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Not long ago, sustainability — raising plants and animals, or foraging and fishing for them, in a way that didn’t damage or deplete our natural resources — was considered the best way to farm with our future in mind.
But today, food producers are looking for ways not merely to do no harm, but actually to leave the world better off.
This notion, called “regenerative agriculture,” was the topic of a panel I participated in recently in Des Moines, Iowa, as part of Niman Ranch’s annual celebration of hog farmers.
Here are some examples:
• Oysters aren’t just delicious, but they remove impurities from the water as they grow, leaving it more pristine than when they got there.
• Kernza, a grain being developed at The Land Institute in Salina, Kan., is the first perennial grain, meaning it doesn’t have to be replanted every year, and its deep-burrowing roots sequester carbon.
• Beef is pointed to as a major contributor of greenhouse gases, but a technique called intensive grazing appears to encourage grass to grow more and send its roots deeper, sequestering carbon, just like Kernza.
Keep an eye out for this term as we look for new ways to make the world a better place.
Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary