The Wild Farmlands Foundation, in partnership with Restoration Oaks Ranch and Santa Barbara Blueberries, is developing a showcase regenerative farm and outdoor education center. The Restoration Oaks Ranch Showcase Regenerative Farm will feature projects that strengthen the agricultural and ecological resources of the ranch and educate the public on the fundamentals and benefits of regenerative, resilient agriculture and localized ecology stewardship. The Regenerative Farm provides an active demonstration of what is possible within the context of our native flora, fauna, soil, climate, and topography while using a regenerative agriculture framework in a long-term conservation effort.
By establishing a more robust diversity of plant life, support species and biodiverse soils, the ecosystem, crops and local food system will benefit. The results will be a highly visible and accessible example of these methodologies in the South Central Coast bio-region.
When possible, projects include an immersive outdoor education component. This starts with the establishment of accessible habitats and activities that immerse visitors in a primarily outdoor education experience designed to feed the mind and stimulate the senses. Accessible habitats engage the senses of the touch, sight, hearing, taste & smell. People without sight can still touch, hear, taste and smell. People without hearing can see, taste, touch and smell. People who do not have the use of some or all of their limbs can still have their senses immersed, they just need a little help to get there.
On a regenerative farm, you can eat leafy greens or carrots right out of the ground. You can eat nuts, fruits & berries right off the tree, bush or cane. You can see and hear red-tailed hawks in courtship overhead or feel the worms and bugs wriggle in a handful of healthy soil. You can hear the gentle buzzing of hundreds of bees and other pollinators feeding all around you. By welcoming people, especially youth, to see and smell and touch and hear and feel the working farm and ranch land, we enable them to personally appreciate the difference between a degraded landscape and one that is naturally regenerating and in synch with the environment- with just a little guidance from its human stewards.
The Restoration Oaks Regenerative Farm will, over the span of 10 years, showcase the local food system, ecological and community benefits of contemporary regenerative agricultural practices on brittle land and the native wild oak ecosystems of California's South Central Coast. It is our hope is that this showcase project will inspire other farmers, ranchers, land owners and land managers to take action steps towards using this best practice framework within their own landscapes and migrate their ranch and farmlands into a functional level of regenerative agriculture.