Regenerative Agriculture 101
Want to learn more about regenerative agriculture? Keep reading to learn what it is and why you should care.
Regenerative agriculture is a holistic farming practice that starts with the soil. Rooted in restoring soil health, regenerative agriculture uses do-no-harm farming techniques to improve the land, return carbon to the earth, and improve biodiversity. At Teatulia we have used regenerative agriculture practices for over twenty years to restore acres of land that were barren and stripped from rock lifting and grow delicious tea.
But how exactly does regenerative agriculture work? Regenerative agriculture transforms a landscape by transforming the soil. Soil is the root cause (no pun intended!) of a delicious, nutritious harvest or lack thereof, we’re looking at you tasteless grocery store tomatoes.
Through do-no-harm farming techniques, intentional plant diversity, and a closed carbon cycle the soil comes back to life, and regenerative agriculture cycles on.
- Do-No-Harm Farming
You heard that right. Reduced or no tilling, crop rotation, compost, and grazing methods are all do-no-harm farming techniques. Because we choose not to till, the soil stays put. Tilling disrupts the structure of the soil, increasing the chances of erosion and soil runoff. Instead, we practice the Masanobu Fukuoka method which uses no unnatural irrigation, pesticides, or machinery and strives to be in harmony with nature. We also use local cow dung and compost as a natural and organic fertilizer.
- Intentional Plant Diversity
The goal of intentional plant diversity in agriculture is to simulate an ecosystem. In our garden, we plant neem trees, lemongrass, and other herbs to mimic the canopy of a forest. This variety of plants attracts a variety of insects and animals, just like the ecosystem. This intentional biodiversity enriches the condition of the soil by allowing living roots to grow in the soil all year. This aerates the soil and helps lock more carbon into the soil, where it belongs.
- Closed carbon cycle
As we mentioned above, common factory farming methods disrupt and degrade the soil. An unintended consequence of this is the release of carbon into the air. Through photosynthesis, plants take CO2 from the air and convert it into carbohydrates or simple sugars. These carbohydrates are consumed by microorganisms and stored in the soil, thus transporting carbon from the air into the ground. Every spring, instead of plowing the ground and stirring the carbon pot, we leave the soil and groundcover plants be to close the carbon loop. Reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere is a crucial step in fighting climate change.
Each of these elements ultimately leads to healthier soil. Healthy soil leads to an improved landscape and a better-tasting harvest. Regenerative agriculture highlights the key elements of finding strength in diversity: of plants, of microorganisms and of farming techniques. This cyclical practice has the power to transform the planet. Our garden is a living example that we can reverse the damages of climate change with the implementation of regenerative agriculture.