April 22, 2023–In honor of Earth Day, we’d like to tell you about the regenerative farming practices we use in our vineyard. Regenerative agriculture is farming in harmony with nature. Instead of extracting nutrients and profit from the land, regenerative farmers restore the soil health and biodiversity of their land to make it as healthy and balanced as it would be if it weren’t used for farming.
We partner with nature instead of competing with it. To combat fungal diseases that affect grape vines, we use biological remedies. Plant extracts and microbiology are used to strengthen the vines so that they can fight off diseases on their own. This dramatically reduces the need for chemical pesticides.
We protect our soil instead of disturbing it. Our extensive use of cover crops across the vineyard means the soil is protected. Soil doesn’t erode during storms and organic matter is rebuilt. Minimal tilling keeps carbon trapped in the ground and helps fight climate change.
We protect our water instead of polluting it. Cover crops also help filter rainwater before it enters nearby streams and Seneca Lake. Our drainage tile (plumbing under the vineyard to remove excess groundwater) empties into containment ponds where it gets filtered slowly through the ground before making its way into the lake.
We encourage biodiversity instead of monoculture. Even though grapes are our main crop, we grow a wide variety of cover crops and trees on the farm. Bee hives ensure a healthy population of pollinators. We keep a flock of chickens, ducks and geese that provide soil nutrients with their litter.
We farm holistically instead of reductionist. We view our farm as a natural system that can work in harmony with nature. We make our own compost fertilizer by blending grape pommace, wood chips, and poultry manure produced right on our farm.
Regenerative farming is an important solution to climate change because it captures carbon and improves the water cycle. We encourage more farms to adopt these practices. Silver Thread serves as a model and resource to other grape farmers looking to implement regenerative practices.
Here are some resources where you can learn more about regenerative farming:
National Resources Defense Council
Regenerative Organic Alliance