Throughout the movement towards sustainability, we’ve seen an amazing amount of research come to light on the benefits of responsible farming methods. We’ve also seen a variety of accompanying terms to describe these different methods, such as: organic, biodynamic, carbon farming and regenerative. All of these responsible farming methods contain attributes that signify a positive change in agriculture and begin with the removal of chemical pesticide/herbicide inputs. Additionally, all share the understanding that any system claiming to be sustainable must have the ongoing health of the soil as a core practice and priority. According to The Organic Center, “Healthy soils are essential for resilient crop production.

They positively contribute to soil water retention, support a diversity of organisms vital to decomposition and nutrient cycling, provide crops with essential nutrients and can maintain carbon stores, contributing to global climate change mitigation.”

Regenerative Agriculture is a hot topic amongst passionately committed organizations intending to benefit the planet through climate change solutions. A simple internet search provides a good, general definition: “Regenerative Agriculture is a system of farming principles and practices that increases biodiversity, enriches soils, improves watersheds, and enhances ecosystem services.” Whether you’re discussing organic certification, biodynamics or carbon farming, all could be considered regenerative agriculture. Good Earth has and will continue to be focused on organic certification as our fundamental quality standard, but we genuinely support all forms of sustainable farming in the grand scope of transforming our food system.

It’s easy to get confused with the various terms and labels. Fundamentally, they all embody a great deal of positive intentions and practical solutions for the future of food and agriculture. There is a great deal of agreement within these farming practices, as well as subtle differences in the focus and verifications for each, which are detailed below.

Organic Certification: Organic  provides a transparent and accountable food system in agriculture and food processing. Systems and inputs are vetted for environmental and health impacts in a constituent based review process. While organic certification is voluntary, it is backed by a regulatory framework that upholds the legality and integrity in organic claims.

Biodynamic Farming: Biodynamic farmers are organic farmers that view their farm as one integrated, living organism and take a holistic approach to managing the individual elements of their farm like soil, plants and animals.

Carbon Farming: The primary goal of carbon farming is to benefit the environment globally by pulling carbon out of the atmosphere and into the soil, where it not only belongs, but is essential to healthy plant growth For more information, check out: http://www.drawdown.org.

Regenerative Organic Certification: A new wave in agricultural certification, ROC repositions the horizon of organic as something that must quantify a farm’s benefits in the areas of social fairness, animal welfare and soil health over and above those embodied in the organic regulations. Organic certification is a required baseline for ROC farm applicants. ROC is currently in development as a voluntary pilot program.

All of these systems are viable solutions to improving our food system and contribute to agriculture that is regenerative. As participants in organic policy making, Good Earthlings have the unique perspective of verifying that organic is the most comprehensive and transparent way to effect positive change in the food system.

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