Why is Regenerative better than Organic?We’ve come to think of organically grown food as the best for both people and the planet. So many of us are surprised to learn that we can—and should—set the bar even higher. There’s no doubt that not using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides—which the organic certification does indicate—is a good thing. But the absence of chemicals alone does not guarantee that the farmer is improving the soil health, and therefore storing carbon in the soil, and therefore helping to stabilize the climate. There’s nothing inherent in the USDA Organic standards that requires soil regeneration.Read more
Many large-scale organic ag operations, for example, grow crops in heavily irrigated and tilled monocrop systems, which harm the soil and release more carbon into the atmosphere. Yes, many (especially small-scale) organic farmers do improve the health of their land and sequester carbon. But only the term “regenerative” actually requires it. Rule of thumb:
Organic is better than conventional. But if you want your food (and clothing) to have a positive impact on the climate, look for regenerative.
Is there a “regenerative” or “carbon farmed” certification?This has been a hot topic within the regenerative movement for a while. In September 2017, Rodale Institute revealed the draft standards for a new Regenerative Organic Certification, a cooperative effort among a coalition of farmers, ranchers, nonprofits, scientists and brands. When finalized, the new certification will go “beyond organic” in that it requires evidence of soil health, fair working conditions for farmers and farm workers, and animal health. It will help you, as the consumer, to make the best choices possible when buying food.
I’m having a hard time finding regeneratively produced goodsRegeneration is still a new frontier. The farms that have transitioned to regenerative growing practices, and the companies and brands that have committed themselves to regenerative supply chains, are a small minority. They are the early and courageous adopters — and so are you, to be even thinking about this! The available selection of goods that are verifiably produced according to these very high standards of regenerative and climate-beneficial is small. It’s important to acknowledge that for quite some time, it won’t be possible to become 100% climate-beneficial in our purchasing choices. Read more
But it’s all the more important to support the pioneering farms and producers who are going against the grain out of a commitment to make a difference in terms of a livable climate for all of us. Slowly, as more of us express a desire and a demand for climate-beneficial, regeneratively grown food and products, companies and brands will start shifting their practices accordingly. Even if it’s just a few choices per month that you can align more and more with the climate-beneficial economy, do that — and gradually more choices will become available. Three next steps: