What is regenerative farming?
Regenerative farming is a solution to a widespread problem. Current farming practices deplete the watertable and degrade the soil because they fail to look at a farm as part of a complex ecosystem. The Southern Lights, realising the potential of farming operations to restore soil health, plant health and the health of the overall eco-system, is working to promote regenerative farming across Greece.
The broad aim of their program is to enable and support the transition of farming in Greece into a regenerative one by sharing knowledge about agroforestry, its possibilities for restoring soil, plant and animal health, and thus regenerating our ecosystems and building resilience in the face of climate change.
More specifically for the Ionian, this IEF funded project aims to consolidate a learning group of farmers on the island of Paxos around regenerative farming. The local learning group brings farmers together to facilitate their learning process, discussions and practices around regenerative farming. After supplementing an analysis of the region with local stakeholders and a team of experts, The Southern Lights team will reach out to their existing network to secure local learning group participants (approximately 25 farmers to start).
They will proceed by organising and running a series of meetings, visits, and trainings with the group–incrementally sharing learning materials and facilitating/supporting the group’s learning process. It is essential, especially in the early stages, to ensure a safe and supportive environment for the emerging group, shielded from external judgment or pressures of conventional farming practices. In this way, The Southern Lights team will encourage networks of collaboration between like-minded farmers, mutual support and peer learning, of this growing group and regenerative farming transition in the region.
Meetings will be facilitated by TSL’s team of experts from abroad who have more than 20 years of practical and theoretical experience on regenerative farming in several continents. Their insights create bridges between different farming contexts and greatly advance these innovative farming methods in Greece. By the mid-point of the project cycle TSL’s team will evaluate the progress and dynamics of the local learning group and make adjustments for the most appropriate next steps.
The team will proceed by further facilitating learning and working with local groups and authorities as deemed useful to support the emerging needs and aspirations of the group. Specific curated learning content will be shared with the learning group, developed in collaboration with TSL’s team of experts at Permalab as well as Ver de Terre Production (https://www.verdeterreprod.fr/), and begin to brief other relevant stakeholders in the region about their work – integrating them with the local learning group and farmers/learners in other regions.
The main components of this project are as follows:
1) one weekend training (where we will also identify potential first stage pilot farmers)
2) monthly Zoom calls and WhatsApp chat group
3) 3-day follow-up visit for local learning group and potential first stage pilot farms
4) Begin to connect the Paxos learning group with our other local learning groups around Greece (as part of a separate proposal, we have already secured funding to host an event for the groups in Athens in Autumn 2023)
Through this local learning group we will further assess the context and needs for regenerative farming and hydrological transitions on the island of Paxos; and will be prepared to consult island- wide water management designs, and eventually source potential participants for our pilot farm conversion program.
Learn more via THIS VIDEO!