The Center for Agricultural Resilience

There should be at least one resilient food production system in every agricultural county in the United States of America- and here is how we are going help.

In 2021, one year after the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the cracks in the food system became more and more painfully obvious. These cracks were so evident that it wasn't only the small farmers who noticed bottlenecks of food production, but purchasing agents, consumers, corporations and everyone in between. The lack of food availability brought focus to the other unintended consequences of the industrialized, commoditized, centralized food production system. The need for resilience in our food production system was recognized for the first time in several generations.

The Center for Agricultural Resilience (CFAR) was built to educate thought leaders on the environmental, economic and social benefits of building resilient animal, plant and human ecosystems that can nourish our communities. Our hope is to show these leaders how to rethink agriculture, using White Oak Pastures' 25 year long production journey as a guide. The goal is to make resilient agriculture more replicable not more scalable. It is not our intention to provide a "how to" course to recreate the White Oak Pastures model. The context for each piece of land, each farm and each community will vary from ecosystem to ecosystem. So instead, the CFAR mission is to inspire a rethinking of the system by demonstrating what has been actually accomplished and scaled on a working farm, on a realistic budget, by real world business people.

Content for the four day long experience ranges from big idea systems thinking to the narrowly focused principles of soil health. We study what the problems are, how they developed and how they can be corrected. Participants will engage in conversations around myths in food production, in addition to hands on activities like land monitoring. We will also provide an in-depth overview of the reinternalized services required to produce, process and monetize products. 

Session Topics:
-Resiliency vs. Efficiency
-Complex vs. Complicated
-Importance of Restarting the Cycles of Nature
-Can Regenerative Agriculture Feed the World? 
-Land, Animal and Community Health
-Land Monitoring with Ecological Outcome Verification
-Reversing the Effects of Siloed Agriculture
-Data-Based Decision Making
-Rural Revival of Bluffton, Georgia
-Holistic Business Evaluation- What's Not Covered in Your Average Business Appraisal
-White Oak Pastures Production, Processing, Marketing, Hospitality Businesses and Admin
-Barriers to Adoption

Location:
White Oak Pastures, Bluffton, Georgia.

Upcoming Session Dates:
-January 24 - 28, 2022
-March 7 - 11, 2022
There are no virtual opportunities at this time. Additional 2022 dates will be released after the first of the year.

Tuition:
$2,000 - includes Tuition and Meals.
Lodging is available and may be booked by calling our General Store. (229) 641-2081
Attendees also have the option to stay off-farm, bring an RV, or camp bringing their own tent and equipment.

*Scholarship opportunities available*

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When you've been on the road to an important destination for a long time, and you realize that you have been driving the wrong way, the impulse is to turn around and drive very fast to correct the problem. That is human nature. It's also probably not the best way to rectify the problem.

We have been producing our food in ways that created unwanted consequences for a long time. We didn't even realize it for 75 years. Some of us that now understand these consequences want to turn that production system on its heels immediately. It ain't gonna happen like that.

Here is why a quick reversal won't happen:

• The fact that some consumers have gained insight does not mean that most consumers gained this insight.
• Wall Street and Silicon Valley make billions of dollars in the existing food production system. They ain't going to give these dollars up quietly.
• The current production model produces obscenely cheap food. We, consumers, are addicted to it.
• Farmers cannot simply choose another system. They are invested in, educated in, and believe in the current system.
• This system has been in place for 3 generations. The knowledge of regenerative land management is not widespread enough to allow us to pivot quickly.
• There is not enough courage among our politicians to implement changes that will raise food prices, no matter how bad the existing downside is.
• There are too many lobbyists, with too much money, writing our legislation that is pro-big food, big ag, big pharma, big tech, etc, etc, etc.
• There are too many environmentalists who do not understand the necessity of animal impact to cost-effectively regenerate degraded land.
• There is not enough resilience training available for producers to quickly become educated.
• Resilient food production models are not highly scalable. You cannot just blow them up. [but, luckily, they are highly replicable].

We can come up with more of these, but this ought to be enough to convince you that we will not see a tsunami of change in our food production system. In fact, if we see meaningful change, it will result from bubbles. There should be at least one resilient food production system [bubble] in every agricultural county in the USA. But, as previously stated, these complex operations are highly replicable. Other bubbles will form, as these bubbles catch tractions. These bubbles will not form, in sufficient numbers, if the significant effort is not put into their creation.

Donations to the Center for Agriculture Resilience will use to bring leaders to Bluffton to educate them on the journey we have been on for the past 25 years. And, hopefully, leaders will leave inspired and return to their homes and careers ready to start another bubble.

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