is rising at rates our modern civilization has never seen before. Extreme weather events are occurring more often and with greater intensity, climate change will only become worse with the degradation of our ecosystem from the continual release of greenhouse gases. It took us decades to get into this situation, but we do not need decades to dig ourselves out.  

Recently, President Biden signed multiple executive orders that accelerate action in the face of the climate emergency. Rejoining the Paris climate accord, increasing offshore wind usage, and ending reliance on fossil fuels are key, but imagine the impact if each of us added our individual local actions to the effort.

Collective action and a call for sustainability will further combat the emergency. We can harness the potential of our soils to sequester carbon. Sequestration pumps carbon out of our atmosphere into the ground along with improving soil and plant health. Citizens can sequester carbon by gardening and composting. Growing one’s own food is healthier for our soil, the Earth, and ourselves. Placing our food and other compostable waste into piles reduces waste in the landfill and improves soil and plant health when applied. These simple steps when performed collectively can offset emissions and reduce climate change impacts.

Choosing greener energy, regeneratively grown foods, and responsibly sourced materials creates a market for them. Citizens must urge producers, vendors, farmers, and more to evolve into regenerative and sustainable practices. If we are driven by hope in the face of what seems impossible, nothing can stop us.