Local farmers on a mission to “save the soil”


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Unless you work in agriculture, you probably don’t think much about soil.

There is a movement to change that. It’s called ‘Save Soil’ and volunteers believe it’s the key to preventing global food and water scarcity.

It was 2018 when Kelly and Chris Shepherd started “What is the farm.” They’re a military family with no previous farming experience, but after an overseas posting in Australia, they wanted a change.

Specifically, they were intrigued by how food was produced differently, without preservatives.

“Food has to be fresh, it has to go bad,” Kelly said.

Over the past four years they have developed their farm and now raise chickens, pigs, cattle, etc.

Their farming practices are not necessarily typical, but they hope it will spread.

“So we’re doing regenerative farming, we’re doing multiple species in a rotation, keeping everything moving, animals with each other making enough disturbance to the land and dropping their waste, which then after moving it , these disturbances and wastes stay there, for a period of time, long enough to let the earth heal, regenerate the soil, heal the soil, and then the grass grows and we maintain that cycle of growth,” Chris said.

Their mission is to do good to the soil, to do good to the animals and to do good to the community, with an emphasis on the soil.

“The health of the soil has a direct impact on the health of the foods we eat, you know, the more nutrients and minerals there are in the soil, those end up in the foods we actually eat,” said Kelly. “It’s just, it’s a new way of thinking.”

The Shepherds are not the only ones to participate in this mission.

“All of our food, so many of our resources come from the ground,” said Save Soil volunteer coordinator Leslie Crespi. “When soil is degraded, it impacts nutrient levels in the soil, it impacts the amount of food produced, and it has a significant impact on our health.”

Save Soil is a national group working to raise awareness of soil degradation, which means that there is a physical, chemical and biological decline in soil quality. They say more than half of the world’s soil is already degraded. If this continues, it could mean a shortage of food and water.

“For us to continue to have enough food, we will need to take care of the soil where we grow that food,” Kelly said.

The Shepherds will therefore persevere, hoping that these methods will prevail for the future of the planet.

Chris said: “If we can do certain things to heal the soil, then we’re all in it.

You can find more information at Save the floor by clicking here.


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