Beyond Sustainability

I’ve been doing a bit of reading on regenerative agriculture recently and was sent an article by a colleague about the application of regenerative principles in Winegrowing. The Wine Enthusiast article is a simple but useful summary of some of the key elements of regenerative practices.

Fundamentally it’s about treating the farm (or vineyard) in a holistic way as a living entity, and working to rebuild and enhance those entire natural systems.

As the article says, it’s a step beyond sustainability. It’s more than ‘keeping something going’ and aims to rehabilitate and enhance the health of farms, orchards and vineyards.

I’m not entirely clear on the relationship of Biodynamics and Organics with regenerative practices. The Venn diagram shaping up in my head suggests a lot of overlap between Biodynamics and regenerative practices, including the recognition of social/human aspects involved in the whole-farm ecosystem.

Regenerative growers use practices like composting, cover crops and managed grazing to enhance soil health and increase soil organic matter. Importantly, these practices have a positive impact on carbon sequestration in soils. Carbon locked up in soils means less climate change impacts. This could be an important aspect of future climate change action, and an area getting increasing interest from researchers.

As well as mitigating climate change impacts through carbon sequestration, circular-practices (eg waste streams being composted and going back into the farm) and the reduced need for external inputs, means there are reduced environmental impacts too, so what’s not to love!




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