The Regenerative Neighborhood
By Daniel Z. Bair

Sometimes it seems so close at hand. I can feel it under my feet in the wooded edge of my backyard. Below I’m presenting a small part of my vision for what I’m calling the regenerative neighborhood. This idea stems primarily from my 14 years working in agriculture, coupled with living in cities for most of my adult life.

The concept of regenerative agriculture is one of the roots for my regenerative neighborhood. I share a vision presented by the Regenerative Agriculture Foundation of creating “a world in which the boundaries between the human and natural world are indistinguishable”.

When I walk around my neighborhood, and squint my eyes, I can see this vision. On extra quiet evenings during the early Covidtimes, I could hear it in a new way. When I walk to the park with my child, I can taste it. It smells like homemade food, flowers, and dry oak leaves.

It looks like a biodiverse landscape full of thousands of different species. Some are native, and some are not. Our yards look a little ‘messier’, but we know this is necessary for the fireflies and bees. Would you ever call the Asylum Lake Preserve messy?

Insects flit around. Did you know that dragonflies’ primary food source are mosquitoes? Evidence suggests that areas with greater biodiversity have fewer ticks.

Manicured lawns still exist, and have a space in some parks and sports fields. There are no pesticides making their way into our homes and waterways.

I’m hopeful because we know what the problems are, and we have a decent idea what some of the solutions are. One big thing I can’t imagine is cars being part of this new village. There are definitely bikes, and dark night skies. We live much closer to our homes, since all primary needs are met in the neighborhood. Instead of many big vacations, we turn our neighborhood into someplace we would like to choose to go on vacation. Can you see where the old streams return? Can you hear the wolves howling at night?

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