Farmer Engagement with Regenerative Agriculture in New England: Understanding Barriers and Facilitators to Improve Services and Outreach

Progress report for GNE22-281

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2022: $13,913.00
Projected End Date: 08/05/2024
Grant Recipient: Boston College
Region: Northeast
State: Connecticut
Graduate Student:
Faculty Advisor:
Brian Gareau
Boston College
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Project Information


For New England to reach its great potential for an economically, culturally, and ecologically resilient argifood system, we must begin by actively supporting local farmers working toward regenerative agriculture (RA). While RA has many definitions, it is best understood as an approach that purposefully integrates agricultural production with complex and biodiverse ecological landscapes, especially beginning with complex soil agroecosystems. The RA movement is becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. as the environmental, economic, and social benefits of RA systems become more widely acknowledged. The purpose of this project is to support the RA movement through providing extension agencies, agricultural organizations, and policy makers with in-depth insight into the facilitators and barriers faced by New England farmers as they engage with RA at the farm level. I thus ask: How do farmers in New England come to adopt the practices and perspectives associated with RA? What barriers and facilitators do New England farmers face as they act to implement RA? To answer these questions, I apply a qualitative social scientific approach, including interview and ethnographic observation data, designed to highlight farmer voices, experiences, and perspectives. Data collection and analysis is further driven by a framework drawn from the subfield of environmental sociology, known as the “sociological imagination,” that is particularly useful for approaching complex social and ecological topics. The rich qualitative data gathered during this project will highlight opportunities for farmer support and provide a valuable resource in the development of future agricultural science and social scientific research instruments.

Project Objectives:
  1. Gather rich and reliable data on why and how New England farmers are engaging with RA, especially in regard to the barriers and facilitators they are facing.
  2. Ensure reliable and transparent data analysis and presentation.

The purpose of this project is to support the RA movement through providing extension agencies, agricultural organizations, and policy makers with in-depth insight into the facilitators and barriers faced by New England farmers as they engage with RA at the farm level. 

New England has great potential for an economically, culturally, and ecologically resilient argifood system (Donahue et al. 2014; Ruhf 2015). For this vision to become reality, we must actively support local farmers who are working to manifest regenerative agricultural landscapes in the region. Extension agencies, sustainable agricultural groups, and policy makers require this regionally specific and in-depth knowledge in order to best support RA in New England. To achieve this objective, I ask the following two research questions: (1) How do farmers in New England come to adopt the practices and perspectives associated with RA? and (2) What barriers and facilitators do New England farmers face as they act to implement RA?  

RA is increasingly popular for its many economic, ecological, and social benefits. For example, RA is seen as a way to increase and sustain farm profitability (Delgado et al. 2020; Green et al. 2021; LaCanne and Lundgren 2018; Rosenzweig et al. 2020) and improve the health and wellbeing of farmers (Burns 2020; Duncan, et al.  2020; Gibbons 2020; Gordon et al. 2021; Gordon et al. 2021; Gremmen 2022; LaCanne and Lundgren 2018). Significantly, RA is also increasingly framed and as a powerful form of environmentalism. RA rejuvenates biodiversity through providing habitat (Delgado et al. 2020; DeVore 2020; Duncan et al. 2020; Krebs and Bach 2018; Lichtfouse 2010) and is seen as a form of climate adaptation and mitigation due to the role of plants, glomalin, and soil organisms in capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to store underground (also known as carbon sequestration and “carbon farming”) (Elevitch et al. 2018; Gordon et al. 2021; Green et al. 2021; Magdoff 1993; Rhodes 2012; White 2020).

While RA has many working definitions (Anderson 2019; Dolan 2020; Gibbons 2020; Giller et al. 2021; Gosnell 2021; Green et al. 2021; Newton et al. 2020; Rhodes 2017; Schreefel et al. 2020), this study views RA as an approach that purposefully integrates agricultural production with complex and biodiverse ecological landscapes--often from the starting point of complex soil agroecosystems (Delgado, Gantzer, and Sassenrath 2020; Delgado et al. 2020; Gosnell 2021; Handelsman 2021; Luján Soto et al. 2021; Roesch‐McNally et al. 2018; Salazar et al. 2020).

To provide an in-depth analysis of the barriers and facilitators faced by New England farmers seeking to implement an RA approach, I apply qualitative social scientific methods designed to highlight farmer voices, experiences, and perspectives. 

