What is Regenerative Agriculture?

written by

Dave Stoltzfus

posted on

March 26, 2020

If you use something, it naturally becomes worn down, right? Think of a pair of pants you’ve owned for a long time. Or even your favorite hat. Well, folks, the earth is the same way. For a long time, a large part of the conversation in agriculture was sustainability and sustainability is very important, but there has to be more to the picture. You see, by definition, sustainable means “able to be maintained at a certain rate or level”. On the other hand, regenerative agriculture is about improving, not just maintaining. It includes some concepts of sustainability, as the need to conserve is still there, but adds another effort of rehabilitation. We think Rodale Institute put it nicely when they said it is a method of farming that “improves the resources it uses, rather than destroying or depleting them”.

Regenerative agriculture focuses on a few things:

  • topsoil regeneration
  • increasing biodiversity
  • improving the water cycle
  • enhancing ecosystem services
  • supporting biosequestration
  • increasing resilience to climate change
  • strengthening the health and vitality of farm soil

Okay, maybe more than a few. And think, if it seems like a lot to you, imagine how farmers feel?! The truth is, it can feel overwhelming at first, especially if you’re operating a farm that has not been cared for properly for many years. This means it will require much more time to repair the land and get it back to operating in a natural fashion where all the components of healthy land are alive and well.

Thankfully, at Dutch Meadows, letting nature do its thing has always been our way and since we’ve been farming this land for over 20 years, you better believe the land is pretty darn healthy and happy. We don’t ever intend on changing our ways. We’ve always paid equal attention to the system and all its moving parts. Just like anything else, just like humans, there are many elements that make up the main system. If you neglect a part of that system, it won’t operate as it was meant to operate. If you handle your behavior holistically, in that you consider all parts of the whole, no single area will become too stressed or broken over time and, whether it’s the earth, your body, or a bicycle for gosh sakes, it will last longer when it’s cared for in a responsible and balanced way.

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