There is a word that is going around many farmers, scientists, advocacy groups, and even food companies’ circles which spells “hope” for the rapidly dwindling agricultural resources of the planet. That word is “Regenerative Agriculture”.
The term “Regenerative Agriculture” was coined by a diverse group of farmers, advocacy people, scientists, and even food companies from more than 100 countries to refer to the need to replenish and keep on regenerating the planet’s main resource which is its topsoil. The group asserted that the planet’s topsoil has seen massive losses due to soil mismanagement, erosion, chemical intensive agriculture, and an outright lack of understanding on how to keep the nutrients and health of the soil intact. Hence the group and this new word “regenerative agriculture” was born.
“Regenerative agriculture keeps the natural cycles healthy—like water and carbon—so that land can keep growing food and keep carbon and the climate in balance,” said Tim LaSalle, Ph.D., co-director of the Regenerative Agriculture Initiative at California State University Chico.
No other movement could be so welcomed at this time of the century. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations made a chilling prediction that if we continue with the current rate of soil degradation we are doing now, all of the world’s topsoil will be gone in 60 years. No topsoil, no farming, no people.
What does Regenerative Agriculture entail?
Firstly, regenerative agriculture focuses on “building or regenerating soils”. This entails no or minimum tilling, because it causes soil erosion. It also promotes the use of diverse crop rotations, use of cover crops, compost and manure to increase the fertility of the soil.
Other practices under regenerative are building a diverse biological ecosystem and soil biology; as well as well-managed animal grazing practices to improve soil fertility, plant growth, insect and plant diversity, and soil carbon sequestration.
There is nothing new about regenerative agriculture. Our forefathers have been using the same kind of techniques – crop rotation, insect and plant diversity, animal grazing, etc. to keep their lands fertile and healthy for generations to come.
One member of the group said the definition should disallow practices prohibited in organics, such as the use of GMOs, synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. In fact, a number of the members of the group who joined are from the organic group, and are asserting that organics should be emphasized and made a condition or requirement for being a member.
Tom Newmark, co-founder of The Carbon Underground, who is also an organizer of the initiative, disagreed to the proposed membership requirement. “I don’t want to restrict participation in the regenerative movement with a requirement for organic certification. For us to be successful in the threat of climate change, we have to enlist food producers from all over the world.”
Regenerative article advocates the practice of drawing down carbon from the atmosphere and into the soil. One of the techniques to do that is to let dairy cows graze on the grass on your soil. A very simple technique used by early farming communities but very effective in restoring the fertility of the soil.
There is talk of certification programs and training programs to be set up for regenerative agriculture. Such a course is already going to be launched at the California State University Chico, wherein the Regenerative Agriculture Initiative will focus on education, research, creating demonstration sites and collaborating with other universities.
On the other hand, the “Regenerative Organic Agriculture” course was launched last January at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa. The 10-month course aims to provide students with knowledge and hands-on field experience in regenerative agriculture practices.
It looks like we’re in the right track to restoring the planet’s natural resources. Here at the Dr. Farrah Agustin-Bunch Natural Medical Center, we are also contributing our little bit to promote all natural farming by promoting the use of medicinal herbs and plants that are locally available in the country. This is our legacy to the children of the future.
Do you agree to the principles of the Regenerative Agriculture group? Share your opinions in the comments below.