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From Sustainable to Regenerative: Bold Business Moves to Transform the Agriculture System

With a new decade comes a new era of sustainability leadership.

The 2020s herald a pivotal chance to deliver on our great climate, environment and development challenges, and the scale and pace of change will require truly transformative thinking. We will need to move beyond efficiency and doing less harm, and base strategies on new goals that ensure business success also meets the needs of people and the planet. It’s time to step up a gear or three on our journey toward a sustainable future. But what does this mean for how we do business?

At the heart of this shift is a move toward “regenerative” rather than just “less extractive” business strategies. With growing public commitments to “carbon zero” targets, businesses are refocusing on how to work in ways that put back more into society, the environment and the global economy than they take out. This sounds like an abstract goal on the surface, but in real terms, it is a powerful reframing of mindset and action.

Organizations taking this approach share an ambition to grow their brands, have strong financial performance, attract the brightest talent and, most important, be future-fit; but these thriving organizations also deliver benefits that align traditional business boundaries of profit margin and shareholder value with wider societal goals.

One of the most impactful areas for intervention is in agriculture. Any business based on agricultural raw materials is vulnerable to increasing insecurity and volatility of supply, as weather patterns shift and natural resources dwindle.

KEEP READING ON GREENBIZ

Sue Lani Madsen: Investing in Soil Health Is an Investment in the Future

We’ve been treating soil like dirt for too long. Dirt needs to be fed in order to produce. Healthy soil contains tens of thousands of microbes pulling carbon out of the atmosphere and turning it into food for themselves and for us.

Investing in soil health is an investment in future generations continuing to eat, according to David Montgomery, a University of Washington geologist. His first book, “Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations,” looked at the consequences of ignoring soil health. He recently published “Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life.”

Focusing on common ground over food is a healthy way to start the new year. It’s a place where government is, as is often the case, both the problem and part of the potential solution.

“Our biggest mistake in 20th-century agriculture is we tried to make the land respond to a single set of practices. We’ve undervalued both the land and the creativity of farmers,” Montgomery said.

KEEP READING ON SPOKESMAN

2020 Vision: A New Year’s Regeneration

Beyond the media smog, the 24/7 fixation on the Trump cesspool and the endless distractions of the holiday season, I probably don’t have to remind you that the end of the modern era is at hand.

As most of us realize, even as we repress this thought in order to maintain our sanity, we are fast approaching “the point of no return,” whereby our 21st century Climate Emergency and societal meltdown begin to morph into global catastrophe.

Even in the midst of enjoying a break over the holidays and celebrating with our family and friends, it’s hard to avoid thinking about the “Emergency”—and the climate criminals, indentured politicians and climate deniers who have dragged us to the precipice.

Our common house is “on fire” as Greta Thunberg reminds us. And as Arundhati Roy laments: “It is becoming more and more difficult to communicate the scale of the crisis even to ourselves. An accurate description runs the risk of sounding like hyperbole.”

But what I, and my allies in the global Regeneration Movement want to tell you, is that there is a practical, shovel-ready solution to our impasse, a Regenerative Green New Deal powered by a massive leap in grassroots consciousness, a youth-led climate movement and a 2020 ballot box- revolution.

The long-overdue transformation of our energy and agricultural systems, converting our greenhouse gas-intensive, fossil fuel economy to renewables, coupled with a massive organic and regenerative drawdown, revegetation, reforestation, re-carbonization and rehydration of our farmlands, rangelands and forests will dramatically reduce global emissions (by 50 percent or more) over the next decade, meanwhile sequestering the remaining emissions in our soils, forests and plants.

The Great Transition to renewable energy and radical energy conservation, in combination with the enhanced photosynthesis and carbon sequestration power of regenerative food, farming and land use will make it possible to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030, enabling the world to shift into net-negative emissions over the following decades, literally drawing down enough CO2 from the atmosphere to not only mitigate but to actually reverse global warming and thereby restore climate stability, soil fertility, rural livelihoods and public health.

