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Northern California farmers turn to ‘regenerative agriculture’ for conserving water, growing healthy crops

in People
Tony Rose is vineyard manager at Michael David Winery. He stands next to a pile of compost delivered from Recology's North Bay recycling centers. (Larry Strong photo)

Sonoma County organic farmer Bob Cannard  has the dirt on what’s killing the Earth and refuses to bury his head in the sand about it.

He’s part of a growing movement of farmers, vineyard tenders and conservationists who care for the soil as much as the crops.

The outspoken crop whisperer of sorts studies the leaves, sprouts and buds of his herbs, vegetables and fruits on his 40-acre Green String Farm in Petaluma like a microbiologist examines specimens.

“We, (as a society, wrongly) think we need pesticides on everything, perpetuating the concept that there are pests. It’s a genetic perversion,” he told the Business Journal  in early March.

The conventional agricultural system, as he describes it, rewards herbicide and pesticide use to the detriment of many living species like the monarch butterflies that used to blanket the meadows of milkweed and other pollinator-friendly plants. Now they’re near extinction — at last count, down to under 2,000.

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