When shopping for groceries, you want good food at good prices. While organic foods are a good choice for your health, foods grown using regenerative farming methods provide the best boost to the health of the planet and your family. Regeneratively grown foods avoid the use of synthetic fertilizers and tillage to create healthy soils that also capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Regenerative food products are not easy to find in stores. But their availability is growing, as I learned from the introduction of regenerative agriculture in the production of vegetable oil in La Tourangelmy family artisan food company.

What is regenerative agriculture and why is it important?

Regenerative farming is a holistic land management practice. It uses techniques such as crop rotation, cover crops, composting, animal grazing in crop rotation, and no tillage at all. These practices help fight climate change by sequestering carbon in the soil and producing nutrient-rich crops.

Bye traditional agriculture plays a significant role in climate change, regenerative agriculture helps to solve this problem. regenerative farming prioritizes soil health and in turn improves soil fertility and the carbon cycle, reduces soil erosion and water pollution, improves soil water holding capacity and provides healthier crops, higher yields and vibrant microbial communities.

National Academy of Science assesses that – with proper land management – ​​soil can settle 250 million metric tons greenhouse gases equivalent to carbon dioxide annually. “Soil is one of the largest carbon sinks on Earth through photosynthesis and microbes,” according to the National Resource Defense Council.

Regenerating sunflower oil La Tourangelle

After learning about regenerative agriculture, I began to look for suppliers willing to cooperate with our brand, but to no avail. I haven’t been able to find anyone in the US who grows and processes regenerative oilseeds – despite the sheer number of farming companies; According to USDA.

After much research, our team partnered with Park Farming Organics, a pioneer of organic and regenerative farming for over two decades. We paid a family farm a surcharge to grow 30 acres of sunflowers to create our first Regenerating sunflower oil. Sunflowers improve soil health and add more variety of roots and microbes to the soil. Protection of Naturewhich makes the crop ideal for regenerative farming.

Following the success of our first regenerative crop and the introduction of La Tourangelle regenerative organic sunflower oil in early 2021, we seeded 45 acres at Park Farming in the summer of 2021. So far, we have sold over 45,000 cans of organic regenerative sunflower oil. We plan to plant 66 acres in the summer of 2022 and I hope to grow 250 acres in 2023.

With innovations like this sunflower oil, existing distribution lines at Walmart, Costco and Amazon, and products sold in over 30 countries, we believe this product and others like it are part of the solution to the environmental crisis.

Potential global impact of regenerative farming

Cooking oils are just one of the foods that could make a big difference with regenerative farming — if scaled up and sold at a price to sell to the masses. When grown by traditional methods, oilseeds are a large-scale monoculture. By over-reliance on chemicals and artificial agriculture, they contribute to global warming and pollution. But if just 1% of all oilseeds grown in the US were grown using regenerative farming practices, it could have a huge impact on the climate.

Regenerative agriculture is not only our company. PepsiCo has a goal by 2030 expand regenerative farming practices to 7 million acres. The company estimates that this will eliminate 3 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade. Other companies investing in regenerative agriculture include General Mills, Nestle, Kellogg and Danone. White paper released by the Rodale Institute in September 2020 advertises that regenerative agriculture can capture 100% of annual carbon emissions.

What’s next and what can we (as consumers) do?

Farming is guided by consumer preferences and government policy. We need an agriculture bill that rewards regenerative farming and creates a support system to help farmers learn new methods. We also need brands to take the lead in explaining to consumers why they support regenerative agriculture. Brands should meet with farmers and express support for their actions. If farmers can find a market for their regenerative crop, they will join the project. Consumers should prioritize purchasing regenerative food products and ask their grocers to stock up on these products.

As consumers, we can follow product certifications. While there is currently no single way to determine if a product has been grown using regenerative methods, recent Wall Street Journal a piece notes that “… several certificates have emerged that help consumers distinguish fact from fiction.” They include the Land to Market label from Spicy Institute, which measures “the actual impact of agricultural activities on the environment, rather than prescribing specific practices” such as bans on the use of pesticides and fertilizers. There is also Regenerative Organic certification from Regenerative Organic Alliancewhich is considered the “gold standard for testing regenerative claims”.

Given the potential of regenerative agriculture to combat climate change, it is critical to know where and how our food is grown. Ask grocers and brands to show you information about the farming methods used to make their products. When possible, buy from grocers and retailers who tell you where and how the food they sell is made. Such information can help us select products that are in line with our values.

Just as shoppers might look for an organic label, we hope to one day find food products with a regenerative logo.

about the author

Mathieu Colmeyer is a natural food entrepreneur based in Berkeley, California. After graduating from business school in France, he moved to California to start La Tourangel in 2002. La Tourangelle is a manufacturer of quality oils, dressings and nut butters based in Woodland, California.

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