Patagonia has been one of the first clothing companies that constantly take relevant initiatives for the planet preservation using sustainable materials such as recycled PET or organic cotton and supporting organizations that defense the environment.
On the 24th of June, the Californian company has organized a conference about regenerative agriculture at the European Head Quarter, located in Amsterdam. Cozy and eco-friendly the office of Patagonia is mainly furnished with wood and there is also a small amphitheater where the speeches take place. The most anticipated person of the event was Charles Massy, Australian farmer, leading practitioner, and writer considered one of the most eminent figures in the regenerative agriculture.
Definition of regenerative agriculture
When we talk about regenerative agriculture we refer to a series of cultivation techniques that allow us to benefit from the properties of the land, without having to exploit it or impoverish it.
The model of intensive agriculture adopted since the post-war period around the world had the objective of maximizing yields. Without any worries about the negative effects related to excessive exploitation of the soil.
As a result of the use of heavy irrigation, chemical fertilizers and excessive mechanization the soil it becomes almost sterile, demineralizing and washing it. To ensure a return to its full vitality and efficiency, we must act on minerals, organic substances, and microbiology, fundamental elements of soil fertility. This is achieved thanks to the combined action of organic farming practices for plant nutrition and crop protection, supported by biological and mineral enrichment of the soil with specific natural preparations.
It is a series of practices that allow the “regeneration” of the soil, enriching it. In this way, is possible to produce healthy and quality food at low cost, without being exploited.
With regenerative agriculture, the natural cycles are reactivated, transforming the soil into vital microbiological humus. The aim is to make it suitable again for healthy and resistant plants with quality fruits. To ensure that it returns to its full vitality and efficiency, we must act on minerals, organic substances, and microbiology, fundamental elements of soil fertility. This is what is achieved thanks to the combined action of organic farming and crop protection, supported by biological and mineral enrichment of the soil with specific natural preparations.
How regenerative agriculture works
After the analysis of the starting situation, to establish how “dried” and depleted the soil is necessary to proceed to its regeneration by adopting traditional agricultural practices. Among these, the rotation of crops it’s a central element.
The interventions of mechanical means are limited and biological preparations are used to fertilize and nourish the soil. To protect the plants from pests, we resort to preparations and techniques typical of integrated biological control.
The techniques of regenerative agriculture
In essence, regenerative agriculture is a set of techniques for reconstructing the vitality of the soil that goes back to permaculture.
Combining traditional knowledge with modern scientific knowledge, it imitates natural processes, to guarantee many other benefits. These include the reduction of soil erosion and the remineralization of itself, guaranteeing the purity of water in aquifers or reducing the use of pesticides.
Some may argue that alternative agricultural methods are interesting in theory, but they do not allow farmers to be competitive on the market.
Research from various American universities argues that if regenerative agriculture were applied everywhere, it could cope with 40% of global emissions, not counting reforestation and switching to alternative energy sources.
It is interesting to note, however, that techniques like regenerative agriculture are not enough, but a new mentality is needed. A mentality different from the current one in which Nature is conceived as an inert object at the service of the human species. Climate engineering is nothing but the most extreme effect of this philosophy which proposes the active intervention of man to counterbalance the negative effects of human activity itself on the environment.
We need to move forward
To make significant changes it won’t be enough to use certain techniques but it appears necessary a deep change in our attitude and mentality. Regenerative agriculture brings with it a humble and methodic attitude and it will take time before its diffusion around the world, from local to global, farm by farm. Our rule as urban citizens is to spread the importance of establishing a more respectful way of agriculture, always privileging those products made by ethical farms in respect of the soil without the use of pesticides. Start privilege ethical products and keep attention to what are you eating on a daily basis. What else we can do more? Choose the right way of transportation, take a look to our article about it to get some inspiring tips.