Episode 53: Can Regenerative Farming help to create a more sustainable future?
Regenerative farming, regenerative agriculture, carbon sequestration, soil biodiversity, sustainability
Welcome to the Fashion Unearthed podcast. If you need help navigating the fashion industry sustainably, you have come to the right place. I'm your host Belinda Humphrey and my hope is to simplify the fashion industry so that businesses can make the best decisions for people, planet and product.
Hello, and welcome to episode 53 of the Fashion Unearthed podcast. How's everyone going out there? I feel like it's been ages since I recorded a podcast. Doing weekly episodes for a year now I have noticed the difference changing to fortnightly. But last week was a huge one though and I needed the extra time. I presented at Life Instyle in Melbourne, which for those of you that don't know is a huge trade fair for wholesale (they also do one in Sydney) and I was part of an amazing lineup of speakers. So yes, after all the lockdowns in Melbourne, I was excited to get out and about.
But anyway, today I wanted to talk about regenerative farming and actually it follows on nicely from Episode 52 about carbon because in this method of farming, carbon sequestration is one of the benefits.
Regenerative farming uses practices that restore soil biodiversity. It's described as a way to go beyond sustaining a broken system, instead being a way to heal nature. And like many good ideas it isn't new. The concept of caring for the land in this way is well known by First Nations peoples. It's a holistic approach to agriculture and includes things like not tilling the soil or you know how they have that machine that runs through the fields and turfs up the soil, rotation and cover crops, managing how long animals stay on the land, using a variety of plants and cautious use of chemicals or biological activities, including fertilisers.
And the benefits of farming in this way are impressive. Greater carbon sequestration, improved yields, increased soil biodiversity, and diminished erosion and water runoff. Essentially, as the farmer heals and looks after the earth, they get better yields in return. Now I've been keeping tabs on this for a while and like most areas in sustainability, Patagonia was one of the early adopters. They piloted a regenerative cotton programme in 2018. And the North Face partnered with Fibreshed in 2017 to create a collection of regeneratively farmed wool beanies. Women's wear brand Christy Dawn was onto it early too. In 2019 they partnered with a farm in India to completely regenerate acres of depleted land. And since then, more and more brands are moving towards regenerative farming practices for raw materials. Mulberry have said they're invested in regenerative carbon sequestering farming practices to produce the world's lowest carbon leather, Timberland are building a regenerative rubber supply in Thailand and the list goes on. The names include Eileen Fisher, Stella McCartney, Mara Hoffman, Burberry, Gucci, they're all getting involved in regenerative farming.
However, a word of caution comes from a blog post on green biz by Theresa Lieb, an analyst in food systems. She says that we still need to create less and buy less. Conserving land is better than farming it regeneratively because every kind of agriculture production comes with a land use trade off.
So I hope that's given you a bit more information about regenerative farming and I guess maybe why it's being talked about a lot more within the fashion space. As usual, you can get in touch on Instagram @belindahumphrey_ if you've discovered something on today's podcast or just want to say hi, you can email me as well firstname.lastname@example.org And as always, you find the show notes and any links on the website belindahumphrey.com in the podcast section. Thanks so much for listening. See you next time.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort is made to ensure that information is accurate at the time of recording, much like the fashion industry itself, this information may change.