An excess of gloom and doom has clouded our collective vision, reinforcing the walls and silos that divide us, and robbing us of the life-giving optimism and positive energy that we need to carry out a political revolution. From Main Street to the Middle East and beyond, drawing inspiration from the positive trends and best practices (alternative energy, organic and regenerative food and farming, ecosystem restoration, political insurgency and direct action) in our millions of cities, towns and rural communities across the globe, we have the power to put an end to business as usual.

We, the global grassroots, can move forward and solve the climate crisis and all the other interrelated crises that plague us: poverty, economic injustice, deteriorating public health, environmental destruction, societal conflict, endless war, the erosion of democracy and elite domination and control. The regenerative solutions we need are, in fact, manifesting themselves at this very moment, in every nation, in every region, pointing the way to transform every aspect of our lives.

The solutions we need are no farther away than the nearest solar panel, wind farm, retrofitted building, bicycle path, electric vehicle, community garden, farmers market, organic farm and holistically-managed ranch. The solutions we need lie at the end of our forks and knives, under the trees that shade us, the carbon-sequestering soil below our feet, the consumer dollars in our wallets and our nearest voting booth.

Regeneration and the global grassroots rising

Out on the road proselytizing for organics and regeneration, one of the most frequent questions I get goes something like this:

“Ronnie, given the current political atmosphere, and the state of the climate and the planet, why are you so optimistic?”

If we had the time and the space right now I’d be happy to give you a full book-length answer on why I’m so optimistic. In fact, I’ve just written such a book. It’s called Grassroots Rising: A Call to Action on Climate, Farming, Food, and a Green New Deal, by Chelsea Green Publishers. The book will go on sale February 11. (You can pre-order a copy here).

But in the interest of brevity, and so you and I can hopefully get back to our holiday cheer, here’s a summary of my 2020 Vision, four reasons why I’m optimistic that things are about to turn around:

  1. A radical, youth-led climate movement, the Sunrise Movement, the Extinction RebellionFridays for the Future, and others have helped make the Climate Emergency a front-burner issue—not only in North America and Europe, but across the world.
  2. A radical, democratic socialist, Sen. Bernie Sanders, calling for political revolution and a fundamental transformation of the U.S. energy, socio-economic, political and food and farming system, under the banner of a Green New Deal, has a real chance to become the next president of the United States. With the whole world watching, a Bernie Sanders White House and a new balance of power in Congress, inspired by a Green New Deal, will galvanize the global grassroots.
  3. Regenerative food, farming, land use and ecosystem restoration have suddenly become the most important, exciting and talked-about topics in climate, food and farming circles. People are finally understanding that we need both a rapid transition to alternative energy and a rapid transition to organic/regenerative food and farming in order to reach net-zero emissions by 2030, as called for by world scientists, the Sunrise Movement, and the Green New Deal.
  4. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest member of Congress in history, and the most radical, charismatic leader in the U.S. since the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King in 1968, will turn 35 in October 2024, making her eligible to succeed Bernie Sanders (should he choose to serve only one term) as the first woman, and first woman of color, to become president of the U.S.

It’s true that our new world view and Movement for a Regenerative Green New Deal are still in the early stages of development. The majority of the people in the world have never heard the full story about the miraculous power of enhanced soil fertility, ecosystem restoration, holistic grazing and plant photosynthesis to draw down enough excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into our soils and biota to re-stabilize the climate, reverse global warming, raise the standard of living for small farmers and rural communities and produce enough high-quality food for the entire planet.

But the exciting thing is that when people, especially young people, women and rural and oppressed communities do hear about the amazing potential of regeneration, combined with alternative energy and environmental justice, to unite us all in a common campaign to turn things around, they are inspired. And they’re often ready to sign up, to get engaged with others—consumers, farmers, activists, progressive businesses and enlightened public officials—to move this revolution forward.

But, as this difficult and indeed frightening decade ends, to quote America’s Nobel Prize winning poet, Bob Dylan, “Let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late.”

Join us today as we build a movement to change the world.

