Regenerative agriculture is a conservation and rehabilitation approach to food and farming systems. It focuses on topsoil regeneration, increasing biodiversity, improving the water cycle, enhancing ecosystem services, supporting bio-sequestration, increasing resilience to climate change, and strengthening the health and vitality of farm soil. Practices include, recycling as much farm waste as possible, and adding composted material from sources outside the farm.
Regenerative agriculture on small farms and gardens is often based on ideologies like permaculture, agroecology, agroforestry, restoration ecology, keyline design and holistic management. Large farms tend to be less ideology driven, and often use “no-till” and/or “reduced till” practices.
On a regenerative farm, yield should increase over time. As the topsoil deepens, production may increase and less external compost inputs are required. Actual output is dependent on the nutritional value of the composting materials, and the structure and content of the soil.[source]
How can I Practice Regenerative Agriculture
The number one step that anyone can, and should, take is to STOP using chemical fertilizers. The manufacture of chemical fertilizers damages the environment in too many ways to list. Not to mention that a good number of them are derivatives of petroleum.
Instead of chemical fertilizers, you should be using organic matter in any of the multitudes of forms that it is available in. Some of those forms are compost, grass clippings, kitchen waste, espresso stand grounds and manure. Anything that used to be alive, whether plant or animal, contains Nitrogen(N), Phosphorous(P) and Potassium(K).
Most municipalities have a public composting program. Loads of compost can be picked up for anywhere from free to $20 on the high end. Ground bark can be picked up for around $25 per yard and mixed with grass clippings. If you make this pile before the end of summer, you will have some pretty good compost to spread the following spring.
Place a 1-inch thick layer on your gardens 2 weeks before spring planting. After you spread the bark compost, make another one to spread in the fall. After your fall harvest, spread another 1-inch layer on your gardens.