These are the questions we as farmers, as business owners, as stewards of the land we must ask ourselves before we make any decisions on what supply’s, tools, equipment we introduce into our S.O.P. (Standard operating procedures). Is it sustainable? Or one time use? Is it affordable and how does it affect your bottom line. Am I creating an unnecessary waste that could have been avoided. Following regenerative practices we learn to find these agricultural needs and implement sustainable solutions for those needs. Ex: building living soil and using dry amendments vs jug after jug of liquid nutrients creating a recurring plastic waste problem. Even some Organic products use plastic containers. This is a problem. This is where you must ask yourself. Is there a sustainable alternative? Can I afford it? What do I have to change to implement this new practice into my SOP. For this article we will use (Plant support system) as the situation being evaluated. Supporting your plants can be done any number of ways from metal cages to bamboo and trellis netting, Twine and zip ties and a endless list of DIY setups and contraptions. Everyone seems to have some version or combination of the above and if it works for you thats great. But what impact are you making? Is it one and done or can you reuse it? Is it something I’m buying once and it lasts for many seasons. Our is it 60- 6gal jugs every season. Or Thousands and thousands of feet of plastic netting bound for the landfill year after year after year?
Plastic netting has been a life saver for many of us in the industry and I raise my hand in this. Some do reuse the plastic netting but the sun degrades the plastic and can get weak after seasons. But most end up getting cut and shredded during the harvest process and thrown away after each run and new plastic purchased. It’s something that is factored into many farms annual budget. It’s an easy “convenient” solution to a agricultural need. But the trash. Their have been big changes in some of these products and now there are biodegradable options. But once again you’re still having to replace your netting After a couple runs.
My partner years back stumbled upon this product called jute netting. Made from jute it’s a twine like material made in the same trellis pattern we are all use to. But you can reuse for many many years to come. We are on our 3rd year of our original netting and rather than degrading they’ve actually gotten stronger over time. Like how rope tightens as it ages. It can be used exactly how you would use any netting depending on your needs and setup. We use round metal cages which our plants eventually grow through and need further support. At this point we drape the netting around the plant guiding the branches through the netting till proper support is obtained and netting is secured to the top of metal cage. Then pulling the netting snug to bottom of cage bundling together the slack.
The jute has now paid for itself in the 2nd year and still has many years to go. The years to come we are now adding to our profit margins and completely eliminating a massive waste problem. The decision to spend more now to save money in the long run is a wise business move but more importantly makes you a mindful caring steward of the land. Once you start making these changes towards more regenerative practices it makes others seem not so unachievable.
REGENERATIVE CULTIVATION My name is Kirt Rohlack and I am an Regenerative farmer from northern california. I grew up on my family's ranch in southern Texas learning very young what it took to be in the agricultural world. I moved to California in 2007 to start my own farming operation in the medical cannabis market. At that time I became very interested in developing and implementing regenerative organic agricultural practices and processes . I soon after partnered with 2 of the biggest medical collectives in L.A. at the time -La Brea Collective- & -La Confidential- cultivating organic medicine for there patients. I had expanded my responsibilitys running all cultivation projects and complete oversight of site locations and management of crews for -LBC-. 2018-present Me and fellow coworker Noble Thomas Hayes decided to move into running our own business operations and began to build E.R.F. - Emerald Regenerative Farms. This has been a dream in the making and the implementation of all our combined skills has given us the ability to take regenerative farming to the next level. Focusing on quality over quantity. Production of produce as well as medicine. Implementing livestock for food and soil inputs for our cultivation needs. Giving us the ability to give back to the community, provide for our family, and be a guiding light for others to learn from.