September 09, 2020
Organic, Regenerative Farming & The Climate
environment and climate discussion, education, and of course fine, organic food.
Here at Arnhem
we invest in the best fibres for our planet. When selecting which fibres to work with we consider
water input, energy usage, eco-toxicity, greenhouse gas emissions, and human toxicity – all before we create something beautiful.
To celebrate National Organic Week 2020 we’re focusing on our use of Organic Cotton.
We choose to use organic cotton as it’s an environmentally and socially responsible alternative to conventionally grown cotton.
Conventional cotton uses large amounts of pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, and genetically modified organisms, which are not only harmful to natural ecosystems,
but farmers, factory workers, and consumers are exposed to toxic chemicals too.
The process of growing organic cotton has a less environmental impact as a result of using sustainable farming methods.
Less water and energy are used, soil health is improved, water contamination is prevented, and biodiversity is preserved.
Some consider ‘organic’ to be an expensive price tag. So we joined together with Mindful Foods and the amazing team at Ella’s Permaculture Farm
to discuss why ‘organic’ is an inexpensive choice when you look at the benefits to the planet – and ultimately our future.
SAVE THE SOIL
Soils have become one of the most vulnerable resources in the world.
The Earth’s soils contain about 2,500 gigatons of carbon
- that’s more than three times the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, and four times the amount stored in all living plants and animals.
In fact, the planet’s soil removes about 25% of the world’s fossil fuel emissions each year.
But half of the topsoil on the planet has been lost in the last 150 years.
Our soils are literally turning to dirt – one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time.
Globalised industrial farming practices, that are in conflict with nature, are a significant contributor to the world’s desertification problem.
The degradation of soils from unsustainable agriculture has resulted in an inability for the land to retain water or regrow plants.
This, in turn, impacts food security, wildlife, and livestock.
It also changes microclimate regulation and the ability of our soils to store carbon.
It’s estimated that by 2050, the combined effects of land degradation and climate change will have displaced between 50 to 700 million people.
Research shows how effective land restoration could play a major role in sequestering CO2 and slowing climate change.
In fact, this is one of the simplest climate change fixes – it’s a matter of returning carbon to where it belongs.
At COP 21 in 2015, where 195 nations that make up the United Nations Framework met to discuss Climate Change, the then Agriculture, Agri-Food and Forestry Minister for France, Stéphane Le Foll launched the 4 per 1000 initiative
If we increase by 0.4% a year the quantity of carbon contained in soils, we can halt the annual increase in CO2 in the atmosphere, which is a major contributor to the greenhouse effect and climate change.
The increase in the amount of carbon stored in the soil will contribute to stabilising our climate and ensuring food security across the globe.
It’s not a new invention. It’s choosing to live in harmony with mother earth.
Regenerative farming practices that include those techniques and tools that you may have heard of such as holistic management, permaculture design, syntropic farming, biodynamics, organic, etc, in its simplest form aims to treat the land as nature intended.
Pivotal to regenerative farming is soil health. A farmer’s key concern is improving the biology and fertility of their soil.
Conventional agriculture involves tilling, chemical preparations, and methods that destroy ecosystems within the soil, eventually turning nutrient-dense soils to nothing more than infertile dirt.
But regenerative practices utilise organic methods meaning that no synthetic pesticides, fertilisers, genetically modified organisms, antibiotics, or growth hormones are used. The result is healthy soil rich in fungi, beneficial bacteria, and microorganisms that work together in harmony to release compounds that make nutrients available for plants to uptake.
Through the process of photosynthesis, plants use energy from the sun to draw down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. What the plant doesn’t need for growth is exuded through the roots to feed soil organisms, and microbes convert plant debris into soil carbon. And this is when carbon storage in healthy soil occurs, helping give soil its water-retention capacity, its structure, and its fertility.
Mimicking nature's natural systems restores soil back to its healthy state, and at the same time restores nutrient density to the plants and produce grown in it. This means that organic produce is the most nutrient-dense possible, void of nasty chemicals that pose a risk to health.
To restore the world's soils and combat climate change a global shift is required.
Some of the steps towards regenerating our soils are:
1. Minimise tillage (digging, stirring, and overturning by machinery). This will encourage soil formation and structure, creating more stable systems.
In turn, nutrient and energy cycling is increased, and the retentive abilities of the soil for nutrients and water are enhanced, compensating for the non-use of mineral fertilisers.
2. Develop biodiverse ecosystems and use natural processes that mimic nature, avoiding chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fertilisers.
This enhances soil structure, raising productivity, favouring carbon storage and improves water filtration.
3. Focus on crop rotation, diverse cover crops, rotational grazing, and inter-cropping to reduce erosion and nutrient leaching, creating soil biodiversity,
enhancing wildlife and ultimately building in resilience to help crops survive and thrive in changing climatic conditions.
4. Focus on closing the loop - food is created, consumed, resulting in waste, aka compost. manure and green-waste, which can be returned to the land as a rich natural fertiliser,
oozing with beneficial microbes, to help with carbon storage and essential for new life to grow.
IF WE DON’T AWAKEN TO THE POSSIBILITIES OF REGENERATION
The United Nations estimates that, if current agricultural practices do not become more regenerative and uphold soil health-promoting principles,
farmable soil will be completely infertile within 60 years.
CHANGE IS A TEAM EFFORT
This is Georgie the Founder below.
Georgie has an acute awareness that what we put in our bodies is intrinsically linked to our health, the health of our soil and the health of our planet
- so be mindful of your food.
focuses on teaching and growing amazing food through syntropic farming and permaculture design.
This is Ella below.
"My permaculture farm started as a journey to natural, chemical-free living for myself and my family.
Now I see this space as a blessing for a whole community, where we can embark on this journey for a sustainable future together.” - Ella
A passion for the environment, a love of organic, and a shared commitment to doing everything that we can to combat climate change is something that we all have in common.
There’s a vital connection between organic farming methods and climate change abatement.
Choosing to wear organic cotton clothing, or eat organic food is an investment in giving back to mother earth.
Rich, nutrient-dense soil sequesters carbon, returning to its natural, abundant state capable of carbon storage for literally hundreds of years.
Regenerative farming is not a buzz word.
Being mindful of our choices will enable us to have a positive impact by helping to revive the earth.
What you buy makes a difference.
Choosing to save the planet is not an expensive option.
We'd love to say a huge thanks to @mindfulfoods @ellasfarm @the_sunkissed_kitchen
for a highly delectable, uplifting and educational afternoon.
Keep scrolling for more delicious organic goodness - clothes, food & wine 🥂