From Field to Fork: The Regenerative Farming Journey of Farmer DeAnna Lozensky

Nestled in the heart of central North Dakota, Farmer DeAnna Lozensky and her husband have embarked on a unique farming journey that is capturing the attention of health-conscious consumers and sustainability enthusiasts alike. Their small grain farm is a testament to the power of regenerative agriculture, where they grow heritage wheat varieties, barley, spelt, peas, flax, and more—all without the use of tillage, fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, or pre-harvest desiccants. Instead, they are passionate about bringing their nutrient-rich grains directly to consumers, restaurants, and local bakeries, showcasing a revolutionary approach to modern farming.

Regenerative Farming: A Commitment to Soil Health

DeAnna and her husband’s farming philosophy is deeply rooted in the principles of regenerative agriculture, focusing on soil health as the cornerstone of their operations. Unlike conventional farming systems, which prioritize yield and often rely on synthetic inputs, regenerative farming seeks to enhance the natural fertility and resilience of the soil. This method not only reduces the need for chemical inputs but also promotes biodiversity and improves the nutritional quality of the crops grown.

DeAnna explains the critical differences between ancient grains and heritage grains, shedding light on why their farm’s practices are so essential:

  • Ancient Grains:

    • These are grains and pseudocereals that have remained largely unchanged for thousands of years, including varieties like amaranth, millet, and sorghum. They date back to the Neolithic revolution, maintaining their nutritional integrity and versatility. Amaranth, for instance, is a gluten-free grain rich in manganese, magnesium, and iron, cultivated for over 8,000 years.

  • Heritage Grains:

    • Falling between ancient and modern grains, heritage varieties have benefited from centuries of selective breeding. These grains are not associated with modern farming practices and often produce less yield but with higher nutritional quality. Heritage wheats are akin to reliable, old pickup trucks—robust and full of character, though not as optimized as modern counterparts.

The Journey from Field to Pasta

One of the most exciting innovations from DeAnna’s farm is their unique pasta, made from grains grown right on their land. This pasta stands out not only for its rich, nutty flavor but also for its inclusivity—even those who are typically gluten intolerant can enjoy it. The process is simple yet profound: the grains are harvested, cleaned, stone-milled into full-nutrition flour, and mixed with water to create pasta with a distinct, rough texture that holds sauce beautifully. This minimal processing preserves the grains’ natural nutrients, ensuring that the final product is as wholesome as possible.

Economic Realities and Challenges

Despite the benefits, transitioning to regenerative farming is not without its challenges. DeAnna highlights the economic pressures that many farmers face, particularly when they do not own the land they cultivate. Short-term leases often force farmers to prioritize immediate yields over long-term soil health, leading to practices that can degrade the soil. In contrast, when farmers own their land, they can invest in regenerative practices that enhance soil health and ultimately produce more nutritious food.

Organic vs Certified Organic vs. Regenerative: The Soil Health Factor

DeAnna also clarifies the distinction between organic and regenerative farming. While “organic” is a certified term by the USDA, it does not necessarily equate to nutrient-dense or sustainable practices. Nutrient density, she argues, is more closely tied to soil health than to whether a farm is certified organic. Regenerative farming focuses on creating a thriving soil ecosystem that naturally supports plant health and nutrient uptake, reducing the need for external inputs, whether organic or conventional.

The Importance of Nutritional Transparency

Transparency is a cornerstone of DeAnna’s approach. Her farm conducts rigorous nutritional testing, costing about $1,600 per test, to provide consumers with accurate, detailed nutritional profiles of their grains and flours. This commitment to transparency ensures that consumers can trust the nutritional quality of the food they purchase, moving beyond generic labels and towards a deeper understanding of what they are eating.

Listen to the Full Conversation

Farmer DeAnna Lozensky’s story is a powerful reminder of the impact that thoughtful, sustainable farming practices can have on our health and the environment. Her insights into regenerative agriculture, the nuances of grain varieties, and the economic realities of farming are not only educational but also deeply inspiring.

To dive deeper into DeAnna's journey and learn more about the incredible work being done on her farm, listen to the full episode of the Crackin’ Backs Podcast. Discover how regenerative farming is paving the way for a healthier, more sustainable future, one grain at a time.

To purchase her products AND help out the show, use this LINK


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