Earth Day is an event that drives awareness to critical environmental issues. Up until the first Earth Day in the 1970s, Americans were largely unaware of the potential consequences of their consumption of vast amounts of fossil fuels and dangerous agricultural chemicals. When Rachel Carson published her book, Silent Spring, in 1962, it was the first major publication to address the indiscriminate use of powerful chemical pesticides and how they impacted the planet. This opened the door to all kinds of conversations about food production (and the invention of Earth Day), and the dangerous effects the staggering amount of carbon produced by industrial farming can have on our ecosystem1.
Today, major problems still exist with industrial farming, but we are not powerless to make positive change in our communities! Every day, we can make an impact by being more aware of where our food comes from, and making choices that minimize our carbon footprint. The term “carbon footprint” gets thrown around a lot by companies, but what does it mean exactly? The carbon footprint of a company is the measurement of the total amount of carbon dioxide, or greenhouse gasses, that are emitted over the full lifecycle of whatever it is that a company is producing. The more carbon dioxide that is trapped in our atmosphere, the faster we are transforming our planet.
So how does industrial farming compare to farms that practice regenerative grazing in terms of carbon emissions? A study conducted by Quantis in 2019 found that the farm they examined (a farm practicing regenerative grazing) had a carbon footprint 111% lower than an equivalent industrial farm2. Additionally, the same weight of beef produced using these regenerative methods was 6 times more carbon efficient than the average North American industrial farming system. Through a process called soil carbon sequestration more CO2 is captured from the atmosphere and stored in the ground when raising grass fed cattle3. The wandering animals also help fertilize the pasture as they move about, creating a regenerative dance between the production process and nature.
All of the beef at Walden is 100% grass-fed and raised on pasture, contributing to what we believe is the highest and best use of our land in this region. We’re proud to be able to do our part to remove more and more meat from the industrial farming system each year. We’re humbled that our members have helped us grow our mission to build a stronger and healthier planet. We believe food can be made responsibly, nutritiously, and locally and we’re excited to continue expanding our work in responsible agriculture!