Regenerating Our World

July 4, 2023

When some people see an issue, they go out of their way to find a solution. Mandy Magill realized that many places in Durango still used pesticides and other toxic products on landscaping and gardening, and decided through her organization - Project Dung Beetle - to create a speaker series designed to address all the different ways we can incorporate regenerative practices in our own backyard. By Hannah Robertson. This story is sponsored by Kroeger’s Ace Hardware and Happy Pappy’s Pizza & Wings

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Every year, about 75 billion tons of topsoil has lost worldwide to erosion, due often in part to faulty agricultural practices depleting the basis for most grown and cultivated foods. In the last few decades, many different movements have often successfully lobbied to change practices for farming, agriculture, and landscaping for the overall benefit of the earth. But multiple studies still show a slow decline. However, there is a way to start chipping back, and a local organization, Project Dung Beetle created a summer series to address some of the many ways you can incorporate regenerative practices in your own backyard. You're watching the Local News Network brought to you by Happy Pappy's Pizza and Wings and Kroger's Ace Hardware. I'm Connor Shreve.

The goal of Project Dung Beetle is to help educate and illuminate these ideas about being co-creative with nature and about the ability we have to be regenerative and build soil health and have nutrient dense food and not have, you know, toxic pesticides and all that kind of stuff. So it's really wrapped around education and awareness. And then that flows into the Regenerative Landscaping Speaker Series as that is purely educational, and to provide not just the ability for people to understand we don't need to use toxic chemicals, but also to move into regenerative landscaping practices.

To better understand what regenerative means, especially in the practice of landscaping and gardening, Magill likens the term to a graph where a line slanting down is degenerative. The lessening of soil's capability to be healthy. A flatter line is sustainable. The soil quality isn't necessarily getting worse, but isn't getting better. And a line going up, however, is regenerative by focusing on practices that feed back into the soil to contribute to a healthy microbiome, encouraging soil health.

So we have five speakers, like five months worth of speakers that started in May and goes through September. So you can find that on project and basically the idea is to tie together all of these different ways of viewing regeneration through the Speaker series, so that we can have this broader perspective of how we can be regenerative in community, whether we're talking about landscaping or how we manage wild lands, or how we produce food, how we coordinate with each other in community and with nature. All of that plays into it. Absolutely.

The speaker series kicked off in May with Katrina Blair from Turtle Lake Refuge and Bee Happy Lands, followed by Brooke Safford from Blooming Landscape and Design LLC. This month, upcoming talks will include Taylor Hanson and Chris Cullaz from Table to Farm Compost, Jonathan Bartley and Adrian Lacasse from DuranGoats, and Magill herself, speaking to the variety of ways regenerative practices can be incorporated into even your own little backyard garden patch.

Whatever we can do individually when we're really working with nature and building biodiversity and soil health is going to have these massive positive impacts that just domino or ripple out. You know, it's really cool. So yes, just even a small garden in your backyard when you're doing these amazing regenerative things can have huge impact.

Practices like composting, vermaculture, that's using worms to break down organic waste, eliminating the use of toxic pesticides, and growing diverse plants all contribute to a more regenerative approach to gardening and landscaping. Magill explained just how adding 1% of organic material to the soil per acre of land enables the acre to hold an extra 20,000 gallons of water, amounts that could make a major difference in drought ridden areas like the Southwest. And while it may seem like a possibly insurmountable challenge to undo decades of degenerative practices, Magill is optimistic of the odds.

And I've been doing this work very specifically for about eight years now, and you would think I would be very depressed about our situation, but interestingly, I am not, because the planet and our bodies and our communities are living biological self-organizing complex systems. And so we have this amazing ability to regenerate and quickly, it can happen so fast. I mean, honestly, if we all got on this and joined together to do this, we could actually go back to pre-industrial levels of carbon in the atmosphere within less than a decade. That's how fast this can happen.

All information about the Summer Speaker Series is online at Project Dung Beetles website, along with recordings of earlier events. Durango Public Library also has information about this and other opportunities to learn about regenerative practices. If you would like to start implementing them in your backyard this summer, find more information about this and other stories at durangolocal.News. Thank you for watching this edition of The Local News Network. I'm Connor Shreve.


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