The following excerpts are from The Guardian article entitled – Colorado’s ‘rebel’ farmers – ‘I’d like to see industrial farming go extinct’ – written by Natalie Lampert, May 5, 2021
Jake Takiff is part of a trend towards ‘regenerative’ farming, a more environmentally and economically sustainable model of managing the land
Regenerative farming prioritises soil health, biodiversity and ecological restoration, and forgoes most conventional industrial agriculture practices, including pesticides, synthetic fertilisers, or feeding pigs and cows genetically modified food such as corn and soy.
These methods can increase soil carbon and could help tackle the climate crisis, and they have sparked interest from outside the industry, with regenerative farming fast becoming a new buzzword.
“For the first time in maybe forever, you can be a farmer and be a celebrity for it,” says Jake. His brush with celebrity came last August, when a friend visited Cedar Springs to pick up a piglet boar for his herd and ended up filming Jake, talking in his easy-going, genuine manner about his environmentally and economically sustainable farm. The 24-minute YouTube video has had more than 100,000 views.
Photo by Jake Takiff
Jake’s first and only job has been farming.
He learned life skills he had not encountered in the traditional school system: accountability, responsibility, connection. “Farming inherently teaches you things that our culture doesn’t,” he says.
Jake settled in Colorado, where he ran a small but successful raw milk dairy farm with a herd of cows he bought using money saved from a landscaping job. Since 2017, he and his wife, Meghan, 31, have run Cedar Springs, a 16-hectare (40-acre) permaculture-focused farm and homestead.
For Jake, the mission is to find a better way to work with the land.
“Instead of, ‘How can I do this on the cheap, how can I get by’ – everything became, ‘How can I make this so it’s going to last the rest of my life? How can I do this so that my grandkids will enjoy it?’”
“I do see it as being the future of farming,” says Jake of regenerative agriculture. “I’d like to see, in my lifetime, that commercial, industrial, herbicide-dependent type of agriculture go extinct. I don’t know if that’s going to happen. But if we don’t start making the changes on a ground level, it’ll definitely never happen.”