The following is a guest post by Gabrielle Hathaway, College of Ag senior, California State University, Chico
Exploring Regenerative Ag at Chico State
Like most graduating college seniors, my future is a big “what if”, full of opportunity and confusion. As a student in the College of Agriculture at California State University, Chico who is passionate about alternative fields of farming, I have had to find creative ways to further my knowledge of regenerative farming. This has led me to living in a camper on a 100 year old permaculture olive orchard, growing organic vegetables for Sierra Nevada Brewery, and grazing pigs and sheep on hot summer days. In the past year, I have become connected with the Savory Institute and the Jefferson Center for Holistic Management. Becoming a part of this network has provided me with opportunities to connect with other like-minded individuals in this advancing field.
I am an Iowa native transplanted into the bike-ridin’, tree-climbin’, local food-eatin’ community of Chico, California. What was supposed to be a three-month stay, turned into a much bigger adventure as I learned, grew, and became connected with the local foodies and farmers. In the past four years I’ve worked with all sorts of livestock and built a handsome urban farm equipped with chickens, ducks and vegetables.
During this last semester at Chico State, I fulfilled a little dream of mine to start a Sustainable Agriculture Club at the university.Now, students like myself have a platform to network and connect with cohorts of the same mindset. This club has already been successful and fulfilling. I feel proud to have something so important to leave behind at Chico State. Follow our Facebook page to see what the club is up to this semester https://www.facebook.
Introduction to Holistic Management
In Iowa, I was lucky enough to start farming on a sustainable grass-fed and organic dairy under Francis Thicke. Since then, I’ve been following the grassy path that is sustainable agriculture. I first became involved with the Savory Institute through an opportunity with Chico State where a team of students and I assisted in planning the Grazing for Change conference with Dr. Cyndi Daley, the Jefferson Center for Holistic Management and the Savory Institute. Allan Savory spoke at this event.
I just recently attended a one-day workshop with Spencer Smith from the Jefferson Center for Holistic Management at the McConnell Foundation. Spencer’s lecture was as wholesome as the practices he exhibits in his farm. He spoke to all levels and inspired me even more to take all of the online holistic management courses. In the afternoon, Spencer taught us how to be observant and gave us simple tools to assess pastures. I immediately used these tools the next day when I was deciding whether or not to move a sheep herd at work.
I look forward to learning more about Allan Savory’s methods as I continue to further my knowledge in the field of holistic management. Supplementary to the past workshops and classes I have attended, I will be assisting Cyndi Daley with the Holistic Land Planning and Biological Monitoring Course at the Guidici Ranch in Oroville next month.
In a field where companies like Foster Farms and Monsanto are waiting to give you a job after graduation, the Jefferson Center and the Savory Institute can give people like me alternative opportunities.
Through the network, I am presented with many job options and connections. This regenerative industry is a beautiful one, and I am so happy to be a part of it. We are nice people, who are nice to the land, and raise nice, healthy animals. With all the opportunities and confusion that I have as a young twenty-something, walking the holistic agriculture path insures that I’m doing something right.