This study will thus highlight the needs of New England farmers actively working to build a more diverse, resilient, and healthful landscape. This rich data will not only highlight possible areas for farmer support, providing a resource for the development of future research instruments for both experimental and social scientific inquiry (Guptill and SARE Quality-of-Life Working Group 2021:5).


Materials and methods:

(1) I engage with three main methods including: (1) in-depth loosely structured interviews, (2) follow-up farm site visit observations and observation at sustainable agricultural events, and (3) web and media content analysis. I will recruit participants through contacting New England extension agencies and sustainable farming organizations, recruitment at events, visiting farms in person, and through participant referral (“snowball sampling”) (Berg and Lune 2017). Participants who engage in any form of sustainable agriculture will be sought out in the beginning of the study. After interviews are underway, I will then further sample by purposefully seeking out farmers that can represent a variability in demographics and RA practices.

a) In-depth loosely structured interviews: I will perform 50 in-depth virtual interviews with farmers who identify themselves as applying an approach to agriculture that aligns with the general practices and goals associated with regenerative agriculture as outlined in other sections of this proposal. Interviews will be 90-120 minutes in length to allow for a deeper understanding of farmer perspectives and experiences than is possible with survey instruments (Prokopy 2011). In order to encourage farmers to take an active role in shaping interviews around topics most important to them, I will conduct the interviews with loosely structured “topic guides” (Ritchie et al. 2013) made up of broad prompts and follow-up probes (Jiménez and Orozco 2021). This intentionally loosely structured design is also more likely to capture the topics most important to the farming community than would survey research instruments or heavily structured qualitative approaches (Prokopy 2011). Interviews  will begin by asking farmers to give an overview of their farm and their role at the farm. I will subsequently probe respondents to discuss their experiences with implementing RA outcome goals and practices (as previously defined). I will only purposefully mention RA near the end of the interview if the term had not yet surfaced to ensure interview  engagement with farmer perspectives on the RA movement specifically. 

b) Follow-up farm site visits: I include follow-up farm site visits for about half the interviewees in order to collect a “thick description” (Levitt et al. 2018; Tracy 2010) of the farm landscape and interactions among farmers, employees, customers, and more-than-human organisms on the farm. These site visits will also continue to highlight farmer voices as they explain the current happenings on their farm and how they make meaning from them (Magnusson 2015).

c) Website and media content analysis: I will perform content analyses of websites and media produced by prominent organizations in the wider RA community in the Northeast in order to examine if prominent themes among farmer participants are also present in the wider NE sustainable farming population. This data will be gathered from public sources, or if needed, requested to draw upon with written consent. These data are largely supplementary to interview data and farm visit observation data.

d) Ethnographic observation at events with the wider RA community: During the study period, I will seek to attend a selection of relevant conferences, events, and/or workshops that will provide me with further context surrounding the experiences of farmers in New England. Observation will include the taking of field notes and writing of post-observation memos. I will acquire consent to observe at events and will largely draw on the data as supplementary to my analysis of individual interviews and farm visits.

(2) To achieve Objective 2, I apply a variety of methods and strategies to ensure the validity and trustworthiness (rigor) of this project across data collection, analysis, and reporting/publishing. I apply multiple types of methods, known as “data triangulation,” in order to verify data collected in one method with the insights drawn from data collected by the remaining methods (Roulston 2010). Interviews for example, provide largely farmer perspectives for analysis, whereas observation at farm visits will allow me to observe the physical environment and relations on the farm directly. Observation and content analyses drawn from websites and events will allow me to compare my participants' responses with the wider community. Further, I will use audio recordings whenever possible to allow for detailed later analysis. Finally, I will also engage in writing short research memos following each interview and ethnographic observation during data collection. Writing memos at this point in the project provides another representation of the data that can also be drawn upon layer for analysis.

To ensure rigor during analysis, I will use verbatim transcripts whenever possible to allow for a full depiction of the data. I will include follow-up calls with a subset of participants during data collection and analysis in order to confirm my understandings and interpretations of the data—known as “respondent validation” (Roulston 2010) or “member checks” (Levitt et al. 2018) (also known as a form of “methodological triangulation” (Roulston 2010). I will also ensure the validity of my analysis through weekly check-ins with my advisor and semi-monthly “peer debriefing” sessions with Dr. Pisani-Gareau, an expert in agroecology, throughout the interpretation and analysis process. Finally, to ensure reliability of data analysis, I will also engage in writing “analytic memos” (Roulston 2010) at least once every two weeks during data analysis to ensure. 

