- 1. What are the benefits of regenerative agriculture?
- 2. What is the science behind it?
- 3. How does it impact farm management?
- 4. How does it impact the farm's business?
1. What are the benefits of regenerative agriculture?
Does regenerative agriculture make better fruit?
Yes, we believe so. Experience shows us that healthy soil and natural amendments have a positive impact on the levels of minerals, fibers, antioxidants and other bioactive compounds found in fruit. They help to produce fruit with a higher nutritional value by leveraging natural processes.
Can regenerative agriculture contribute positively to human health?
Yes, regenerative agriculture is an extremely promising method towards reaching an interdependent relationship between soil, plant and human health. It allows for a decrease in the exposure to chemicals, an increase in the nutritive qualities of fruit and the creation of healthy and resilient ecosystems.
Is regenerative agriculture better for nature?
Yes. Regenerative agriculture promotes life and biodiversity below and above ground.
It contributes to the (re)construction of functioning ecosystems and the production of healthy fruit. Regenerative farmers are moving away from a system in which production is based on petrochemical inputs, to one that leverages natural soil fertility and organic amendments. Besides sequestrating more carbon dioxide, our techniques give way to living soils, clean water and abundant wildlife.
Is regenerative agriculture beneficial to workers?
Yes. Using fewer chemicals helps create a better work environment by decreasing exposure to dangerous substances. In addition, regenerative agriculture is based on knowledge and attention to detail, making the worker’s role of greater importance. They acquire valuable know-how and take greater pride in their work.
2. What is the science behind it?
What are the main principles of regenerative agriculture?
Regenerative agriculture is an approach to food and farming systems that is focused on regenerating top soil and increasing biodiversity on the farm.
The key principles from TFFG are:
- Minimisation of soil disturbance such as tillage or other land preparation activities
- Minimisation of agrochemical use
- 100%, year-round soil coverage with living plants
- Promotion of mixed cropping and biodiversified systems
- Creation of context-specific designs
Is it similar to precision agriculture?
No, but it can be complementary. Precision agriculture is based on a better understanding of soil heterogeneity within a field. It aims at reducing the quantity of inputs by improving the distribution across the fields. This improved distribution of inputs increases crop quality and quantity. We believe that precision agriculture is an important additional tool for us as it is helpful in managing more complex systems.
3. How does it impact farm management?
Positively. Since we embarked on the regenerative journey, the management of our farms has evolved greatly. The impact on our operations is highly beneficial as it promotes long-term and wise management, and builds a resilient business. Our fruit benefits directly from a new diet and healthier soil. The quality of our soil, which is the core asset of a fruit grower, has already improved a great deal. All future crops will benefit from this healthier soil. Operationally speaking, we save a lot of cash, fuel and water by reducing the use of chemical inputs and using cover crops. We also significantly reduce our negative impact on biodiversity, biomass and the environment as a whole. It makes our company more appealing to workers and local communities as we invest in preserving the land and local ecosystems.
Does it require specific technology or knowledge?
A lot of inspiring knowledge and very little technology. Regenerative agriculture is first and foremost an attitude and work philosophy, in which collaborating with natural ecosystems and supporting life are key. Placing diversity and the complexity of relations at the heart of what we do, we have moved towards a knowledge-based agriculture that leads to high standards of quality at every step of our operations. We experiment, we measure the results and we learn. We improve… continuously.
How is packaging affected?
Directly. Regenerative agriculture does not tackle packaging as such. Yet our mission to work in accordance with nature leads us to challenge and rethink our packaging. We have set a target to remove all plastic from our supply chain by 2020.
How do you deal with transportation?
Indirectly. Transportation is not in our hands to control, so we have launched a number of initiatives instead. We are currently in discussion with retailers to supply pineapples without leaf crowns for example. It would reduce transportation volumes by 40%. In addition, we compensate carbon emissions so that our operations are carbon neutral.
4. How does it impact the farm's business?
What do customers think of it?
Wow, this is great. Although fruit is seen as a commodity in today’s market, our customers are very interested in this approach as it brings value and meaning to the production and distribution processes.
On top of that, there is a growing feeling that agriculture is at risk in current climate trends. So pioneering to tackle these risks is well received by customers and investors alike.
How do you manage the risk of transforming your farm?
We experiment, we learn, we iterate. We are on a journey to transform our farm using the principles of regenerative agriculture. The idea is that it will benefit our customers; therefore we plan our transformation and manage change to ensure that promised quality and quantity are delivered on time and on budget. We experiment on pilot plots first. Once the risks are mitigated and the methodology proven, we deploy it on a larger scale.