What is Regenerative Farming? A beginners guide.An overview of Regenerative Agriculture and why it's so good for the planet!
Regenerative Agriculture is becoming a buzzword lately, and rightly so!
There are apparently less than 60 years worth of topsoil left in the world, which means terrible things for our future generations and food security.
Thanks to a group of 'renegade' farmers taking things into their own hands (literally), there is a movement to replenish the earth and the damage done by un-sustainable agricultural methods.
Unlike modern agriculture that destroys and depletes the soil with its chemicals and short-term profit & yield model... regenerative farming seeks to un-do all the woes of man-made agricultural errors, and re-build our society from the ground up. Literally.
Here is a brief beginners guide to what "Regen Ag" is, and how we can support it with our dollars.
What is it though?
It's essentially a farming practice and set of principals that endeavours to increase biodiversity, enrich soil health (particularly topsoil), improve the water cycle, and overall support the flourishing of wildlife and humans.
Sounds like it should just be called 'agriculture' to me!
It does this through a range of different practices including:
- Incorporating crop rotation and cover cropping
- Increasing plant and crop diversity
- Practicing conservative and no-dig tillage to prevent erosion and increase soil health
- Animal integration, managed grazing and pasturing
- Composting and waste reduction
- and heaps more
So it's basically a holistic approach to farming.
It's not 1 practice or philosophy on its own, but is an amalgamation of a lot of others.
Regenerative agriculture on small farms and gardens is often based on philosophies like permaculture, agroecology, agroforestry, restoration ecology, keyline design, and holistic management.
Regenerative Agriculture VS Climate Change
As the soil starts to improve over time, so does the resilience of the land to weather and extreme climate conditions.
When it comes to climate change or supporting mother earth, most people focus on reducing greenhouse emissions, and in recent years changing to a plantbased diet.
While these things can be helpful, what's starting to prove to be way more affective is Regen Ag.
Another way to describe it could be "the capture of atmospheric carbon dioxide by growing plants that move that carbon dioxide into the soil".
It's one of the only technologies around that draw greenhouse gases that are already in the atmosphere down into the ground. This is through the cultivation and nurturing of forests, as well as grasslands and perennial pastures.
Rebuilding our topsoil
As I mentioned earlier, there's less than 60 years of topsoil left in the world.
What does this mean? Well basically, farming and food as we know it would be over.
It would become extremely hard to grow food and thus feed an ever growing population.
If all farms moved over to a Regen Ag model, we could turn this ship around.
There are some businesses that are making a shift towards only purchasing their produce or livestock from Regen Ag farms, and that is an awesome step in the right direction.
It is a game-changing farming philosophy.
By supporting businesses that source their food from farms that use regenerative farming principles, you are directly contributing to helping the earth.
Many of our farmers use Regen Ag principles in their farming, as do our products. Take the Biltong for example - all the cows are grass-fed and finished on farms that use these practices.
Of course you can become a farmer too (god knows we need more organic farmers), but the easiest place to start is by supporting businesses that are already doing it.
We hope this gives you a bit of an outline of Regen Ag.
There are other resources we recommend checking out such as "The Regenerative Journey" podcast by Charlie Arnott, farmers like Joel Salatin, and many others online.