Farming sustainably isn’t just good for the planet: if it’s done right it can double profits too, finds a new study published in PeerJ. But this requires a paradigm shift that champions crop diversity over monoculture, and quality over quantity–a way of growing food that’s known as ‘regenerative agriculture’.
Currently in the United States and many other countries, farming is characterised by monoculture, heavy pesticide use, and tillage to rid the soil of weeds. These contribute in different ways to several environmental ills–such as climate change, water and soil pollution, and the quashing of biodiversity. A fraction of farmers practice regenerative methods, designed to boost biodiversity and increase soil nutrients by reducing tillage, planting cover crops on exposed soil, enabling livestock to graze amongst crops, and cutting out pesticides.
But little has been done to explore whether the perceived benefits of these regenerative methods really stand up to the test.