What You Need to know About Regenerative Agriculture
Regenerative agriculture is a model of farming that doesn’t think about how we can take from the land until it is no longer of use to us. Instead, it requires a complete value and mindset shift. Regenerative farming “aims to increase biodiversity, enhance ecosystem services, and increase agroecosystem resilience thus leading to resilient livelihoods,” per the Rainforest Alliance.
There are a number of practices that fall under regenerative agriculture— think composting, no-till farming, holistically managed grazing, and more. What’s most interesting aboutregenerative agriculture, though, is the recognition that it may not look the same in the next 10 years, let alone decades from now. As Terra Genesis International noted, “Any definition of regenerative agriculture must evolve over time, like the whole living systems that we aim to regenerate.”
How does regenerative agriculture address climate change?
With its focus on regeneration, or fixing what big industries broke, regenerative agriculture falls under what’s known as climate-smart agriculture. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations defines climate-smart agriculture as “an approach that helps to guide actions needed to transform and reorient agricultural systems to effectively support development and ensure food security in a changing climate.”
When it comes to addressing climate change, regenerative agriculture’s most useful aspect comes from the fact that it goes beyond sustainability. Regenerative agriculture not only wants to ensure that the world doesn’t get worse, but it’s actively looking at ways to make it better. Per Bioneers, its focus on revitalizing ecosystems, restoring degraded soil, and increasing biodiversity all help to reverse climate change.
While regenerative agriculture may be new to you, that doesn’t mean its principles haven’t existed before.
Before modern agriculture, Indigenous communities across the globe practiced forms of regenerative agriculture even if that wasn’t necessarily the name they used. For example, the National Farmers Union pointed out that while diverse farming systems are central to regenerative agriculture, Indigenous Americans have long practiced intercropping which is when two or more crops are planted together.
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