A harsh warning from the United Nations means humans need to re-evaluate our traditional farming methods for those that are more environmentally friendly. Regenerative agriculture is the key.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recently reported that the world is at great risk of running out of topsoil in as little as 60 years (approximately 60 harvests) A lack of topsoil could seriously affect the Earth's ability to produce food, balance climate, filter water and absorb carbon from the atmosphere. We are already seeing the results of this... If we continue down this current path of degeneration water wars, desertification and billions of climate refugees will ultimately be the destiny of our human race.
Public health will be threatened as we struggle to find sufficient farmable topsoil to feed ourselves. Healthy soil determines the health of our food production, and with deteriorated soil any food that we manage to grow will be inadequate in terms of nutrition.
We need to change our agricultural practices and reduce the current rates of soil degradation if we are to stop this from happening.
What Causes Soil Degradation?
The biggest component killing our soil is our current modern agricultural methods. By relying on GMO seeds, chemical inputs and excessive tilling (just to name a few) humans have managed to greatly contribute to not only the death and near extinction of our soil, moreover, by using these traditional methods we are continuously emitting dangerous greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
So what's the solution?
A solution does exist. Regenerative Agriculture could be the pathway to restoring the natural rhythm of our ecosystems and planet, as mother nature intended.
Regenerative agriculture leads to carbon sequestration meaning the ability to draw down carbon from the atmosphere, and into the soil where it belongs. This has the potential to reverse climate change rather than contribute to it.
If we could regenerate the world’s soils enough to store just 0.4% more carbon every year, it inevitably would offset all human C02 emissions.
If we can restore our topsoil to total health, it will retain and filter water, recycle nutrients, re balance rain cycles and store carbon. This means we can produce more nutritious food, more resilient crops, waste less water and suffer less droughts/floods/fires. Regenerative agriculture is our best chance to improve food quality and security, protect farmers’ livelihoods, and safeguard the land we depend upon.
Despite our differences healthy soil is the very foundation that allows us to exist.
Sustainable practices are no longer efficient, simply put, to sustain, is to maintain. Currently, 75% of the world's land is degraded... this is unacceptable.
Rest assured, there is hope! The solution to a brighter future for us and for our future generations is regeneration. To regenerate is to heal, improve and restore, using Mother Nature as the Driver.
There are four basic regenerative farming practices that can be implemented to improve the health of our planet. This includes improving biodiversity, water retention, and soil carbon sequestration.
“Regenerative agriculture could be the answer to restoring the natural rhythm of our ecosystems and the planet.”
Farmland that is rich of microorganisms, animals, and plants leads to healthy soil, resilient crops, and strengthens the plant's natural systems, reducing the need for chemical inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. Two simple methods that encourage biodiversity are the use of cover crops and crop rotation.
Cover crops are crops a farmer plants not to harvest, but to protect the soil. If the earth is left bare, it becomes susceptible to weather erosion, resulting in beneficial nutrients drying out and being washed away. The advantages of rotating crops each season mean nitrogen-fixing plants such as legumes can add nutrients to the soil that the following crops will be able to absorb.
Tilling is the preparation of agricultural soil using mechanical agitation such as digging and overturning. Regenerative agriculture promotes healthy soil, and decreasing tilling is the best way to do so. Less tillage preserves the soils natural structure and significantly reduces the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere. By reducing tilling we are able to sequester more carbon.
NO to Artificial Fertilizers
A regenerative farming system aims to encourage and preserve the natural relationship between the world of soil organisms that live within the soils biota. It is these very relationships and life force that allow the plants to thrive naturally and rely less on artificial additives and chemicals inputs.
On the other hand, synthetic fertilizers actually do much harm to this life force and result in an imbalance of organic matter and micro-organisms in the soil. Synthetic fertilizer stimulates bacteria and microbes to consume large quantities of organic matter, more organic matter than the plants can exchange back into the ground.
The result? The soils is stripped of essential nutrients and can no longer rely on its natural immunity system, therefore leaving the farmland even more dependent on artificial fertilizers to produce crops. This is a vicious cycle. The impacts of these chemicals and synthetic inputs are devastating as they also seep out into our precious water sources and atmosphere causing even further long-term environmental damage.
Regenerative agriculture is not just about farming, when it comes to our precious planet we must all take responsibility. So why not do your bit and incorporate some of these methods into your gardens?
Without regenerative agriculture, the future of global food security and human health is at serious risk. Regeneration is the key to unlocking a brighter future for all humanity! Healthy Soils, Healthy Planet, Healthy Human.