The Rise of Regenerative Agriculture: A Solution to Climate Change and Food Security

The Rise of Regenerative Agriculture: A Solution to Climate Change and Food Security

As the world grapples with the pressing challenges of climate change and food security, regenerative agriculture is emerging as an innovative and promising solution. While conventional farming practices have contributed significantly to environmental degradation and greenhouse gas emissions, regenerative agriculture offers a sustainable alternative that not only mitigates these impacts but also restores ecosystems and enhances food security. In this post, we explore the principles of regenerative agriculture, its potential benefits for climate change and food systems, and how it can be adopted on a global scale.

What is Regenerative Agriculture?

Regenerative agriculture is an ecological approach to farming that focuses on rebuilding soil health, sequestering carbon, improving water cycling, and nurturing biodiversity (Rodale Institute, 2021). It is rooted in the understanding that healthy, diverse, and resilient ecosystems are essential for long-term food security and environmental sustainability. In contrast to conventional agriculture, which often relies on synthetic inputs such as chemical fertilizers and pesticides, regenerative agriculture emphasizes the use of regenerative practices such as crop rotation, cover crops, composting, and agroforestry (Savory Institute, 2021).

Potential Benefits for Climate Change Mitigation

The potential benefits of regenerative agriculture for mitigating climate change are immense. According to a recent study by the Rodale Institute and the Organic Consumers Association (2018), regenerative organic farming practices could sequester more than 40% of global CO2 emissions if implemented on a global scale. This is because healthy, regenerated soils have the capacity to store large amounts of carbon in their biomass and soil organic matter (SOM). Furthermore, regenerative agriculture practices such as cover cropping and no-till farming can reduce the amount of CO2 emissions released from tillage and synthetic fertilizer use. A study by Gattinger et al. (2015) estimated that transitioning to no-till and cover cropping could sequester up to 329 PgC/year, or about 7% of total anthropogenic CO2 emissions in 2014.

Benefits for Food Security and Ecosystem Resilience

Regenerative agriculture has the potential to significantly improve food security and ecosystem resilience by restoring degraded soils, increasing water retention capacity, and promoting biodiversity. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO, 2015), soil degradation alone is responsible for the loss of 12 million hectares of arable land per year, which has significant implications for food security and global hunger. Regenerative agricultural practices such as cover cropping and composting can help to rebuild SOM and improve soil fertility, which in turn can lead to higher yields and increased resilience to extreme weather events (FAO, 2015; Gattinger et al., 2015). Additionally, regenerative agriculture practices such as agroforestry and integrated crop-livestock systems can enhance biodiversity and provide multiple ecosystem services such as pollination, pest regulation, and nutrient cycling (Savory Institute, 2021).

Challenges and Barriers to Adoption

Despite its potential benefits, the widespread adoption of regenerative agriculture faces several challenges and barriers. One major challenge is the lack of awareness and knowledge about regenerative farming practices among smallholder farmers who make up the majority of the world's food producers (FAO, 2015). Extension services and farmer-to-farmer learning networks can play a crucial role in disseminating knowledge and promoting the adoption of regenerative agricultural practices.

Another challenge is the lack of financial incentives for farmers to transition to regenerative agriculture. While regenerative farming practices may lead to long-term benefits such as increased soil fertility and reduced input costs, there are often significant upfront costs associated with adopting these practices (Rodale Institute, 2021). Governments and private sector actors can support the adoption of regenerative agriculture by investing in research and development, creating markets for regenerative products, and providing financial incentives such as payments for ecosystem services (PES) or subsidies for regenerative practices.


Regenerative agriculture offers a promising solution to addressing the pressing challenges of climate change and food security. By focusing on rebuilding soil health, sequestering carbon, improving water cycling, and nurturing biodiversity, regenerative agriculture practices have the potential to restore degraded ecosystems, mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, and enhance food security for a growing global population.

While there are challenges and barriers to widespread adoption of regenerative agriculture, concerted efforts by governments, private sector actors, and civil society organizations can help overcome these obstacles and realize the immense potential benefits of this promising approach to sustainable agriculture. As global leaders continue to grapple with the urgent challenges of climate change and food security, regenerative agriculture should be at the forefront of their conversations and actions.

Back to blog