The sole of your shoe could have an interesting history to relate. In the last month, the first shoes made from Regenerative Outcome-Verified ROV(tm) rubber reached the market. The rubber is sourced from a tiny corner of Thailand where rubber-tappers and farmers are changing the monoculture rubber plantation into a multi-crop plantation. Farmers are also cultivating mango or coconut, turmeric, and many other crops that enrich the soil, increasing income while also improving nutrition. The result is an enclosing canopy that protects plant and human life from the heat that is rising due to climate change.
ROV(tm) standard ROV(tm) Standard is the outcome of a groundbreaking partnership with the farmers-led Regenerative Rubber Alliance in Thailand; VF Corporation brand partners, including Timberland(r) The North Face(r) and Vans(r); Terra Genesis, a design and development company as well as Smallholder Data Services. This is an illustration of the regenerative agricultural movement, which is growing in popularity with brands, farmers and the global climate-change community.
We are aware that the food and agricultural systems as well as climate change are interconnected. Food systems comprise around 30 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, while climate change has been quickly changing the way, what and where crops will be grown, as well as the people who cultivate them. Regenerative agriculture is a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from farming and assist farmers in adapting to climate change while generally improving the wellbeing of both the earth and people.
However, in order to realize this potential for regenerative farming farmers Indigenous Peoples and other land stewards need to be at the forefront and front and center in creating an idea and setting the course for regenerative agricultural practices. Their leadership is vital, both on field and at global gatherings on the topic of climate changes and the food system. For meetings like next week’s AIM for Climate Summit in Washington DC CEOs and ministers from the government will be moderating panels and delivering keynotes. Farmers and Indigenous Peoples must also hold the microphone.
Regenerative agriculture can be found in a variety of sizes and forms ranging from the newest Kenyan entrepreneurs who create frass, a natural, insect-based fertilizer that is a better alternative to chemical fertilizers, to farmers in Haiti who grow Okra, peanuts, and cotton and use technology to verify the regenerative capacity the crops. Like the farmers-led Regenerative Rubber Alliance in Thailand Their leadership is vital to the development of sustainable food systems as well as for establishing the standards needed to identify a product that is branded regenerative. Without a robust and well-established system for regenerative agriculture, it could become a slogan rather than a solution to the health of our people and the planet.
A number of forthcoming meetings starting beginning with the AIM4C meeting through the World Farmers’ Organization General Assembly (May 21-24) could aid in preparing for a climate and food revolution at COP28 (the world climate summit for the world’s nations) coming up in December Dubai. Particularly, two concrete outcomes could propel regenerative farming ahead.
The first is a grouping of major landscape stewards and funders farmers, researchers and businesses could create a comprehensive system that can be used to measure positive regenerative outcomes that cover soil health, to the restoration of biodiversity, farmer wellbeing to participation and voice of the community. The food industry, Indigenous Peoples and local communities at the forefront and at the forefront, Regen10 Regen10 network is leading a worldwide collaboration initiative to create this framework. One of those members includes The Ikea Foundation, which works alongside 40 partners in the development of sustainable systems across Africa as well as Asia. The foundation’s Nico Janssen, Programme Manager of Agricultural Livelihoods at the foundation declares, “Regenerative is not only regenerative in food production, but the whole regeneration of local communities and economies.”
Second, partners could deliver a platform that raises and coordinates funding to address the biggest barriers farmers face in adopting regenerative agriculture–barriers that include limited access to finance, technical assistance, subsidies, and policy.
When we think about the COP28 conference, we must remember that the shift from extractive, carbon-intensive food systems to ones that are sustainable requires the leadership of those who make our food and care for biodiversity in the landscape. Their knowledge and beliefs are vital to restoring the balance between the land we grow and the natural environment of which we are and the our fellow humans. Their work is essential to improving nutrition and food security, as well as dealing with climate changes. Beyond a place in the dining room, these people must be involved as equal partners and equipped to make changes both on their farms and in the landscapes they manage.