How Regenerative Farming Can Benefit Farmers, Consumers And The Land
A Positive Trend For Sustainable Food Production
Does the label on your granola bar or chocolate bar indicate that some or all of the ingredients were produced from regenerative farming? You may want to check since it’s a major and upcoming trend in food production.
As more consumers make choices based on where the ingredients of what they eat comes from, it’s becoming just as important to know how it was produced. The organic movement, for example, was a commitment to consumers that food was grown without pesticides or fertilizers. Now many want to know if the farm also uses regenerative agriculture practices to increase the quality of the food and to protect the soil and environment.
Regenerative farming is different from traditional farming in several ways. First, there is no or very limited tilling (or ploughing) of the soil. Tilling breaks up the soil clumps which adds oxygen to the soil and releases CO2, which decreases the soil richness and damages the atmosphere.
Second, no fertilizers are used and soil fertility is increased through the use of multiple cover crops, crop rotation, composting, and animal manure. This helps restore the soil microbiome and increases the natural cycling of soil nutrients.
Third, animals are allowed to graze in the crop area which promotes better plant growth, increases soil carbon deposits, and enhances soil fertility. This natural combination of plant and animal agriculture actually improves the micro-nutrients in the soil which is passed on to the consumer through the food grown
With these practices, regenerative farming achieves natural holistic land management and improves soil health by increasing organic matter in the soil which has many benefits. These include reversing climate change by releasing less CO2, increasing soil diversity, crop resilience, and nutrient density in the food. It also improves the water cycle within the crop without irrigation preserving fresh water resources.
As demand from consumers increases, natural food brands will stand out by labeling their ingredients with regenerative farming indicators encouraging more farms to switch farming and land management practices. One organization hopes to accelerate the change. Mad Agriculture, based in Boulder, is working to help educate and train farmers in Colorado and across the midwest to adopt regenerative farming through their outreach programs. Their mission is to “help farmers and ranchers thrive ecologically and economically.” They work on-the-ground to help farmers make the transition.
Learn more about Mad Agriculture (Mad Ag) from their website: https://www.madagriculture.org
With the expansion of industrial farming across the U.S. over the last several decades, serious concern has been raised about the capacity of the soil to meet future demands of the food supply. Regenerative farming is a leading solution to rebuild and restore soil health and reverse practices that have impacted climate change. This grass roots movement can aid in preventing further loss and empower farmers with a new way to succeed.