It’s all in the dirt.
FREEPORT, Maine — This month, Wolfe’s Neck Farm got a new name, the Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture & the Environment, and officially became part of an internationally trending agricultural movement that aims to fight climate change from the ground up.
Beyond some signs referring to a TransFARMation, the changes aren’t obvious. That’s because a big part of the rebranding has to do with a mission happening underfoot. Literally. This transformation is about using the soil on this centuries-old 626-acre farm on the shores of Casco Bay to combat climate change.
As to be expected with the ever-evolving world of agriculture, there’s a buzzword for the new approach: regenerative agriculture. But it’s not yet in widespread use, and Wolfe’s Neck’s executive director David Herring finds himself defining it a lot.
“I’ve had a lot of people say, ‘What is this thing about regenerative agriculture? What is that?’ ” Herring said. He smiles the smile of a man who knows that it is a select audience who wants to hear the nitty gritty of dirt. “And so our ability to explain it succinctly has been tested.”
Start with soil health. Richer soil, more dense with organic material, is the obvious path to stronger plants and better yields. That’s what compost is all about. Every farmer engaged in sustainable agriculture is already working toward this.