Regenerative agriculture or carbon farming is an approach which focuses on improving and revitalizing soil health by restoring the soil’s carbon content and supporting the soil’s essential microbiology. Healthy soil equals a healthy human microbiome and a healthy planet.
Regenerative agricultural practices include:
- Composting – our inedible organic waste that has decomposed creates a rich fertilizer for the soil
- No or low tillage – little to no plowing fields when planting crops to preserve the carbon in the soil
- Cover Cropping – Instead of leaving fields bare when they’re not planted on with the harvest crop, we cover them with off-season crops that add nutrients and protect against erosion.
- Multiple crop rotations – Instead of planting one crop on the same plot year after year, we change its location from year to year, which prevents the depletion of nutrients in the soil and reduces pests.
- Diverse cover crops; and
- No pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or other harmful chemicals.
Here’s an article describing what’s wrong with industrial agriculture and how some farmers are bucking agribusiness and instead taking a ‘climate-friendly’ approach: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/25012019/climate-change-agriculture-farming-consolidation-corn-soybeans-meat-crop-subsidies
The Issue with Glyphosate
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup®, a weedkiller produced by Monsanto. Glyphosate is an herbicide, antibiotic/antimicrobial agent, and a carcinogen and endocrine disruptor that contaminates the soil. Glyphosate functions by blocking the production of proteins needed for growth in plants. In 2015, the World Health Organization’s cancer research agency (International Agency for Research on Cancer) stated that glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic to humans”, but the EPA maintains that it is safe.
There are currently numerous cases against Monsanto in both federal and state courts, arguing that the plaintiffs’ cancers are directly linked to the glyphosate that is used in Roundup®. Learn more about glyphosate here and you can click here to take further action.
Healthy Soils Bill
Currently, there is a bill in the MA Legislature that is relevant to regenerative agriculture.
Bill S. 438/ H. 873 would:
a) Create a Healthy Soils Program within the Commission for Conservation of Soil, Water and Related Resources, which shall, subject to the availability of funds, seek to optimize climate benefits while supporting the economic viability of agriculture in the commonwealth by providing incentives, including loans, grants, research, technical assistance, educational material on healthy soils practices.
b) Add an expert on Healthy Soils Practices to the Mass. Food Policy Council
To learn more about the bill, click here and if you support this bill, visit here to see what you can do.