This Earth Day we are so proud to carry brands that have adopted sustainable or regenerative agriculture practices.
Why are we rooting for Regenerative Agriculture?
Regenerative Agriculture is a conservation and rehabilitation approach to farming systems that focuses on rebuilding nutrient dense topsoil which increases nutrient density in our food, increasing biodiversity, improving water cycles, and increasing resilience to climate change by drawing down atmospheric carbon dioxide by growing plants that move carbon dioxide into the soil.
This holistic approach makes food better for us and better for the planet. Here are just a few of our favorite brands who utilize Regenerative Practices to create their products.
As of this year, Ridge Vineyards has received organic certification for 100% of the vines at several of their vineyards. They also employ a variety of regenerative farming practices designed to improve soil quality over time. Some of these practices range from composting, the use of cover crops, water conservation, and integrated pest management to name a few.
What are cover crops?
A cover crop is a plant that is used primarily to improve soil health, water availability and biodiversity for the surrounding crops as well as slow erosion.
For Ridge Vineyards this looks like soil-building legume and grass mixes to add nitrogen and organic matter; insectary plantings to increase the population of beneficial insects; grasses and clovers to control erosion; and deep-rooted perennial grasses to control vine vigor in excessively fertile soils.
At 12 Tides they’re building a better food system for our oceans, starting with the world’s first regenerative organic kelp chip. Their kelp farms not only have a net-positive impact on the planet but are also a zero-input crop.
What makes a crop zero-input?
This means that the crop being produced does not require additional inputs of water, fertilizer, and pesticides grow. For example, in 12 Tides case, their kelp gets all it needs from the sun and the sea to thrive. Meaning it requires no arable land, no fertilizers, no pesticides, and no freshwater.
In addition to being a zero-input crop, 12 Tides kelp absorbs and stores CO2, reducing ocean acidification, boosting marine diversity, while providing a habitat and breeding ground for marine life, and preventing algae blooms and oceanic dead zones. Through their commitment to regenerative ocean farming, they are working towards a food system that works in harmony with our oceans.
Panorama Organic is one of the largest market based partners with the National Audubon Society to preserve grasslands as part of their Conservation Ranching Program. Through methods like regenerative grazing, their goal is to build soil health and a healthy environment to serve as a leading model for regenerative agriculture.
What is regenerative grazing?
This method of grazing is when cattle begin grazing in one area and then move to the next in a cyclical manner that allows for the full regrowth cycle to play out in each area.
All of their products are 100% Audubon Certified and bird-friendly to help bring back grassland birds that are near extinction.
At Lundberg, they’ve always believed in caring for their land and the creatures who live on it. For decades, they’ve been growing rice in support of their generations-old founding principle to leave the land better than they found it. They use organic and regenerative farming practices to prioritize soil health, support biodiversity, and increase carbon capture so they can nourish people and the planet for generations to come through their products. Not only by farming organically without herbicides, but by going the extra mile to prioritize the health of their soil and support the ecosystem in and around their rice fields.
They treat the soil like a living thing by minimizing soil disturbance, using water (instead of herbicides) to manage weeds organically, and feeding the soil a diverse diet that includes cover crops, which can help sequester carbon, restore nutrients to the soil, reduce weeds, prevent erosion, and provide habitat.
What is the importance of how farm lands are used in the off seasons?
For some farms this looks like cover crops that continue to nourish their soil and local biodiversity. However, for Lundberg, in addition to cover crops, each winter, they flood a portion of their fields to provide habitat and nutrition for wintering waterfowl.
Sacramento River Valley rice fields replicate California’s once-abundant wetlands and provide habitat for 200+ species. Each winter, they flood a portion of their fields to provide habitat and nutrition for wintering waterfowl. Their cover crops also provide nesting habitat for ducks. So, when they find duck nests in their fields, they strap on their waders and hand carry the eggs to safety. Over the years, Lundberg has rescued an estimated 30,000 duckling eggs!