The Organic Sector Must Respond to Regenerative Momentum

“Regenerative” has momentum. New partnerships, organizations, finance tools and certifications pop up daily. Those of us who have been working to promote regenerative organic practices for decades — including the organic pioneers at Rodale Institute who coined the term “regenerative agriculture” in the 80s — can rejoice. All newcomers focusing on soil regeneration, biodiversity and climate: Welcome!

But let’s distinguish between serious regenerative actors, like farmer allies working for practices and policies similar to those we work for in IFOAM… and those like Syngenta, where the ill-defined “Regen Ag” allows Syngenta to re-brand itself as a “regenerative” champion while continuing with pesticides as core business.

Regenerative momentum is partly explained by this attractive, easily exploited ambiguity. Claiming regenerative goals and practices also helps delay the more ambitious political steps needed to address crises in food security, climate and loss of biodiversity. Regeneration also just feels right. The craftsmanship appeals to farmers.