The work I’ve been doing with the Inland Ocean Coalition has had a national perspective from the moment we began developing their Watershed Health Program. My recent move from Louisiana to California and a roll call of committee members from Washington, Wyoming, Colorado, Texas, Arizona, and other states truly reflects the IOC’s emphasis on nationwide land-to-sea stewardship.
I’m happy to report on the work I’ve done to further this stewardship with the near finalization of the Ocean-Friendly Farming campaign. The campaign’s purpose is to increase land-to-sea stewardship in the national community by spreading awareness about how our food-production system impacts the health of our ocean and watersheds. I spent the past weeks studying the impacts of conventional farming and ranching practices on water quality in local watersheds and expulsion points, such as the mouth of the Mississippi River. I developed a list of over 40 regenerative agricultural and rangeland practices that benefit the health of our ocean. IOC will use this list to vet landowners, farmers, and ranchers who could be called Ocean-Friendly Farmers. Our campaign currently focuses on spreading awareness, education, and stewardship. As the campaign is launched and then later grows, we plan to ally with farmers and communities who desire to change policy away from conventional standards that harm our ocean and watersheds.
Since June, I’ve finalized some key campaign documents and begun reaching out to our first Ocean-Friendly Farmers. Over the next week, I’ll be drafting an article about our campaign to be published in the next issue of Mad Agriculture, a journal that highlights producers practicing regenerative agriculture. Our hope is that the piece will introduce the important topic of ocean-first land practices into the conversation about the future of farming techniques.
The next steps for the campaign include grant applications to further our capacity to spread ocean stewardship. I will also be taking point on expanding our network of Ocean-Friendly Farmers and finalizing some key components of the campaign for its end-of-summer launch. In addition to work I’ve done to further the Ocean-Friendly Farming campaign, I’ve continued to build an eLearning course about the role of watershed health in ocean health and assist the IOC with the other aspects being developed under their Watershed Health Program.