During the publication and presentation phase, I will ensure transparency by presenting findings in farmers’ own words as much as possible within confidentiality requirements.

Participation Summary

Education & Outreach Activities and Participation Summary

Participation Summary:

Education/outreach description:

Initial outreach into the regenerative agriculture community in New England is included throughout the study in the form of participant recruitment and attendance at sustainable agriculture events. I will also apply to present my preliminary findings and initial analyses as a graduate student research presenter a Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) 2024 summer conference. At the end of the study, I will also create a report with specific sections aimed at farmers, extension agencies, and sustainable agriculture organizations. This report will outline how the findings apply to the specific roles of stakeholders in these groups and will be available electronically. I will send this report to participants, Northeast extension offices, NOFA, the Northeast Cover Crops Council, the New England Grazing Network, the Permaculture Association of the Northeast, Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust, and additional groups as identified. I will also volunteer to meet with these organizations to discuss or present the report and answer any questions. Extension agencies and sustainable agriculture organizations will be encouraged to draw upon this data to identify gaps in services that may otherwise be overlooked. To enact effective, lasting change, this report will also include a section with recommendations to policy makers and state representatives to help address barriers, and highlight opportunities, at the municipal and state levels.


Project Outcomes

Project outcomes:

These data on the experiences of farmers as they seek to engage with regenerative agriculture will strengthen the ability of future researchers, policy makers, and support organizations to better understand and support farmers engaging with sustainable agriculture. Already, the need for support in the areas discussed above is evident. Further, exploration of the ways that participants understand the term "regenerative agriculture" will be essential to better support farmers that are engaging with practices associated with the term. The hesitancy of these farmers to engage with the term is particularly telling given that they already demonstated some identification with the term by joining the study. This reveals that a larger hesitancy to engage may be present in the wider farmer community. 

Knowledge Gained:

Data collected thus far includes 23 in-depth interviews (totaling to appox. 32 hours of interview data) with 26 farmers residing in MA (7), CT (7), ME (7), VT (1), NH (2), and NY (2). 15 of the farms represented in the interviews were also visited by the researcher. Farm visits were 1.5-2 hours and data includes on-site audio recordings, photos, and post-visit ethnographic notes. See below table for participant data. 