 

Ronnie Cummins is a founding steering committee member of Regeneration International and co-founder and international director of the Organic Consumers Association. His new book, “Grassroots Rising: A Call to Action on Climate, Farming, Food and a Green New Deal,” will be out in February 2020. To keep up with Regeneration International, sign up for our newsletter.

 

Posted with permission from Common Dreams

Why Fake Meat and Eliminating Livestock Are Really Bad Ideas

As noted in “Ditching Nature in Favor of Fake Food Is Not the Solution to Destructive Factory Farming” by Dr. Joseph Mercola:

“Industrial agriculture is one of the most unsustainable practices of modern civilization. The ‘bigger is better’ food system has reached a point where its real costs have become readily apparent.

Like water running down an open drain, the Earth’s natural resources are disappearing quickly, as industrialized farming drives air pollution, water pollution, deforestation, rising carbon emissions and the depletion, erosion and poisoning of soils.

The long-term answer, however, lies in the transition to sustainable, regenerative, chemical-free farming practices, not in the creation of food manufacturing techniques that replace farms with chemistry labs, which is the ‘environmentally friendly’ alternative envisioned by biotech startups and its chemists.”

As a campaigner for organic and regenerative food, and a critic of fast foodGMOs and factory farms for over 40 years, I am alarmed and disgusted by the degenerate state of food and farming in the United States.

Not only are misguided farmers, ignorant and corrupt public officials, greedy investors, food corporations and mindless consumers destroying their health and the health of their families through their everyday production practices and food choices, but our Fast Food Nation is rapidly degrading the health of the environment and the climate and life-support systems of our planet as well.

Corporate America’s trillion-dollar taxpayer-subsidized system of industrial food and farming, represented most graphically by factory farms and feedlots, is literally killing us, whether we’re talking about our food-related public health emergency or the fact that our chemical and fossil fuel-intensive system of industrial agriculture is belching out 43 to 57 percent of the greenhouse gas pollution that has dangerously destabilized our climate.1

(The percentages are estimated amounts according to the United Nations Conference on Trade of Development, 2013,2 in which the conference members added food waste, food production, processing, transport and deforestation together.)

The malevolent driving force of Big Food Inc. and their army of chemical farmers, food processors and marketers is the idea that maximizing short-term profits trumps all other considerations — including health, economic justice, animal welfare, environment and climate stability — and that convenient, cheap, artificially flavored fast food and commodities represent the pinnacle of modern agricultural production and consumption.

Boycott Factory-Farmed Food

It’s time to disrupt and take down our suicide economy and our degenerate agricultural and food system. A good starting point is to join the growing movement and consumer boycott of all factory-farmed meat, dairy and poultry products, not just at the grocery store, but in restaurants as well — and not just occasionally, but every day.

Factory farms inhumanely confine, feed and drug 50 billion of the 70 billion farm animals on the planet,3 supplying McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King, et al., and the supermarket chains with the cheap, artery-clogging meat and dairy that are destroying our environment, climate and health.

Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and the GMO soybean and corn farms that supply them are the No. 1 source of water pollution in the U.S.,4 as well as a major source of air pollution. Monsanto/Bayer’s GMO soybeans and corn for CAFO animal feed are the No. 1 destroyer of grasslands and forest in the Amazon basin and other areas.5,6

U.S. and international factory farm meat and dairy operations are also major drivers of global warming and climate change, spewing out massive amounts of CO2, methane and nitrous oxide emissions7 into the atmosphere from giant feedlots, hog and chicken complexes, manure lagoons and the chemical-intensive, GMO grain farms that supply “CAFO Nation” with millions of tons of taxpayer-subsidized animal feed every year.

Besides degenerating the environment and climate, CAFOs are primary drivers of our deteriorating public health as well. Filthy, inhumane, polluting, greenhouse gas-belching factory farms mass produce approximately 90 to 95 percent of the meat and animal products consumed in America today.

The average U.S. carnivore now supersizes and toxifies themselves with approximately 200 pounds8 of CAFO meat a year, loaded with bad fats (low in omega-3 and other key nutrients) and laced with antibiotic, pesticide and hormone residues that substantially increase a person’s chances of getting cancer, suffering from obesity, dying from an antibiotic-resistant infection, developing Alzheimer’s or having a heart attack.

