What is regenerative agriculture?

Posted by Aiden McRae on

And why is it important to know about when growing in the Yukon?


Regenerative Agriculture; Garden; Permaculture; Pollinators

Regenerative agriculture is an approach to growing healthy food and plants in a way that regenerates environmental health—it means giving back to the land, rather than taking from it. In our case, the geologic history of the Yukon granted us limited soil quality, which encourages us to gently improve the growing conditions; we might more aptly be talking of ''generative'' agriculture up here.

The essence of regeneration is to build up and protect soil that is full of life. Healthy soil can then do what it does best—filter water, exchange nutrients, provide habitat—and of course, grow plants. Regenerated soil just needs a helping human hand. It happens through cultivating a diversity of plants, crops and perennials, protecting the soil with mulch and cover crops, and limiting heavy pesticides and chemicals. It may sound simple enough…because it is!

Regeneration does not stop at soil building or agriculture. This philosophy expands to communities, individuals and all living creatures. Robert Rodale and his daughter, Maria Rodale, included “peace, potential and progress” when they shared their principles of regenerative agriculture. Growing food becomes an active way to reduce harm on the environment, animals and humans. This approach naturally leads to opportunities to reach your potential, and to increase the quality of life for communities. 

Chickens; Hens; Barred Rock Hens; Regenerative Agriculture; Small Scale Farming

Image Credit: Aiden McRae

When we work in harmony, rather than exerting too much pressure on the environment, we are also contributing to the wellbeing of others. Living soil will lead to healthy plants…communities will gain access to nutritious food and live a vibrant lifestyle that is rooted in the land…individuals then continue to work with the soil and grow more food…and the cycle continues!

These holistic approaches are more important than ever in uncertain times. The Yukon and neighbouring northern communities demonstrate so many examples of the power of community, self-sufficiency and innovation. Our team and many other local businesses and organizations are determined to strengthen our local food security, and foster all of the beautiful benefits that naturally occur when people grow hand in hand with the land.

Beets; Regenerative Agriculture; Vegetables; Local Food; Gardening

Growing is for everyone, whether you call it regenerative agriculture, or something else. You don’t need a large garden to be a grower–a garden box, a series of pots, a patch of wildflowers are all part of a larger regenerative system.

What is your definition of growing regeneratively? Let us know in the comments below. 

To learn why we're so passionate about offering living soils designed for northern growing conditions, visit our Learning Centre for more resources. 


Sources and Further Reading 

The Original Principles of Regenerative Agriculture (Rodale Institute) 

5 Principles of Regenerative Agriculture (Groundswell)  

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