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Sustainable Agriculture & Forestry
- February 2021
- 2 Minute Read
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What in the World is Regenerative Agriculture?
This sustainable and holistic farming and land management practice is helping to reverse climate change —from the ground up.
From chain harrowing to harvesting, farming is at the very core of humanity, our health, and the health of our planet. But as the climate crisis escalates, so do concerns around cutting our carbon footprint from the ground up. Introducing “regenerative agriculture.” Well, it’s been around for a while, you just may have never heard of it. This sustainable and holistic farming and land management practice helps to “reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity—resulting in both carbon drawdown and improving the water cycle.”
To really understand how this type of farming is pivotal to the future of our planet, how it really works, and who is supporting this sustainable practice, we’ve got to look at the problem because the next time you buy those sweet potatoes or sugar snap peas, you might want to think twice.
How do current farming practices contribute to climate change?
Agriculture emits all three greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O)—contributing to the climate crisis through various farming practices, including soil management and food production. For example, the application of fertilizers and the growth of specific crops, including soybeans, can increase nitrogen, emitting N2O. This absorbs radiation and traps heat in the atmosphere, which can live for an average of 114 years (carbon dioxide lives in the atmosphere for hundreds of years!). Thanks for dropping that daunting knowledge, EPA. And according to the UN, we must drastically alter food production to “prevent the most catastrophic effects of global warning.” Farming—combined with deforestation and other land use—generates about a third of manmade greenhouse gas emissions, so we better embrace regenerative agriculture, quick!
DID YOU KNOW
Soil has the highest concentration of organic matter and microorganisms.
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
How small changes make big differences
We just learned that farming helps to produce one of the monstrous greenhouse gases, methane, and methane is especially good at trapping heat in the atmosphere. Non-renewable no thank you no. 1. Add that to years of land misuse (tilling the soil, toxic chemicals, ill-advised crop rotation) and we’ve dangerously depleted our soil's resources. Non-renewable no thank you no. 2. Saving our soil is *essential* to getting back on the planet-saving path. Did you know that soil (yes “dirt”) has the highest concentration of organic matter and microorganisms? By rotating crops, using compost, and reducing tilling, regenerating our soil and agriculture processes is possible. Whether it’s enhancing crop quality, conserving water, and ultimately saving lives, the benefits of implementing sustainable farming practices and having healthy soil are endless.
Whole Foods predicted regenerative agriculture was one of the top food trends of 2020. As everyone from farmers to government agencies take a closer look at agricultures carbon emissions and animal and land practices, big brands and retailers calling out this critical sustainable farming practice only helps to fight climate change, one crop, one vendor at a time. With the ever-evolving Whole Foods committing to support and carry brands that create their products through regenerative practices (MegaFood, Zack’s Mighty, Cowgirl Creamery), consumers have more informed optioned and other companies are following suit. Dole has a goal for its farming to be net-zero carbon emissions (and reduce shipping emissions) by 30% by 2030. Now, all we can taste are sweet Hawaiian pineapples. General Mills is committing to further advance regenerative agriculture practices on one million acres of farmland by 2030. And in September, the all-mighty Walmart said it will help protect, manage, or restore at least 50 million acres of land and one million square miles of ocean by 2030. Grab your electric tractor because the eco-friendly future of farming has officially arrived!
Did you know you can get unparalleled insight into how you’re helping to fund green initiatives, like sustainable agriculture? Ando’s Impact Center shows you exactly how you’re helping to create fight the climate crisis while using everyday banking as a force for good.
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Brittany Raine Parry
Brittany is a well known lover of all things, but she is most notably known for being: Copywriter. Environment Advocate. Editor. Journalist. Marketer. Strategist. Storyteller. Creative content connoisseur with a wealth of diverse experiences. Challenges accepted.