Approximately 75 percent of all the antibiotics9 in the U.S. today are dumped into factory farm animal feed and water to keep the animals alive under the hellish conditions of intensive confinement as well as to force the animals to gain more weight.

This massive, reckless and often illegal use of antibiotics on factory farms (along with routine over-prescribing of prescription antibiotics by doctors) has begun to spread deadly antibiotic-resistant pathogens into our food, with an average of 90,000 Americans dying from antibiotic-resistant infections on an outpatient basis every year, according to the latest calculations by Cambridge University researchers, who noted that they believe the 23,000 deaths often quoted are far underreported.10

Based upon a study commissioned by the U.K. government, multidrug-resistant infections are projected kill 10 million people a year across the world — more than currently die from cancer — by 2050 unless significant action is taken.11

False Solutions No. 1: Fake Meat

Although I share the same disgust and hatred of factory farms and CAFO meat as my vegan and vegetarian brothers and sisters, I am nonetheless disturbed to see a growing number of vegan activists, Silicon Valley tycoons, genetic engineering cheerleaders and even some climate activists joining together to promote fake meat products such as the “Impossible Burger,” as a healthy and climate-friendly alternative to beef.

Even worse are the growing number of vegans, climate activists and high-tech/GMO enthusiasts who claim that abolishing livestock and animal husbandry altogether will solve our health, environmental and climate crises.

The Impossible Burger, made from a highly-processed mix of soy, wheat, coconut oil, potatoes and genetically engineered (GE) yeast, is Wall Street’s latest darling and a heavily-hyped menu item in many vegan restaurants. As Mercola has previously pointed out:

“The Impossible Burger resembles meat “right down to the taste and beeflike ‘blood,’ The New York Times notes,12 and has become a hit in some circles. So far, the company has raised $257 million from investors,13 who include Bill Gates, Khosla Ventures, Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz’s Open Philanthropy Project, Li Ka-shing (a Hong Kong billionaire) and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, Temasek Holdings.”

Unfortunately, it appears the Impossible Burger and other fake meat are neither healthy nor, in the case of the Impossible Burger, even proven safe.

Mercola pointed out that fake meat such as the Impossible Burger is nutritionally inferior to real, non-CAFO meat such as 100 percent grass fed beef, which “contain a complex mix of nutrients and cofactors that you cannot recreate by an assembly of individual components.

While it’s true that millions of carnivores, especially in the U.S., are supersizing and poisoning themselves with two or three times as much CAFO meat, dairy and poultry as a natural health expert would recommend, a moderate amount of grass fed or pastured meat and dairy (especially raw milk dairy products) are actually very good for your health.

So, if you want a healthy meal, skip the Impossible Burger and other fake meat and go for a 100 percent grass fed beef, lamb or buffalo burger instead. If you prefer to get your protein boost from seafood, skip the farmed fish and go for wild Alaskan salmon.

If you’re determined to eat a veggie burger, skip the GMO yeast and fake blood and flavors and choose a healthy meat alternative such as an organic tempeh burger, made from fermented soybeans, or a bean burger, made from all natural, organic ingredients.

False Solution No. 2: Abolishing Livestock

Even more bizarre, elitist and uninformed is the recent trendy chorus basically calling for the elimination of the planet’s 70 billion livestock as a major solution to the climate crisis.

These “no livestock” fundamentalists basically ignore the fact that over a billion people, especially in the developing world, rely upon, for their food and survival, raising livestock on the billions of acres of pasture and rangeland that are simply not suitable for raising crops, but which can and do support properly grazed livestock.

Besides providing about one-third14 of the world’s protein, animal husbandry and livestock today provide 33 to 55 percent of the household income for the world’s 640 million small farmers, 190 million pastoralists, and 1 billion urban peasants, more than 66 percent of whom are low-income women.15

Shall we just tell these billion “backward” peasants to go into town and line up for their GE Impossible Burgers and forget about raising their cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, ducks and chickens like their ancestors have done for thousands of years?

