Regenerative Agriculture’s Many Shades of Green
Regenerative agriculture has become a popular term used by food companies to make sustainability and climate claims. However, without clear, results-based frameworks, such claims may not be substantiated. They may also confuse consumers and be used to greenwash products.
Regenerative agriculture builds on other sustainable agriculture approaches. There is no single or widely accepted definition of regenerative agriculture today, nor is having a single definition the ultimate goal. Instead, it is more important to focus efforts on defining farm- and region-specific outcomes and metrics. Indeed, within the agricultural community, there is consensus on the main regenerative agriculture practices, but no one-size-fits-all solution.
Around the world, farmers have various motivations for adopting regenerative farming practices. It is important to understand local obstacles to increase adoption of more sustainable practices. To have a frame of reference, the entire food and agricultural supply chain needs to figure out how to measure outcomes like farm-level nutrient balance, water and air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration.
This paper primarily focuses on crop production systems, although livestock integration is another key component of regenerative systems. We include three case studies from different companies and regions to demonstrate the diversity of regenerative farming initiatives and practices.