American singer, songwriter, and chef Kelis wants to reawaken our connection to the Earth as humanity. Living on a ranch in the countryside in California has allowed the musician to disconnect from the constant onslaught of information that we all tend to be on the receiving end of, instead soaking in the nature that surrounds her, taking a moment to hear the trees, wind and birds.
Describing it as “creating your own ecosystem,” Kelis is passionate about farming, gardening and the environment. Here, she shares with us her ways to create a grounding, sustainable lifestyle, from regenerative farming to modular homes, giving both yourself and the Earth the chance to grow.
During a time where mass farming and production strips the Earth of its goodness, Kelis guides us towards regenerative farming. A system of farming principles and practices aimed at increasing biodiversity and enhancing the ecosystem, regenerative agriculture works by capturing or sequestering carbon in the soil to enrich it, increase yields and improve resilience to climate instability. Drawing from decades of scientific and applied research, organisations like Kiss the Ground and Frog Hollow Farm bring regenerative and organic farming visions alive; in Kelis’ words, helping us take the Earth back “to the way things should be.”
Speaking of the importance of self-sufficiency in food growth, Kelis warns of the dangers of excessive fast food consumption. She says, “The first thing they do is take away your ability to feed yourself, and to survive, and to be healthy.”
Suggesting that we as humans move away from our dependence on processed food, she says gardening and growing your own food could be the answer to controlling what you eat. Black Girls With Gardens is an inclusive gardening collective that champions representation and creates a space for like-minded women to connect with their ancestral environmental background, providing answers, tips, and inspiration to women of colour interested in gardening.
With high yields and being easy to cultivate, hemp is a versatile crop with up to 25,000 known uses including medicinal, biofuel production, livestock feed, textile, culinary, and even cosmetics. “ I’ve been looking into hemp housing which is fireproof, mouldproof,” says Kelis, whose husband introduced her to the multi-purpose corp. “Everything-proof – it’s nuts!”
According to the UK Green Building Council, around 400 million tonnes of materials are used by the UK construction industry each year. Modular homes are a sustainable alternative that Kelis is intrigued by. From method homes to barns, modular housing is a growing trend, not only cutting costs, time and labour, but reducing the carbon footprint with eco-friendly building techniques. Modular housing properties are created off-site in a factory, transporting the separate parts and putting them together at the construction site. Modular construction is much quicker than traditional construction and creates less waste as well as reduces material use and labour costs with better quality control.