We all want to eat healthy foods with fewer chemicals and more nutrition. To get that sort of healthy food, it needs to come from a healthy place (which is why Crucial Four is so careful about where we source our ingredients).
One of the best things about growing healthy food in a healthy way is that it’s also great for the environment. Conventional farming and grazing are one of many contributors to global climate change. But regenerative farming practices are proving that changing how we grow our food may be one the most important keys to saving our planet.
Carbon: Friend and Foe
Greenhouse gases (mostly carbon dioxide) are pouring into our atmosphere. And we know we need to cut back on net emissions if we want to prevent global warming. But attacking the source of carbon emissions isn’t easy. There are just too many of them and they’re too important in the industrial and transportation sectors.
But while carbon isn’t so good for our atmosphere, it’s something that we do want in our soil. When everything is working as it should be, plants take in carbon dioxide through their leaves. They then use part of it and put the rest into the soil, where microorganisms turn it into nutrients the plants can use. The microorganisms are key to this process.
Soil’s Incredible Potential
Modern farming practices, such as tilling, release carbon from the soil. On top of that, the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides have destroyed many microorganisms found in healthy soil. In short, much of earth’s soil is depleted of nutrients and can’t absorb carbon from the atmosphere anymore.
But that’s not the end of the story. Soil can be healed through regenerative agriculture practices. And if that were to happen, the Rodale Institute reports that recent data from worldwide farming systems and pasture trials shows earth’s soil could absorb more than 100% of current annual carbon emissions through a process called carbon sequestration. And that would be a huge step forward in solving the problem of climate change.
How Regenerative Agriculture Works
The basic principle behind regenerative agriculture is that it improves the resources it uses instead of depleting them. It goes beyond organic or sustainable agriculture by not only avoiding harm to the environment but trying to improve it.
Regenerative agriculture is a holistic approach to farming that includes several different farming practices. These include planting fewer annuals and more perennials, using cover crops, minimal soil tilling, rotating crops, and composting. Such practices are designed to encourage microorganism diversity, add nutrients to the soil, and improve soil texture. And when the soil is healthy, that also means the crops grown in it will be healthier as well.