Regenerative farming celebrates the circle of life.
Farmer Lee shares how, at The Chef’s Garden, we honor the growing practices of those who cared for the land before us while taking the best possible care of the soil today to leave the land in even better shape for the future.
So, we could make a case that the land is a farm’s greatest asset—but we believe we have one that’s even greater: our outstanding farm team. When you grow vegetables using regenerative agricultural techniques and hand harvest those crops at the peak of freshness, this is a time-intensive process.
This process takes plenty of care and attention. In other words, it takes the combined efforts of a truly dedicated farm team—which is exactly what we’re blessed with at The Chef’s Garden.
Sustainable Farming Versus Regenerative Farming
Before we go back to celebrating our greatest asset—our team—here’s a quick look at the changing language around farming practices. We’d long used the term “sustainable farming” to describe what we do.
In October 2015, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture challenged farmers to create a definition of that term. Through a series of conversations over the next few years, we recognized that we went beyond sustainable farming—beyond simply leaving the land in as good of condition as we found it. Instead, our focus is regenerative farming where the goal is to continue to increase the health of our soil.
Regenerative Farm Team
To be successful, farms also need to focus on a regenerative strategy for their people. As the world was becoming more urban, people sometimes told another person that, “If you can’t make it in the real world, you can always go back to the farm.”
That saying—while perhaps well intentioned—didn’t give hard-working farmers the respect they deserved. Fortunately, farm workers today are receiving more respect as consumers gain a greater appreciation about how and where their food is grown. In that regard, the present is an improvement upon the past.
At The Chef’s Garden, we work hard to create an environment where people will want to work and contribute—and our goal is to make that even more attractive tomorrow and in the future.
At our Roots Conference in 2017, we did a deep dive on that subject—how to make farm and restaurant work more satisfying to the workers of today and tomorrow—and you can watch the video and read highlights here:
Just like with other careers, people want fair pay. They want health insurance. They want to know that they can have time off. Farms must offer competitive benefits to attract quality workers. (You might note that the video above discusses “sustainability” in the workforce. We began our shift to the term of “regenerative” not that long afterwards.)
Nurturing Our Greatest Asset
When we talk about growing our future, sure. We mean the crops that we regeneratively grow—but at the heart of it all is our amazing, incredible, hard-working farm team. Thank you for everything you do! We appreciate you more than we can say.