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.