7 Questions with Ray Archuleta
Ray Archuleta answers questions about his perspective on regenerative agriculture and it's role for our future. Ray also gives us a sneak peak at what he will be talking about at this year's Grassfed Exchange Conference.
1. What do you see as the potential impact of regenerative grassland agriculture?
This type of Agriculture will positively impact all biotic, climatic, aquatic, and economic health. At the same time redistribute humans and animals on the landscape which will restructure society has a whole.
2. What do you believe are the big strategies and behaviors required to move us toward this?
Regenerating agriculture is a social and psychological issue: The transformation of the human mind and heart is required. An "eco-consciousness" that teaches all humans that they are part of the natural system. An awareness that nurtures and respects all life- by emulating it. "You cannot build ecology integrity without human integrity".
3. Why are you doing things the way you are today?
Humans learn through progressive revelation. In other words, we learn in steps (progression) within time and space. This time of learning takes time, like botanical growth, it is very slow and unnoticeable, but eventually evident. With the proper experiences, exposure to the right people, good books, and the proper contextual knowledge. I was able to formulate the correct premise which helped me better understand agriculture- mimic natural ecosystems to improve soil function. Don't force it-understand it!
4. What brought you to this point? Was there a defining moment that sparked a change?
Failure, brought me to this point! A humbling awareness that I was not helping the land or the people. As a NRCS/ USDA employee, I was wrapped in a web of governmental process and tools that masked symptoms (economic failing farms, unclean water, erosion), yet no real healing of the soil was occurring.
5. Where or to whom do you look for guidance and inspiration?
I look to Jesus Christ for encouragement and hope- a perfect example of true leadership. His words help me understand CONTEXT; my relationship between God, creation, and my fellow men.
6. What is an important lesson you learned from a mistake?
One of the most powerful teaching tools for us humans...is mistakes. Mistakes are misconceptions, defective knowledge/judgement, and a misunderstanding. My understanding of agriculture was build on a flawed premise: nature is a machine, a chemistry set, it is not alive! Control it with our tools (pesticides, tillage and etc.,)! My misconceptions-masked symptoms and facilitated no healing for the land or the people. "A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. Douglas Adams".
7. What do you think is the most important first step someone in your field can take to move in the right direction?
Understand Context: You must have the proper psychological, social, and spiritual context if you are going help regenerate agriculture. Without it, your lost. You cannot understand the proper conditions or the circumstances without it.
8. What will be the # 1 take home message from people listening to you speak?
If you build your agricultural understanding on the correct foundation: mimic nature through systems thinking and don't focus on the tools or process, you will improve soil health and function. This correct premise will impact all life on earth..especially yours.