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A new term is creeping into agricultural lingo, in everything
from the scientific literature to farm media. “Regenerative
agriculture” is loosely defined as an approach to agricultural
management that improves the state of natural resources, such as
soil, water and biodiversity, rather than just sustaining it.

The practices associated with regenerative agriculture cut across
traditional divides between organic and conventional production
systems. Regenerative farmers of all stripes are redesigning their farms
and implementing practices that aim to improve soil health, sequester
carbon, promote biodiversity and generally enhance ecological function
and health in agricultural systems. Reducing or eliminating tillage,
diversifying crops, using ecologically sound livestock grazing systems,
and providing habitat for beneficial organisms are some key elements of
regenerative systems.

The emergence of this term and the associated approach to farming
raises all sorts of questions: How well do these practices achieve the
stated goals? Are regenerative farming systems financially viable? Will
this create yet another product label in the marketplace? And—of particular
interest to the organic community—how is regenerative agriculture
different from organic?

In this issue, we bring you a wide range of perspectives on regenerative
agriculture—some from within the organic community and some
from outside. Various writers outline the principles and practices at the
core of regenerative agriculture, in different contexts. Others describe
the impact this approach has had on farms, based on experience and
research. Still others explore possibilities around certifying, labeling
and marketing regenerative products. We hope these diverse voices will
stimulate discussion on how our farming systems can be designed to
improve our farms, support our farmers, and safeguard our planet.

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