Growing Green: Regenerative Farms You Can Visit for Sustainable Adventures

Regenerative farming: the buzzword that has overtaken organic amongst foodies recently; but what does it mean? After decades of industrial farming and taking from the Earth, many farmers are starting to think about returning the favor. Thoughtful management of resources restore ecosystems, enhance the health of soil, and create havens for wildlife. This results in an abundance of chemical-free food and beautiful places to visit, too. Check out these farms where the soil is being revitalized, ecosystems are rebalancing, and the future of farming is looking greener than ever.

What is regenerative farming?

Regenerative farming means farmers actively try to restore and revitalize ecosystems whilst producing food. Its main focus is enhancing soil health to increase fertility and resistance, meaning less need for chemicals and healthier food for us. Regenerative farmers try to disturb the soil as little as possible, grow a wide range of crops and plants and increase biodiversity to encourage natural pest control. The aim is to give back more than they take from the land.

Here is a list of our top 5 regenerative farms to visit in the US. 

Polyface Farm, Swoope, Virginia

You could describe Polyface Farms as the mecca for regenerative farming. In 1961 the Salatin family moved to a worn-out and ecologically barren farm in Virginia and set about regenerating the land, using nature as their guide. Dismissing the usual methods of plowing the land and using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, they planted trees, made compost, dug ponds and used their flocks of animals to graze the land.

This results in grass-fed meat from animals who have had a pretty sweet life, rich, fertile soil and the best eggs you’ll ever try. Join them on their twice monthly ‘Lunatic Tours’ where the head farmers take you on a hay wagon tour of the different animal pastures, describe their processes and change the way you look at food production forever.

White Oak Pastures, Bluffton, Georgia

Founded in 1866 this farm has a huge history of regenerative, holistic farming practices. They believe in full transparency in farming and invite you to come see the work, meet the family, have dinner and stay over in one of their farm cabins. As well as humanely raising animals and butchering onsite, you can tour the organic veg garden, and take classes in soap making, hide tanning, beekeeping, mushroom cultivation, canning and preserving. Or just spend all your time (and money) buying the goodies in the 175-year-old, recently renovated Bluffton General Store.

Apricot Lane Farms, Moorpark, California

If you’ve seen the award-winning documentary ‘The Biggest Little Farm’ based on the story of Apricot Lane Farms, you’ll know this is a beautiful place to visit whether you care about soil health or not. Join the farmers and see how they regenerated 234 acres of barren land into a reawakened ecosystem producing the most nutrient dense and delicious food. The tour includes stops at the compost center, market garden, fruit basket orchard and visits to all the animals including descendants from stars of the movie.

Soul Fire Farm, Petersburgh, New York

Much more than just a regenerative farm, Soul Fire Farm aims to provide food for people living under food apartheid, create opportunities for Black and brown farmers, give food justice workshops, advise on policy education and more. Drawing on the knowledge of ancestors they use Afro-indigenous practices such as no-till, polyculture and seed saving of heritage crops. Sign up to a tour and take a guided visit through the growing fields, agroforestry gardens and building projects and get inspired to change both farming and the world.

Paicines Ranch, Paicines, California

This is your chance to go stay on a proper working ranch. Paicines Farm is committed to reintroducing diversity to the over-grazed landscape of California. Whilst staying in a cabin you can enjoy grass-fed, healthy meat and wine from a vineyard designed to encourage ecosystem health and help biodiversity flourish. After taking a farm tour you can explore the surrounding area, the coast at Big Sur, or get lost in nature at Pinnacle National Park.

Long Story Short…

If you have a green thumb, you’re curious about a different way of farming or you want to travel to feel a deeper connection to the earth, these farms offer an insight into how farming can work with nature, not against her. And as well as all that education you’ll be tasting some of the best food and wine the US has to offer.

Written by Laura Sedlak