“Regenerative Agriculture”: What does the term mean? And why is its use becoming so fashionable?

Colin Tudge in his recent blog has this to say of Regenerative Agriculture: ” . .  [A]lthough much that is excellent has been achieved in the name of Regenerative Agriculture the term implies that we are trying to restore something, which in turn implies that there was some past state that we should be trying to get back to. But what exactly is it that we are trying to get back to? When and where did the thing we are trying to get back to exist?”

This article by Nathaniel Johnson and published in Grist, March 12 2019, gives a useful overview of the origin and current use and purpose of the term – from the coining of “regeneration” by Bob Rodale in the 1980s to its multiple uses today. Thus it can be “a way organic and conventional farmers can work together on achieving environmental ends, rather than fighting over the means”;  “a move to make farms sop up carbon”; greenwash to attract customers who don’t like the term organic; or even he suggests it can carry an evangelistic message:  the “acknowledgement of having done wrong, and the promise of redemption”.

Keeping to farm practice. . .

Johnson makes the point that be it mob grazing, minimum tillage, rotation of crops and livestock, even for some the use of GM, at its heart – and to be applauded – is the concern to sequester carbon from the air into the soil i.e. help farmers tackle climate change.

But he can only lament the lack of scientific evidence backing many of the claims, some of which he reckons are quite wild!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.