It’s been almost a year since grocery shelves around the world emptied as coronavirus hit the news. These large-scale — and in some cases long-term — shortages revealed vulnerabilities in our centralized food systems and globalized supply chains. Gaining popularity in recent years, regenerative agriculture is one method that has the potential to increase food security by improving the health of the land and localizing food production. Practices such as integrating livestock, planting cover crops, foregoing tilling, and increasing crop diversity aim to restore soil organic matter and soil health, thus producing more nutritious food and sequestering more carbon from the atmosphere.
While regenerative agriculture can (and should) look different for every farm, locality and crop, it has a consistent principle of circularity: reducing losses where possible and restoring them to the soil, be it nutrients, water or carbon. The ultimate goal, after all, is to cut the environmental impacts of farming and raising livestock, such as greenhouse gas emissions, soil erosion and water pollution. Part of this circular food economy often includes producing and supplying food regionally.