We can grow food and conserve biodiversity and environmental health. Agriculture can be used to solve many of the world’s problems, and Ecdysis Foundation provides the Research and Development that can make innovative practices scalable and transferable to as many operations as possible. We anticipate a paradigm shift in the way food is produced in this country, and we want to have answers ready for farmers when they are ready to farm in nature’s image. Our South Dakota location is just the beginning. After we establish ourselves with a manageable set of questions/projects, we will diversify our scientific expertise to best accomplish the multi-disciplinary nature of the science we are proposing. Our vision is to then take the Ecdysis model nationally, establishing a network of facilities around the country that can address local and regional circumstances.
The central outcomes of our research are to redesign agroecosystems to be more resilient and produce healthier food profitably by increasing biodiversity and reducing disturbance to farmland. Ecdysis Foundation’s main research strategy to foster change in our food system is to 1) identify key regenerative food systems in different regions that can have trickle down effects on food communities, 2) Next, we validate successful regenerative operations relative to conventional food production strategies using a systems level approach. 3) Using prevalent farmer strategies, we create a roadmap for farmers wanting to transition to regenerative production systems. 4) Finally, we use mechanistic and observational studies to help optimize regenerative systems. Focal food systems include rangeland, pastured dairy, perennial and annual crops, orchards, and honey bees. Ecdysis has a strong emphasis on farmer-, rancher-, and beekeeper-driven research questions, and empowers producers by involving them in the actual research projects themselves (i.e., from systems design to guided citizen science).