Regenerative Agriculture & Organic's History
Aside from tillage many of the core principles of Regenerative Agriculture and Organic are the same and there are many organic practitioners who also apply no-till principles to their operations. Regenerative Agriculture encompasses many other types of agriculture and this includes Organic that applies the principle of minimum disturbance of the soil. Organic, Biodynamic, Permaculture and Agroecology are all farming systems that come within the Regenerative umbrella.
Modern Organic farming has been around since the 1970s and its success in converting farms from Industrial Agriculture has been extremely limited. The issue is that "Organic" was hijacked, rather than evolving as a way to save the planet from Industrial Agriculture it became a trade union to make more money for the few with certification and legislation as the barriers to entry. The Organic movement very quickly moved away from converting as much agricultural land out of conventional farming as possible to a high end, niche market product. This most certainly wasn't the intention of Sir Albert Howard and Jerome Rodale. Had it not been hijacked tin this manner here might never have been a need for Regenerative Agriculture and we would be 40 years into improved soils, functional carbon and water cycles and improving human health.
Organic has, more recently, been hijacked for a second time by industrial agriculture as Big Ag has expanded to add organic lines to its offerings and moved to take over the market. In the United States "Organic" milk can legally come from large confinement operations and vegetables can be grown without any organic matter, in a sea of man made nutrients, and still be labelled Organic (hydroponics).
It is crucial that as Regenerative Agriculture grows that it is not similarly hijacked. Soil health, human health and planet health must always remain fundamental tenants of Regenerative Agriculture and if barriers to entry are conjured up they will ultimately only result in less area coming under regenerative management and only the wealthy and well informed having access to nutrient dense foods. Any future verification of Regenerative Agriculture needs to be outcomes based with soil carbon and water use efficiency being the primary measures.
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