Everyone wants a breath of fresh air. However, if carbon emissions continue to increase and worsen the climate crisis in the coming years, we might as well just stay at home as we should right now. As one of the main contributors of greenhouse gas emissions globally (25% to be exact), the agriculture sector has tried to create environment-friendly best practices to curb their CO2 emissions for years. One of which is regenerative farming.
What is regenerative farming?
If there’s one good thing that the COVID-19 pandemic brought us, it’s the biggest carbon emission reduction on record with a projected 5% or 2.5 billion tonnes in 2020. But that won’t last forever, as everything will eventually be back to some sort of “new” normal, and fossil fuel industries including the agriculture sector will again generate CO2 emissions.
Thanks to regenerative farming, producers are able to go about farming their crops with minimal damage to the environment. The practice involves a system wherein carbon is pulled from the atmosphere and hidden away in the ground for healthier soil. In other words, regenerative farming rehabilitates and improves agricultural ecosystems in a way that it nourishes soil resources rather than deplete them while decreasing pollutants in the atmosphere.
But it doesn’t stop there. Regenerative farming also offers a variety of benefits in terms of water management, fertilizer use, and more. For example, when a farmer plows the soil and it eventually erodes, carbon dioxide is released and goes to the atmosphere. Regenerative farming applies little soil plowing or tilling and sometimes even none at all, to help the soil generate important microbes and retain carbon and water for better plant health.
With little soil disturbance, planted produce will also be able to release different sugars from their roots, which microbes take in so they can give back essential nutrients to the plants and the soil. What this results in is more and better yields for the farmers.
Through regenerative farming, crops are rotated to maintain a more diverse soil organic matter and keep it from being bare, eroded, or dried up. This drives away pests as the plants get their needed nutrition.
Simply put, regenerative farming teaches farmers the basic principle that if you treat the soil with great care, it will give you better yields, healthier soil, and more breaths of fresh air in return.
Why is it important?
Planting tomatoes in your backyard is definitely a good thing. The problem is that you just might not get the plump red ones you’re expecting if the climate crisis brings along high temperatures and lets precipitation levels go haywire. That’s why agriculture sectors all over the world continue to develop practices like regenerative farming to lessen the effects of carbon dioxide emissions and ensure good soil health for both the smallest garden soil patches to the largest farms.
There’s no doubt that the importance of regenerative farming boils down to how it utilizes carbon in the air to mitigate climate change effects while retaining nutrients in the soil by giving it more water-holding capacity.
Regenerative farming seemingly works like magic in how it takes the science behind how plants grow and use it to get the best results for the environment and the farmers’ livelihood. Primary school taught us how plants undergo photosynthesis and take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere with the help of the sun, water, and the nutrients they get from the soil. Regenerative farming simply boosts this natural process and puts the excess carbon dioxide where it should belong– in the soil. The real magic lies in the positive solution regenerative farming offers to an essential part of our lives that has, unfortunately, posed problems to the environment for decades.
Who practices regenerative farming?
If you want to get behind regenerative farming, buying products from the many companies out there that use the technology can be a start. Here are some companies that have used regenerative farming for years.
White Oak Pastures
White Oaks Pastures has been able to utilize large volumes of CO2 emissions from its beef production throughout the years. What White Oaks Pastures does is create land regeneration via animal impact by using the sun, soil, and rain to get sweet grass for their cattle. This allows the animals to naturally fertilize the soil.
In 2015, after looking for sustainable ways to decrease their greenhouse gas emissions, General Mills stumbled upon the science of regenerative farming at the United Nations Climate Change Conference. The following year, the company helped the Nature Conservancy in building healthier soil on U.S. farms. Today, General Mills is working to advance the technology on one million acres of farmland in the country by 2030.
Five years from now, Kellogg will be supporting over 500,000 farmers with climate-smart solutions such as regenerative farming. Currently, they are nearing the 400,000 mark of their target taking one farm at scale one at a time.
Another company that doesn’t take the effects of agriculture in climate change lightly is Danone, which last year convened 19 corporations of the One Planet Business for Biodiversity (OP2B) Coalition to put the pressure on other companies in their promise to practice sustainable agriculture. Part of the plan is to take existing technologies for more collective action and policy changes.
Many other companies are following suit and adapting regenerative farming as a responsible way for companies to ensure sustainable development in agriculture for future generations. You can do your part by supporting these companies and their products and learning more about other environmentally friendly agricultural and climate change technologies here.
Let us know what you think about regenerative farming in the comments section below 🙂