Regenerative Land Use is a sub-sector practice of organic farming designed to build soil health or to regenerate unhealthy soils, while democratizing access to local, healthy food and revitalizing communities.

Some other definitions and descriptions of regenerative land use:

“The nation that destroys its soils destroys itself.”

— Theodore Roosevelt, 1907

“By farming organically, we are regenerating the soil, returning the land to its natural state. We are also regenerating the health of ourselves and our family by reducing or eliminating chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. Beyond our farm, by not using chemicals, we are regenerating the wildlands and local environment. Finally, we are helping to regenerate our communities by recycling organic waste that would otherwise be an economic or environmental problem.”

— Rodale Institute


“Improved agricultural practices can help mitigate climate change by reducing emissions from agriculture and other sources and by storing carbon in plant biomass and soils…The objective is to reverse land degradation due to deforestation and inadequate land use/management in the tropics and sub-tropics through the promotion of improved land use systems and land management practices which provide win-win effects in terms of economic gains and environmental benefits, a greater agro-biodiversity, and improved conservation and environmental management and increased carbon sequestration.” – Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

“Truly maximizing soil carbon sequestration across all the world’s agricultural soils could literally soak up more carbon than we release each year.” – Community Solutions Fellow, Peter Bane

“A mere 2% increase in the carbon content of the planet’s soils could offset 100% of all greenhouse gas emissions going into the atmosphere.” – Dr. Rattan Lal, Ohio State Soil Scientist

A recent focus for Community Solutions is research and writing on the possibilities of restored soils and water systems to sequester carbon and cool the planet. This work is woven into our longstanding commitment to permaculture and local, organic growing. Peter Bane, Community Solutions Fellow and Board Member whose previous works include The Permaculture Handbook, is at work on a Community Solutions-sponsored layperson’s guide to restoring water cycles. This research will also be featured through our video channel, local teach-ins, school garden programs and our next conference.

Community Solutions Fellow, Peter Bane, has detailed the potential of soil to reverse the buildup of atmospheric CO2: “Truly maximizing soil carbon sequestration across all the world’s agricultural soils could literally soak up more carbon than we release each year.” (Read more here.) Dr. Rattan Lal, Ohio State Soil Scientist, corroborates: “A mere 2% increase in the carbon content of the planet’s soils could offset 100 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions going into the atmosphere.

Rodale Institute’s white paper Regenerative Organic Agriculture and Climate Change and books like Courtney White’s Grass, Soil and Hope are expanding the climate conversation by including the discussion of carbon sinks as well as carbon sources. Soil is the largest terrestrial carbon sink, holding more carbon than the atmosphere and forests combined. As Bane and others point out, the practices that increase carbon in soil—including basic conservation practices, rotational pasture grazing, organic no till agriculture, the planting of perennial vegetables, composting, and the maintenance of hedgerows—also heal degraded land through increased nutrient and water retention, which enrich the diversity of soil biota and enhance fertility and yield.

While acknowledging that a drastic reduction in the use of fossil fuels is a necessary step toward avoiding climate catastrophe, they suggest that another solution is right under our feet.


Our Solutions for Community Resilience:


“We Need Regenerative Farming, Not Geoengineering”

“Moving Beyond “Too Little, Too Late” Solutions: A renewed look at soil and water cycles is necessary  to aid in planetary healing and justice”

“Designing the Landscapes of Energy Descent” 

Community Solutions Video Chanel:

Local and Organic Ag. Section of the the Climate Solutions Video Channel


Other Resources for Regenerative Agriculture:

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Soils Portal

Regenerative Organic Agriculture: An Annotated Bibliography by the Organic Consumers Association

Date: 2017-03-10

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