Regenerative agriculture holds the potential to reverse climate change

Regenerative agriculture may be a new concept to you, and if so, you are not alone. This practice has been mostly ignored by the media and is largely unknown to the general public, but holds the potential to be the solution to global warming and the climate crisis.

There is no set definition of regenerative agriculture, but according to Regeneration International it can be described as “farming and grazing practices that, among other benefits, reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity.”

These practices regenerate and revitalize the soil, allowing it to become a sequestration system for carbon and acting much like trees do, absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. This is because of the billions of microorganisms that live within healthy soil.

According to Soil Solutions, “Plants capture carbon dioxide in their leaves and pump the carbon down through their roots to feed hungry microorganisms living in the soil. Now, what had been atmospheric carbon, a problem, becomes soil carbon, a solution.”

This process can only take place in healthy soil, which is why regenerative agriculture is so important. Regenerative agriculture practices focus on circular ecosystems which integrate both crops and livestock.

EIT Food defines the five principles of regenerative agriculture as “minimizing soil disturbance, minimizing the use of chemical inputs, maximising biodiversity, both plants and animals, keeping the soil covered with crops as long as possible, and adapting to the local environment.”

While these practices have only recently become popular and scientifically endorsed in modern industrial society, they have existed for thousands of years in the practices of Indigenous peoples and originated in Indigenous communities.

In an interview with Bioneers, A-dae Romero-Briones (Cochiti/Kiowa), the Director of Programs: Agriculture and Food Systems for the First Nations Development Institute spoke about the importance of the decolonization of regenerative agriculture.

“At the heart of the concept, regeneration is wanting to renew and correct some of the missteps that have taken us to the point of environmental damage and degradation,” Romero-Briones said. “We want to create systems that are rebirthing a healthy environment. In order to do that, we need to include Indigenous People.”

Indiegnous, inclusion, and input will be key to the global transition towards regenerative agriculture. Successful implementation of these practices could massively change how the agriculture of industrial nations impacts the environment.

According to the Rodale Institute, “with the use of cover crops, compost, crop rotation and reduced tillage, we can actually sequester more carbon than is currently emitted, tipping the needle past 100% to reverse climate change.”

MD science teacher, Sarah Zito, first heard of the concept of regenerative agriculture less than a year ago, but after researching the subject, she believes in the potential of regenerative agriculture. Zito regularly shares new research and ideas relevant to the classes she teaches with her students, including the topic of regenerative agriculture.

“I try to incorporate all the new [research] that’s coming out into my classes in some way or another,” Zito said. “I can do it in marine biology fairly easily because we talk a lot about the environment and how the ocean is affected by the land, so I planned to already talk about that this year in human impacts.”

Zito discovered the idea of regenerative agriculture on Instagram through promotional posts for the documentary “Kiss the Ground”. The documentary highlights regenerative agriculture and activists, scientists, farmers, and politicians in their efforts toward global implementation of the practices.

“I started [researching] what this film was about and just some of the practices behind it and I actually found that there is a lot of scientific research on it,” Zito said.

After watching the documentary and conducting further research, Zito is convinced of the positive impact that regenerative agriculture could have on the environment. Although it is agricultural practices being directly changed, these changes will have an impact on every aspect of the environment.

“It involves minimally invasive practices and we know from a biological standpoint that we need diversity in all of our ecosystems and it makes sense that farming should be no different,” Zito said. “I’m excited. I think if we can get on board and get big agriculture in on it we can make some really positive changes, not just in agriculture, but in the marine environment as well.”

When asked about how she thinks students can get more involved in the movement towards regenerative agriculture, Zito spoke of students sometimes unknown potential, even to themselves.

“I think students underestimate what they can do, forming clubs and getting more informed about these issues and then taking these issues to people like your congressional representatives,” Zito said. “If we can get more young people to have a voice in their local, state, and federal governments, you can eventually get larger amounts of change.”

Senior Jenny Nguyen, president of the Roots Club, has her own thoughts on regenerative agriculture and how it could benefit our environment.

“As president of the Roots Club, I believe that by planting more healthy crops, plants will help us slow down the effect of climate change and let us move faster in restoring our ecosystem,” Nguyen said.

Clubs such as the Roots Club advocate and inform students about how to treat the environment better. They also research solutions that could benefit the environment, including regenerative agriculture.

“I am convinced that it could provide a realistic solution to the climate crisis,” Nguyen said. “Since the main focus of regenerative agriculture is to recover the damaged soils caused by human activities in the industrial and agricultural system, this solution is approachable and can be carried out by humans to allow nature to restore and maintain a healthy balance in an ecosystem.”

Farmers are integral to the regenerative agriculture movement and facilitating their transition to regenerative agriculture practices is essential.

“[One reason] farmers should consider switching over to regenerative agriculture is because it will lower the risk of crop failure due to natural disasters,” Nguyen said.

According to Regeneration International, regenerative agriculture lowers the risk of natural disasters impacting farmers’ crops by creating drought-resistant soil that is less susceptible to environmental factors. This is only one of the many benefits of switching to regenerative agriculture for farmers, however, most farmers do not have the finances to survive the 1-2 year transition period.

“When farmers are guaranteed sufficient income and benefits, they are willing to change from their traditional farming practices to regenerative agriculture,” Nguyen said.

Spreading the message of regenerative agriculture as a viable solution to the climate crisis can become another part of the global transition away from traditional agriculture and toward sustainable solutions.

“We can use social media to inform people with the information and data approved from studies about the benefits of regenerative agriculture,” Nguyen said.

The Roots club is most active on their Instagram account, @md_rootsclub.

This generation uses social media more than ever, and it is a useful tool to inform both youth and tech savvy adults about regenerative agriculture. This will allow students to gain an understanding of the subject, be involved with the movement towards regenerative agriculture, and possibly serve as an inspiration for other ideas.

“I believe the movement towards regenerative agriculture will motivate students to come up with more great ideas for sustainable agriculture and planet earth,” Nguyen said.

1 “Why Regenerative Agriculture?” Regeneration International, 3 Feb. 2021,

Eldridge, Honor. “Let’s Commit To Protecting Our Climate And Increasing Soil Carbon Globally.” Soil Association, 15 Nov. 2017,