Plants For Biodiversity and A Changing Climate
One of the key measures of environmental health is biodiversity. As of June 2023, Ozark Akerz is home to over 600 species of plants, insects, reptiles, birds, fungi, mammals etc.
Our strategy for increasing biodiversity at Ozark Akerz has taken many forms. This includes but is not limited to:
In terms of labor, planting native perennial plants in the food and medicine forest has been the most intensive. We have planted 130+ trees, shrubs and other perennial plant, all of which require regular watering, weeding, and hand picking insects like Japanese Beetles every morning for 3-4 weeks during summer to ensure they have a fighting chance to grow. The increase in plant species has had a knock-on effect on the increase in insect, reptile and bird species.
8 days on 3 continents, over 300 species discovered! Join us in 2023 for the second annual Graze Against The Machine Biodiversity Challenge!
What you need to join
What is the Graze Against The Machine® Challenge?
From May 7th to May 15th, we will be hosting a fun bioblitz to identify all the animals and plants in the areas that our growing Graze Against The Machine community lives, works and plays. You can sign-up any time before May 7th.
iNaturalist from National Geographic has helped us verify more than 550 species at Ozark Akerz. We've even discovered wild-growing food, medicinal plants and ingredients for brewing beer!
With iNaturalist you can take photos of plants, insects, mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, mollusks, amphibians or any other animal and upload to the iNaturalist App. You can also record sounds of birds, mammals, reptiles or insects directly in the app if you can’t get close enough for a photo or if it’s too dark. iNaturalist will help you identify the species from the photo or sound, if you’ve joined the Graze Against The Machine Challenge, it will automatically be added to the bioblitz.
Whether you have time to take one or one hundred photos, visit our 2022 Graze Against The Machine Challenge page on iNaturalist website and signup/login to join the challenge (or the Android app, for reason iNaturalist doesn't allow you to join on the iPhone app). Lets see how many species we can identify as a community in a week and how many locations we represent. Our observations will contribute to community science and are allowing us to better understand – and take care of – the nature that we farm in harmony with.
Who knows, you may find a member of the GATM community who lives near you!
Tips for using iNaturalist.
What Do Pineywoods Cattle Eat?
Pineywoods Cattle have a bio-diverse diet, it is one of the reasons why we chose to raise them. Ozark Akerz is a mix of pastures and forests and the combination of grasses, trees, and shrubs is the perfect combination for them. In fact we stopped rotational grazing, allowing them to eat what they want, when they want (food and medicine), just like their ancestors did.
What do the Pineywoods Cattle herd eat at Ozark Akerz Regenerative Farm? The answer is, all sorts, from Brambles to Walnut. We'll share what we've seen them eat, how they sometimes eat similar to Giraffes, and how our bull Rocky competes with farmer Sue to see who can pull the tastiest kudzu vine out of the trees for the cows. We'll also reveal how their appetite helps us meet some of our regenerative farming goals.
Check out our YouTube channel