Regenerative agriculture builds resilience
Regenerative agriculture is a whole system approach which not only helps heal our broken ecological system but also allows nature to give us more resilient crops, grown in healthier soils better able to cope with extreme weather, pests and diseases.
The climate has become more extreme and will increasingly do so, even as we reduce greenhouse gas emissions because so much has already been released. This means that food production everywhere will become harder and for many years already people have seen massive crop failures. Indeed, as temperatures rise and droughts increase, so does mass migration and the pressure upon more fertile regions. Also, as so much of our food comes from so few crops, ie wheat, maize and rice, often located in regions which are prone to heat waves and drought, we are extremely vulnerable to multi breadbasket failures.
It is vital that we don’t further intensify production for a growing population with chemicals as this will make a bad situation worse. Such chemicals disrupt our soils abilities to build and trap carbon as well as reduce a crop’s ability to cope with pests, disease and extreme weather. We need to support farmers to build soil to trap carbon and produce healthy food and enable their region to thrive.
It is vital that we don’t further intensify production for a growing population with chemicals as this will make a bad situation worse.
Such chemicals disrupt our soils abilities to build and trap carbon as well as reduce a crop’s ability to cope with pests, disease and extreme weather. We need to support farmers to build soil to trap carbon and produce healthy food and enable their region to thrive.
This is possible, it is happening, even in sub-Saharan Africa (See Allan Savory video link) and certain planting techniques can even increase rainfall (See video Thriving with Nature) but such work needs scaling up urgently. It is the moral duty of those from developed nations to act globally on this. Those not causing the harm are suffering the most!
On a local level, UK imports around 45% of our food and we have grown accustomed to eating goods that can not easily be grown in our climate. Some of this food and other imported farmed goods comes from regions that are poorly equipped to produce it.
Some, for example, are using their water for our food production, putting a further strain on their own food and water security.
The effects of climate change are obviously not only increasingly disrupting food production abroad but also in the UK. Scientists are already warning that much of the south east of England will be too dry to grow crops in the years ahead, flooding is reducing our growing capabilities now as is the lack of long periods of cold weather as plants and trees need this for flowering and growth.
We must adapt to our changing environment rapidly and require a massive push to educate farmers globally about the need and benefits of regenerative agriculture.
Diversifying what is grown is a vital part of regenerative agriculture and also ensures that we have more of what we need, grown as close to us as possible. This in turn reduces the environmental damage and financial costs of transportation.
Numerous food scares such as Mad Cow disease, the horse meat scandal of 2013 and cases where people have died from allergic reactions to unlabelled ingredients remind us that it can be difficult to know where and how our high street food has been produced.
The shortages and panic buying which accompanied Covid 19 are further evidence of how fragile the global food system is.
It must also be mentioned that here in the UK we don’t currently suffer from food shortages as yet but from too much of the wrong types of foods that are causing us harm.