What is Regenerative Organic Agriculture?
Regenerative organic farming goes beyond sustainable. It steadily improves the health of the earth and everything that lives on it, including us.
The Way Forward
Turning agriculture from a problem into a solution
Depends on synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides to boost food yields. Often follows a factory model, with vast swaths of land producing single crops and animals raised in cages and feedlots. Big Ag contributes a quarter of the world’s total greenhouse gases, erodes topsoils, generates toxic runoff and damages health.
Bans synthetic inputs, GMOs, antibiotics, and growth hormones. Instead, organic farmers use traditional techniques like composting, crop rotations, and grazing animals on pasture, drawing on centuries of knowledge. Organic farming works with nature rather than against it.
Encompasses organic farming and then raises the bar, prioritizing building soil health as a way to fight climate change. A holistic system, regenerative organic sees the well-being of earth, humans and animals as interconnected. High standards for animal and worker welfare are critical.
Regenerative Organic Farming Practices
These are modern versions of techniques developed over centuries, from all parts of the earth. Sidelined by conventional farming for the past 70 years, they’re a bright alternative.
Farmers grow crops like alfalfa or clover instead of letting their land lie fallow between cash-crop seasons. These cover crops increase soil organic matter, produce natural fertilizer, sequester carbon, and reduce erosion.
Waste from the farm gets converted into compost, which acts as a natural fertilizer and mulch—helping soil retain moisture and suppressing weeds.
Crop varieties are rotated each year to avoid depleting specific nutrients and stop disease and pests from proliferating.
Multiple types of crops are planted closely together to increase yields and soil health over time. This system imitates natural polycultures, where plants of different species benefit one another.
Low- to No-Till
Tilling involves breaking up soil to plant seeds or control weeds. Less tilling (or none at all) reduces erosion. It also helps soil build up organic matter and retain water.
Like wild forests, agroforests have multiple tiers of plants—trees, bushes, vines. They’re far more biodiverse than monocrop systems, draw down carbon, and improve water retention.
Grazing animals, if managed properly, can bring pastures back to life, increasing biodiversity below and above ground. Restored pasture draws down carbon, too.
Unlike annual crops, perennials live for many years in one spot. Their well-developed root systems draw down carbon and deliver it deep into the soil, and prevent erosion, too.