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Bookworm Resource: Dirt to Soil - One Family’s Journey to Regenerative Agriculture by Gabe Brown

Updated: Apr 21

Building soil health, addressing farm resource concerns, and regenerating landscapes is an ongoing process and journey. In his 2018 book Dirt to Soil, Gabe Brown of Brown’s Ranch shares his insights, thought processes, and family’s experience with building soil health and efforts to renew and refine their farm operation and landscape through the years. Gabe fortunately shared some of his story and journey with many farmers and n

atural resources conservationists at the 2013 Virginia Farm to Table Conference. In his keynote presentation, he reiterated the importance of knowing your context, identifying your primary resource concern, learning from your lessons, not being afraid to experiment and fail, always trying to work with nature rather than against nature, letting biology work for your system, and stacking business enterprises to optimize natural synergies. A financial point and precept he shared, in framing the balance between profit, input costs, and yield, that struck a chord with many conference attendees was that he preferred signing the back of a check rather than the front side of a check. Dirt to Soilincludes the history of the journey, key considerations and turning points, core soil health principles as well as eight case studies of other farmers who are on a similar soil health-building regenerative path on their farms. Brown reminds everyone that building soil health is a journey and not a destination so being willing to try new things, be willing to go against the grain, but above all do something.

Brown, G. (2018). Dirt to soil: One family’s journey to regenerative agriculture. Chelsea Green Publishing. Available to order online at

Gabe Brown of Brown’s Ranch discussing soil health with Carl Luebben at the 2013 Virginia Farm to Table Conference in Weyers Cave, Virginia.

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