You might have already heard about rewilding. The general idea is that you let the land revert to its natural state, but it’s not as simple as just stepping back and letting nature do its thing.
The biggest challenge is that so much has already been lost from the ecosystem that it’s tricky to get nature back into balance. If we just left our meadows to do their own thing, they would very quickly become covered with the dominant, aggressive species that swamp and smother anything more delicate, like wildflowers that feed a broader range of pollinators.
This is because there is nothing in the meadows to keep those aggressive plants in check and give sensitive herbs and wildflowers a chance to get and stay established.
It’s unlikely that we’re going to persuade the entire population to go vegan or plant based, so some pastoral agriculture (rearing animals for food) will continue.
But, increasingly, the farming industry is beginning to understand that another way is possible and necessary, that farming and wildlife can and should live together, and that farming should not, and cannot keep trying to subdue nature with machinery and chemicals. At the same time, there is a rise in awareness of the horrors of factory farming and consumer demand for another way.
We’re working collaboratively with a local dairy farmer to enable him to experiment with no ploughing/no spraying grazing at no risk to his established system, with the end goal of him changing his approach.
His heifers (cows who haven’t yet been in calf) are in our meadows too during the summer, munching down the dominant grasses, nettles, and creeping buttercup. When they go inside for the winter, we will top (cut) the docks and overseed with a mixture of disparate grasses, meadow herbs, and clovers, to increase diversity in the meadows and create room for the existing wildflowers. This in turn will increase insect and invertebrate diversity, which will drive bird diversity.
By not ploughing and not spraying weedkiller, we’re improving soil health, as the worms and microbes that support healthy soil will be fed by the cow pats and not disturbed by ploughing.
By bringing the heifers out to feed on a variety of plants, rather than being kept inside eating highly processed, single source food, we are improving their health and wellbeing. It also gives them a far superior quality of life, even if their lives are cut brutally short by consumer demand for dairy and beef products.
Learn more about veganism
The UN believes a plant-based diet can help fight climate change.
There are great books for children on fun and tasty ways to eat plants!