“R” is also about Recovery and Role. It is Restorative and Regenerative, and even our Responsibility. Choosing to support regenerative farmers and championing farming methods that help keep our carbon levels in balance is an act of positive eco-consequence, accessible to us all. Nutrient-dense food in the quantity we are going to need requires the regeneration of Earth’s soils.
DEMAND REGENERATIVE FARMED PRODUCTS
Every gardener knows that the key to abundance is fertile soil. Fertile soil is the outcome of a thriving, complex and dynamic underground ecosystem. Good soil includes an astoundingly abundant community of bacteria, protists, fungi, worms, algae, insects and plant roots. They assist the decomposition of organic matter in soil, which releases large quantities of essential nutrients, making them available to plants.
Since the Industrial Revolution, human activity – increasing deforestation, fossil fuel combustion and widespread chemical/industrial farming – has massively disrupted the natural carbon cycle. Rapid global increases in concentrations of Co2 and other gases in our atmosphere are the result. Unless we take decisive action, we face an entwining cascade of complex and unpredictable atmospheric impacts of steadily increasing severity.
Through photosynthesis, massive quantities of atmospheric carbon dioxide is continuously converted from atmospheric to organic carbon – the carbon cycle. Co2 is thus moved from the atmosphere to the soil by plants and trees to be stored in high concentrations within soil pore spaces. Plowing or digging up soil destroys the soil’s ecosystem and releases this carbon from the soil pores directly back into the atmosphere.
KEY REGENERATIVE FARMING PRINCIPLES
TILLING: Some concerned farmers are abandoning the plow and moving to no-till farming. Because it doesn’t disturb the soil and allows it to heal, no-till farming is the only truly sustainable cropping practice. Fortunately, no-till agriculture, a step in the right direction, is growing in popularity, but we need to speed up the uptake.
PROTECT THE SOIL: No-till agriculture helps create healthier soil. Erosion is reduced, natural ecosystems heal and fewer chemicals are used. Even better, less plowing means ever more carbon is retained in the soil, so the Earth is warmed that little bit less. We need Earth’s precious soils looked after, not turned over. No-till is a good first step toward regenerative farming.
REGENERATIVE FARMING VS. OTHERS
Sustainable farming sounds wonderful, and it will work one day, but sustainable farming today starts with degraded land. Therefore, it is only sustaining broken soil. We first need to fix the soil and then we can sustain.
Regenerative farming focuses on restoring the biodiversity and composition of the soil, which in turn creates better yields and nutrient dense plants…while sequestering carbon from the atmosphere and allowing the Earth to breathe easier.
Regenerative farming techniques include a mix of utilizing minimum tilling and cover crops and feeding the soil.
Other Farming Methods:
Current farming practices tear the soil, ripping apart the micro-ecosystems that sequester carbon, nourish the plants and feed the Earth. One only has to look at the present state of the Fertile Crescent or see the farms lying fallow, to see the devastating effects of modern farming.
LOOK FOR COMPANIES WHO SUPPORT REGENERATIVE FARMING PRACTICES
It will be hard at first, but more and more companies are realizing the potential regenerative farming has to give the earth some breathing room.
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