This is where all the magic happens. Literally. We’re calling it Hogwarts. Okay, okay, maybe it’s not literally magical like a school for witchcraft and wizardry, but it’s pretty darn close…
One way that regenerative agriculture can reverse climate change* is through raising livestock on silvopasture. Silvopasture = forest + pasture. But what if the pasture doesn’t have any good soil and the forest doesn’t have anything green left when spring comes?
*YES, you heard me right, you can help reverse climate change by grilling a Wild Harmony pork burger.
To make an easy gluten-free pork burger, just combine ground pork,
old fashioned oats, salt, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder,
and ground pork, and throw the patties on the grill!
In the past couple of winters, we’ve seen erosion happen and pigs digging super deep holes. During the winter the grass wasn’t recovering because it was too cold and in the spring it got super wet and the soil and nutrients would wash away.
We would end up with this environment that isn’t really ideal. Bare soil, lots of ruts all over the place. Grass seedlings don’t stand a chance to take root because the nutrients are gone! We started thinking, ‘How do we fix this? What are the other options?’
If instead of losing soil to erosion, what if we could build soil through composting, letting the pigs essentially build us a big compost pile, and dig through it, and turn it? Then instead of losing soil, we would actually be creating it...
We built the walls of Hogwarts from oak trees right on the property! We got a portable sawmill and made our own lumber and posts and built the whole wall from our own materials.
Once we had the wooden walls built, we added a hoop structure with some large metal frames that were so tall that we ended up needing to rent a scissor lift! We got a big team of people here, threw ropes over, and all together we pulled the tarp up and over the top.
We built a totally open air structure. All we’re trying to keep out is the rain, give our pigs a little bit of shade, so the bedding doesn’t get too wet. We started with a foot deep of wood chips and twice a week we roll out a large bale of hay, so we’re just constantly adding more dry bedding and as the pigs use the bathroom, it happens to be the perfect mix of carbon and nitrogen. That is basically all of the perfect stuff for a compost pile. The pigs dig so they’re helping us turn the compost pile.
Once the Hogwarts piglets are all weaned and ready to graduate, in another four weeks, they’ll all go out to pasture. All of the bedding will be composted and we can then just spread that on the fields, so we’ll have this huge mass of NEW soil, unlike what we’ve seen in past winters where we’re watching the soil wash away when it rains.
The land is saved from erosion because the pigs aren’t digging up all the grass anymore. We’re allowing the ground the rest while the pigs are off of it. We’re capturing nutrients so that the grass and other green stuff can flourish come springtime. We’re building the topsoil and making our silvopasture dreams come true.