The Rich Roll Podcast
The Rich Roll Podcast
Rich Roll
Soil Is Everything: John & Molly Chester’s Biggest Little Farm
2 hour 30 minutes Posted Nov 25, 2019 at 1:00 am.
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“This all started with a promise that we would leave the big city and build a life in perfect harmony with nature.”

John Chester



Biodiversity. Regenerative agriculture. Ecological sustainability. Carbon drawdown. Climate change reversal.

These are popular themes that recur regularly on this show. But in practical terms, what do they actually mean?

I wanted to better understand these subjects. Not from the perspective of an academic, scientific researcher or political pundit but rather from the direct experience of actual practitioners — people who live and practice it every single day — farmers.

Nine years ago, personal chef Molly Chester and her filmmaker husband John Chester traded their life in urban Santa Monica for 200 acres of infertile land nestled in the foothills of Ventura County — an arid and desolate plot called Apricot Lane Farms.

Hence began a journey to build a new life from scratch. The vision? An organic, biodiverse farm based upon regenerative principles, thriving in harmony with nature. It began with repairing the draught-laden, nutrient deplete soil, followed by planting 10,000 orchard trees. Rooting over 200 crops. Introducing a myriad of animals. Managing the chaos that ensued. And patiently stewarding the farm from inert to irascible and ultimately into what it is today — an awe-inspiring symphonic ecosystem in vibrant, sustainable co-existence with nature’s rhythms.

Along the way, John chronicled every daunting, obstacle-fraught step, plying his storytelling skills and masterful wildlife cinematography to produce The Biggest Little Farm — an extraordinary documentary that evidences the planet's innate power to heal itself in synchronous partnership with humans devoted to restoring its precious biodiversity. Uplifting and wildly entertaining, it dispenses with the dystopia common among ecological fare, instead leaving audiences uplifted — and in love with the hard-earned possibility of positive change.

I was quite moved by this film. Compelled to know more, me and my team spent a day touring Apricot Lane — an educational and eye-opening experience that left me with a deep appreciation for the Chester’s achievement — and the nuanced complexity of their mission.


In the wake of my visit to Apricot Lane, I posted images from the experience on Instagram, accompanied by an expression of gratitude and respect for manifesting what environmentalists unanimously urge mandatory to repair the rapidly vanishing biodiversity of our precious soil (literally the planet's microbiome). To sequester carbon and create sustainable food security. And to serve as a viable model for the future of farming.

John and Molly didn't just protest climate change. They got to work, taking an action-based stand against the glyphosate-laden, chemical-based industrial, conglomerate owned, seed-controlled, GMO-infused, animal intensive CAFO factory farms that monopolize our current food system to the great demise of human, animal and ecological health.

More than anything, Apricot Lane proves that regenerative farming isn't just possible, but profitable. And that it doesn't just work, but exceeds conventional methods by yield volume and nutritional density metrics. Meanwhile, it controverts planetary warming by drawing down carbon and building long-term, natural resilience against pestilence, drought and soil erosion without the products and practices ‘BigAg' wants you to believe are mandatory.

Basically,



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