Global Warming and Catastrophic Climate Change: The Animals (and Regenerative Food and Farming) Can Save Us

Perhaps the most fundamental reason why we need to preserve and promote a regenerative system of animal husbandry across the planet on millions of farms and ranches is the little-known fact that properly grazing animals (as opposed to animals imprisoned in factory farms) are the key to sequestering excess carbon-dioxide from the atmosphere and storing this carbon in the world’s 4 billion acres16 of rangelands and pasturelands. As world-renowned climate scientist James Hansen, Ph.D., puts it:17

“If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current levels to at most 350 ppm…”

A growing corps of climate experts have warned us repeatedly that we must stop burning fossil fuels; eliminate destructive food, farming and land use practices; and draw down enough carbon dioxide (CO2) from the Earth’s atmosphere through regenerative farming/ranching and enhanced natural photosynthesis to return us to 350 parts per million (ppm) or, better yet, to pre-industrial levels of 280 ppm.

About half the total human greenhouse gas emissions causing global warming today come from burning fossil fuels18 (coal, oil and gas) for transportation, heating, cooling, electricity and manufacturing. The other half, however, unbeknown to most people, comes from degenerative food, farming and land use practices.19

These greenhouse gas-polluting, climate-destabilizing food, farming and land use practices include the massive use of fossil fuels and synthetic, climate-destabilizing chemicals on the farm, including diesel fuel, pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

They also include energy-intensive food processing, packaging, long-distance transportation of foods, confining billions of methane-belching animals in factory farms, dumping rotting waste food and organic garbage into landfills instead of composting it, and wasting 40 percent20 or more of all the food we grow.

These fossil fuel-intensive food and farming practices are compounded by degenerate land use practices, including clear-cutting forests, draining wetlands, degrading marine ecosystems, destructively tilling the soil, dumping soil-killing pesticides and chemical fertilizers on the land, and destroying grasslands.

These degenerate farming and land use practices degrade the natural ability of plants, pasture, rangeland, wetlands, and trees to draw down enough CO2 from the atmosphere (via photosynthesis) to keep the soil, atmosphere, ocean, carbon and hydrological cycles in balance.

So how can we avert climate catastrophe and the collapse of human civilization? Regenerative food, farming and land use, especially grazing and pasturing animals properly on the world’s 4.3 billion acres of pasture and rangeland, is the key to ending CAFO (and GMO grain) emissions and drawing down enough CO2 to reverse global warming.

As Judith Schwartz explains in detail in her recent book, “Cows Save the Planet,” holistic rotational grazing, especially in pastures where perennial trees and plants are growing, is the key to averting climate catastrophe.21 Most people do not yet understand the central role of regenerating the soil and supercharging plant photosynthesis in order to stop and then reverse global warming.

Even fewer understand that the major solution to greenhouse gas pollution and degenerative factory farm and grain-growing practices are properly grazed livestock in perennialized pastures, managed by regenerative ranchers and farmers, supported by conscious consumers who refuse to eat factory farmed meat, dairy and poultry or nonorganic vegetables, fruits and grains.

Plant Photosynthesis and CO2 Drawdown

The most important thing about regenerative food, farming, ranching and land use is that these practices qualitatively increase plant photosynthesis, with a potential to drawdown all of the excess carbon (200 to 250 billion tons of carbon) in the atmosphere that is causing global climate change.

In other words, if the levels of carbon sequestration now being put into practice by thousands of advanced regenerative farmers and ranchers (1 to 10 tons of atmospheric carbon sequestered per acre/per year) can be scaled up globally, we can draw down enough excess carbon from the atmosphere to reverse global warming and restore climate stability.22

Through the miraculous process of photosynthesis, plants (including pasture grasses) have the ability to breathe in CO2 and transpire or release oxygen, simultaneously turning atmospheric CO2 into a form of “liquid carbon” that not only builds up the plant’s above ground biomass (leaves, flowers, branches, trunk or stem), but also travels though the plant’s roots into the soil below.

