Earth Ambassador says Indian Country needs Regenerative Farmers
UNITY Earth Ambassador Maiya Martinez (Spokane, Washington) shares her research goals for more Native youth to become regenerative farmers. “To me, an environment ambassador is someone who looks to spread knowledge to their communities” said Maiya. “This is someone who knows how to make a difference and wants to share experiences with others,” she added.
UNITY Youth In Action: Right now, at Fort Lewis College, I’m actually doing a research project on how to create a regenerative agricultural project at home. I decided on this topic because I personally didn’t know how to start a project and while going through this learning process, I believe I will be better equipped to encourage and deliver knowledge on a topic.
Specifically, regenerative agriculture “leverages the power of photosynthesis in plants to close the carbon cycle, and build soil health, crop resilience and nutrient density.” Simply put, regenerative agriculture aims to increase the organic matter in the soil used to grow vegetables. By infusing the soil with more nutrients, we are infusing our foods with more nutrients and, therefore, infusing our bodies with richer quality nutrients.
- Minimum to zero tilling
- The use of “cover crops, crop rotations, compost, and animal manures, which restore the plant/soil microbiome to promote liberation, transfer, and cycling of essential soil nutrients.”
- Building biological ecosystem diversity and restoring soil system energy via “inoculation of soils with composts or compost extracts” and “full-time planting of multiple crop intercrop plantings, multispecies cover crops, and borders planted for bee habitat and other beneficial insects.”
- Stimulate plant growth, while also increasing soil carbon deposits and fertility, insect and plant biodiversity, and soil carbon sequestration via well-managed grazing practices.
Future Plans for Maiya: “I want to extend our native plant garden. We have a very small community garden in the center of Wellpinit. This community garden is free to all tribal people and you just pick the food you want yourself. This was started during covid and the results were amazing. The area for this garden is very small and I’d truly love to see it expanded and shared with the community people. I also want to work on recreating the soil by regenerative agriculture. I want us to keep food growing until the snow comes. If we can complete this project the tribe will become a part of the fight against carbon emissions.”
This is a call to action! The preservation of Mother Earth has been identified by Native youth as a top priority. Earth day was April 22nd, but you have all May to make a difference! How will you help preserve our environment and precious resources? All it takes is a little planning for your Earth Service project and you’re on your way to earning some spending money and cool UNITY swag!