Regenerative Agriculture Infographic Sources

Submitted by jwalton on November 28, 2017

After decades of destructive industrial agriculture, we need to revolutionize farming. Regenerative organic agriculture* uses practices that grow healthy crops, restore rich agricultural soils, and reverse climate change by absorbing and storing atmospheric carbon (carbon dioxide, CO2).1 Farmers, consumers, and the planet all benefit.

 

What do we mean by Regenerative Agriculture?

 

CARBON SEQUESTRATION2 

1. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and turn it into sugar.

2. These sugars allow the plant to grow and absorb more carbon.

3. Roots store and release the carbon-rich sugars deep into the soil.

4. Regenerative agriculture ensures that large amounts of this carbon are stored and remain stable underground at a much higher rate than industrial agriculture.

 

PRACTICES

Zero to Low Tillage and Mulching

       Reduces ground disturbance and protects soils with natural cover3

Cover Cropping and Crop Rotation

       Covers exposed ground between plantings4

Composting

       Supplies nutrients to improve the health of soil and crops5

Perennial Plants and Diverse Crops

       Provides harvests for several growing seasons from a single planting6

Managed Grazing

       Rotation of livestock according to forage availability and soil health7

 

BENEFITS

These practices have many benefits, from local to global. Farmlands are restored for sustained use long into the future and surrounding communities and environments become more resilient.8 The potential climate benefits are immense—data shows that regenerative organic agriculture could sequester 100% of yearly CO2 emissions, a significant step towards reversing climate change.9

Implementation is site specific and depends on soil characteristics, crops grown, and local climatic conditions.10 Practices are rooted in organic methods and can be integrated into farms and pastures transitioning from conventional to organic.

1. Supports Productive Farmlands

       • improves soil health and structure

       • improves water holding capacity of soil

       • increases production

       • improves adaptation to climate change

       • reduces erosion

2. Promotes Farmer and Farmworker Wellbeing

       • improves quality of life

       • improves and revitalizes rural economies

       • reduces time, labor, input, and fuel costs

       • reduces exposure to harmful chemicals

3. Protects Local Environments

       • improves biodiversity and wildlife habitats above and below ground

       • reduces air and water pollution from dust, manure, and pesticides

       • reduces unused plant and animal wastes

       • reduces use of on-farm synthetic chemical inputs

4. Benefits Consumers

       • improves nutritional quality of food

       • improves diversity of diet

       • improves food security

       • reduces exposure to toxic chemicals

5. Fights Global Climate Change

       • improves capacity of soil to store carbon

       • reduces respiration of carbon from the soil

       • reduces on-farm fuel use

       • reduces emissions from input production

 

EVIDENCE OF HOW EACH METHOD CONTRIBUTES TO ALL BENEFITS

Zero to Low Tillage and Mulching

1. Supports Productive Farmlands o increases soil health/structure11

       o increases water holding capacity of soil12

       o decreases erosion13

       o better able to withstand impacts of climate change14

2. Promotes Farmer and Farmworker Wellbeing

       o decreases costs and labor for the farmer15

       o decreases fuel usage by tractors16

       o increases competitive advantage17

3. Protects Local Environments

       o increases biodiversity above and below ground18

       o decreases need for synthetic chemicals/herbicides because of weed control19

       o decreases need for synthetic chemicals/fertilizers20

       o decreases pollution of water sources and air21

4. Benefits Consumers

       o increased soil health, grows healthier/more nutritious foods22

5. Fights Global Climate Change

       o increases capacity of soil to store carbon23

       o decreases carbon emissions from the soil because less disturbed or remains covered24

       o decreases carbon respiration from soil25

 

Cover Cropping and Crop Rotation

1. Supports Productive Farmlands

       o increases soil health/structure26

       o increases water holding capacity of soil27

       o decreases erosion28

       o increased yields mean increased food security29

2. Promotes Farmer and Farmworker Wellbeing

       o farmer benefits because less chemicals, lower costs, and may be able to sell the cover crop30

