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The New Frontier: Regenerative Agriculture

Sharon Palmer

You’ve seen the rise of organic certification on food products, signifying that foods are produced under the USDA Organic rules, which restrict the types of chemical inputs farms can use to grow crops in hopes of better preserving the ecosystem. Now get ready for the next wave of food certification: Regenerative Organic Certified.

What’s the difference? Regenerative organic agriculture distinguishes a style of farming that goes beyond simply organic; it aims to actually improve the agricultural ecosystem. That means increased soil organic matter, improved animal welfare, and increased economic stability and fair practices for farm workers and communities. Studies have suggested that regenerative organic practices could help sequester 100% of the annual global C02 emissions right in the soil. Yes, soil is a powerful thing: teaming with life, it has the unique ability to recycle nitrogen and carbon and nourish plant life that provides food and shelter for all manner of organisms.

Spearheaded by the Rodale Institute, the development of the certification process is currently underway, with standards being set and a pilot program coming next. Several companies and organizations are helping create the certification, including Patagonia, Demeter, and Fair World Project. While it’s too soon to see the certification on labels, get ready to see this hot buzzword more and more in the coming months, as farmers and food companies embrace the new spirit of sustainability.

To learn more about Regenerative Organic Certification, visit Rodale Institute here.

Image: Regenerative Agriculture poster at the Patagonia booth at EcoFarm, Pacific Grove, California, January 2018, Sharon Palmer, RDN.

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