How Regenerative Agriculture Can Help Save The Planet
With so much talk about agriculture being a major contributor to global warming, it is exciting to hear that this is not the way it needs to be. We, as quickly as possible, need to get away from the destructive monoculture farming that we have digressed to and transform these farms to a type of agriculture that works with nature.
Sylvia: Paulie, what drew you to the study of agriculture?
Paulina: I was drawn to study agriculture because it was a combination of so many things I cared about. Through agriculture I would be able to impact the environment and social justice so I knew I would always find great purpose in it. Sylvia: Tell us about the regenerative agriculture you are involved in and how it can actually help with the saving of our planet?
Paulina: Regenerative agriculture can help save the planet by focusing on not only sustaining production, but actually using agriculture to improve ecosystems and revitalize landscapes. It means improving our practices to heal our land while providing food to all people. Regeneration has to address both social and environmental issues to be true regeneration.
Regenerative agriculture focuses on making the land better than it was found. This means a lot of different practices can take place such as low/no till, highly diversified systems, cover cropping etc. the main idea is that it is making the land healthier than it was when farming started there. A great way to think about regenerative or sustainable farming in general is thinking of it as an ecosystem just like any natural system. It required biodiversity and balance to be healthy, and farming systems should reflect the same values
Sylvia: What needs to happen to make the transition to this type of farming?
Paulina: There is so much that needs to happen I think that’s why sometimes we don’t know where to start. We need policy to support farmers to transition to regenerative agriculture and stop encouraging large monocrops. We need consumers to understand the value of regenerative agriculture so they support the right people doing the right things with their dollar. We need farmers to understand the value of transitioning and the long-term benefits of creating a healthy system. The list goes on!
Sylvia: There's that wonderful movie, The Biggest Little Farm, where we watch a family transform the deadened land to this beautiful regenerative farm, where, yes--over years, the entire ecosystem comes alive again.
What type of things would you like to see filmmakers to add to their stories more often to raise awareness around food production and food waste?
Paulina: I think there are a lot of little things that can be done to improve consumer behavior through the film industry. Showing people composting and eating leftovers is one that comes to mind. Showing people shopping at local markets is another. I just think that there are so many little behaviors we can do to make our purchasing and behavior more sustainable.
Another thing that should be represented is proper waste management. This goes beyond agriculture but proper recycling and composting is something actually a lot of people get wrong so it would be great to see more of that. I also think showing farms more on media gets people more interested in supporting their local farmers whether it be for agritourism or actual food purchasing.
Sylvia: Yes! Don't waste and throw out food. We are such a throw-away culture. Shop organic, when we can, and shop local--shop the local market, and maybe swing by the local farmer's market. If we want a better world, we need to support the things that make it a better world. Thank you for sharing Paulina!
Paulina Johanna graduated with her masters in organic agriculture from Wageningen University after finishing her bachelors in sustainable agriculture and food systems at UC Davis. She did her thesis on a regenerative farm in Spain on soil carbon.
Paulina loves all things outdoors and food.