In the year 2017, with 7 billion people inhabiting this lovely blue-green globe, it is vital for us to reassess how we grow our food not just to feed the world, but also to cool the planet.
By John W. Roulac, Founder and CEO, Nutiva
Richmond, CA (February 28, 2017) — While the food movement debates the dubious safety of the herbicide Roundup or what role Monsanto or GMOs 2.0 will play, one huge issue—how we create fertility for our food crops—is being overlooked.
Nutiva agrees with the Dutch saying that “Fertilizer is good for the father and bad for the sons.”
The vast majority of farmers in the United States, Canada, the European Union, and Australia apply anhydrous ammonia, the technical name of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer, to their crops. The fertilizers used in Canada and the U.S. run off during rainstorms into streams that flow into rivers that then flow into our oceans. This practice is leading to thousands of oceanic dead zones that include the Gulf of Mexico.
Hemp, like corn, is a heavy nitrogen feeder. Natural food shoppers need to know that most hemp and cannabis growers in the U.S. and Canada apply this same very unnatural chemical fertilizer to their non-organic, conventionally grown crops.
Nutiva, however, sources Certified Organic hemp from Canadian hemp farmers who, instead of using synthetic fertilizer, rotate with cover crops like peas or alfalfa that sequester nitrogen from the air. This year, Nutiva will also source organic hemp from U.S. farmers.
Regenerative Agriculture Defined
On February 27, 2017, The Carbon Underground and the Regenerative Agricultural Initiative at California State University, Chico, CA, released a co-authored definition of Regenerative Agriculture, endorsed by such organizations as Annie’s Inc., Burroughs Family Farms, Dr. Bronner’s, Green America, Numi Tea, Nutiva, and the Organic Consumers Association:
“Regenerative Agriculture” describes farming and grazing practices that, among other benefits, reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity—resulting in both carbon drawdown and improving the water cycle.
Specifically, the defining statement says, Regenerative Agriculture is a holistic land management practice that leverages the power of photosynthesis in plants to close the carbon cycle and build soil health, crop resilience, and nutrient density.
Representatives from more than 100 countries came together to support this unified definition for the quickly emerging “Regenerative” approach to growing food, shown to provide multiple benefits to food security, health, and climate change.
According to Tim LaSalle, Ph.D., former head of the Rodale Institute and Co-director of the Regenerative Agriculture Initiative at Cal State Chico, “Regenerative agriculture keeps the natural cycles healthy—like water and carbon—so that land can keep growing food and keep carbon and the climate in balance.”
As Ronnie Cummins, Director of the Organic Consumers Association succinctly observed, “Organic food keeps people healthy. Regenerative agriculture keeps the planet healthy.”
Since 1999, Nutiva has supported best farming practices and has donated, via its 1% program, more than $4 million to various projects including giving 100,000 coconut seedlings to small farms in the Philippines, GMOInside campaigns to change the food system, and supporting the upcoming film Kiss the Ground, focusing on Regenerative Agriculture.
Nutiva will be at Natural Products Expo West, the world's largest natural and organic products trade exposition, in Booth #2412, Hall C, at the Anaheim Convention Center, March 10-12, 2017, along with several of these groups that will share their mission and successes with show attendees.
Chemical Fertilizer Impacts Soils and Climate
Grist Magazine published an excellent article exposing how the science showing that fertilizers harm soil life and reduce soil carbon is ignored and not discussed at agriculture schools across the U.S.
Not only is chemical fertilizer harmful for soils; it’s also impacting climate change. University of California, Berkeley, scientists discovered in 2012 that increased synthetic fertilizer use over the past 50 years has been responsible for a dramatic rise in atmospheric nitrous oxide, a powerful greenhouse gas that by some estimates has 300 times more impact than carbon dioxide on global warming.
Additionally, chemical nitrogen fertilizer is often synthesized from natural gas derived from hydraulic fracking, a controversial extraction technique that may contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and groundwater pollution, Mother Jones reported.
The forthcoming book, Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan to Reverse Global Warming, to be published in April 2017 by Project Drawdown, analyzes 100 solutions, over 30 of which are land/ocean-based, including pasture cropping, industrial hemp, and ocean farming. Subtitled "The most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming," the book will introduce solutions already known, understood, and implemented across the world, detailing the history, impact, path to adoption, how it works and where solutions are being implemented.
We Vote Three Times Each Day
Please remember that what you eat has a direct effect on climate and soils. Thus you “vote” three times a day based on your meal choices. It’s time to just say yes to Regenerative Agriculture practices that build soil carbon, heal our oceans, and offer the best solution to climate chaos.
John Roulac will be a featured panelist at a sneak preview of the documentary Kiss the Ground at Climate Day, Wednesday, March 8, 2017, at Natural Products Expo West.
Visit Nutiva and leading proponents of Regenerative Agriculture at Natural Products Expo West, the world's largest natural and organic products trade exposition, Booth #2412, Hall C,March 10-12, 2017, at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA.
John W. Roulac, founder and CEO of the superfoods company Nutiva, based in Richmond, CA, also has founded five ecological nonprofit groups, including GMO Inside, where he serves as Co-Chair, and the Nutiva Foundation. Nutiva contributes 1% of all sales to support sustainable agriculture. John has written four books, includingBackyard Composting and Hemp Horizons. He is a contributor toEcoWatch and New Hope Network's Idea XChange.