Revitalizing the health of our home and ourselves

Tim Southwell

“You are what you eat.” It’s a saying we all have heard. Based on my experience, it’s true. Eating a diet of whole foods from the earth and moving our bodies helps us get and stay healthy. These activities awaken, enliven and rejuvenate our body’s immune system and our ability to thrive. But good health doesn’t stop with our bodies and our biology; we are equally dependent on the surrounding environment to secure our collective health and wellness. The care we take managing our individual health can and should also be applied to every aspect of our living world.

Now, more than ever, there’s a global need to care for the health of our home, Planet Earth. With increasing climate awareness, people are realizing the direct and deep relationship they share with the planet. Our rivers and waterways quench our farmlands and gardens to feed us for generations, and the rhythm of our oceans together with our oxygen-rich atmosphere ensure our survival. As we read and learn about global events, from melting ice caps to widespread pollution in the Pacific to continued famine in various corners of the world, we are often left wondering how can we, as individuals, aid in healing Mother Earth — and in effect, our own overall health and wellness? And though we look to elected officials to enact policy of global proportions, it’s our own actions, through living by processes that restore and revitalize our resources, that we will not only witness a renewal take place in our local communities and beyond. We’ll participate in it.

As a consumer I recognize that my day-to-day decisions either aid or deplete our finite resources. Much like the Butterfly effect, a regenerative approach to interacting with our environment sends positive ripples into the world. Through the simple acts of recycling & reuse, utilizing renewable energy, and shopping local, my family chooses every day to lessen our footprint on this planet; in turn, the positive impact makes resources available to neighbors down the street and across the ocean. 

Like so many mindful Yonder Stewards and regenerative farm operators, my family and I take the same approach to how we steward the land, grow our foods and care for our guests. With natural systems, we implement rotational grazing to enhance soil biology to hold more rain water, capture more carbon, and produce chemical-free meats. Our diverse polyculture pastures and tree systems provide year-round abundance for the dinner plate as well as habitat for wildlife. We greet our farm stay guests with smiles, value their input, educate them on resourceful land management, and provide them a backdrop to formulate ideas for how they might pay their own actions forward within their community and the natural world.

A regenerative approach promotes a circular model of health and wellness, with Consumer, Producer and Planet Earth all at the table, each providing and caring for the others into perpetuity. As a collective, we can be successful.

TIM SOUTHWELL, Yonder founder, permaculture farmer and farm stay owner of ABC Acres in Hamilton Montana, founded Yonder in 2018 with the interest of better serving farm, vineyard, ranch and rural vacation property owners and their guests.