4 Ways Regenerative Organic Farming Can Feed the World
Regenerative organic farming practices may be the key to protecting our food supply in the future. Here are 4 reasons why…
As the climate crisis worsens, farmers are struggling with more and more intense weather events that impact crops and diminish yields – even as soil depletion due to industrial farming methods makes it more difficult to grow food. It’s important that we realize just how big an issue this is for our species, and take steps to combat these problems – before it’s too late. While many farmers are feeling stuck between a rock and a hard place so to speak, there is actually a glimmer of hope on the horizon.
More and more research is revealing that modernized ancient methods like regenerative organic agriculture can be an effective, sustainable, and much more resilient way to grow food – even when faced with extreme weather such as drought and flooding.
What Is Regenerative Organic Farming?
Regenerative organic farming is a type of agriculture that focuses on rebuilding soil health and ecosystem function. It is an approach to food production that works with nature, rather than against it – as is common with “conventional” farming practices.
Regenerative organic agriculture has been gaining popularity in recent years as more and more people become aware of the importance of soil health and the role it plays in the overall health of our planet. This type of farming is not only better for the environment, but it is also better for the farmers and the people who consume the food that is grown.
There are many benefits to regenerative organic farming, including improved soil health, increased crop yields, and reduced dependence on chemical inputs. Additionally, regenerative organic agriculture practices can help to sequester carbon in the soil, which can help to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Over the past 40 years, the Farming Systems Trial, a massive, ongoing research project conducted by the Rodale Institute, has gathered data on the different impacts of organic and conventional grain cropping systems, and a recent report reveals that regenerative organic farming has 4 significant benefits that may help to revitalize and protect our food supply from the impacts of climate change:*
- YIELDS: Organic systems (typically) produce yields of cash crops equal to conventional systems. However, in extreme weather conditions, such as drought, the organic plots sustained their yields while the conventional plots declined. Overall, organic corn yields have been 31 percent higher than conventional production in drought years.
- CARBON CAPTURE: Healthy soil holds carbon and keeps it out of the atmosphere. Organic systems usually have much more diverse carbon inputs going into the soil so microbial biomass is significantly higher than in the conventional system, leading to higher soil organic matter over time.
- WATER: Water infiltration is significantly faster under long-term organic management compared to conventional practices.
- SOILS: FST data has established that soil health in the organic systems has continued to increase over time while the soil in the conventional systems has remained essentially unchanged.
Despite the many benefits of regenerative organic farming, there are also some challenges that need to be addressed. One of the biggest challenges is the lack of knowledge and understanding about this type of agriculture. Additionally, regenerative organic farming requires more labor and management than conventional farming, which can be a barrier for some farmers.
Nonetheless, the future of regenerative organic farming is bright. As more people become aware of the benefits of this type of agriculture, more farmers will be encouraged to adopt regenerative practices. Additionally, new technologies and innovations are being developed that can help to make regenerative organic agriculture more efficient and effective.
* Source: https://rodaleinstitute.org/blog/new-research-reveals-organic-agriculture-produces-higher-crop-yields-during-periods-of-extreme-weather