Exuded or released from the plant’s roots, this liquid carbon or sugar feeds the soil microorganisms in the rhizosphere, the soil food web that not only sustains all plant and animal life, including humans, but also regulates the balance between the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and the carbon in our soils.

Regenerative food and farming, coupled with 100 percent renewable energy, not only holds the potential — through qualitatively enhanced soil health and supercharged plant photosynthesis — to mitigate global warming by drawing down several hundred billion tons of excess carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in the soil, but also to actually reverse global warming while simultaneously restoring the environment, improving the nutritional quality of our food, and regenerating the economic vitality of small farmers, herders and rural communities.23

Michael Pollan, perhaps America’s best-known food writer, explains how enhanced plant photosynthesis, as generated through healthy soils and forests and 100 percent grass fed holistic grazing is the key to drawing down excess carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in our soils in order to reverse global warming:24

“Consider what happens when the sun shines on a grass plant rooted in the earth. Using that light as a catalyst, the plant takes atmospheric CO2, splits off and releases the oxygen, and synthesizes liquid carbon — sugars, basically.

Some of these sugars go to feed and build the aerial portions of the plant we can see, but a large percentage of this liquid carbon — somewhere between 20 and 40 percent — travels underground, leaking out of the roots and into the soil.

The roots are feeding these sugars to the soil microbes — the bacteria and fungi that inhabit the rhizosphere — in exchange for which those microbes provide various services to the plant: defense, trace minerals, access to nutrients the roots can’t reach on their own.

That liquid carbon has now entered the microbial ecosystem, becoming the bodies of bacteria and fungi that will in turn be eaten by other microbes in the soil food web. Now, what had been atmospheric carbon (a problem) has become soil carbon, a solution — and not just to a single problem, but to a great many problems.

Besides taking large amounts of carbon out of the air — tons of it per acre when grasslands are properly managed … that process at the same time adds to the land’s fertility and its capacity to hold water, which means more and better food for us …

This process of returning atmospheric carbon to the soil works even better when ruminants are added to the mix. Every time a calf or lamb shears a blade of grass, that plant, seeking to rebalance its ‘root-shoot ratio,’ sheds some of its roots. These are then eaten by the worms, nematodes and microbes — digested by the soil, in effect, and so added to its bank of carbon. This is how soil is created: from the bottom up.”

The Regeneration Revolution Is Long Overdue

After decades of working alongside vegans and animal rights activists in campaigns such as the McDonald’s Beyond Beef campaign (which I organized with Jeremy Rifkin and Howard Lyman in 1992 to 1994), the campaign against Monsanto’s recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) from 1994 until the present, and most recently working with consumers and farmers in campaigns against GMOs, pesticides and factory farm dairy, poultry and beef, I believe the time is long overdue for everyone concerned about food, farming, health, climate and humane treatment of animals to connect the dots between our common concerns and build a powerful united front to take down factory farms and carry out a global Regeneration Revolution.

Breaking through the tunnel vision and self-righteous walls between our issue silos (i.e., my issue is more important than your issue, and my solution is the only solution), and uniting to build a new “Beyond USDA Organic” system of regenerative food, farming and land use, we can bring down the factory farm and GMO behemoth.

Working together rather than rallying behind false solutions such as fake meat and abolishing livestock, we can popularize and scale-up humane, healthy and climate-friendly solutions to our hydra-headed crisis.

We can promote and implement real, positive, shovel-ready solutions rather than promoting simplistic and indeed destructive “silver bullets” such as genetically engineered fake meat and “pharm animals,” that not only fail to address the real roots of climate (and the health) crisis, but ultimately threaten the livelihoods of a billion small farmers and peasant women across the planet.

So, forget about the Impossible Burger and other fake meats and the elitist notion of getting rid of the world’s 70 billion livestock. We’re all in this together, and it’s going to take a regeneration of all living creatures — humans, wild animals, livestock, plants, trees and soil microorganisms — working in harmony to build a new world on the ruins of the old.

Given the horrors of factory farms and factory-farmed food, we need a global boycott of the multitrillion-dollar CAFO industry. Please sign up here to stay in touch with the news and campaigns of the Organic Consumers Association.

