Why Sustainability Isn’t Enough

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Written and Submitted Amber Reece of White Oak Pastures

White Oak Pastures was inducted as a Savory Hub in October 2015. There were months of preparation that went into making the most of Allan’s first visit to South Georgia. We hit the ground running into this new journey, planning a two day event featuring Allan Savory and Savory Institute’s COO, Tre Cates. We had over 100 attendants at the event, which we called “Why Sustainability Isn’t Enough.”

Friday night, we enjoyed a Powerpoint presentation given by Allan at Andrew College in Cuthbert Georgia. White Oak Pastures hopes to partner with Andrew College in the future to create a Regenerative Agriculture certification through the college for those interested in holistic management.

Allan’s presentation was excellent, just as we all expected. His passion shown through and through, and who can resist that Zimbabwean accent? The lecture covered everything from the principles of holistic management to the tools to practice it on farms all over the world. Allan spoke on the differences between complex and complicated, and how important it is to realize your context before moving onto decision-making.

Everyone in the auditorium walked away from Allan’s message with a better understanding of the Savory Institute’s vision and how to pursue their own dreams while by utilizing the holistic management framework.

Saturday morning, we had the pleasure of hearing Savory Institute’s COO, Tré Cates, speak in our 100 year old church, which has been renovated for White Oak Pastures admin offices and conference room. He delivered a powerful message on social change. One quote that really hit home during his presentation was, “What does it mean to regenerate the soul? Or to have a regenerative society? Both are just as important as the soil. The impact of the family and employees passion for this farm is as important as the animal impact on the land.” Tré also said, “Savory hubs are beacons of hope. Support mechanisms for farmers, ranchers, landowners and society in general. We are a resource in regions all around the world. We have big audacious goals.” This made each of our White Oak Pastures employees walk a little taller, feel a little prouder to be a part of this inspirational group.

After enjoying a delicious lunch at our On-Farm Pavilion Restaurant, we hopped on trailers for a ride out to the pastures. Seeing Allan in his element was quite different than in the theater with a Powerpoint. Allan really focused on livestock grazing, and the benefits land receives from the symbiotic relationship between soil and animals. We all followed his every step and were hanging on every word. He spoke on the decision-making framework, and gave thought provoking examples where, depending on your context, would cause each person to go about their holistic management practices differently. There were great questions from the attendees and Allan did a fantastic job addressing each one.

It was a perfect weekend on the farm! We hope to have many more Savory events at White Oak Pastures, but it will be mighty difficult to top this one!

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