Farmer psydonym Interview date Farm visit date Gender pronouns Age Race Education Sexual orientation Political views Political affiliation Years major decision maker Acres  Farm area Parent(s) were farmers Grow plant crops Manage animals Grant funding last 3 yrs
Achilles July 2023 July 2023 He/him 24 White Bachelor's degree LGBTQ+ community  Left/Socialist Democrat ~ 23 Rural No Yes Yes No
Alice (partner Cameron) Feb 2023 Aug 2023 She/her 40 White Bachelor's degree non-LGBTQ+ community Prefer not to answer Prefer not to answer 6-10 200+ Rural No No Yes No
Cameron (partner Alice) Feb 2023 Aug 2023 Prefer not to answer 42 White Bachelor's degree Prefer not to answer [regenerative] Prefer not to answer 6-10 200+ Rural No No Yes No
Annabel Oct 2022 Aug 2023 She/her 33 White Bachelor's degree non-LGBTQ+ community Somewhat liberal Independent 6-10 11-25 Rural No Yes Yes Yes
Bellamy Mar 2023 Aug 2023 He/him 54 White Bachelor's degree non-LGBTQ+ community Very conservative Independent ~ ~ Rual No Yes Yes No
Finn July 2023 Aug 2023 He/him 42 White Bachelor's degree non-LGBTQ+ community Liberal Working Families Party ~ ~ Rural No No Yes Yes
Louis Aug 2023 Aug 2023 He/him 36 White Bachelor's degree non-LGBTQ+ community [I dont associate with political parties] Unaffiliated 1-5 11-25 Rural No Yes Yes Yes
Otto Feb 2023 Aug 2023 He/him 38 White Bachelor's degree non-LGBTQ+ community Somewhat liberal Prefer not to answer 11-15 4-10 Spatious suburb No Yes No Yes
Quentin Feb 2023 Aug 2023 He/him 35 White Bachelor's degree non-LGBTQ+ community Liberal Democrat 6-10 76-100 Spatious suburb No Yes No Yes
Ripley Feb 2023 Aug 2023 She/her 48 White Bachelor's degree non-LGBTQ+ community Very liberal Democrat 6-10 11-25 Rural No Yes Yes Yes
Roy Aug 2023 Aug 2023 He/him 61 White Master's degree non-LGBTQ+ community Moderate Independent 6-10 125-150 Rural No Yes No Yes
Doug (partner Judy) Feb 2023 July 2023 He/him 42 White High school or GED non-LGBTQ+ community [Socialist] Prefer not to answer 6-10 4-10 Rural Yes Yes Yes Yes
Judy (partner Doug) Feb 2023 July 2023 She/her 33 White and [mutt] Bachelor's degree non-LGBTQ+ community Prefer not to answer Green Party 6-10 4-10 Rural No Yes Yes Yes
Lucy Oct 2022 July 2023 She/her 48 White Bachelor's degree non-LGBTQ+ community [I don't feel represented in our current political context] [If I had to choose it would be Independent or Libertarian, with mostly liberal views, but again, our political system does not represent me] 11-15 600+ Spatious suburb No Yes Yes Yes
Miles Oct 2022 July 2023 He/him 36 White Bachelor's degree non-LGBTQ+ community [non political] Unaffiliated 6-10 26-50 Rural No Yes Yes Yes
Nathaniel Oct 2022 July 2023 He/him 47 White Master's degree non-LGBTQ+ community Moderate Unaffiliated 16-20 26-50 Spatious suburb No Yes Yes No
Atlas Nov 2022 N/A He/him 65 White Dr. Veterinary Medicine non-LGBTQ+ community Moderate Independent 31-40 26-50 Suburb No Yes Yes No
Celia Mar 2023 N/A She/her 38 White Bachelor's degree non-LGBTQ+ community Liberal Democrat ~ ~ Spatious suburb No Yes No Yes
Drew (partner Iris) Mar 2023 N/A ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Rural No Yes Yes ~
Iris (partner Drew) Mar 2023 N/A ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Rural No Yes Yes ~
Freya Feb 2023 N/A She/her 34 White Bachelor's degree LGBTQ+ community  Very liberal Democrat ~ ~ Rural No No Yes Yes
Julian Aug 2023 N/A He/him 42 White Bachelor's degree Prefer not to answer Conservative Republican  ~ ~ Rural No Yes Yes No
Killian Oct 2022 N/A He/him 66 White Bachelor's degree non-LGBTQ+ community Liberal Democrat 11-15 Unassigned Spatious suburb No Yes Yes Yes
Murray Feb 2023 N/A He/him 60 White Master's degree non-LGBTQ+ community Liberal Democrat 16-20 11-25 Rural Yes Yes Yes Yes
Wren Sept 2023 N/A She/her 35 White Master's degree non-LGBTQ+ community Liberal Unaffiliated 6-10 1-3 Rural No Yes Yes Yes
Brady July 2023 Sept 2023 He/him 57 White Master's degree non-LGBTQ+ community Liberal Prefer not to answer ~ ~ Suburb Yes Yes Yes Yes



NOFA conferences were also attended for recruitment. The 2024 MA NOFA Winter Conference was attended largely for ethnographic observation, in addition to recruitment of further interviewees. The CT NOFA Winter Conference is also to be attended in March 2024. Initial data analysis has not yet been presented to the wider farming community to lessen the likelihood of skewing future data collection. 

Preliminary analysis highlights multiple barriers and facilitators to regenerative agriculture in the Northeastern United States--in addition to the beginning of insight into what the term "regenerative agriculture" means to these farmers and how they view themselves as part of the wider human and beyond-human community.  

Thus far, five major barriers and faciliators have been identified (with each acting as both barrier for some and faciliator for others). These include: land access, housing for farmer and employees, labor access, interpersonal relationships/community support, and access to processing sevices or equipment. 

Selected interview excerpts on land access:


[The previous farm owners] opted to try and conserve their farm. And they worked with the Vermont land trust…And then right after we transacted on the land, so $2 million piece of land here, then was sold to us for $225,000…


We need more farms like our farm, small community farms to feed our communities. And if it's not financially viable to do so, it's not going to be possible…people aren't gonna be able to start farms…access to land for new farmers, it's like getting crazier and crazier. So the system as a whole has a lot of problems. And they kind of impact each other.


I’ve been struggling with land access for 20 years. And I didn't manage to get it until I met and teamed up with someone else [looks at wife/farm partner].


Yeah, it's the hardest question in farming in this area. You know, it's a hard question because land it near Boston is is just so damn expensive. I live in a, what's now a wealthy Boston suburb today, used to be a farming town 80 years ago, you know, nobody thought of moving to Sherborn if they had business in Boston…Don't think there is any practical way to make owning land near Boston accessible for young people who want to start out as farmers…if that's just a it's just a pipe dream that ever could really become viable on any scale.


