There is a climate crisis. And we know that to slow down the effects of this crisis, we cannot continue business as usual. Not in energy production, not in manufacturing, not in transportation and certainly not in agriculture.
Not only is the agriculture sector one of the largest C02 emitters, but in return, the changing climate is making it harder to produce, which means farmers must adapt.
One positive outcome of this current climate state is the growing awareness and shift towards Regenerative Agriculture – a holistic approach to farming.
WHAT DOES REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE MEAN?
Regenerative Agriculture is defined as:
"A system of farming principles and practices that increases biodiversity, enriches soils, improves watersheds, and enhances ecosystem services.
Regenerative Agriculture aims to capture carbon in soil and aboveground biomass, reversing current global trends of atmospheric accumulation. At the same time, it offers increased yields, resilience to climate instability, and higher health and vitality for farming and ranching communities.
The system draws from decades of scientific and applied research by the global communities of organic farming, agroecology, Holistic Management, and agroforestry." - Terra Genesis International
Put simply, it is a method of farming that improves the surrounding environment, rather than destroying or depleting it.
REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE PRINCIPLES & PRACTICES
Regenerative Agriculture is guided by four principles:
1. Progressively improve whole agroecosystems (soil, water, biodiversity)
2. Create context-specific designs and make holistic decisions that express the essence of each farm
3. Ensure and develop just and reciprocal relationships amongst all stakeholders
4. Continually grow and evolve individuals, farms, and communities to express their innate potential.
From the four Principles emerge a diversity of Practices that can progressively improve whole agroecosystems, including:
- No-till farming & pasture cropping
- Organic annual cropping
- Compost & compost tea
- Biochar & terra preta
- Holistically managed grazing
- Animal integration
- Ecological aquaculture
- Perennial crops
WHY SHOULD WE CARE ABOUT REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE?
Soil health is vital to maintaining agricultural productivity. With every crop grown, farmland can become less fertile and contain fewer trace minerals. Other factors can cause soil degradation including decarbonization, erosion, desertification and chemical pollution.
Regenerative Agriculture practices offer increased yields, resilience to climate instability, and healthy soil. This means more food and more money in our farmers back pockets.
Not only does adopting Regenerative Agriculture practices help farmers deal with current climate change impacts by making their farms more resilient and adaptive; it allows them to make a long-term impact by being part of a larger solution to the crisis.