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Regenerative Farming - How Does Plant Based Eating Fit In?

14th Sep, 2022

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“Regenerative Agriculture describes farming and grazing practices that, among other benefits, reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity – resulting in both carbon drawdown and improving the water Cycle.” - Regeneration International

The way I currently see the food industry, it is separated into two camps: Firstly, the well funded, “science driven” processed plant based foods and meats, and secondly the regenerative agricultural route which relies on holistic land management to produce natural food whilst building biology of the soil.

The War on Processed Food

I liken the processed food revolution to that of the green revolution in farming. The green revolution in agriculture led to what has now happened to our soils. The UN’s report Status of the World's Soil Resources indicated that in Europe, organic carbon in soil is poor and deteriorating. We thought that we could till the soil, add the basic nutrients needed for life to exist and Bob’s your uncle, we have food. Yes this is true, but we were slowly killing the life in the soil which provides a plethora of different ecosystem functions from water retention to carbon sequestration and nutrient recycling. My point is, there are loads of complex interactions that happen in our body when we eat food, some of which we still don’t understand.

Where Do Animals Fit In?

So where do animals, which are key to a regenerative agricultural system, fit into a plant based diet? There are loads of studies which show that eating meat is good for you on occasion. Take a look at the longest living societies in the world, they all eat majority plant based diets, but also eat meat and fish every now and then. Take a look at the articles on Blue Zones to learn a bit more. However, what’s important is that the meat and fish that we are eating is of a very high quality, raised ethically and in a low input environment so that they too are healthy and can provide the maximum amount of nutrients from their being on healthy pastures under regenerative management. By consuming a majority plant based diet, it takes the pressure off the demand for meat. A higher demand for meat and fish inevitably leads to a system similar to our current one of feedlots, battery chickens and unsustainable trawling.

What Is the Solution?

I don’t think there is a perfect answer to any of this but we will do our best to keep on learning and trying to improve the food system. 

At TYME, we focus on enabling change in the food system where we think it will be most effective. Eating plant based food during the working week makes a huge impact on the food system and on your health. This means eating whole plant based foods that are packed with fibre, protein and nutrients and not processed plant based foods. So our advice - eat more plants, don’t worry about eating meat and fish every now and then and feel healthier while making our planet a better place.

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