Find out how you can adopt these five regenerative agriculture practices in your own backyard…
In a world of a changing climate and an increasingly politicised and broken food system, regenerative agriculture is a large-scale example of practices we can adopt in our own backyards, which are beneficial for both our health and our environment.
By ensuring the food we grow and eat has been produced using principles which are regenerating the soil and ecosystems, not only is it infinitely healthier for us, but we’re restoring the planet at the same time.
In fact, if the entire world adopted regenerative agriculture practices, it’s believed we could completely reverse global warming in as little as 30 years.
A move away from industrial agriculture – which favours large-scale, high-intensity production designed to maximise yield and profits in the quickest and most efficient way possible – is desperately needed if we are to halt the devasting environmental impacts on our soil, water systems, biodiversity and carbon emissions.
In contrast to industrial agriculture, regenerative agriculture and food production can actually lead to healthier soils, increased biodiversity, cleaner waterways and carbon sequestration, not to mention more nutritious and better-tasting food.
5 regenerative agriculture practices to adopt
So how can everyday people replicate the benefits of regenerative agriculture at home? Here are five ways you can do so in your own humble vegie patch.
1. Build up your soil health
Soil is a living thing and crucial to ecosystem health, so a fundamental principle of regenerative agriculture is making sure the soil isn’t left fallow or bare to dry out, degrade and disappear.
Replenish your soil by adding compost, minerals, biology and worms to your vegetable patch, orchard or ornamental garden. You will have the added bonus of producing more nutrient-dense food.
2. Skip the chemicals
Toxins most commonly used in industrial agriculture are broad-spectrum organophosphate pesticides and herbicides such as the ubiquitous glyphosate, all customarily sprayed on crops and pastures.
Antibiotics and synthetic drenches are routinely used on conventionally farmed animals.
The toxins in these products break down soil life, leach into waterways and leave residues in the foods we eat.
In regenerative agriculture, these toxic products are replaced with natural alternatives such as using mineral licks and rotational grazing of animals to break the worm cycle.
So in your own patch of land, avoid using toxins like glyphosate-based weed sprays and any other harmful chemicals.
3. Practise no-till gardening
This means instead of turning the soil between crops, add layers of compost and organic material and let the worms do the work for you.
4. Utilise animals
Rotationally graze your chooks, guinea pigs or rabbits around your backyard. They will fertilise and eat grass as they go. On acreage, animals can be rotationally grazed using electric-tape fencing.
5. Encourage biodiversity
In backyards you might encourage wildlife with bird and wildlife boxes, keep cats indoors at night, introduce frog ponds and plant bee-attracting vegetation. Plant biodiversity creates habitat for small animals and insects, which can help keep pests in balance and negate the need for pesticides.
For a small acreage this might mean planting wildlife corridors or sowing a variety of seed into existing pasture.