Regenerative agriculture is a broad term used to describe the agricultural concept based on the following principles and practices. There is no official definition of regenerative agriculture, and the definition and set of principles seem to vary but they all contribute to the same purpose which is to work holistically – with the whole systems – to increase soil health, environmental health and biodiversity.
Principles include the regeneration of topsoil, increase in biodiversity, sequestration of carbon, resilience to climate change, improvement of the water cycle and the supporting the ecosystem services provided by the various ecosystems.
Practices include the use of natural fertilisers such as compost and manure, the no-dig or minimal dig approach, the integration of livestock, the use of cover crops and mulches, the cultivation of different crops, the rotation of crops, the use of companion planting techniques, the use of hedgerows to protect against wind erosion and increase biodiversity, the rotation of pasture for grazing animals and the planting of perennial plants.
Regenerative agriculture approaches the farm from a holistic perspective. Where all the elements are seen to work together in a symbiotic way. The farmers treat the farm as a whole rather than dealing with elements individually.
Regenerative farming does not only help preserve the environment’s ecosystems but is also incredibly beneficial from a nutritional perspective. Regenerative farming goes way beyond the organic requirements that only prohibit the use of synthetic chemical substances. Food grown and raised regeneratively is more nutritious and sustainable. Cattle are entirely grass-fed and are free to roam and live a life similar to what it would’ve been in the wild. These grazing animals are an integral part of the health of the soil and the ecosystem, fertilising the soil which sequesters carbon. Regenerative farming is key for the nutritional, environmental and ethical case for better meat.
Regenerative farming is the approach we are taking at High View Farmstead. We will be following the principles and techniques outlined above throughout the development of this farm. We will be writing specific articles about each of the principles we are undertaking on the farm. A few examples of the topics we will cover are soil restoration, the use of compost and cover crops, forest gardens, no-dig market gardening, the introduction of animals and the creation of rewilded ecosystems.
You can read more about regenerative farming and these principles and techniques in the resources I have linked below. I have also linked two amazing regenerative farms we love getting our meat from.
Washington State University’s Centre for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources – https://csanr.wsu.edu/regen-ag-solid-principles-extraordinary-claims/
Gabe Brown’s TED talk – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfTZ0rnowcc
Allan Savory’s TED talk – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpTHi7O66pI
We get our meat from Jacobs Ladder – https://www.jacobsladderfarms.co.uk/
Knepp also has some excellent meat – https://www.kneppwildrangemeat.co.uk/beef