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WTH Is Regenerative Agriculture?

There are many words that individuals, companies, farmers and ranchers use to help inform you, the consumer, on what makes them different. Inevitably, those words (natural, organic, sustainable, free range, etc) are hijacked by master marketers who put their spin on them and attach them to products that simply do not measure up. For instance, “regenerative agriculture” is used when promoting mono-cultural crops. It is a lie. There is nothing regenerative about massive acres of a mono-cultural crop.

back pasture on the cheyenne river ranch with a purple/pink sky

With that said, we get the, “What the heck is regenerative agriculture?” often.  

A little Google search provided the following definition:

Regenerative Agriculture is a system of farming and grazing practices that among other benefits, increases biodiversity, enhances ecosystems, enriches soils organic matter and rebuilds degraded soil biodiversity, improves watersheds, and captures the draw down of carbon in the soil. These practices reverse current global warming trends of atmospheric accumulation.

Bison Herd with Rainbows

And, from our in-house expert Dan O’Brien:
“Regenerative Agriculture is all about healthy soil. Industrial farming has turned much of the world’s soil into lifeless dirt. In the last decades, our soil has degenerated - from the fertile, moist, foundation of healthy food, to an exhausted, inert, chemical soaked medium where plants struggle to grow. By returning grain-free American Buffalo to the large landscape of the Great Plains we are restoring the co-evolution of grass and buffalo to regenerate the health of the soil and to keep carbon stored safely underground.” This creates a healthy ecosystem for hundreds of wildlife species and promotes clean air for us all. 

green pasture with dark gray clouds and sun set peeking through

Perhaps the best way to learn about regenerative agriculture is to hear directly from those that practice it. If you haven’t yet watched the short film “UNBROKEN GROUND” we highly recommend it. The O’Brien/Jones families are featured in the film (which was our favorite part... we’re a little biased) and will help shed a little more light on regenerative agriculture.

Unbroken Ground from Patagonia Provisions on Vimeo.

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16 comments

  • Good stuff and have a look at Gabe Brown’s soil restoration work in North Dakota and my own jottings on food security on the Climate Coalition website- although I bow before those at the sharp end!

    Iain Climie
  • Oh, give me a home
    Where the bison eat Brome
    Where the deer and the antelope play
    Where never is heard a word from the herd
    In the winter give us Timothy hay. 🤔🤸‍♀️😊🤸‍♀️

    Bruce Green
  • I’m not a true believer regarding man made climate change but I do know factually that large corporate farms have much less bio diversity than smaller family farm operations. Continued success & Thank You Patagonia & Wild Idea Buffalo co for continuing my education.

    Sam

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