In times when we are debating the use of innumerable pesticides that are harmful to the health of humans and the world; the problems of monoculture for the environment; the whole relationship between traditional agriculture and deforestation and, consequently, the visible increase in its effects on nature and the world as a whole, rethinking the way we cultivate what we consume is more than necessary. Did you know that the agriculture practices are largely responsible for climate change?
Organic agriculture is a huge step forward in reducing the impacts of unrestrained cultivation on the planet, but it is possible to beyond that! Regenerative agriculture comes to transcend organics, and may be the key to minimizing the negative impacts of growing not only our beloved cannabis, but all agricultural production – sources of fiber, food and fuels made from renewable sources.
According to the State University of California’s Institute for Sustainable Development, regenerative agriculture is a holistic land-care practice that “among other benefits, reverses climate change, rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring its degraded biodiversity – resulting in removing carbon and improving the water cycle ”. But what exactly does this mean? Come with us and we will dive into this magical practice and concept!
What regenerative agriculture means
The main objective of regenerative agriculture is to reverse the damage caused by monoculture. Its practices seek to restore soil conditions and make it resilient, preventing its erosion and using natural ingredients to generate healthy and abundant crops – both for those who are going to consume and for nature. Some of its greatest precepts are:
- Crop rotation or cultivation of more than one type of vegetable in the same space;
- Planting all year round in a closed circuit, without leaving the land empty between harvests, to avoid soil erosion;
- Cultivation with less (or without) plowing fields;
- Cattle grazing, which naturally stimulates plant growth;
- Use of 100% natural inputs for fertilization, such as manure or other organic waste;
- Without GMOs to promote and preserve biodiversity;
- Animal welfare and fair working practices for farmers.
According to researchers, regenerative agriculture, through these premises, can help to reverse climate change. Some practices, such as plowing the soil for planting, result in the emission of carbon stored by ancient roots found in the land. In the atmosphere, the element combines with oxygen to form carbon dioxide, one of the main greenhouse gases. Releasing this carbon also harms the health of the soil, hindering the growth of new plants.
Keeping the living root in the soil at all times, as teached by regenerative agriculture, helps to cycle the nutrients without removing the stored carbon. Meanwhile, the use of organic compounds increases the variety of the earth’s microbiome, which feeds plants and helps manage pests. The good bacteria that live in the soil, unlike artificial fertilizers, do not release nitrogen (another greenhouse gas). It is also important to do companion planting, plant more than one species in the same space, which helps to prevent crop pests without the use of pesticides – which end up with the soil microbiota and pollute the soil and water tables.
These agricultural practices can help restore the natural balance of healthy soils, which thrive on life, and which are one of the largest consumers of CO₂ on our planet. According to a 2014 report by the Rodale Institute, switching to regenerative agriculture can help absorb 100% of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere today.
Regenerative Agriculture and Cannabis
Regenerative agriculture is the key to the cannabis we want to see in the world: 100% natural, clean, produced ethically towards humanity and nature and with great quality in cannabinoids and terpenes – due to the live, balanced and full of life! In the United States, mainly in California, Oregon and also in Canada, there is already a growing movement in the search for regenerative cannabis farms. Those who follow all the premises receive certificates, which show that the consumer is using pure medicine.
Two of the main labels of regenerative cannabis agriculture there are the DEM Pure Commitment, from Dragonfly Earth Medicine, and the Regenerative Cannabis Award, from the Emerald Cup. DEM is a small family farm, dedicated to the regeneration and health of the land and of its inhabitants. Kelly and Josh dedicate their lives to contributing to the vitality of the soil, plants, mycology, sustainable production. The way they farm transmuted to their lifestyle, and it is amazing to see people like them. We had the chance to share special moments with them at the conference “The Science of Organic Regenerative Cannabis Cultivation” that happened now in February at California and we will tell you more in an upcoming post and video!
Flower Daze Farm, in Northern California, received both certifications for its holistic practices and its care for the land, an element considered sacred by the farm and its workers. In 2016, they founded an association of local farmers, whose mission is to promote ecologically responsible practices to protect the health and well-being of wildlife, forests, watersheds and the community’s economy. Now, according to Flower Daze, the focus of the work is a reforestation initiative across the community that allows private landowners to work collectively to maintain forests and restore our forest ecosystems.
His incredible work of caring for nature and its resources spawned the book “The Flowerdaze Farm Regenerative Guide to Cannabis”. In it, Jacob Johnson and Karla Avila, the beautiful farmers, explain everything you need to know to treat the soil while, at the same time, it gives rise to the highest quality cannabis. The more you give the land, the more it returns to you. This is the biggest motto not only of the farm, but of regenerative agriculture as a whole. Long-term thinking about nourishing the land and not just taking it away.
“As community leaders in the Regenerative Agriculture movement, we are deeply committed to using only the most ecological, sustainable and holistic cultivation practices. For us, it is more than a passion, it is a way of life. Finally, the proof is in the pudding, and we know that we personally love the taste of flowers – 100% pure and unaltered, ”said the couple in a post on the farm’s blog. They even released the results of tests on its two varieties, Key Lime Pie and Strawberry Cough. Both revealed excellent concentrations of terpenes and cannabinoids, as well as being totally free of pesticides and disease-causing bacteria!
At a time when everything is so new for legal cannabis planting, it is more than incredible to realize that there are so many people interested in making this plant purer and healthier not only for those who consume it, but also for the soil where it grows. Although the regenerative movement is relatively new, it is up to us, cannabis growers and students seek to know more and become more involved with this form of conscious cultivation. We’re just getting started, and it’s exciting to think how much more sustainable we can grow!