More and more of us, conscious consumers and farmers, alarmed by the accelerating climate crisis and the degeneration of the environment, public health and politics are coming together under the banner of regenerative food, farming and land use, the most important new current in the food, farming and climate movement. Please join us today.

 

About the Author

Ronnie Cummins is international director of the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), a nonprofit consumer advocacy and grassroots organization, and a member of the Regeneration International (RI) steering committee.

Posted with permission from Mercola

This New Food Label Will Mainstream Whole Foods’ Biggest Trend For 2020

“We plan to make Regenerative Organic Certified products publicly available after the Natural Foods Expo in 2020,” promises Rodale Institute CEO, Jeff Moyer, of the food label that will mainstream what Whole Foods says is the biggest food trend for 2020.

The Certification— Regenerative Organic (ROC)— will be applied to foods made of organic agricultural ingredients, sourced from farms that embrace pasture-based animal welfare, provide fair labour and economic stability for farmers and communities, and prioritise soil health, biodiversity, land management and carbon sequestration. The certification will receive oversight from the Regenerative Organic Alliance, a coalition led by the Rodale InstituteDr. Bronner’s and Patagonia.

For those who have yet to jump on the regenerative bandwagon, the movement which began in the 1980’s takes the words “sustainable” and “organic” one step further, with a systems based approach to agriculture that Vandana Shiva, Co-Founder of Regeneration International, says contains the “answers to the soil crisis, the food crisis, the climate crisis and the crisis of democracy.”

KEEP READING ON FORBES

How Regenerative Agroforestry Could Solve the Climate Crisis

  • Farming is responsible for almost 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Agriculture is the root cause of 80% of tropical deforestation.
  • Regenerative agroforestry, an agricultural method that mimics natural ecosystems, could help reverse these trends.

Our world is changing. The EU has just declared a climate emergency and stated that Europe must reach zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 – in the same year, our planet’s population is expected to hit 10 billion people. Global food production needs to prepare for an uncertain future and rising populations.

Climate, soil and farming: an intimate relationship

How we produce food is having a massive impact on our planet and driving the climate crisis. Farming is responsible for almost 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Land conversion and external inputs required for industrial agriculture lead to ecological dead-zones. Mechanization and commonly used synthetic fertilizers cause various emissions, while intensive management to raise crop yields releases carbon from the soil.

KEEP READING ON WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM

David Bronner on the Importance of Regenerative Organic Certification

Our third interview is with David Bronner, Cosmic Engagement Officer at Dr. Bronner’s, winner of the 2019 Outstanding Company Award.

Congratulations on winning a 2019 National Co+op Grocers Climate Collaborative award! What are you most proud of when it comes to your company’s climate work? 

David Bronner: We are looking at every aspect of our soapmaking: ingredients and supply chain; the manufacturing process; efficiency at our facility; packaging and the end cycle of the product. We’re asking ourselves how we’re impacting the climate at every stage of soapmaking, both in terms of sequestering carbon and reducing emissions. We’re proud to be a leader in regenerative organic agriculture and fair trade supply chains.

What were the key factors to success in getting you where you are today on climate? 

DB: Environmental stewardship has always been a company value from the beginning.

KEEP READING ON NEW HOPE

The Essential Element: Carbon is Key to Life and Hope

News Item: Here’s a fascinating story from Politico this week about the shifting attitude among farmers and ranchers toward regenerative agriculture as the effects of climate change become increasingly troublesome. It demonstrates how fast things are changing! (see)

In the previous issues, I discussed the promise of regenerative agriculture, overcoming entrenched beliefs, and working collaboratively in the radical center. In this issue, I’ll discuss the essential element needed to do all these things: carbon. Understanding carbon’s role as part of a natural, planet-wide cycle is the key to hope, in my opinion.

Carbon is the most important element on Earth and the best way to explain its significance is with the terribly essential carbon cycle. The trouble is whenever I see the word ‘cycle’ my eyes start to glaze over. It doesn’t matter if it is the water, mineral, energy, nutrient, or some other cycle critical to our existence, for some reason my attention begins to wander the instant I see the word.

