Reflections From Debates on Regenerative, Organic, Agroecology

Regenerative. Organic. Agroecology. Like any ecosystem—there is both mutality, collaboration and competition. Sorting out where there is mutuality, shared principles and purpose, and where there are conflicts and competition, was the task of several innovative debates and “fishbowl” discussions at the world’s largest organic food expo, BIOFACH. Some 40.000 companies, farmers, organizational leaders, researchers, and policy makers were gathered there.

I want to share some points from my input, speaking as board member at  IFOAM – Organics International, and some gold from debates:

Stand together

First, my “sense of the room (s)” was that we can all draw inspiration from each other. And above all, organic, agroecological and serious regenerative actors and movements must stand together. For together we are THE alternative and primary challenger to current degenerative food systems.

As a stand-alone term “Regenerative” begs the question: “which regenerative definition are we talking about? Syngentas? Bayers? Nestles? Or that of credible actors like Climate Farmers  or Regeneration International  ?” We must ask this question wherever “regenerative agriculture” is proposed as the solution. Just as we have with “Sustainable.” Andre Leu, International Director at Regeneration International has found one solution: “When uncertain if practices are regenerative or degenerative, we use the descriptions of organic principles of health, ecology, fairness and care.”