Episode 141: Blake & Stephanie Alexandre Regenpreneur Story - Making Farming Exciting for This and the Next GenerationNov 09, 2023
Alexandre Family Farm Regenpreneur Masterclass- on November 21st @ 9am PT (12pm) ET we will be diving into the specific lessons, knowledge, and wisdom Blake and Stephanie have to share about starting, growing, and operating a dairy farm.
regenBEN Community and Resource Commons- a community of like-minded impact entrepreneurs cultivating their regenerative businesses, and also a storehouse of free resources and all the recordings of our events.
Podcast Links & Resources:
Alexandre Family Farm Website: check out the farm's website. They have loads of information on their farming practices, A2/A2 dairy, products they produce, and more
Come visit their farm in North Cali: are you in the area or plan to be? Come visit their farm and have a guided or self-guided tour.
Savory Institue: Blake mentions the Alan Savory Institute as a big contributor to their regenerative farming strategy.
Regenerative Organic Alliance: Alexandre Family Farm is certified regenerative organic. You can check out more about what that means on the ROA website.
In this episode, Blake and Stephanie Alexandre, owners of Alexandre Family Farm, share their inspiring journey towards regenerative agriculture and becoming the first regenerative-certified dairy farm in the United States. With a multi-generational farm that has been passed down through the family, they discuss their deep-rooted passion for farming alongside Mother Nature and the vital importance of aligning with natural processes.
Blake and Stephanie emphasize the significance of building organic matter in the soil and implementing regenerative practices to restore the health and vitality of their land. They explain how their farm has transitioned from conventional farming methods to regenerative practices, guided by a profound understanding of the wisdom found in regenerative agriculture. By embracing regenerative principles, they are not only connecting back to nature but also setting an example for others in the agricultural industry.
During this insightful conversation, Blake and Stephanie share the challenges they faced on their journey and the lessons they have learned as regenerative entrepreneurs. They discuss the transformative power of restoring our connection to nature and the positive impact it has on sustainability and the environment. Their story serves as an inspiration to all those who aspire to create a more regenerative and sustainable future through their entrepreneurial endeavors.
Join us as we delve into the wisdom and experiences of Blake and Stephanie Alexandre, exploring the incredible journey of their multi-generational farm and the exciting path they are forging for this and the next generation of farmers.
- At 02:29, Blake and Stephanie discuss what gets them up in the morning. Blake mentions that the responsibility of milking the cows for over 100 years and the passion and intentionality of their work motivates him. Stephanie shares that her morning routine involves getting a coffee, reading the scriptures, and saying a prayer.
- At 4:50, they talk about what gets them excited to do the work they do. Blake mentions that being a part of regenerative agriculture and contributing to restoring and reconnecting with nature while setting an example is what excites him. Stephanie expresses her excitement in discovering new things and learning, particularly in the areas of soil health and food nutrition.
- At 9:12, they explain how their journey toward becoming the first regenerative-certified dairy farm in the United States started. They emphasize that their goal was always to farm alongside Mother Nature and be more aligned with nature. They mention two organizations, Alan Savory and Regenerative Organic Alliance, that helped them gain recognition as a regenerative dairy farm.
- At 15:51, they discuss the importance of understanding the right practices and how the U.S. agriculture industry shifted towards high-yield production at the expense of soil health. They mention the emergence of practices like no-till farming and the gradual shift towards regenerative ways.
- At 18:26, they explain how they focused on building up the organic matter in the soil as part of their regenerative farming practices. They started with around 2-3% organic matter and have now increased it to 12-15%. They also mention growing permanent pastures with long grasses.
- At 21:25, they describe the methods they used to improve the metrics and practices on their regenerative farm. They mention their compost system, which includes using by-products from a lumber mill, fish waste products, and manure. They also highlight the process of infusing organic fertilizer and new seed into the poorest 10% of their fields.
- At 26:52, Blake and Stephanie discuss how they built relationships with partners who helped them create their compost system. They emphasize the importance of honesty and integrity in these relationships. They share examples of how they obtained free nutrients for their farm by collaborating with a creamery and fisheries.
- At 33:40, they share the journey their family has been on with the farm. They mention that all their five adult children attended Cal Poly in the agricultural school. They explain how they created an environment where the family farm became a viable option for their children through living and sharing the purpose of the farm. They emphasize the integration of work and family in their lives.
- At 48:27, they express their hopes for regenerative entrepreneurs. They encourage entrepreneurs to have faith in nature, trust their gut and heart, and focus on producing healthy soil.
- At 52:30, they invite listeners to visit their farm and provide links to their website, Instagram, and Facebook. They also mention the store locator feature on their website.
