Regenerative Agriculture

What is it?*

No other mechanism know to humankind is as effective in addressing global warming as capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air through photosynthesis. Regenerative agriculture, in addition to capturing CO2, increases ("re-generates") soil organic matter, fertility, water retention and the existence of trillions of beneficial organisms for plants while addressing all common concerns about pests, draughts, weeds and yield. 

Regenerative agricultural, as practiced at Rancho Pacaya is done so to demonstrate the restoration of degraded land while drawing down the CO2 from the atmosphere. The practices include:

  • no tillage

  • diverse cover crops

  • on-farm fertility (green composting)

  • no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers

  • multiple crop rotations

In conventional agriculture, seeds, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides go in and food comes out; however, the soil pays a heavy price, as do water, the air, birds, beneficial insects, human health and the climate. With regenerative agriculture, no tillage keeps the soil from being exposed and prevents both the decay of life within it and the emissions of carbon dioxide from the soil to the atmosphere. Cover crops crowd out weeds and make phosphorus, zinc and calcium bioavailable. Green composting adds biomass and nutrients for food crops while further drawing down atmospheric CO2. Intense crop rotations prevent pockets of infestation by insects above ground and by harmful bacteria and fungi underground.

The above practices prioritize the capturing of soil carbon and markedly decrease or eliminate the need for pesticides and chemical fertilizers which harm the regenerative organisms in the soil. Although conventional wisdom expounds that the world cannot be fed without chemicals and synthetic fertilizers, ample evidence now points to a new wisdom: The world cannot be fed unless the soil is fed.

 

*Taken from "DRAWDOWN: The most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming", edited by Paul Hawken, 2017,  

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