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Industrial agriculture has caused up to 75% of deforestation to date and currently threatens up to 86% of endangered species, according to studies released in early 2021. As such, there is a clear need to reimagine how to supply food and other farmed products to our growing global population, especially as the demand for the most destructive products – like beef, soy, and palm oil – continues to surge. 

However, agriculture by nature does not require constant land expansion to grow or even sustain production. In fact, many traditional or indigenous forms of agriculture, often known as regenerative agriculture or agroforestry today, have long nurtured and improved biodiversity over time. 

Regenerative agriculture by definition is a form of agriculture that improves soil health and boosts ecosystem diversity by avoiding practices like monocultures, tilling (and leaving soil bare for long periods), and excessive chemical and fertilizer use. While the specific methods and species used will vary based on ecosystems and culture, the basic principle is to mimic natural processes to that restore healthy microbes and seed diversity to the soil and/or leave wild plants and animals to grow and roam freely. 

Indigenous and regenerative agriculture methods not only eschew destroying natural areas; they can even restore wild places and local biodiversity. Here are 5 ways is how you can support regenerative agriculture to help heal the planet a little bit every day.

 

 

 

1. Buy from local farmers as much as possible. 

If you have the resources, try to directly support your local farmers, and in particular, those who are using regenerative practices. While it can be very difficult – if not impossible – to figure out which items at a supermarket are produced regeneratively due to a lack of tranparency, many farmers would be eager and excited to talk to you more about their farming practices. 

You may not be able to buy everything you need from all regenerative sources right away, but even switching a few keybasic products makes a difference. Plus, as a bonus, buying local means your food will have a lower carbon footprint and helps support your community at home. If you need a place to start, this regenerative buying guide with over 100 products is a big help.

 

2. Support organizations developing regenerative and indigenous agriculture systems. 

If you don’t have much local agriculture nearby – or want to take an additional step – look for organizations that are creating regenerative and indigenous agricultural systems that you can support with a donation or by volunteering. After all, farming (especially without chemicals and monocultures!) is hard work and many small businesses or NGOs could use a hand in implementing their programs.

For example, the Agroecology Fund, Regeneration International, and the Rodale Institute fund grants and develop programs worldwide to spread regenerative agriculture through education, training, research, and access to funding for farmers big and small. Meanwhile, organizations like Soils, Food, and Healthy Communities and the Indigenous Food Systems Network focus on using traditional agricultural methods to build rural food sovereignty. There are innumerable options to support if you want to help grow the regenerative agriculture movement. 

 

3. Learn more about regenerative practices in your area and around the world. 

One of the best ways to support regenerative agriculture is to learn about the basic principles and practices and how these differ from industrial or other sustainable methods. Agriculture is a cross-cutting issue that affects people, planet, and culture; the more you learn, the better choices you can make about what kinds of agriculture you support. 

In particular, find ways to connect this topic with your own interests. Love biology? Dig deep into how plant diversity contributes to soil diversity and how this benefits the whole ecosystem. Which plants are most effective in your area? If you love culture and anthropology, learn about how agricultural practices have grown and evolved over time and how they protect millennial traditions. 

Check out the resources guide to see some great educational resources! 

 

4. Plant your own regenerative garden. 

One of the best ways to get in touch with agriculture is by farming yourself. Start small, maybe by planting a few local food species you love like sprouts or carrots. Then plant your cover crop for the winter and test new practices as you learn them. 

You don’t need a lot of space or time to grow a few delicious crops and gardening can be an incredibly rewarding way to learn more about your relationship with the Earth. Not to mention, a garden is a great way to introduce children or family members to regenerative practices close to home.

 

5. Share knowledge about how and why regenerative agriculture is important. 

Most people prefer to learn about new concepts from their friends and family: people they can trust. If you have taken the time to learn about regenerative and indigenous agriculture practices, share your knowledge with the people around you! You can use any format you like – poetry, blogs, TikTtok, painting, etc – so get creative!. 

One tip: try to avoid making people feel guilty or shameful about their food choices, as this can be a sensitive topic. Instead, focus on why you are passionate about the subject and share your personal experience. You never know who you could inspire. 

 

While industrial agriculture is currently one of the most destructive forces on our planet, there are many alternatives to creating food that can restore and nurture biodiversity. Indigenous peoples have been creating food forests and agricultural products within natural areas for millennia and rural communities around the world maintain practices that harness and replenish biodiversity rather than harming it. Regenerative agriculture may be a trendy term, but it is really an opportunity to feed our planet while protecting the Earth; you can support this ancient practice, too.

 

Sources:

https://joyce-farms.com/blogs/news/4-ways-to-support-regenerative-agriculture-with-your-resolution

https://foodtank.com/news/2018/05/organizations-feeding-healing-world-regenerative-agriculture-2/

https://savory.global/regenerative-buying-guide/

https://navitasorganics.com/blogs/navitaslife/4-simple-ways-you-can-support-regenerative-farming

https://sustainable.org.nz/sustainable-business-news/five-ways-you-can-support-regenerative-farming/

https://groundedgrub.com/articles/resource-guide-supporting-indigenous-food-sovereignty

https://www.fao.org/fao-stories/article/en/c/1203793/

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