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Regenerative agriculture encompasses a wide variety of farming techniques that rebuild the soil, restore water and proliferates biodiversity. All while eliminating the need for chemical and industrial interventions.
Conventional agriculture relies on expensive inputs, as do some organic methods. Regenerative offers another path, looking to create a self-sustaining ecosystem on the farm.
Animals are living composting machines that are integrated into the landscape to restore soil microbial life, enhance biodiversity, deepen root structures and build topsoil by increasing soil carbon. As the carbon sponge is restored, more water is stored in the soil, minimising the need for irrigation.
Regenerative organic utilises sound ecological management, using on-farm renewable resources and privileging endogenous solutions to manage pests and disease.
Regenerative is a very knowledge-intensive system. A loose set of techniques, adapted to local conditions, trialling and reﬁning to suit local ecosystems, cultures and needs, as well as the adoption and sharing of knowledge, is essential for communities and farmers to beneﬁt from Regenerative Agriculture.
Regenerative uses perennials and cover crops so bare soil is not exposed, cultivates cooperative relationships while increasing biodiversity – which stimulates higher yield.
Regenerative restores nature water cycle and practices rotational grazing, which mimics herd animals in Nature. A combination of these techniques has been found to build topsoil, sequester carbon and grow abundance just as the roaming buffalo made topsoil over a metre deep on the American plains.
ATTICA plans to create a checklist and knowledge database for farmers in conjunction with the newly formed DSIR of regenerative and sustainable practices.
Using a combination of techniques and phasing out chemical inputs, farmers will be ‘free to farm’ under our Carbon Change program – which tests soil quality.
The Ecological beneﬁts of Regenerative Agriculture or Farming in Nature’s Image has been known for decades. Without the need for expensive inputs or machinery, it puts the proﬁt back in the hand of farmers and away from the Agribusiness sector. For the average chemical farm, fertiliser alone running into the 10s of thousands per annum – while most fertiliser applied is washed off into waterways.
Farming in the image of Nature.
ATTICA aims by 2030, and all New Zealand will be farming in a Regenerative Organic model. Every regenerative farm will appear different as it integrates different systems, adapts to local landscapes, weather and unique choices of every farmer, so quantifying this is complex. Removal of agricultural chemicals and remaining GE free are vital components of the wholistic regenerative model.
By following this model, New Zealanders will have nutrient-dense affordable food available to them. Still, ANY export market will be open to New Zealand exports, many of whom are closing the door on products that are GE, high in nitrates or show traces of round up and other poisons. Kiwi farmers must adapt to the changing international market, and ATTICA believes Regenerative 2030 offers a genuine transition to a healthy, abundant, more proﬁtable way of farming that will be guided by farmers for farmers.
As a bi-product Regenerative 2030 will return a healthy ecosystem from healthy soil, water and watershed function, in combination with ATTICA’s model of land-based waste and productive ecosystems.
With a return to natural, urban & farmed ecosystems, biodiversity will be expanded – bringing birds and insects back to everyday spaces by providing them safe habitats amongst our landscapes. The return of birds to the farm – their role as natural pest control is also returned, and by moving away from monocultures, crops are less vulnerable to pests and diseases—Healing Papatuanuku which will be a beneﬁt to all kiwis.
ATTICA, a key component of building Regenerative is restoring the DSIR and HEPA. Presently farmers are entirely reliant on science paid for by Agribusiness or Agritec, who are trying to sell a product or system to farmers. Having a public science creates an intersection between Nature and natural ecosystems, farmers, citizens and communities.
Part of the key is to help citizens recognise food grown in a healthy way vs food produced in an industrial factory farm. But the other part is giving farmers choices, so they can feel more conﬁdent and free to move away from chemical agriculture. So the DSIR will study and build a best practice regenerative checklist and a database, with options for farmers and researchers to trial.
The third part is to refocus on small & mid-size farms and an ethic of stewardship – not corporate farms. Rather than following in footsteps of failing industrial agriculture, become a world leader in agroecology, regenerative, organics.
But just as the beneﬁts of farming in the image of Nature has been known for decades, the pollution and topsoil loss of chemical and industrial agriculture has been identified.
“For example, the farmer thinks that the inland sea is of no concern to him. He believes that it is the ofﬁcial of the ﬁsheries Bureau whose business it is the ofﬁcials of the environment council to take care of ocean pollution. In this way of think lies the problem.
The most commonly used chemical fertilisers, ammonium sulphate, urea, superphosphate and the like, are used in large amounts, only a fraction of which are absorbed by the plants in the ﬁeld. The rest leaches into streams and rivers, eventually ﬂowing into the sea. These nitrogen compounds become food for algae and plankton which multiply in high numbers, causing the red tide to appear. Of course, the industrial discharge of mercury and other contaminating wastes also contribute to pollution, but for the most part, water pollution in Japan comes from agricultural chemicals.
So it is the farmer who must shoulder significant responsibility for the red tide. The farmer who applies polluting chemicals, the corporations that manufacture these chemicals, the village ofﬁcials who believe in the convenience of chemicals and offer technical guidance accordingly – if each of these people does not ponder the problem genuinely there will be no solving the question of water pollution.” Masanobu Fukuoka 1975 – One-Straw Revolution
“Once plants and animals were raised together on the same farm – which therefore neither produced unmanageable surpluses of manure, to be wasted and to pollute the water supply, nor depended on such quantities of commercial fertiliser. The genius of America farm experts is very well demonstrated here: they can take a solution and divide it neatly into two problems.” Wendell Berry – The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture
This article was originally posted on the Attica Project website and was requested to thisquality as a press release.