To combat wildfire outbreaks, Greek farmers and outreach programs are working to demonstrate that regenerative agricultural practices offer a solution by improving soil health and increasing water retention.

In 2021 wildfires in Greece burned five times more land than the yearly average between 2008 and 2020, according to recent data from the European Forest Information System. While estimates of regenerative practices vary, just 10 percent of Greek agricultural land utilizes organic practices, data from EuroStat show. But according to a report published in Soil and Tillage Research, plots that used regenerative techniques such as no-till farming had “significantly higher water retention” compared to conventional plots. And a study in Agroecosystem Diversity finds that another practice, cover cropping, has the potential to reduce water evaporation and run-off, while improving soil water storage capacity.

Recognizing the benefits of regenerative farming, the Greek nonprofit Southern Lights supports is helping food producers interested in transitioning to these more sustainable practices. They launched their Regenerative Farming Support Program in 2021 at a time when “the smell of fire was in the air,” Sheila Darmos, Founder of Southern Lights, tells Food Tank.

Southern Light offers a knowledge-sharing platform to six pilot farms through their  Support Program. In coordination with the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania, Southern Lights will share their findings with other Greek farmers to expand regenerative agriculture nationwide.

Read the full article about regenerative farming by Max Sano at Food Tank.