I’ve talked a lot about how our animal family here at Patina Farm has taught me so much, but I’d love to share what I’ve learned from the land as well.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve experienced more brain fog, dips in energy, and joint inflammation. And though I know change comes with age, I felt there was more going on than simple aging. In an effort to heal, I began to learn as much as I could about the deep connection between the soil surrounding us and our personal health and wellness.

What we eat and put into our bodies significantly impacts our health — and that starts with the ground. 

Through research, I began to understand how much my gut’s microbiome needed healing. What I didn’t realize was how deeply connected that is to the soil our food grows within.

Andrew Beedy

I was fortunate enough to meet Andrew Beedy, an Organic and Biodynamic farming consultant here in California, and began to understand the earth’s microbiome as well. And unfortunately, the way our country farms is rapidly destroying it. 

I started to realize that thinking we can use pesticides and chemicals to kill all the ‘bad stuff’ and then just add the ‘good stuff’ back in, is a fallacy. Somehow, we’ve come to see ourselves as separate from the earth but in reality, we’re in a symbiotic relationship and we’re seeing the unfortunate results of what happens when we don’t treat the earth well. 

Pesticides don't just target the "pests" we want to control. They are detrimental to "beneficial insects", like bees, who are essential to the health of our ecosystems, and in turn, our health as well.

When we use chemicals to kill weeds and pests, we’re also killing the very microbiome we need in the soil to grow the most nourishing foods. This is why we don’t use any chemical sprays at Patina Farm. I could (and will!) do an entire post about what we use instead, but with Andrew’s help, we’ve learned to use things like worm compost tea that is sprayed to improve the health of the soil.

Leila has joined me on this journey, and she’s discovered her own passion for this subject of food, wellness, and its connection to the earth.

Leila with the fruits of her labor :)

As a mother, it’s truly incredible to watch her explore things that light her up. She has become very knowledgeable about sustainable agriculture and continues to learn so much. 

We’ve both come to understand that whatever we do to the earth, we’re doing to ourselves, and unfortunately, there’s often no balance in the way our culture treats the world around us. We work everything to the extreme — our bodies, our lives, and our earth. So it becomes (and we become) depleted. 

But there’s hope! When we learn to slow down and rest, we have a deeper understanding that the soil needs this, too. When Leila works in our gardens, she rotates crops and plants cover crops to give the soil a chance to rest and recover.

Instead of adding nitrogen to your garden with fertilizers, try planting a cover crop of legumes, like peas! Through a relationship with bacteria in the soil, legumes are able to fix atmospheric nitrogen on their roots!

The lesson I value most is understanding that the way we treat the earth is a mirror reflecting how we’re truly treating ourselves. With our move to Patina Meadow in the fall, I plan to continue this journey on a bigger scale. With more land to heal, I hope you’ll join me as I carry on learning. Be sure to follow Patina Meadow on Instagram to see our continuing education.

Let’s grow together,

xo

Brooke