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  • A farmer works his field in Patharkot village, India.

    A farmer works his field in Patharkot village, India. | Photo: UNFAO

Published 9 June 2015

Activists say the close connection between soil health, climate change, and global food security calls for radical alternatives.

A diverse group of scientists, farmers, and activists from 21 nations have launched a movement to “feed the world and reverse climate change” through sustainable and regenerative agriculture as a response to intersecting global crises.

Climate change, soil degradation, and the power of alternative methods of food production and land stewardship to mitigate threats to the global food system topped the agenda for participants in the Regeneration International conference wrapping up on Tuesday at Costa Rica's Finca Luna Nueva organic and biodynamic farm.

"This is new science that’s connecting the food issues with the climate issue, making it more and more clear that by fixing the soil, and fixing the way we produce food, we can fix the climate as well," said Organic Consumers Association international director and Regeneration International steering committee member Ronnie Cummins in a statement.

A growing body of scientific research is showing that holistic, agroecological, and regenerative agricultural practices make farming more resilient, increase crop yields, and are a key part of the agricultural transformation required to strengthen global food security in a changing climate.

RELATED: 'Climate-Smart' Agriculture Is a Corporate Deception

In 2013, a United Nations report on trade and the environment called for “a paradigm shift in agricultural development” from industrial chemical-intensive and monocultural farming to an “ecological intensive” approach prioritizing holistic management of water, soil, and agro-ecosystems.

"Bringing soil to the center of our consciousness and our planning is vital not only for the life of the soil, but also for the future of our society,” said food and seed sovereignty activist and Regeneration International steering committee member Vandana Shiva in a statement. “Regenerative agriculture provides answers to the soil crisis, the food crisis, the health crisis, the climate crisis and the crisis of democracy.”

The announcement of the new movement at the Regeneration International conference comes days after the world's largest social movement La Via Campesina launched a pan-European campaign for peoples' control of land, seeds, and water advocating food sovereignty as an alternative model to the corporate-controlled global food system.

RELATED: La Via Campesina Reclaims Right to Food for People, not Profit

Focused on uniting movements and campaigns to organize around alternative food production methods, climate change adaptation, carbon sequestration, and soil health restoration, the Regeneration International conference is the first of a series of similar international meetings.

Regeneration International is a coalition of activists, farmers, and researchers that promotes the “multifunctional benefits of regenerative forms of agriculture such as agro-ecology, holistic grazing, cover cropping, permaculture, and agroforestry” as critical to countering the detrimental impacts of industrial farming on the environment and small farmers.

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