We are currently in a world where we not only want to know about what is happening to our world, but we want to do something about it. However, with anything, you always have to sift through the mud in order to find the right and factual information. There are a lot of misconceptions about sustainable agriculture and regenerative agriculture; the word sustainable has been over-used and is now, I believe, being misused. Being used as a key buzz marketing word rather than for its initial purpose. So, before we get into what you came here for, I think we need to have a bit of a recap lesson.
What is Sustainability?
Broken down into its basic form, sustainability means that something is at the ability to continue to be maintained at any given level or rate. Basically, it means meeting, providing and fulfilling our own needs without disrupting or compromising anyone else’s – now – or in the future – to be able to meet their own. This works on both a social and an economic level and is attributed to all resources one needs to survive and thrive.
So how does that translate to agriculture?
This attributes by adding a loose set of rules and practices farmers have to follow in order to sustain the viability of their land and working within the natural processes ability, rather than working against or destroying them. As I mentioned earlier, this has now become more of a term favoured among those in higher positions to show that they are following the best practices and ticking the right boxes on consumer products to satisfy the population. As long as they are ensuring that the yield they are creating, whether that be tomatoes, or potatoes are benefiting the environment more than the amount they are creating they are good to go – but… it’s not quite that simple. Being sustainable isn’t quite enough anymore. Certain companies who are able to be labelled as sustainable due to following the practice outlaw of benefiting more than they are taking, may often be using excessive force and uneconomic practices alongside such as by using fertilizers and pesticides; that’s where Regan Agriculture comes in.
Okay – So What is Regen Agriculture?
Shortened from Regenerative Agriculture – this method of farming is a combined system that includes both the principles and the practices of farmers to ensure that they are doing everything sustainable mentioned above, but going one step further – by also doing all they can to enhance and rehabilitate our ecosystem.
Hold on – Break That Down a Little More, Please.
It may sound confusing, but it’s basically a levelled-up system to that of the sustainable one.
Making sure that they are not only maintaining the systems without degrading them but also helping to regenerate them too, while trying to reverse the damage from climate change. This takes into consideration helping to increase and enrich soil fertility, increase the biodiversity and improve watershed. All in all – it wants to reverse the current and previous damage and control any further damage before it happens. This system works across the entire board – above and below the soil, and is more of a dynamic and holistic approach than that of its sustainable sister.
So why is it so Important?
This type of agriculture goes way beyond sustainability. It’s practices not only maintains and controls the resources its working with but also helps to improve them at the same time. This ‘do no harm’ sustainable attitude which has been adopted across the Globe throughout the years, goes one more (but one very important) step further to ensure that they are improving the land, too.
But How Does It Work?
Without getting too technical, the Regen workers incorporate all of the best bits from organic, sustainable and permaculture farming to improve the well-being of our environment. This includes crop rotation, composting, cover crops, conservation tillage, pasture cropping and at the top of it all – increasing topsoil. Each practice laid out by this system helps to improve the natural resources and restore a natural balance so there’s no need for additional and man-made products that aggressively disturb the soil such as the fertilisers and pesticides mentioned earlier.
So, what can I do?
Unlike its description, to adapt this format is actually pretty simple. You just need to become more aware of what companies you are purchasing from. Support regenerative farmers and agriculture advocates. Grow you own food at home or in a community garden and put in these practices yourself. Help the soil renew by composting your own waste to regenerate your own land and educate yourself on the differences and the difference it makes.