In the section Business of Farming, we wrote about the current state of farming and what it does to food, soil, and nature.
It has all sorts of other detrimental environmental effects that can be averted through Regenerative style farming practices:
- Heavy water usage which impacts water availability
- Water quality through runoff and chemicals
- Lowering air quality
- Releasing carbon into the atmosphere
- Long distance hauling of food via truck or plane
We don’t think we can say it better than Project Drawdown:
Regenerative agriculture enhances and sustains the health of the soil by restoring its carbon content, which in turn improves productivity—just the opposite of conventional agriculture.
Regenerative agricultural practices include:
- No tillage
- Diverse cover crops
- In-farm fertility (no external nutrients)
- No pesticides or synthetic fertilizers
- Multiple crop rotations
Together, these practices greatly increase carbon-rich soil organic matter. The result: vital microbes proliferate, roots go deeper, nutrient uptake improves, water retention increases, plants are more pest resistant, and soil fertility compounds. Farms are seeing soil carbon levels rise from a baseline of 1 to 2%, to up to 5 to 8% over 10 or more years, which can add up to 25–60 tons of carbon per acre.
It is estimated that at least 50% of the carbon in the Earth’s soils has been released into the atmosphere over the past centuries. Bringing that carbon back home through regenerative agriculture is one of the greatest opportunities to address human and climate health, along with the financial well-being of farmers.
There are many movements to make farms smaller, more local and more regenerative.
Some innovative people are growing vegetables inside cities. For instance, an urban farming project in Argentina won a global prize for city innovation (Link to Article).
- Project Drawdown webpage on Regenerative Farming
- Rob Greenfield video on going 100% local
- Permaculture News article – One-woman uses permaculture principles to feed the local community
- Urban Farming Wins award in Argentina Article