I mean, access to farmland is a huge topic. [R]ight now we sit in what most farmers would consider an unsecure situation, because we are on land that we don't own. And we don't have a written agreement with the owners. We have a handshake agreement and that's all he will give us. As he says, ‘I don't sign anything.’ So right now you talk to any farmer and they're like, ‘Oh, I wouldn't do that’…but would we throw away this opportunity to farm land here? And it's been hard in some ways…[but] what is the difference between a written agreement and a handshake agreement in our mindset? Because…a written agreement can be broken too…pretty much it's just whoever can pay the lawyer and the judge more money…we don't really have that sort of money anyway. So if it came down to it…we had to move or we had to figure something else out. We don't own the land, we can't afford to own the land necessarily. Right now, we'd love to get our business to the point where it can buy land…but we don't have to own the land in order to farm it, and to make it a better piece of land. And that's our goal—is increasing biodiversity and building soil.

Selected interview excerpts on housing access: 


…we don't have housing, so we can't really have an intern-style, you know, affordable labor, here…We've tossed around the idea of putting up a cabin…it's a cost, and it's just never on our top priority list. So it just hasn't gotten done yet. So it's, you know, we need to acquire some capital to make that happen.


That and access to funding for housing…because that's the other hurdle that we've faced—is zero financing for farm house construction. There’s all kinds of financing for farms, especially for businesses, but no domestic financing to actually give them good houses, much less efficient houses.


…housing is a really challenging situation for us, our family, but also…we have a lot of people who work for us…a lot of the people that work here…are just starting their families, and we're trying to create a situation where they can actually live in a house and raise their family here and afford to do that. So that's a huge sort of hurdle and challenge for us, but one we're working on and committed to figuring out.


…the first year we did one intern…two is kind of like our magic number, if we can find two really good ones…And it tends to be a lot of college kids who are looking for an experience for the summer. And we offer housing, because we've got this huge farm house, we have no kids. So it kind of works out good for us. And yeah, so we offer housing, and we just offer like a food stipend…tons of food.

Given the labor intensity of many of the methods and practices associated with regenerative agriculure, access to quality labor is of major importance to many of the interviewees. As Otto explained:

"So, labor. Yeah, labor is the number one expense for this sort of agriculture. We we rely heavily on human power. So we literally broadcast our compost with wheelbarrows and shovels and weed seed by hand, we do everything by hand. I mean, we've taken the tractor, essentially out of the equation or out of the field. We still use the tractor to turn the compost and stuff but like it's all people power. And we want it that way…I don't want the tractor in the field…that's going to kill the soil, it's going to compact the soil, it's going to make ruts and damage what we've been building for the last five years. So yeah, it's all about like, finding like, yeah, I have a great crew. So they're just like, they're solid workers, they can get it done. We have efficiency we made make sure that everybody's kind of like, just like, turning a bed over quick enough that we can make another crop in that bed soon, so that we can, you know, like, but at the end of the year, I mean, yeah. Huge, huge labor expenses."

This finding is further supported by interviewees who mentioned labor when prompted with a hypothetical prompt on what they would do if given endless resources to support their farm. As these selected interview excerpts illustrate:


When we've researched a crimper, I think if we were serious about no till that might be the next step…but if we were gonna go e

ven further and say, stop using our tractor, we just need more labor, the other farms that do this have a ton of labor…your mulching…It's just not practical for two people to do and still make money.


I probably [would] hire more men if I have those resources. I'm probably replace older equipment with newer equipment…


Well, it's a really interesting question, because I think the answer is nothing. [Interviewer: Really?] Well, if if you dropped 100 grand in my lap, and you told me I had to spend it on the farm...[I would] hire a bunch of people to rip out quack grass and rid my farm of it so I never had to think about it again. It would probably be a waste of money, because the seeds would still be there and they'd have to come back three years later and do the whole thing again…But you know…I run my farm the way I like and so…I don't feel as though it feels the money is the issue. I tried to try to make I try to make minimum wage or a little bit better. I probably don't do much better than that. Like, spend my time doing what I want to do. And so, I mean, I suppose the other answer is if I had all the, you know, unlimited resources, I’d pay myself more...


