Slow and Steady Wins the Regenerative Race

07 Apr 2020

Cameron’s Slow Farm is steadily restoring vitality in its soil with no short cuts

Text and Photos by Christine Hall

Meet Rachel. And Rosie. And Whoopsie. And Kevin. These, and dozens more, are the “farmhands” that tend the lands of Slow Farm. Tucked away in the quiet hills of Cameron, North Carolina, Rachel Herrick, and her husband Carl, work 47 acres of old tobacco land, the “slow way.”

Slow Farm is a private, regenerative farm that uses holistic and historic farming techniques to slowly restore the vitality of a 150+ year old former tobacco farm. “We’re working from the soil microbes up. No chemicals, no short cuts. Just the way nature does it,” says Rachel Herrick, a third-generation farmer and co-owner of Slow Farm.

In 2015, Herrick and her husband bought the farm with hopes of nursing the land back to health. Knowing they were not looking to seed crops in the deprived soil, they recruited a team of lovable livestock to help with their soil regeneration efforts. This mix included brush goats, kunekune pigs, and a flotilla of free-range poultry. “Every species and breed on our farm has been carefully researched and recruited for the specific skills and abilities they bring to the land,” reports Herrick, with a red-lipped smile.

This is especially, and perhaps most excitingly, true of their New Zealand-native kunekune pigs, whose medium size, docility, and short snouts make them perfect for pasture clean up without damaging soil. “We believe this breed could be a game changer for those interested in land management and sustainable pork,” adds Herrick.

Reaching Out

In addition to restoring the land, Herrick wants to be a resource that connects people with regenerative agriculture and land sustainability efforts. For non-farmers, this means having opportunities to connect with nature and hands-on learning experiences on their farm that allows community members to appreciate the power of nature through hands-on work.

“In addition to helping people discover their own relationship with land, one of our biggest joys is connecting with fellow farmers and brainstorming practical ways that regenerative systems can increase crop yields and personal satisfaction, says Herrick. “We’re not interested in preaching so much as collaborative discovery.”

Whether established generational farmers or aspiring homesteaders, the call to work the land is something that bonds. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Visit to see the calendar of events and workshops this spring and meet some of the Slow Farm gang for yourself.

Slow Farm Goals:

1. Give animals stress-free lives by allowing them to forage naturally and build strong long-term herd/flock relationships.

2. Restore land's fertility through rotational diversified grazing, no-till overseeding methods, and eliminating all use of herbicides, fungicides, and chemical fertilizers.

3. Work in harmony with native plant and wildlife species by preserving and restoring habitats and pass-throughs, planting and preserving pollinator fields, using non-lethal predator deterrents, and managing invasive non-native plant species through strategic grazing.

4. Invite everyone to the party! Create a welcoming, joyful space for the community to engage with the ideas and practices of regenerative farming.

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