I was unsure if the noise of the ATV was louder than the sound of wind rushing across the plains. Even so, I could hear DeAnna loud and clear. We had only met face-to-face a few minutes earlier, but we had been conferencing weekly for the past 18 months talking soil and human health and the role of regenerative farming.
I was on my way to a field day on Kelly and DeAnna Lozensky's 2000 acre regenerative farm in North Dakota. There was still some last minute set-up chores and I had offered to help. We were off quickly in the priority parked recreational vehicle with ancient grain samples to drop off at one of the tour sites. No time for small talk. Our conversation was always solidly based upon a continuum of highlighting their scorecard as it related to regenerative best practices.
"We don't want to be in a pre-defined box.", she was referring to the consternation over the myriad of certifications available and being encouraged by peers. She continued, "Don't you see? If we meet the minimums, we're in, but our learning and adaptations from that learning are a constant evolution. By the time consumers have been educated and a certification is rolled out, we've evolved many times over with a better product and practice. Isn't that the point of all of this?"
Evolving has many definitions, but all reference a process of development.
It is a rare visit with Kelly and/or DeAnna Lozensky that I don't get insights and inspiration. This visit was no different. They exemplify professional evolution. In some ways, it is because they are each knowledge seekers taking a daily environmental scan, respectively gathering expertise and comparing what they've learned to modify their practices based upon what they've learned independently and together. It IS their daily routine 24/7/365. It is what author and activist, Paul Hawken, calls agency in his book Regeneration.
Their first field day welcomed Rick Bieber, a 20 year veteran of soil health education, to gather soil samples and explain what his tests revealed. Walking the newly planted fields, DeAnna and Kelly pointed out their respective ancient grain plantings and we soon made our way to a location where Rick took center stage. The group gathered around him as he gave a short background on tools used to evaluate soil health, Bodies leaned in as he took a long narrow shovel and with one swift movement, removed a significantly sized soil sample. There was silence as Rick described the elements of the soil he extracted and what the layers told him about its microbe community. He handed samples to each of us and even this neophyte knew it was the color of freshly ground dark roast coffee. It was textured, heavy with moisture and clung to itself, as did the earth worms trying to retain their grip on their living soil home. The soil was passed around. Even the smell of the soil was rich. At that moment, observers remarked that it was not a familiar sight in their everyday world. What was going on here was unique.
Kelly and Rick followed the soil study with an observation, as they looked out on the horizon, Kelly was intent on feeding the microbes within the soil to retain the diversity and moisture, continuing the process of growing soil. This year, the microbes were especially hungry and the stubble left on the farm was consumed in record amounts and time. Kelly smiled proudly, as it was a testament to the growing microbe lifeforms on his farm.
As if on cue, the group looked off over a neighboring farm to see large dust clouds of soil blowing away in the relentless wind. "Soil practices matter, said Rick. The reality is that DeAnna and Kelly Lozensky are growing soil, while most are not. The consequences of this inaction will be devastating to each and every one of us. "
While there are many high points of this farm tour, I cannot get out of my head, DeAnna's desire to not be locked into any system that prevents them from evolving at a pace driven by their passion and mission.
This farm team innovates by the hour with their guiding consideration of optimum human health for themselves, their customers and community. They drove home that message again and again during their inaugural field day in demonstrating their processes of growing, harvesting, storing, cleaning, processing, packaging and distribution. Every element of their farm is assessed and reinvented for systems that mimic nature as much as possible. Their metrics now encompass everything from the microbes in the soil, to the diversity of plantings, diversity and health of wildlife now returning to the farm to the health of their customers who have transitioned to their ancient grains, flour and/or pasta.
What guides Kelly and DeAnna of Guardian Grains? Health. Human health, soil health and planet health.
The demonstration of one farm so committed to human health made me wonder. Who else am I relying on for my health that is evolving? Do I know? Have I asked?
I must then ask, who else am I sourcing from that is evolving with my health as their center focus? Who is continually putting every process up for analysis and modification for the betterment of my health? I don't want to know my oral health specialist is a member of a well-established golf course community - I want to know if they are a member of IAOMT? I want to know they are evolving. I don't want my healthcare team to tell me about their latest cruise or see an upgraded interior designed office, I want to know they are thinking of ways to optimize my health 24/7/365. I don't want my food producer/seller to tell me about their newest check -out gadget, I want to hear their understanding and improvements of soil or ocean health. Should we expect any different?
Start the process of asking.
Consider calling DeAnna and asking how they are evolving. Call others in your network to ask how they are evolving. Then and only then do you have the information necessary to source products and services that optimize your health. You also have the information to source and support those actively solving for your benefit and the world around you. Pretty sweet rewards, indeed.
Doctors won’t make you healthy. Nutritionists won’t make you slim. Teachers won’t make you smart. Gurus won’t make you calm. Mentors won’t make you rich. Trainers won’t make you fit. Ultimately, you have to take responsibility. Save yourself. -