When I first picked up Josh Tickell’s latest book, “Kiss the Ground,” last November, I thought it was going to be a book about regenerative agriculture. While it does cover this topic, the book turned out to be about so much more. I am not exaggerating when I say that “Kiss the Ground” is one of the two to three most important books that I have read in the last 10 years. Creating healthy soil is key for food sustainability. The book covered so many important topics that play a huge role in the future of food, both for the U.S. and even for humanity.
I know that may seem melodramatic, but “Kiss the Ground” covers several past civilizations that collapsed in part because they overused their soils. While humans have been farming for thousands of years, the past 100 years have been the most detrimental in history on the world’s soils.
“Kiss the Ground” is one of the…most important books that I have read in the last 10 years
The book provides an excellent primer on the past century and how chemical companies have developed many “advances” in agriculture while searching for effective chemical weapons.
While these so-called advances have made it easier to farm on an industrial scale, they have taken a toll on the world’s soils because these processes kill the billions of living bacteria that are the lifeblood of creating healthy soil.
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In much of the most productive U.S. agriculture lands, we are suffering desertification because the soils are no longer living, breathing organisms. Instead, they are dry earth beds on which farmers apply key nutrients including potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen. Then we grow the easiest, most storable crops possible- in mass quantities.
The improving corn yields, enhanced by chemicals, herbicides and pesticides, are disguising the fact that the soil is dying and could no longer produce crops without added chemicals. Because of this cycle, our food is laced with chemicals that are likely contributing to a multitude of increasing maladies in this country, including obesity, diabetes, food allergies, autism and autoimmune diseases.
However, while the beginning of the book is grim, most of “Kiss the Ground” is hopeful. Tickell provides great examples of organic and regenerative farms that are using no-till practices for creating healthy soil. These practices yield a variety of foods for much higher profitability than chemical farming (paradoxically referred to now as “conventional farming”).
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In fact, most conventional farmers are serfs to the chemical companies who control the GMO seeds, chemical additives, herbicides and pesticides. Many classically conventional farmers live below the poverty line because all the profits of their system goes to the chemical companies.
We must make a change and get farmers off this poverty treadmill by helping them convert to no-till organic farming and no-till regenerative farming. It is the only way for us to grow in the future and ultimately feed the growing population.
…no-till organic farming and no-till regenerative farming [are] the only way for us to grow in the future and ultimately feed the growing population
Whether you are a consumer, a food or ag industry executive, an investor or a farmer, we can all learn a lot about the future of food from this book.
I found the book so important, I bought copies for each partner I work with. I highly urge you to get a copy of “Kiss the Ground” and read it ASAP.
Tyler Mayoras is the Cofounder and CEO of Cool Beans. Tyler has spent more than 20 years in private equity investing and consulting, focused on sustainable food and agriculture. Prior to founding Cool Beans, Tyler was a principal in the Advantage Capital Food and Agriculture Fund where he led transactions involving Shenandoah Growers, Navitas Organics,…
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