Regenerative practices range from growing trees and reverting croplands to wild prairies, to rotating crops and allowing remnants after harvest to decompose into the ground. The techniques, already popular with small-scale organic growers, are steadily gaining traction among big farms and ranches as the chaotic effects of climate change and financial pressure from agribusiness giants eat away at their businesses.

“This is about covering the soil, feeding the soil and not disrupting it,” said Betsy Taylor, the president at Breakthrough Strategies & Solutions, a consultancy that focuses on regenerative agriculture. “Those are the basic principles.”

Countries such as France are promoting large-scale government programs to encourage farmers to increase the carbon stored in soil. Members of Congress have also proposed legislation to push regenerative farming in the U.S., and several states are designing their own policies. Progressive think tanks call for small shifts in existing U.S. Department of Agriculture programs and beefed-up research funding that could trigger the biggest changes to American farming in almost a century.

While the benefits to soil and food nutrition are difficult to dispute, regenerative farming has its critics. They argue that its climate advantages are overhyped or unproven, the product of wishful thinking about a politically palatable solution, and that the focus on regenerative farming risks distracting policymakers from more effective, if less exciting, strategies.

Read the full article about the potential of regenerative farming by Breanna Draxler at YES! Magazine.