The Role of Farms like Alexandre Family Farm in the Transformation to Regenerative Agriculture
Regenerative agriculture is gaining recognition as a sustainable and holistic approach to farming that focuses on restoring and enhancing the health of ecosystems. Traditional industrial agriculture methods have often prioritized high yields and production at the expense of soil health, biodiversity, and the environment. However, farms like Alexandre Family Farm are leading the way in demonstrating the potential of regenerative dairy farming and its role in transforming the agricultural industry.
Understanding Regenerative Agriculture
Regenerative agriculture goes beyond sustainable practices by actively working to restore and improve the health of the land. It is centered around the principles of soil regeneration, biodiversity enhancement, water conservation, and community engagement. By implementing regenerative practices, farmers aim to create resilient and productive ecosystems that support healthy soil, diverse wildlife, and thriving communities.
The Journey of Alexandre Family Farm
Alexandre Family Farm, a multi-generational dairy farm, embarked on a transformative journey towards regenerative agriculture. Their deep-rooted passion for farming alongside Mother Nature led them to adopt practices that aligned with natural processes and focused on soil health. By transitioning from conventional farming methods to regenerative practices, they became the first regenerative-certified dairy farm in the United States.
Building Organic Matter and Improving Soil Health
One of the key elements of regenerative agriculture is building organic matter in the soil. Alexandre Family Farm emphasized the significance of this practice and implemented strategies to restore the health and vitality of their land. Starting with around 2-3% organic matter, they successfully increased it to an impressive 12-15%. By growing permanent pastures with long grasses and utilizing compost systems that incorporated organic fertilizers and by-products, they enhanced the soil's nutrient content and structure.
Promoting Biodiversity and Wildlife Conservation
Regenerative dairy farming practices at Alexandre Family Farm have created an ecosystem that supports biodiversity and wildlife. With over 200 species of birds spotted on their farm, including those on the Pacific Flyway, they have become a recognized hotspot on the eBird website. The farm's commitment to conserving and nurturing wildlife habitat has led to the establishment of dedicated lands adjacent to State Parks for geese to feed on. Their efforts have contributed significantly to the removal of the Aleutian Goose from the Federal Endangered Species List.
Environmental Benefits of Regenerative Dairy Farming
Alexandre Family Farm's regenerative practices have demonstrated the environmental benefits of regenerative dairy farming. By utilizing regenerative farming practices, they have helped to sequester carbon from the atmosphere, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and mitigate climate change. The grass-fed cows on the farm produce manure that is higher in nutrients and beneficial microbes, which improves soil health and reduces the need for synthetic fertilizers. Organic dairy production practices prohibit the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, thus reducing water pollution and protecting wildlife.
Enhancing Animal Welfare and Health
Regenerative farming practices at Alexandre Family Farm have also positively impacted animal welfare and health. The cows on the farm are grass-fed, which is healthier for them compared to grain-fed cows. Grass-fed cows have lower levels of fat and cholesterol and are more resistant to disease. The farm's commitment to being certified humane ensures that the cows have a high quality of life, with access to fresh water, shade, and compassionate animal health practices. By prioritizing the well-being of their cows, Alexandre Family Farm sets an example for improving animal welfare in the industry.
Supporting Rural Communities and Building Connections
Farms like Alexandre Family Farm play a crucial role in supporting rural communities and building connections. As a family-owned and operated farm, they are deeply invested in their community and committed to sustainability. They give back to the community by donating milk to local food banks and shelters, sponsoring local youth sports teams and organizations, volunteering their time and expertise to local projects, and being active members of local civic organizations. By supporting Alexandre Family Farm, consumers not only choose products that are better for their health and the environment but also contribute to the well-being of the rural community.
The Transformative Power of Regenerative Agriculture
The journey of Alexandre Family Farm showcases the transformative power of regenerative agriculture. By reconnecting with nature, adopting regenerative principles, and implementing practices that prioritize soil health, biodiversity, and animal welfare, they have become leaders in the industry. Their success serves as an inspiration to other farmers and entrepreneurs who aspire to create a more regenerative and sustainable future.
Farms like Alexandre Family Farm play a vital role in the transformation from traditional industrial agriculture to regenerative agriculture. Through their commitment to soil health, biodiversity, animal welfare, and community engagement, they demonstrate the potential for regenerative dairy farming to contribute to a more sustainable and resilient agricultural industry. By supporting and learning from farms like Alexandre Family Farm, we can collectively work towards a future where regenerative agriculture becomes the norm, benefiting our health, the environment, and rural communities.