But there is hope, according to some earth warriors who are now practicing regenerative farming, a system of agriculture that aims to put carbon back into the soil.
There are many systems of sustainable farming; organic, permaculture, biodynamic, and agroecology. But soil farmers claim that regenerative farming trumps them all. What is this innovative method? And is it in fact, a reapplication of the ancient wisdom that the ground beneath our feet may just save the dying earth?
THE IFOAM REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE COURSE
Along with a small group of 10, I attended the IFOAM Organics Academy internship course in Somerset, England. We were farmers, students, entrepreneurs and educators, all eager to be fed the definition of Regenerative Agriculture. However, because it was a novel, innovative, and still budding system, we had to unearth it ourselves.
HEALTHY SOIL, HEALTHY PLANTS
More than a hundred years of chemical farming have left us with depleted soils– compacted soils that can no longer capture or hold water. Farmlands are dug, tilled and plowed, removing all vegetation so another crop can be grown. What we are left with are barren lands starved of microorganisms and nutrients, and prone to wind and water erosion.
Enter Regenerative Agriculture. The practice seeks to build healthy, carbon-rich soil. It focuses on soil life and soil health. Farmers feed the soil with compost, mulch, cover crop cock