This article is a brief overview of an evolving set of agricultural practices with real potential for positive global impacts. We all know that: there is much too much soil erosion, that we need to sequester much more carbon in the soil, that we need to avoid environmental impacts from toxic pesticides, that biodiversity needs to be urgently enhanced, that farmers and workers face many predatory market pressures, and that many of the current mainstream farming practices are exacerbating these problems.
‘Regenerative’ is now the latest hot agriculture buzz word causing intense debates across many sectors of agriculture – all seeking to claim that their system is regenerative and is now the best approach. However, it is important to understand that the term ‘regenerative agriculture’ has many differing definitions, uses, politics and origins.
Many people credit Bob Rodale with coining the term ‘regenerative’ back in the 1970s. He defined this to include seven very broad scopes or tendencies, which he explained can be applied not only to agriculture, but also to communities and even the human spirit. These tendencies can be summed up as:
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