Regenerative agriculture is farming using a set of principles where practices consistently restore the quality, health and resilience of the soil, water, air, ecosystems, and biodiversity. It recognises the link between agriculture and natural eco-systems. Often it means going back to more traditional, small-scale methods of farming that are now being proved to help flood and crop resilience. The term regenerative agriculture was coined by the Rodale Institute in the 1980s together with the Soil Association, they have championed organic agriculture, organic cotton and other fibres over the years.
Fibres, farmed alongside foods through regenerative farming practices protect land from contamination by pesticides and insecticides. They also actively work to improve soil live matter, the biota that live within it, ecosystems and habitats promoting biodiversity and resilience. Regenerative farming also helps reverse climate change through carbon drawdown and an improved water cycle. In doing so, crops are healthier and problematic pests are reduced because natural eco-systems that keep them in check are restored. Small scale farmers are the stewards of the land and their sustainable farming knowledge should be respected and supported. This is how we farmed until the introduction of fossil fuel-derived fertilisers and pesticides in the late 1930s.
Organic cotton removes the use of toxic chemicals and uses significantly less water than conventional cotton as soil health is promoted. Brands are moving towards GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified cotton (GOTS the leading organic textile standards) and supporting their farming suppliers to transition to GOTs.
Emerging brands are also working with other low impact materials such as flax, linen, hemp and other low impact plant fibres.