What does regenerative mean?

In our sense of the word, it means to regenerate soil, to work at feeding and caring for the livestock in the soil using animals above ground to stimulate growth of the plants whose roots work symbiotically with the animals below ground. To us, it also means to nurture the earth, work with the cycles of nature, be resilient in times of environmental stress, raise animals humanely and ethically, pay workers a fair wage, and grow and nurture community. There is not really an official definition of regenerative agriculture, but I recently read an article quoting the Regenerative Agriculture Foundation as “any system of agriculture that continuously improves the cycles on which it relies, including the human community, the biological community, and the economic community.”

Companies like Patagonia and Dr. Bronners are supporting farms that are regenerative and “beyond” organic, meaning they purchase from farmers that use regenerative practices above and beyond what is asked of them through the National Organic Program standards. They believe that their consumers want to support climate-friendly farms that help solve environmental issues such as carbon sequestration. I think we should start selling to Patagonia and Dr. Bronners because that has been our MO since we started Jóia Food Farm. We feel that finally, the climate issue is coming front and center, and people are caring and are willing to support companies and farms that practice and implement climate-friendly strategies. There is no one size fits all, practices vary, but simply having a desire to continue to want to improve the stewardship of the land we farm is a start.

For more information on regenerative farming, visit The Rodale Institute, Regenerative Organic Alliance and The Regenerative Agriculture Foundation.

Maybe, just maybe, regenerative agriculture will be added to the Green New Deal.