What is regenerative farming?

While it may sound like the latest buzzword, regenerative farming in the UK is a grassroots movement led by farmers to reduce pesticides, move away from grain to grass-fed, and restore soil fertility and biodiversity.

What is regenerative farming? 

While it may sound like the latest buzzword, regenerative farming in the UK is actually a term used to describe a grassroots movement led by farmers to reduce pesticides, move away from grain to grass-fed livestock, and restore soil fertility and biodiversity.

Haven’t organic farmers been doing that for years? 

Yes, and there are many organic farmers also farming regeneratively. Because it is a mindset rather than a certification at this stage, regenerative farmers can be organic or non organic. At its heart, it’s about protection of soil, and many believe ploughing (like organic farmers have to do to avoid weeds without chemicals) is deeply damaging, and would prefer the opportunity to spray very occasionally. 

Shouldn’t we be wary about ‘green’ farming that isn’t certified? 

There is always a risk of greenwash. But the almost 3,000 self-defining regenerative farmers who met at Groundswell recently to discuss how to restore wildlife, reduce chemicals and nurture soil proves the level of interest. And when organic farming still only accounts for less than three per cent of farmland in the UK, there’s clearly a need to transform the majority of agriculture. The problem is when bigger multinational brands get involved and use the term for marketing purposes, as is starting to happen in the US. You can counter that by trying to meet the farmers in your area, via box schemes, local butchers or farm shops, or on social media. 

For more info and to hear from some of the UK’s leading regenerative farmers, read this article

This article was originally published in the Wicked Leeks summer 2021 issue. You can read the full magazine for free on Issuu here.

5 Comments

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  1. Shouldn’t we be wary about ‘green’ farming that isn’t certified? Do we really need to use large expensive (both financially and ethically) amounts of paper to show that one person who is “certified” is using a certain system whilst the one down the road might not – because he doesn’t have that bit of paper on their wall!

    How do we know both are not using the same system but one is covering it in “greenwash” (the snow effect – cover it all so nobody can see what is going on) whilst the other is not, but is open to all who wish to see how and why they are doing caertain things! OK the certified one will be following those requirments . . . . . . may be! But other than a so called qualified Inspector who gets to find this out?

    I therefore think the proverbial “bits of paper” are just that – bits of paper to make the operators look and feel good about what they are doing? Having said that I am sure there are many who having got the “bits of paper” stick rigorously to the requirements – but how can even they tell . . . . . . within reason?

    The Walrus

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