Let’s talk about the latest industry that has gotten an overhaul: soil. Until recently, soil was called dirt. Dirt was everywhere, and it was annoying, unremarkable, and, well, dirty.
Soil needed to shed its dirty reputation. While soil is respected as necessary to grow healthy and productive plants and trees, dirt is a nuisance.
With some reputation management, dirt was out, and soil was in!
Seriously, though, soil scientists have been studying the inner world of soil for generations. Growers and farmers know that the fertility of their soil makes their land valuable.
We know more about what makes soil work today than in the past, and that’s why regenerative agriculture has become so popular.
So how does regenerative agriculture work? Regenerative Agriculture focuses on rebuilding soil health to increase its biodiversity and, in doing so, helps both the carbon and water cycle.
Soil health is very complex. Soil is home to its world of matter, including microbes, nematodes, worms, and minerals. What lives in the soil is nourished by it and nourishes it back. Science is also increasingly showing us that the soil composition is essential to retaining carbon and water.
Regenerative agriculture grew out of the organic farming movement, whose goal is to grow fruits and vegetables and raise animals with the least chemical intervention. But with a focus on soil, regenerative agriculture is not necessarily organic, and organically-grown food is not necessarily regenerative.
Soil health is like human health. When we’re unhealthy, we start to get symptoms showing us that our equilibrium is out of whack. When soil is out of balance, there are symptoms too. Instead of runny noses, it’s a muddy run-off. That muddy run-off shows a farmer that maybe the soil cannot retain the water long enough to get to their plants’ roots. If that’s happening, they have to apply more water, thus depleting our water supply.
Unhealthy soil leads to depleting water resources, increasing unhealthy soil run-off, and disrupting the carbon cycle, leading to more carbon to be released into the atmosphere.
The movement is focusing on ways to increase soil health and reduce the harmful effects of unhealthy soil. Incorporating more regenerative agriculture practices, like no or low-till farming and using cover crops, soil health can be improved.
What can you do as an agriculture or food company to incorporate regenerative practices into your business?
If you are a grower and looking to learn more about practices, look into organizations like the New York Soil Health Initiative, Regeneration International, and Regenerative Organic Certification. They all can help you learn more about the practices that can help you incorporate more regenerative practices.
If you are a food business, you could source from farms that are practicing regenerative agriculture. The Regenerative Organic Certification certifies farms and companies that are following regenerative agriculture practices. With their certification, you know that they incorporate techniques that help the soil and animal welfare and social fairness.
If you have already incorporated regenerative agriculture practices into your business, tell your story. As a branding and marketing agency, we work with regenerative agriculture businesses to amplify their stories. Consumers are increasingly looking for companies with a triple bottom line, and regenerative agriculture is one great way to show your commitment to the planet.