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.
Soil4Climate provides an excellent overview of soil health principles.
Biodiversity for a Livable Planet notes that planned livestock grazing is a holistic method which can restore ecosystems.
Read this article about local silvopasture initiatives, written by one of our members, Rema Boscov.
Read this article which describes what’s wrong with industrial agriculture and how some farmers are bucking agribusiness and instead taking a ‘climate-friendly’ approach.
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
Learn more about the bill and see what you can do.