3. Protects Local Environments

       o increases biodiversity above and below ground31

       o decreases pollution of water sources32

       o decreases need for synthetic chemicals/herbicides because of weed control33

       o decreases need for synthetic chemicals/pesticides because of pest control34

       o decreases need for synthetic chemicals/fertilizers (if nitrogen fixing crops used)35

       o attracts pollinators36

4. Benefits Consumers

       o increased soil health, grows healthier/more nutritious foods37

       o diversifies diets38

5. Fights Global Climate Change

       o increases capacity of soil to store carbon39

       o decreases carbon respiration from soil40

 

Composting

1. Supports Productive Farmlands

       o increases soil health/structure41

       o increases water holding capacity of soil42

       o decreases erosion43

       o increased yields mean increased food security44

       o supplies nutrients to improve the health of soil and crops45

2. Promotes Farmer and Farmworker Wellbeing

       o decreases costs associated with buying inputs, converts wastes to resources46

       o decreases use of pesticides, less toxic working conditions47,48

3. Protects Local Environments

       o increases biodiversity above and below ground49

       o decreases waste leaving farm50

       o decreases need for synthetic chemicals/fertilizers51

       o decreases pollution of water sources52

4. Benefits Consumers

       o increases soil health, grows healthier foods53

       o decreases use of pesticides, leads to less toxic foods 54,55

5. Fights Global Climate Change

       o increases capacity of soil to store carbon56

       o reduces need for pesticides and fertilizer, which have high associated emissions57

       o decreases landfill methane emissions, because diverts waste58

 

Perennial Plants and Diverse Crops

1. Supports Productive Farmlands

       o increases soil health/structure59

       o increases water holding capacity of soil60

       o decreases erosion61

       o increases water holding capacity62

       o increases adaptation to impacts of climate change63

2. Promotes Farmer and Farmworker Wellbeing

       o reduces costs for seed and inputs64

       o reduces stoop labor65

       o diversified product results in diversity of income and stability66

3. Protects Local Environments

       o decreases need for synthetic chemicals/herbicides because of weed control[67]

       o diversity in soil and above68

       o increased habitat for pollinators69

4. Benefits Consumers

       o improves nutrition from diversified diet70

       o increases food security71

       o increases soil health, leads to healthier foods72

5. Fights Global Climate Change

       o increases capacity of soil to store carbon73

       o decreases carbon respiration from soil74

 

Managed Grazing

1. Supports Productive Farmlands

       o increases soil health/structure75

       o increases water holding capacity of soil76

       o decreases erosion77

       o increased climate resilience78

       o increases capacity of soil to store carbon79

2. Promotes Farmer and Farmworker Wellbeing

       o reduces costs and increased profit80

       o decreases labor/time commitment81

       o increases quality of life82

       o reduces quantity of fertilizer/feed needed83

       o increases rural resiliency84

3. Protects Local Environment

       o increases biodiversity above and below ground85

       o decreases concentrated animal wastes and pollution86

4. Benefits Consumers

       o decreases need for antibiotics, decreases resistance87

       o increased health in animal food products88

       o increases yield potential for increased food security89

       o increases soil health, leads to healthier foods90

5. Fights Global Climate Change

       o increases capacity of soil to store carbon91

       o decreases desertification92

       o decreased need for industrially monocropped feed93

 

 

*This is an exciting time in the worlds of sustainable agriculture and climate change mitigation, when these two fields have the opportunity to collaborate and reinforce one another. This partnership is in its early stages, and terminology is constantly evolving. Regenerative agriculture is a new term that is still being defined and debated. Green America is proud to be a part of this discussion and stands behind agriculture that builds healthy farmlands, supports farmers and farmworkers, protects local environments, benefits consumers, and contributes to the fight against climate change—regardless of the term used to describe it. The organization recognizes that implementation of these agriculture methods will always be site specific and depend on soil characters, crops grown, and local climates. Green America's long-term goal is agriculture production that is regenerative and meets the USDA organic standard, the best way to achieve this is through the Regenerative Organic Certification. Green America supports all farms reducing chemical inputs and enhancing soil preservation techniques to move closer to those twin goals.   

 

 

SOURCES

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