What is Regenerative Agriculture?
As climate change becomes more of a global concern than ever, farmers, producers, scholars, brands, and retailers are beginning to take a closer look at how to use land and animal management practices to improve soil health and reduce harmful carbon emissions. While the term “regenerative agriculture” can have many meanings, in general it describes farming and grazing practices such as restoring degraded soil, improving biodiversity, and increasing carbon capture with the intention of creating long-term environmental benefits and positively impacting climate change. Today, we at Advanced Biotech are outlining the basic principles of regenerative agriculture and how consumers can make choices in their everyday lives that support this planet-friendly cause.
Regenerative Agriculture Practices
Regenerative agriculture practices improve the overall health of soil and the environment through various means. One step farmers are taking is integrating livestock into the growing process. By allowing cows, sheep, and other animals to graze in the area where crops are being grown their hooves break up the soil, compacting inedible plants and allowing nutrients and sunlight to new plants and creating a natural mulch. One of the key principles of regenerative agriculture is to keep the soil covered at all times. This is general achieved through cover crops, which protect the soil from wind and water erosion, lower the temperature of the soil, and feed the microorganisms within it. A “no till” guideline helps to protect the soil’s natural microbiome, so by limiting the disturbance of the soil, it maintains its structure and prevents erosion. The last main practice of regenerative agriculture is crop diversity. Biological ecosystems are maintained and strengthened by cultivating a diverse number of crops, which work to enrich and restore the health of the soil as well as create a habitat for beneficial insects.
How Consumers Can Help
The easiest way consumers can contribute to this movement in environmental preservation is to align themselves with brands that utilize products grown via regenerative agriculture. By way of vegetable and grains, consumers can do research to see if the farms where these products were grown utilized regenerative agriculture concepts like cover crops, crop rotation, and no-till. By way of meat, dairy, and eggs, consumers can look into if the farmers utilized practices like holistic management and rotational grazing. In general, consumers can reduce their carbon footprint and help the cause by reducing their food waste, shopping local, reducing their intake of meat and dairy, and trying their hand at growing their own food like fruits and herbs at home.
While regenerative agriculture seems like an intimidating concept, it is easy to incorporate aspects of this movement into our everyday lives. Small steps and consumer demand for more environmentally friendly practices and products are successfully working to change many major industries and have a positive impact on the environment.