Learn how regenerative organic agriculture can help farmers in the fight against climate change.
On World Soil Day 2017, a senior representative for the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization stated that if we continued to degrade the soil at its current rate, the world could run out of topsoil in approximately 60 years. To many, this statement was shocking. It instilled a sense of urgency and wonder about how we can feed a growing population when cropland is eroding at 10 times faster than it can be replenished.
Thankfully, one answer is — more or less — right under our feet. It lies in the soil in which crops grow, and, when healthy, can feed communities. It lies in the soil that can filter and store water, absorb carbon, and help withstand drought, heavy rainfall and floods. It lies in the healthy soil that can be one of the answers to the climate crisis.
Building a resilient food system for the future
At Canadian Organic Growers, we envision a regenerative and resilient food system across Canada. This future is possible when organic and regenerative farming practices are embraced together.
According to the Canadian Organic Standards (COS), organic production is a holistic system designed to optimize the productivity and fitness of diverse communities within the agro-ecosystem, including soil organisms, plants, livestock, and people. The principal goal of organic production is to develop operations that are sustainable and harmonious with the environment.
Similar to organic agriculture, regenerative agriculture aims to provide habitat for soil life, feed the soil, and protect biodiversity. Regenerative organic practices limit disturbances to soil, thus allowing soil to sequester carbon, improve the water cycle, and increase soil and crop resilience to drought and floods. Regenerative organic practices also restore and maintain microbial, plant, and animal biodiversity by using cover crops and crop rotation to provide nutrients and weed control and allowing for uncultivated areas and high crop diversity to support biodiversity.
A sustainable standard
We believe that for farming to be sustainable, it’s critical that regenerative and organic practices be woven together. Without the focus on organic principals, non-organic regenerative practices may include reliance on the use of herbicides, genetically engineered crops, water-soluble fertilizers, and pesticides. When it comes to livestock, organic livestock are fed organic feed, and organic meat animals can’t receive antibiotics or growth hormones. Under non-organic regenerative farming, these restrictions and many others described in the COS don’t apply.
This is why we believe the principles and practices outlined in the COS are the basis of a regenerative and resilient food system.
Support Canadian farmers
Together, regenerative and organic agriculture practices give us hope for a future that is more sustainable, ethical, and food secure. We know that there isn’t one silver-bullet solution to the climate crisis, nor is there a one-size-fits-all solution. Farmers will be equipped with regenerative, organic agricultural practices to feed their communities, fight climate change and heal the soil — one crop, one field, and one farm at a time.