Regenerative Agriculture in the Face of Climate Change

Despite the unseasonably warm weather, there is no doubt that autumn is in the air. The days are shorter, the nights are cooler and the landscape is shifting. Fall is a great time of year to cultivate gratitude, and the farm has much for which to be thankful. For starters, we have an amazing crew, made up of dynamic, hard working and creative people. We have a solid foundation of infrastructure, which makes the work of the farm more efficient and enjoyable. So what if it hasn't rained in fifty some days...who's counting, anyways? We can tell that our no-till production approaches have built inherent resiliency into our production system, allowing the farm to fare more easily in the drought. The lack of rain is showing us where the farm still needs to improve, making it our most valuable teacher of the 2019 season.

This growing season has been a dramatic climactic swing when compared to last year. I n the 2018 calendar year, the farm saw 100 inches of rain fall, with at least two rain storms resulting in 100 year flood events. As farmers, we have always taken the perspective that our farming practice is a form of activism. It's a way we can affect positive change in an otherwise dis-functional food system, but we are beginning to also see it as a form of climate activism. "Restorative" or "regenerative" agriculture is a term that has gained momentum in farming circles in the recent years as an alternative to "sustainable" agriculture, and Against the Grain is on-board! There is no official, legal definition of "restorative" agriculture, in the same way that there is for "organic," but the general consensus includes any farming practice that increases carbon in the soil and regenerates ecosystems. Regenerative agriculture can manifest in as many different ways as the farms who choose to engage in its practice, but in short, it can be a powerful tool to address global climate change. Some in the regenerative agricultural movement claim that if agriculture across the globe implemented "no till" practices, that we could hault climate change in its tracks. Our CSA members and staunch farmer’s market patrons provide the crucial support that the farm needs on its journey in restorative agriculture, and for that, we are eternally grateful!