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The 5 Key Takeaways of Regenerative Agriculture Landscape Analysis

The Textile Exchange recently published Regenerative Agriculture Landscape Analysis - the first report to offer a nuanced framework for the fashion and textile industry to credibly understand, implement and describe the benefits of regenerative agriculture.

Here are the 5 key takeaways from the analysis:

  1. The fashion and textile industries must make the transition to regenerative agriculture.
  2. Regenerative agriculture can’t be defined in a single statement or set of practices.
  3. Programs should be rooted in justice, equity, and livelihoods.
  4. Regenerative agriculture is about much more than increasing soil carbon levels.
  5. We need to move out of silos to speed up the transition.

Now let's look take a closer look at these key takeaways. 

  • The fashion and textile industries must make the transition to regenerative agriculture.

The fashion and textile industries must make the transition to regenerative agriculture.

    The concept behind regenerative agriculture is to contribute to improving the soil and the ecosystem. Practices such as minimal or no-tillage, composting, and managed grazing helps in enriching the soil and restoring even the most compromised soil quality. It is about collaborating with farmers to develop more resilient systems that benefit both society and the environment. Regenerative agriculture improves the soil's capacity to absorb and sequester carbon from the atmosphere. This is what connects the textile industry to climate change remedies. Textile farms and establishments in a cleaner environment (and in the same geographical area) can also minimize CO2 emissions and transportation-related carbon pollution. The goal must be to produce clothing that is not just attractive and durable, but also "pro-climate" that contributes to local prosperity.

    • Regenerative agriculture can’t be defined in a single statement or set of practices.

    Regenerative agriculture can’t be defined in a single statement or set of practices.

    Regenerative agriculture is outcome-driven. Prescribing an arranged set of practices cannot make up regenerative agriculture because every situation is different. For example, the solution to the prevailing farmers’ situation is not the same as mitigating climate change or improving soil conditions. While the problems are interconnected, certain practices will work in some scenarios, while others will not. As the textile exchange report puts it— regenerative agriculture is contextual and nuanced, calling for a holistic systems approach that puts humans and ecosystems at its core.

    • Programs should be rooted in justice, equity, and livelihoods.

    Programs should be rooted in justice, equity, and livelihoods

    Indigenous peoples are associated with lands that support their livelihood. Despite this, they often have to struggle for the acknowledgment of their rights, cultural roots, and heritage— owing to racism and discrimination. According to a UN report, many countries are yet to recognize Indigenous peoples' collective rights. And in some, the law refuses to recognize Indigenous peoples' rights even after having acquired constitutional immunity or official land and resource documents. Be it a result of industrial projects, natural calamities, or even political events, the destruction of community lands has severe repercussions. It constraints nearby resources, increasing competition and further driving up risks of community conflicts and violence. All of these factors impact the rest of the world in major ways as indigenous peoples operate about a quarter of the world's land surface, and sustain about 80% of the world's biodiversity (despite accounting for less than five percent of the world's population). Unfortunately, Indigenous peoples also represent approximately 15% of the world's poor and have 20 years lower life expectancy as compared to non-indigenous groups. This heightens the urgency to protect them at all costs as they are the stewards of nature (and without nature, there will be no life).

    Regenerative agriculture focuses on uplifting Indigenous peoples and other marginalized groups through greater land access, fair and living wages, providing the safest possible workplace and living conditions, etc. It works with communities rather than displacing them, facilitating a wider range of land uses while preventing the abuse of environmental assets.

    • Regenerative agriculture is about much more than increasing soil carbon levels.

    Regenerative agriculture is about much more than increasing soil carbon levels

    Regenerative measures revitalize soil biology, making it more able to support a balanced environment. This leads to not only a higher carbon sequestration level but also an increase in crop production. The main principles of regenerative agriculture emphasize promoting soil quality, enhancing plant diversity, protecting topsoil with plants or natural materials through maximum possible living roots, and expanding livestock. All of these eventually result in a two-fold, interconnected transition in farm performance. As the soil restores and performs its functions with full potential, the dependence on chemical components decreases or disappears. Ultimately, beyond increasing soil carbon level, regeneratively operated agriculture lands and cattle farms experience lowered production costs and increased earnings.

    • We need to move out of silos to speed up the transition.

    We need to move out of silos to speed up the transition

    Silos, unsurprisingly, are amongst the major impediments to collaborative efforts. A communication gap in any company creates organizational barriers, slows down productivity, and lowers the chance of success. And the same applies to saving the planet. Making the world a better place to live in is a large project that requires hands-on assistance from every industry. Regenerative agriculture alone will not be able to mitigate climate change, produce more food, and save lives. Industries must work together and find solutions to the problem by sharing information and practicing transparency and traceability. The agriculture, apparel, footwear, food, textile, beverage sectors must build their models, objectives, and strategies with that vision in mind. Creating a unified mission through clear communication and greater information-sharing to assist regenerative agriculture and bring transformation. 

      Terra Thread’s Regenerative Progress 

      Terra Thread and parent company, Gallant International Inc., have embraced regenerative— over 3500 acres of land as officially Regenerative Organic Certified™. We have helped more than 700 farmers to transition to regenerative organic cotton. The goal is to dedicate to regenerative organic practices and establish transparent and traceable supply to demonstrate that sustainable fashion can make a difference

      Learn about our journey towards regenerative agriculture in the latest Forbes article. And, to learn more about Regenerative Organic Agriculture visit Regenerative Organic Alliance (ROA)

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