Not many know about regenerative agriculture and how it relates to the fashion industry. We must now believe that there is real hope for overcoming climate change, but when humans have disrupted the planet, where does that hope come from? For many experts, innovative ways of thinking about regenerative agriculture offer one of the most concrete reasons.
“Agriculture truly represents the best opportunity we have to reduce and end the climate crisis,” CEO Patagonia Rose Marcario said at the National Retail Federation in January. “Science says that if we turn all industrial agriculture into regenerative and practiced organically, we can absorb all the world’s carbon.”
This is done because there is data to support it and pioneer companies such as Patagonia, Kering and Prana invest in it. “This is something that can create a future of sustainability,” said Prana Rachel Lincoln Sustainability Director.
What Is Regenerative Agriculture?
While much of the talk of the environment depends on the idea of maintaining current planetary conditions, regenerative agriculture assumes that some things have been so damaged that they need to be rebuilt before we can survive just by defending them. Regenerative agriculture applies this idea specifically to soil health. According to the non-profit International Regeneration, the term refers to “agricultural practices that reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring biodiversity of degraded land.”
Ordinary people might consider land to be in the same category as something that does not live like a rock, but truly healthy soil is filled with living microorganisms such as fungi, bacteria, and protozoa.
Elizabeth Whitlow, executive director of Regenerative Organic Alliance, compared this with probiotics in the human intestine. Just as we need good bacteria to keep our digestive system running smoothly, the soil needs a community of microorganisms to help it grow healthy plants, absorb carbon, and absorb water well. While some types of agriculture destroy this microscopic life form, regenerative agriculture helps rebuild it into the ecosystem.
Vice President Social and Environmental Responsibility in Patagonia The way Chacon thinks regenerative agriculture includes best practices for agriculture that benefit farmed land, plants and animals, people who do agriculture and those who use farmers’ end products.
How to Practice Regenerative Agriculture?
Practices involved in regenerative agriculture can be broad and depend on the type of agriculture concerned. According to Whitlow, the way is:
– Using compost from synthetic fertilizers
– Plant windbreaks like rows of trees on the edge of fields that protect from wind and prevent soil erosion.
– Avoid synthetic pesticides
– Rotating plants to plant various types of plants in the same plot in different seasons to optimize nutrition in the soil
– Intercropping by planting two or more plants in the same room at the same time, such as planting food crops between rows of cotton
– Using a no-till or low-up approach, namely planting seeds without digging the soil.
These practices have a number of benefits, from slowing down soil erosion to making plants more resistant to pests to make food crops more nutrient dense.
According to the Director of the Dry Sustainability Program Géraldine Vallejo, this agriculture also produces high-quality fiber and leather, which is a real advantage for luxury producers. Apart from absorbing carbon, regenerative agricultural land can help fight other side effects of climate change, such as flooding, by making land more absorbable.