Regenerative agriculture

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, July 18th, 2017 - 14 comments
Categories: climate change, Environment, farming, food, sustainability - Tags: , ,

Regenerative agriculture is based on the idea that nature is a powerhouse of sustainability. It uses nature mimicry to establish productive systems that are self sustaining, require little external inputs, and that focus on ecological cycles like those that build soil rather than mechanistic systems that artificially force growth but produce large amounts of pollution. Building soil is central, because that’s the key to systems that regenerate rather than degrade.

This short film from Greenpeace shows some regenag farmers in NZ. This work is already being done here and eventually we will be very grateful. Regenag is more resilient in extreme weather and climate, needs far less energy to run and is thus much easier to make carbon zero. It excels at local food production thus creating food resiliency for NZ. It also isn’t reliant on external inputs like artificial fertilisers (the world is probably approaching at Peak Phosphorus) which deplete soil fertility. Because regenag holds nutrients in place, it maintains clean waterways.

That’s pretty much a blueprint for what NZ needs to do on multiple levels with the current crises around diary, water, fossil fuels and even employment. More of an issue is the economics. Farms in NZ carry massive debt, which is discussed in the film. Looks like an ideal opportunity for the Green Party’s new Green Infrastructure Fund.


14 comments on “Regenerative agriculture”

  1. The Federated Farmers union won’t tolerate that sort of talk!
    Wait for them to call Regenerative farmers, “emotional” and “anti-science”.

    • weka 1.1

      Then say that they’re the regenerative farmers.

    • Cricklewood 1.2

      Run into Enviromental fertilizers in your travels? I can thoroughly recommend NGF and the other work they are doing.

      I would note that I think they push the boundaries with some of their claims… Paramagnetic rock dust comes to mind. But on the whole great products.

  2. They’re environmentalists already!
    But not cry-babies.
    Plus, not communists, despite “Federation…”
    Greenpeace film?
    Don’t look, Brothers.
    Don’t look!

  3. ianmac 3

    I looked the other day and could smell the blast of fresh air.

    • weka 3.1

      Yep. One thing that stood out for me was in all the shots the grass was lush and long. That’s what I see on regenag properties too. It was news to me that conventional farmers consider that waste /facepalm. In regenag, the lush, long grass is part of the soil rebuilding, which leads to all the other things – drought resistance, healthier pasture, more feed in summer, more vibrant soil which increases fertility, more holding of nutrients and water in the land. That’s also sequestering carbon. Carbon farmers.

      • Sabine 3.1.1

        driving around in middle NZ, seeing these tiny fenced paddocks (surely the guys selling fenceposts and wire must be billionaires – its the only current growth business in NZ, that and road cones), grazed to the dirt – gust of wind and brown dust everywhere, but not one field with long grass. But fertilizer is being sprayed around everywhere, meanwhile the cows stand in their shit, and shit while they eat.

  4. weka 4

    The thing I liked about the film was it’s ordinary NZ farmers already doing this. The point about debt is so important. Even the farmers that want to do this are being prevented from doing so because of the debt issue, how they’re being advised, the conditions set by the banks, the lack of support from the government etc.


    yes WEKA,

    Me & the wife ave a small block in the hills behind Opotiki, and my fertilizer is hand laid and organic.

    We never need to dip the sheep but add some food grade Hydrogen peroxide (food grade) into their water supply as it does the same job as drench but doesn’t kill the land after they pee it our and the groundwater doesn’t get contaminated by the sheep dip either as it is a petrochemical extract.

    Our sheep are healthy and never get footrot all which adds up to a large plus for us.

    Good post WEKA.


  6. Roy 6

    Thanks Weka, great post. It really is us including the regenags vs the corporates and lazy farmers.

  7. mauī 7

    Nice vid. Greg’s farm was on Country Calendar recently too.

  8. gsays 8

    Excellent presentation.
    I have a friend who has started selling kiwi fertiliser.
    They do a soil test or two, analyze it and prepare the appropriate mix.
    Talking to him yesterday about how it was going.
    He was at a farm recently where he sold to the son and the farmers retired father was there with his ravensdown cap on.
    To the old cockies credit, he turned his cap round backwards and when talking said he wished kiwi fertiliser had been around when he was farming.
    It has been slow going for a couple of years but the clientele is growing.

  9. Jeremy 9

    NZ farmers have horrendous debt because farming is an intrinsically crappy business (pun not intended).

    It’ll still be a crappy debt laden enterprise, even if farmers switch to other forms of farming.

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