Common Ground ... Where Good Things Are Happening
Common Ground Gathering is an event that brings together farmers and farmland owners who care about soil health, sustainability, community and good local food.
Common Ground Gathering is an event that brings together farmers and farmland owners who care about soil health, sustainability, community and good local food. TLC, along with our partners at Liberty Prairie Foundation, have held the event since the summer of 2017 at Soulful Prairies Farm near Woodstock.
Now in its third year, connections between farmers and landowners are taking shape. During last summer’s Common Ground, farmer Kevin Kelley of Terra Vitae Farms was looking for additional land so his pasture-raised meat business could expand. He began talking with a like-minded landowner in rural Woodstock, who happened to be looking for someone who needed land for grazing. Shortly after, Kevin brought his livestock to the landowner’s pasture, creating an arrangement that benefits the farm and the landowner. The arrangement works because they both agree on the principles and practices of regenerative agriculture.
What is regenerative agriculture? The driving force is to make the land better by using soil-building practices, such as rotational grazing of livestock, which keeps the animals moving through the pasture, never staying in one area for very long, continuously fertilizing along the way. This type of grazing allows the grasses to recover, building soil health and never allowing the soil to be bare. Animals graze on a diversity of pasture plants, resulting in a more nutrient-dense meat. The idea is to mimic natural systems, much like bison grazing on the prairie. Regenerative practices also capture carbon in soil and plant biomass, helping to mitigate the effects of climate change.
As Kevin says, “We believe good farming should heal the environment while producing the most nutrient-dense, highest quality food possible.”
We look forward to many more partnerships like these forming as a result of Common Ground Gatherings.