KEEP READING ON RESILIENCE

La delegación chilena de Regeneration International a la COP25 pide un enfoque de cuatro puntas para ampliar las soluciones regenerativas a tiempo para restaurar la estabilidad climática global

Entregado por el miembro del Comité Directivo de Regeneration International, Precious Phiri, en nombre de la Delegación Chilena de Regeneration International a la COP25, en el Día Oficial de la Iniciativa 4p1000 en la COP25 en Madrid.

Contacto:

América Latina: Ercilia Sahores, ercilia@regenerationinternational.org, +52 (55) 6257 7901

Estados Unidos: Katherine Paul, katherine@regenerationinternational.org; 207-653-3090

 

SANTIAGO, Chile – 11 de diciembre de 2019 –Cuando la COP25 se trasladó de Chile a Madrid, Regeneration International decidió enviar una delegación a Madrid. Sin embargo, en solidaridad con los agricultores y las organizaciones de la sociedad civil con quienes habíamos pasado meses organizando eventos de la COP25 en Chile, también enviamos una delegación fuerte a Santiago.

Hoy estoy aquí en representación de la delegación presente en Chile, que representa a los agricultores, las ONG y los gobiernos locales desde Canadá hasta Tierra del Fuego, que se reunirán esta semana en Santiago para discutir la necesidad, incluidos los pasos de acción inmediata necesarios, para aumentar rápidamente las soluciones de agricultura regenerativa y de restauración de tierras para la emergencia climática global.

Chile se enorgullece de ser signatario del 4p1000, y Regeneration International sigue comprometida con el reclutamiento de ONG y gobiernos nacionales y locales para firmar la Iniciativa 4p1000.

Sin embargo, nuestro mensaje de hoy, dada la emergencia a escala mundial sin precedentes y acelerada que los científicos nos advierten ya tenemos encima, es que los agricultores, los gobiernos, las organizaciones y los ciudadanos deben insistir e inmediatamente comenzar a implementar un enfoque de regeneración de cuatro puntas, que incluya pero no se limita a la implementación de prácticas científicas y técnicas de agricultura regenerativa.

Hoy, la delegación de Regeneration International a la COP25 en Chile hace un llamado a los gobiernos y sociedades globales para que inviertan rápidamente y aumenten lo siguiente:

  1. Educación pública y construcción de movimientos.
  2. Implementación de prácticas existentes de agricultura regenerativa que promueven la restauración del ecosistema, la captura de carbono en los suelos y la seguridad alimentaria.
  3. Reorientación de las políticas públicas para apoyar las prácticas agrícolas regenerativas.
  4. Incentivación de inversiones masivas públicas y privadas para prácticas regenerativas.

 

La actual emergencia global y crisis eco-social que ahora está a la puerta de nuestras casas exige con urgencia que implementemos de inmediato las cuatro estrategias si esperamos evitar un colapso total de nuestro ecosistema y la sociedad global tal como la conocemos.

Sabemos que esto es posible si logramos una masa crítica de conciencia, experiencia técnica, voluntad política, colaboración y compromiso financiero.

Gracias,

Contamos con usted y usted puede contar con nuestra colaboración y apoyo.

 

Soil: The Secret Weapon in the Fight Against Climate Change

Agriculture is on the front lines of climate change.  Whether it’s the seven-year drought drying up fields in California, the devastating Midwest flooding in 2019, or hurricane after hurricane hitting the Eastern Shore, agriculture and rural communities are already feeling the effects of a changing climate. Scientists expect climate change to make these extreme weather events both more frequent and more intense in coming years.

Agriculture is also an important—in fact a necessarypartner in fighting climate change.  The science is clear: We cannot stay beneath the most dangerous climate thresholds without sequestering a significant amount of carbon in our soils.

Agricultural soils have the potential to sequester, relatively inexpensively, 250 million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gasses annually—equivalent to the annual emissions of 64 coal fired power plants, according to National Academy of Sciences.

But we can’t get there without engaging farmers, turning a source of emissions into a carbon sink.

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