Defining “Regenerative Agriculture” in California

At the start of this year, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) established a Regenerative Agriculture Work Group to assist the State Board of Food and Agriculture in defining “Regenerative Agriculture.” We submitted the letter below as our public comment on the matter to represent how we believe the term should be defined.

Dear CDFA:

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed definition of regenerative agriculture in California. Our family company, Dr. Bronner’s, is located in Vista, North County San Diego, employs over 300 people and generated $200 million in net revenue last year. We source our major raw materials from farming communities around the world that are certified to the Regenerative Organic Certified standard. I’m including two blogs I wrote as part of my formal comment here: the first Regenetarians Unite that led to the formation of the Regenerative Organic Certification that we helped launch with our partners at Patagonia and Rodale; and the second Regenerative Agriculture:  the Good the Bad and the Ugly.

Summarizing the latter, there’s widespread agreement in the movement about what constitutes regenerative practices on a farm or ranch: managed grazing, cover crops, diverse crop rotations, minimal soil disturbance, etc. However the focus of my blog and comment here is on off-farm feed and synthetic inputs, which is under-appreciated and if not addressed in a real and credible way, will undermine the promise that regenerative agriculture has to mitigate climate change and restore soils.