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What is Regenerative Agriculture?

In the soil exists the promise of reversing Global Warming

Regeneration is a relatively recent idea that has been gaining attention amongst climate action circles worldwide. Regeneration focuses on restoration, renewal, and regrowth. This is different from sustainability, which focuses on avoiding depleting natural resources to keep balance with the natural world.

The Importance of going Regenerative

The power of regenerative agriculture comes from practices that model and partner with Mother Nature, not compete with it. Using these practices helps the environment, as well as promotes the economic resiliency in farming communities by increasing crop diversity, promoting biodiversity, and improving soil health. Soils that are structurally sound and rich with organic matter and micro-organisms are better able to store water and carbon.

Work together with the land to reverse the effects of Global Warming and increase profits at the same time.

Regenerative agriculture revolves around 5 core principles. Healthier soils lead to healthier plants and healthier profits, while helping to remove carbon from the atmosphere.

Minimize Soil Disturbance

Minimizing soil disturbance is a good start to rebuilding soil aggregates, pore spaces, soil glue and soil organic matter. This is an important step for long-term soil productivity. Forms of soil disturbance may include:

■ Biological disturbance, such as overgrazing, which limits the ability of plants to harvest CO_2 and sunlight

■ Chemical disturbance, such as over application of fertilizers and pesticide, disrupts the soil food web

■ Physical disturbance, such as tillage, which destroys the soil cover and its structure. This causes increased soil erosion, high moisture loss, and disruption of the lifecycle of beneficial soil organisms. In addition, the tilling process requires more labor cost for the soil preparation.

Maximize Crop Diversity

Diverse crop rotations provide more biodiversity, which benefits the soil food web. This improves the rainfall infiltration and nutrient cycling, while reducing disease and pests. As a result, the use of pesticides can be reduced or avoided.

Keep the Soil Covered

Keeping the soil covered protects it from wind and water erosion, while preventing moisture evaporation and weed germination. This reduces the need for herbicides. Most growers choose to keep soil covered by maintaining living roots in the soil as much as possible through the year – typically by growing cover crops in the gaps between cash crops. This also helps retain nutrients and food supply for the micro-organisms in the soil.

Maintain Living Root Year-Round

A living root system in the ground year-round is required to keep the soil biology processes working. Soil microbes use active carbon, which comes from living roots. These roots provide food for beneficial microbes and spark positive relationships between the microbes and the plants.

Integrate Livestock

As herds graze, manure and plant matter are trampled into the ground where they break down and enrich the soil’s network of microbial life. Increasing the carbon content of soil can aid plant growth, increase organic matter and nutrients in the soil, and increase the soil’s ability to retain water. The livestock provides natural fertilizer and reduces the need to purchase and apply nutrients to the soil.

Making the change begins with awareness. Same land different Management!

The Future of Regenerative Agriculture: Healthier Soil, Crops, and Atmosphere

Ultimately, regenerative agriculture practices can help restore the natural balance of healthy soils thriving with life and nutrients, and act as a storage for carbon to reverse the effects of Global Warming.

"If agriculture is one of our biggest problems, it can be one of our greatest solutions." —Diana Martin, director of communications for the Rodale Institute.

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