Regenerative Resources Co

My entrance into the world of regenerative agriculture & regenerative economies was a dramatic one; with little more than book knowledge I quit an office job to take a co-founder role at the Al Baydha Project. I spent 8.5 years working primarily with the Jahdali tribe in the desert south of Makkah (as well as a few families from the Aduani, Nadui, and Abdali tribes), reversing desertification and laying the foundation to restore indigenous land management & grazing systems.

On a 100 hectare prototype, a team of bedou and I were given absolute free reign to experiment on techniques and tools to restore a desolate landscape to an indigenous silvopasture. Leaning heavily on Nabatean and Incan water management strategies, and after making thousands of mistakes, we reversed about a century of desertification in under a decade, in a way that is scalable to every other watershed in the region. There’s a decent video on that project here:

There were key things I learned in Al Baydha that have shaped how Regenerative Resources Co (RRC) is starting in its early days.

1: indigenous knowledge and local community buy-in is critical to the long-term success of these kinds of projects. Too many projects are done on behalf of a group, without the participation of that group. The successes we had in Al Baydha would have been impossible without the local tribes’ participation, advice, and trust.

Dry-stone terraces & a polyculture agroforestry developed with local know-how. What I love about this photo is that Al Kuwaisi is looking at his phone to check prices of lamb in Makkah.

2: Unless these projects generate revenues and profits, they will fail. Economic, ecological, and cultural sustainability are all necessary.

3: The ultimate potential of our species, as it relates to earth and her ecologies, is to be a keystone species. We aren’t inherently bad for earth — we are not destructive by nature, but by habit. Ultimately, we shouldn’t try to be less bad for earth, when we can be good for it.

2011, before planting anything
2014 — This would have been impossible without human intervention. This is what a keystone species can do.

4: The poverty-degradation cycle is real, and it’s everywhere. In the last 2 years of incubating RRC we’ve seen it in Mexico, Ghana, Spain, Senegal, Somaliland, Vietnam, Mali, all variations on the same theme. When common resources become degraded (a fishery, a forest, an aquifer), local people inevitably turn to more destructive practices to meet short term needs. This increases the degradation of local ecosystems, which exacerbates the poverty further, which makes short-term needs even more acute. And on and on. This cycle is a major driver of deforestation, desertification, aquifer depletion, fishery depletion, etc.

5: When we put 1–4 together, some things become very clear: If we are to restore degraded ecosystems, we must do so in tandem with the development of regenerative economies. It doesn’t make any sense to grow trees, unless we address why people are cutting them down in the first place. Short-term needs must be addressed, and a transition from economies that degrade ecologies, to economies that reinforce ecological health, must accompany ecological restoration. This is necessary if that restoration is to be permanent (more on that charged term to come!)

With that brief overview in mind, welcome to following Regenerative Resources and our blog. We transform degraded lands into productive agroecologies — systems that not only create jobs & produce goods, but that increase biodiversity, increase freshwater resources, create soil, and sequester carbon.

~Neal Spackman
Founder & CEO

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