Regenerative Agriculture is a term that you have probably heard but what does it mean and how is it good for you and our fibershed?
Regenerative agriculture is about focusing on soil health. Improvement in soil health can be achieved with a variety of practices including:
- Rotational grazing
- Use of cover crops
- No tilling
- Integration of trees
- and generally working with natural systems to improve soil health.
Many people in the fibershed already use rotational grazing and cover crops for better herd health and improved grazing yields but a renewed focus on regenerative methods that farmers are already using could help farmers get attention from potential customers.
As we see from the organic sections in supermarkets and growth in community supported agriculture, consumers have taken an interest in where their food comes and this trend is growing to include where other products come from – including their clothing. National brands are taking notice of the trend and are advertising their focus on sustainability and regeneration such as Patagonia, Coyuchi, Timberland, Ugg, and more. These brands are helping tell the story about why good farming practices matter and how customers can support those practices with their dollar.
This interest in supporting regenerative farming is also being seen in farm bills & public programs. Farms across the nation experience tons of topsoil loss every year, which makes our agricultural future questionable. With regenerative practices we can actually restore topsoil. Because of this benefit, among others, USDA, NRCS, and other private programs are beginning to offer more support and benefits for farmers who use regenerative methods, including support in getting these products to market.
While these methods may be standard to many farmers, we encourage farmers and customers alike to learn more about regenerative agriculture, how to spot positive farming practices, and support this positive movement wherever you can! To learn more:
- Read the materials available at the Regenerative Farmers of America website.
- Listen to the Allan Savory TED Talk on the greening of deserts.
- Watch the Kiss the Ground documentary.
- Come to the next Chesapeake Fibershed meetup on September 18th. You can register here.
Regenerative agriculture can restore topsoil, increase carbon capture in soil, increase organic matter, restore ecosystems, create drought resilience, and so much more.
Help be part of the change!