CONSERVATION

What does it mean to be 'regenErative'?

What does regenerative agriculture look like? How does regeneration differ from sustainability and restoration? These questions go beyond semantics, as they have deep implications for our approach to land management. 

Sustainability

Sustainability is the goal of adjusting practices in industry and the economy such that there is a net zero impact on the environment. Sustainability seeks to maintain environmental integrity for future generations.

Restoration

Ecological restoration is a practice which intends to transform damaged landscapes back into their undeveloped and natural states. However, this is not entirely possible due to climate change, introduction of non-native species, and extinction of native species.

Regeneration

Regeneration seeks slow and intentional regrowth within disturbed ecosystems. Week aim to heal nature while allowing ourselves to harvest what we need. This means blurring the lines between "nature" and "agriculture".

deep listening

Land stewardship as a regenerative practice means being “in a relationship”—with human and larger biological communities, with land, with place and time, with history, and with future. Any good relationship requires healthy listening practices, and that is one of the main components of what undergirds the work of the land team at Agraria. 

This listening takes many forms: staying up to date on related research; frequent biological surveys before, during, and after changing practices; soil testing; assessing boundaries; pausing, stopping, and discontinuing when necessary; site-specific design solutions; and incorporating community feedback

Man holding handful of soil
small silphium plant in ground

our practices

  • Native plantings;
  • Coppicing;
  • Edge feathering;
  • Strategic removal of OOPS (out-of-place/invasive species);
  • Mitigative habitat construction;
  • Large woody debris cultivation;
  • Reptile and amphibian point survey dwellings;
  • Ecosystem specified surveys;
  • High mowing where possible;
  • Decreasing lawn space;
  • Ecological food system investments

The Nature Conservancy Stream and Wetland Restoration Project

The Jacoby Creek corridor through Agraria will look, and feel, completely different 10 years from now, thanks to our partnership with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) on a stream and wetland restoration project. Where honeysuckle once grew, native trees and shrubs and grasses will flourish along the banks of a gently meandering stream, creating a welcoming habitat for wildlife and beneficial insects.

The project calls for removing the dense thickets of Amur honeysuckle that have grown up along the banks of the stream and its tributaries; restoring meanders to the creek, which was channelized in the past to increase the amount of land available for agricultural production; re establishing and rehabilitating the surrounding wetlands; and replanting the restoration area with a variety of native trees and plants. The project will restore wetland and streamside habitat on almost 60 acres of Agraria. This includes more than 20 acres of extra buffer strips that Agraria will be able to use for research and for demonstrating regenerative agricultural practices like permaculture. This is the first time the TNC has collaborated with a landowner on a project that combines mitigation with agriculture. The restored area, along with 20 acres of adjoining farmland, will be protected by a permanent conservation easement.

Jacoby Partnership Project

Agraria is a partner with the Tecumseh Land Trust in the $1.5 million Jacoby Partnership Project. This five-year project is aimed at improving soil and water quality and encouraging conservation practices in the Jacoby Creek sub-watersheds. We also partner with TLT on workshops and events.

The dark blue line in this map represents an approximation of the current Jacoby Creek at Agraria

This map represents the restoration plans from TNC. The light blue line shows the restored Jacoby creek, the light green represents delineated wetlands, and the dark green represents the total area where TNC will remove invasive species and plant native plant species.