• Deniz Saygi

A New Breath to Agricultural Solutions: Regenerative Agriculture

We are at a critical corner in the history of humanity: here, we need to make decisions for a liveable future for all living creatures. Unfortunately, with the disruption of the water cycle, extreme floods and droughts began to increase recently, causing soil losses. Therefore, we need urgent action plans to prevent these soil losses by considering the long-term effects of climate change.

Studies show that enabling sustainable food production reduces the effects of the climate crisis. In this regard, agriculture practices can play a crucial role in the fight against the catastrophic events of climate change.

We have to find ways to capture, reduce and offset carbon in soils, up to 24% of greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural activity. Consequently, we must establish a large-scale regenerative agriculture implementation plan laying the foundation for a healthier food system.

What is regenerative agriculture?

Regenerative agriculture is based on improving the conditions of cultivated lands. Regenerative farming, complemented by restorative practices, makes the soil more productive. In regenerative agricultural practices, soil health improves, and environmental awareness idealises the microbiological structure again.

However, it is entirely wrong to think that regenerative agriculture is only a trend because the rate of arable land in the world is rapidly decreasing day by day. It is also hoped that these agricultural practices will be a part of the solution to the problems experienced due to global warming and the shortage of water resources. This form of agriculture, which aims to reactivate the self-renewal and repair function of the soil, is one of the essential pillars of the dream of a future where the food is more nutritious, the soils more fertile, the climate more "normal", and the environment cleaner.

For example, farmers have produced new soil using regenerative farming methods in the deserts of West Africa. In this way, the water storage capacity of the land begins to increase. The porosity structure of the newly formed soil has more water holding capacity. It ensures that even heavy rains and floods are effectively infiltrated and retained in the soil. In addition, regenerative agriculture helps prevent erosion, and crops benefit from retained water in the field due to the increased water holding capacity of the soil during periods of severe drought. Moreover, disruption of the carbon cycle is causing global warming on a scale that threatens humanity. The newly formed topsoil is about 60% elemental carbon and can tackle climate change through carbon sequestration and soil regeneration.

One of the most important reasons for the widespread use of regenerative agriculture practices globally is the gradual increase in food insecurity and hunger levels. Due to this issue, especially in recent years, significant investments have been made in projects that focus on local production. Accordingly, agricultural practices that prevent soil loss have been applied based on sustainable, organic, and regenerative agriculture.

Although it is thought to be synonymous with organic and sustainable agriculture, regenerative agriculture is a subheading of these two forms. It brings a new perspective to agriculture from a broader standpoint. Regenerative agriculture aims to heal the earth by improving animals, humans, communities, soil, and crops.

Regarding regenerative agriculture, the soil is cultivated to increase biodiversity. Other restorative practices are planting the crops by rotation, producing in season, and reducing greenhouse production. When it comes to regenerative agriculture, livestock is also a link in the chain. The natural cycle, which feeds the crops with manure, is a restorative practice.

“We have 60 harvests, or fewer, left. Not only is our food less nutritious than it was 50 years ago, but we are destroying our soils at such a rate that we won’t be able to feed the world,” says Bethany Davis, MegaFood Director of Advocacy & Government Relations.

Studies show that more than 100% of the carbon emissions caused by industrial agriculture can be reabsorbed with the widespread use of regenerative agriculture practices. Social benefits are also listed among the advantages of regenerative agriculture. Regulating farmers' rights, working conditions, and incentivise are shaped by regenerative agriculture supports worldwide. As the contact of people working in agriculture with chemicals decreases, the risks taken in terms of health will decrease, as well. It is aimed to protect and effectively use natural resources.

Closing thoughts

Undoubtedly, regenerative agriculture brings with it an action plan. Therefore, it is possible to consider regenerative farming practices as a restoration project where the environment and people work together to restore the Earth. Since this is a movement, the states' incentives following the agricultural regions should be in this direction. Like a mobilisation, everyone should be encouraged to take a step in this way. Standards should be established, and reducing greenhouse gas effects should be the first rule of this standard. Environmental awareness should be created concerning this. From training the farmers to regulating climate-friendly agricultural policies, supporting every regenerative organisation also ensures a rapid integration into this agricultural process.