In response to the decision of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) to certify hydroponic crops and sanction “taking the soil out of organics” (Many individuals consider this to be the demise of the organic standard) scientists, consumers, farmers and those concerned about protecting the future of organics, are taking a visionary approach. They see the future of organics in regenerative agriculture.
In September 2017, the Rodale Institute presented a draft for organic standards called a new third party Regenerative Organic (RO) Certification. Once finalized, the RO certification will reflect a standard far beyond USDA organic. This will be achieved by establishing higher standards for soil health, land management, animal welfare and fair labor/fair trade practices for farmers and workers. The RO label will appear on certified regenerative products, next to the USDA Organic label, signifying a standard which exceeds those set currently by the NOSB and the USDA.
A growing number of consumers have come to understand that non-organic, genetically engineered, industrially produced and chemically-laden food products and production methods are health hazardous. Unfortunately, degenerative agriculture produces effects which are the opposite of carbon sequestering practices. Such degenerative practices damage the environment, contaminate the air, pollute the world’s water supply and destabilize climate. And increasing levels of greenhouse gas pollution comes from degenerative food, farming and land use practices.
The proposed regenerative label is an important step. Socially conscious consumers who care about pure food, global health, fair trade, the environment and climate change have consistently shown that they are willing to pay a premium price for food, supplements, personal care products and textiles which they believe to be absolutely pure, health promoting and 100 percent organic.
From this perspective it is vital to protect this standard as well as ongoing accuracy and transparency at every stage of production and labeling.
In response, Regeneration International, a new non profit whose mission is to build a global network of scientists, farmers, educators, businesses, activists, journalists, governments and consumers, is now promoting the implementation of regenerative agriculture and all healthy and ecologically sound agricultural practices.
Their goals include:
• providing pure, safe, nutritious and abundant food
• reviving local agricultural economies
• rebuilding soil fertility
• protecting biodiversity
• restoring climate stability by returning carbon to the soil through the natural process of
• supporting research which validates the efficacy of adopting regenerative agriculture.
• inspiring policy implementation to support these goals
• supporting the highest standards for organic production
Their global network is connected to four million consumers, scientists, farmers and policy makers in more than 100 countries. The founders envision a healthy global ecosystem in which regenerative agriculture will reverse climate change, feed the world and promote optimal health for the world population. The impressive steering committee includes Andre Leu of IFOAM, Hans Herren (Swiss Millennium Institute) John D. Liu (Environmental Education Media Project) The Organic Consumers Association and quantum physicist and food activist Vandana Shiva.
With an intention to support and promote leading experts who can clearly demonstrate that
regenerative agriculture offers a viable means to reverse global warming through carbon sequestration, the group plans to collaborate with universities and NGOs. Training will be offered for farmers in regenerative farming and land management techniques suitable for each culture and specific climatic conditions. This will open a new door for sustainable agriculture, effective climate management and support the efforts of Regeneration International to create a better world.
For more information visit www.regenerationinternational.org
Simi Summer, PhD is an independent researcher and freelance writer. She is a strong proponent of organic consumer education and informed consumer choices.