A partnership between the Rodale Institute, Patagonia, and several other businesses, activists, and non-profits have developed a standard for the Regenerative Organic Certification; allowing farmers and producers to certify that their products are regenerative organic. Regenerative organic agriculture promotes fostering a rich soil ecosystem to not only restore soil fertility, but also draw atmospheric carbon into the soil.
Methods for this process include minimal soil disturbance, using fertility-building cover crops, diverse crop rotations, compost and rotational grazing of farm animals. These standards will initially begin with a pilot phase in 2018 and are to be administered by NSF International. The certification standards include three pillars: Soil Health and Land Management, Animal Welfare, and Farmer and Worker Fairness. Practices outlined in these pillars include methods used to preserve soil health, soil fertility and biodiversity, ensuring animal welfare standards, and labour standards.
Industrial agriculture as currently practiced is one of the main drivers of greenhouse gasses, however regenerative organic agriculture at a global scale has the potential to help mitigate some of climate change's worst effects. Not only would these standards improve soil health, but they could also improve the lives of farm animals and ensure a just agricultural labour system.
Although Regenerative Organic Certified standards present a great opportunity to give consumers the power to demand products which ensure a future planet with a healthy soil ecosystem, how accessible will these products be to consumers of lower socioeconomic status?