"We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it."
Barack Obama, September 23, 2014
THIS TIME NOT AGAINST,
BUT ACCORDING TO NATURE
Agriculture in its current form is at a dead end. For decades, attempts were made to increase agricultural production through large-scale monocultural concentration using machinery, artificial fertilizers and herbicides - the so-called "green revolution". The expansion of food production at that time was necessary and successful, but in the meantime the downsides are becoming increasingly apparent: increases in productivity are hardly possible, and if they are, then only with even more energy, mineral fertilizers and herbicides.
Conventionally farmed land is virtually dead after a few years due to soil compaction from heavy machinery, erosion from wind and rain, and the use of herbicides and pesticides. Alarming reports of insect mortality and dramatic decline in biodiversity due to conventional farming cry out for a complete paradigm shift. Many consumers have recognized this, and efforts to restructure the agricultural sector are also increasing within the political arena. However, a complete system change will take a long time, especially since various and extremely powerful lobby interests are involved. As almost always, change is more likely to come from early and persistent individual initiatives.
WHAT IS REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE?
...and forest gardens as one of it’s aspects are a highly potent alternative to monoculture-based agriculture. Please find here a (growing) collection of useful information.
Let’s start with this very short introduction video:
Or, on a more real-life perspective: in the next video Miguel demonstrates the result of regenerative agriculture on soil quality in one of his projects in southern Senegal:
Food production is responsible for one-quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions (source). This means that instead of reducing CO2 through planting, agriculture is one of the biggest greenhouse gas emitters! Soil degradation in any form (decarbonisation, erosion, desertification, chemical pollution) is still increasing globally. This does not only lead to deterioration in the quality and quantity of food supply but also reduces fertile soil, biological diversity and indigenous seeds.
If there is no profound change in agricultural production methods, we will lose the remaining arable land and our ability to feed everyone within the next 60 years (source).
The accumulation of carbon in the form of humus is one of the few climate protections measures that not only prevent emissions but can even reverse them (negative emission technology). Soil regeneration and thus the absorption of large quantities of CO2 is an important lever in the global fight against climate change. “The greater the proportion of humus in the soil, the more carbon can be deposited in the soil and stored there for millennia” (Íñigo Alvarez de Toledo). More humus also means more nutrients, better water uptake and binding capacity - the basis for stable yields and protection from drought, flooding and erosion.
Therefore, regenerative agriculture has a key role in the fight against climate change! And global reforestation and implementing healthy ecosystems is the cheapest and most natural way to reduce CO2 and to stabilize our climate.
Loss of biodiversity
The loss of species (not only insects) has reached dramatic dimensions and has extensive consequences for the entire ecosystem. One of the main reasons is monocultural agriculture.
In forest gardens grow a large number of different plants, shrubs and trees that form different layers. These plants provide homes and food for many different insects and birds. Below the surface, the plants form a dense root system that keeps the soil loose but resists erosion. Water can easily penetrate and is held for a long time, and the soil harbors a myriad of bacteria, fungi and worms.
Thus, forest gardens are near-natural, vibrant and resilient ecosystems.
Step by step, we will add here more information about regenerative agriculture - stay tuned!...
More sources of information
We will be adding more information about regenerative agriculture here over time. Check back again! Here is a growing collection of links to interesting pages about regenerative agriculture, climate change etc.
Very informative collection of slides about soil as a carbon sink (in German)