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December 5, 2023
With World Soil Day on Dec. 5, it's a good time to think about agriculture—an industry entirely dependent upon soil.
Regenerative agriculture first merged with the zeitgeist about five years ago, and quickly sprouted an impressive diversity of farms, brands, nonprofits and investors keen to support farming in ways that improve soil health and advance environmental goals. Today, everything from multi-generational family farms to new brands of crackers, apparel, dried fruit, coffee, coconut oil and much more proudly champion their alignment with the movement.
At the same time, the OG agricultural movement, organic (which turned 21—cheers!—this year) continues to evolve and root. Both movements nurtured the rise of third-party certified organizations that ensure the farms and brands trumpeting regenerative or organic do in fact follow rigorous practices and guidelines.
While organic revolves around United States Department of Agriculture rules, regenerative certification includes a range of certifications. The Regenerative Organic Alliance, which is built on a foundation of USDA Organic certification, is the most prominent among the certifications. But others include Land to Market, Soil Carbon Initiative and A Greener World. Regenerative agriculture isn’t yet mainstream, like organic. But it’s on its way.
Read on for a selection of stories exploring regenerative and organic agriculture that ran on New Hope Network in 2023.
1. Gruff Ancient Grain capitalizes on regenerative organic farming: This Q&A dives deep into the story behind a NEXTY Award-winning brand from a 100-year-old Montana ranch that pivoted toward regenerative agriculture.
2. The Future of Food: Weak standards undermine regenerative agriculture: Many brands tout regenerative bona fides. But not all of their claims are backed up by rigorous standards and third-party certifications.
3. In the Aisle: Regeneratively nutritious: Much of the messaging around regenerative agriculture fixes on its positive impacts for soil and the environment. But it turns out it also boosts human health.
4. 3 key takeaways from the State of Organic 2023: Organic had a big year in 2023, with new rules from the USDA, enhanced consumer outreach and Farm Bill wins.
5. Navigating organic certification: For farmers and brands alike, becoming organic requires quite a bit of work and attention. This piece explores the ins and outs of getting awarded that valuable USDA Organic seal.
6. What is organic?: Many consumers think organic hinges entirely on its rejection of harmful pesticides and herbicides for farms. But it addresses far more than chemical use.
7. Why regenerative agriculture matters for shoppers and the planet: Regen gets a lot of attention, but it's not a flash-in-the-pan trend that'll vanish as fast as it emerged. It delivers—to consumers, farmers and the earth.
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