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Regenerative Ag Movement Proposes New Food Label

Regenerative agriculture practitioners say their own label would compete with the "organic" label and raise the standards of food production.

compost

Photo: Joi Ito (Flickr)

Regenerative agriculture uses compost, cover crops, and minimal tilling to abate the effects of farming that contribute to climate change.

Farmers and scientists at the Cornucopia Institute in Durango, Colorado, are advocating for a new label on your food, for regenerative agriculture.

Regenerative ag uses compost, cover crops, and minimal tilling to abate the effects of farming that contribute to climate change by increasing the levels of organic matter in soil. The practices also direct carbon from the air back into the ground, known as carbon sequestration.

A regenerative agriculture label wouldn’t be the same as the organic label. In fact, Rodale Institute executive director Jeff Moyer wants to use the new label to help raise the standards of the National Organic Program.

But before the regenerative agriculture label can make a dent in the market, proponents need to agree on key points.

“We’re all coming from a place of wanting to do things better, but if we can’t clearly specify what we’re asking for and if we’re asking for ten different things, it really dilutes the messaging and it does more harm than good,” Green America food campaigns director Anna Meyer told Civil Eats.

Regenerative agriculture label advocates also want to avoid similar fates of words “sustainable” and even “organic,” which they say have become meaningless and confusing to consumers.

“You want to make sure it’s not being watered down,” Meyer says. “What we need to avoid is a bunch of regenerative claims where consumers have to decide, ‘is that one meaningful or not?’”

Read More:

  • Should ‘Regenerative’ Agriculture Get Its Own Label? (Civil Eats)
  • A Farming Movement To Promote Environmental And Social Balance (Vermont Public Radio)
Taylor Killough

Taylor Killough has degrees anthropology and journalism. She has worked with the oral history project StoryCorps. A nomad at heart, she recently returned to Louisville, Kentucky, where's she's excited to have her own kitchen and garden again.

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