We would probably bring in more staff to do more enterprises on the farm. We don't have livestock on the farm, but the land is, would be great for livestock…we're currently working on like a whole long-term permaculture agroforestry plan requires like a ton of planting trees and shrubs, we [would] do all that real quick, rather than take like six years to do it. And…if we had endless resources, we'd probably stop selling to restaurants so we wouldn't be competitive with other farms. And we'd probably turn this into like some sort of like educational farm to just educate folks on how to do things. Well…we're like a research farm. We already do a work with a lot of partners on different research projects. And I think that would probably be where we put all our energy is trying to figure out how to do these practices better if we weren't constrained by the financial obligation of making money.


I'd pay off my debt. So yeah, we had a rough year last year…So but um, well, I would probably pay my workers better. I mean, even though we're doing we're at $15 an hour, it's like, that's not a—it's not really a sustainable wage. And it's not something that keeps people coming back. One of the hard things about labor is, you know, if you have to retrain every year, because you've gotten new people every year…time…getting people up to speed…So being able to pay your workers that's would be dependent well to keep them here, it'd be one thing…

Community support and interpersonal relationships appear in the data in the forms of donations and loans provided by community members and more prevelent, access to free materials (such as leaves or woodchips) provided by local landscaping companies. 

Processing (and storage) services and equipment is also an emerging theme. Animal processing is a difficuilt aspect for many of these farmers due to the timing of processing appointments (which must be booked extremely far in advance) being difficuilt to gauge alongside the timing of when the farmer believes each individual animal will be ready for processing. Further processing concerns largely occur with speciality crops (such as chestnuts) that require specialized processing equipment. 

The meaning of the term "regenerative" is also being explored in depth. Five farmers have referred to regenerative agriculture as a "buzzword." These farmers indicate some reluctance in using the term given its popularity and unclear meaning. Some indicate that this reluctance is connected to concerns for the terms co-optation by the industrial agricultural industry. Other farmers are also hesitant to identify as a regenerative farmer when regenerative agriculture is sometimes understood as connected to Indigenous peoples--a group of which they respect but are not a part of. This viewpoint is illustrared in the excerpts below: 


Um, yeah, just going back, and thinking about regenerative. And in when we were like trying to figure out how to talk about our practices. One thing we were aware of, is that I think regenerative agriculture has sort of like become in-fashion but has roots in indigenous agricultural practices. And it felt like, kind of toeing the line of appropriation to say, like, we are doing these practices that are, you know, basing cultures that aren't my own on land that was stolen. And so we also kind of moved away from that, because of, like, part of the cultural history of it and feeling like, that has meaning that, like me, as, like, me as a white farmer is not the one to define. Um, and I don't know, like, I think regenerative is like so much in the mainstream now that it's removed from some of that history. But that was kind of like part of our initial thinking about what it means to call yourself regenerative and like, who gets to define it?


Um, so to me, the word in and of itself, I think means to take something that's kind of been depleted and regenerate or kind of bring it back, like in terms of the soil to good health. And I think on our farm, that means looking at where we started, and what the soil was like when we started farming. And then kind of monitoring what it looks like, as we apply what's known as regenerative practices…I know that there's kind of a lot of, I don't want to say political, but like, you know, we go back and forth between calling it regenerative or calling it sustainable are just calling it like no till. Because I also know that there's a lot of like indigenous practices that have kind of been call it borrowed or stolen or whatever, you know, whatever you want to call it. So we're definitely kind of trying to be conscious of that and not--if we share with our customers or market, like we're trying to just kind of emphasize the focus on the soil health and not necessarily calling it something like a buzzword. If that's, if that makes sense.

Assessment of Project Approach and Areas of Further Study:

Preliminary data, including six in-depth interviews with farmers from four New England states, has been used to slightly adjust the interview guide. Given that all interviews were under 2 hours, adjustments include the addition of more follow up prompts for to aquire further depth in interviewee responses and the addition of a photo-elicitation method. This method is included in the latter part of the interview, prompting farmers to provide comments and discussion on an photo of an anonymous agricultural field taken by the researcher from a public road in New England (see below). The interviewer will prompt farmers about this photo using the "SHOWED" method in which the interviewee discusses what is Shown/Seen in the photo, what is really Happening in the photo, how does the photo relate to Our lives, Why are things as they are in the photo, how can this photo Educate others, and what should we Do/be Done about what is depicted in the photo. 


anonymous field


Further data collection and analysis will focus not only on identfying the barriers and faciliatators toward regenerative agricutlure in New England, but also on exploring nuances in these data for a truly in-depth understanding of engagement with regenerative agricutlure in New Englan

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.