What is Regenerative Agriculture?
Global climate change is a huge issue facing our planet. This problem has been caused in large part by humans interfering with the carbon cycle. For years, scientists have pointed out how the burning of fossil fuels has released an excess of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, creating a greenhouse gas effect and warming the earth. One component of the carbon cycle which is now gaining attention as a prospect for improving the crisis is soil. Here's the rundown on how soil could be our salvation.
What is regenerative agriculture?
Regenerative agriculture* is an approach to agriculture which focuses on improving and revitalizing soil health. This movement is gaining momentum at a time when it is greatly needed. Poor soil stewardship has led to a troubling decrease in arable top soil available for food production. Because conventional farming practices have stripped so much carbon from the soil, it now exists as a potential carbon sink to take in excess carbon contributing to climate change. The best way to enact this strategy is through sustainable agriculture practices like carbon farming.
What is carbon farming?
Carbon farming is the practice of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and converting it into plant material and the organic matter that makes up soil.
Carbon farming works through agricultural methods like not tilling (or disturbing the soil), using organic mulch, composting, rotating livestock, and cover cropping all allow carbon sequestration to occur in the soil. Unfortunately, conventional agriculture does not typically employ these practices. Despite this, there is cause for hope. A growing number of sustainable farmers are adopting these regenerative practices and mitigating climate change while producing healthful and delicious food for their communities.
What is the goal for addressing climate change?
The global climate solution is not possible without addressing the impact of agriculture which contributes upwards of 1/3 of the global greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. Regenerative agriculture is key to transition agriculture from contributing to the climate crisis to helping solve it. According to Ohio State soil physicist Dr. Rattan Lal, “A mere 2 percent increase in the carbon content of the planet’s soils could offset 100 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions [currently] going into the atmosphere."