Regenerative agriculture is a much talked about concept but is being used in different ways by different actors in the food and agricultural industries. Sigill Kvalitetssystem initiated a project in 2021 to find a definition and guidelines for the use of the term regenerative agriculture in the Nordic countries. The project har ended, and you can watch the final seminar to see the conclusions.
Regenerative Agriculture has created quite the buzz but what does it mean for Nordic conditions? A cooperation between environmental and farmers organisations set out to produce a definition for regenerative agriculture, based on science.
The term Regenerative Agriculture was coined in the US and a lot of the content is based on the conditions and challenges they have there. The climate and the sustainability challenges in the Nordics differ from them in the US and it is not possible to apply the methods and principles here directly.
The term has gained popularity the latest five years and is used by more and more actors. But what you mean and what methods are used differ a lot and the scientific evidence for the methods results on carbon sequestration, soil health and more vary.
Regenerative agriculture can contribute to solve many of the chellenges we are facing. If we ensure that we mean the same when we talk about it so the term is not watered down, and that the methods used in fact lead to an increased uptake of carbon from the atmosphere, more fertile soils that can hold more water and produce greater yields without demanding more inputs.
A project to create a definition that works and have a scientific support under Nordic conditions started in 2021 and ended in spring 2023.
PLANNED OBJECTIVES AND RESULTS
There is an overall picture in the Nordics of what regenerative agriculture means as a whole and what its components are. Regenerative agriculture contributes to clearly increased sustainability in agriculture under Nordic conditions.
A concise definition of regenerative agriculture under Nordic conditions that has broad roots in the sectors concerned. Guidelines for regenerative methods and/or result-based assessments, as well as guidelines for what can be considered regenerative agriculture in the Nordics.
Central Organization for Finnish Horticulture
The Federation of Swedish Farmers
The Norwegian Agrarian Association
The Swedish Organic Farmers Association
Sigill Kvalitetssystem, Sweden
Swedish Society for Nature Conservation
The project had a large reference group with representation from food industry, farmers, advisors, academics and more.
16 November Reference group meeting 1
17 March Reference group meeting 2
22 September Reference group meeting 3
November Guidelines sent out to reference group for final comments
Winter Steering group have processed a document
27 april Final reference group meeting and closure of project
16th November, 2021
The first reference group meeting
The first reference group meeting was held the 16th of November and about 50 persons participated. Helena Allard, Sigill Kvalitetssystem, told the group about the background of the project and the work ahead. Christina Cheng, Sprillo, talked about the benefits of a common definition when communicating regenerative agriculture and Thomas Keller, SLU, talked about how soil management practices can give different results depending on conditions such as climate, soil type etc.
Link to recording of the first reference group meeting: Referensgruppsmöte 1 Definition regenerativt 20211116 - YouTube
17th March, 2022
The second reference group meeting was held the 17th of March. Drafts for definition and what aspects to be covered in the guidelines were presented. Baltic Sea Action Group also presented their work with regenerative agriculture.
Link to a recording of the meeting: https://youtu.be/KQ_Br4CiIqY
A definition and aspects were presented: Definition and aspects Regenerative Agriculture 22-05-06.pdf