A New Choice For Consumers: Regenerative Organic

The USDA organic label has changed the way Americans eat, serving as a trusted seal for shoppers looking to avoid chemicals and synthetics. As of 2016, nearly 15,000 U.S. farms across 5 million acres had been certified organic. But as the market continues to grow, we're realizing that it isn't doing enough to protect the health of farmland. Regenerative agriculture takes the philosophy one step further, and it's about to be the next label to look out for in stores.

MegaFood, along with other major companies like Ben & Jerry's, Danone, and Annie's, are betting it's because there isn't enough credible information out there to help farmers change their ways. They're joining together with advocacy groups Carbon Underground and Green America to put a data-backed, industry-wide standard in place to help growers measure their impact, set new goals, and achieve real results quickly.

Though it's still a work in progress, this standard could eventually feed into a labeling scheme like the upcoming Regenerative Organic Certification (ROC) seal.

Jessica Evans, the director of standards at NSF International, the organization behind the seal, says that shoppers can expect to see it in stores as early as mid-2019. In many ways, it will serve as the next step beyond organic, and farms will need to carry the USDA-certified organic label before they can become certified regenerative. Twenty companies—including Justin's, Thrive Market, Patagonia, and Dr. Bronner—are already piloting the certification.

- The above is excerpted from an article entitled, "The New Food Label You're Going To Want On Your Radar." Read the whole thing here: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/regenerative-agriculture-label

Suston Magazine has this to say about this new certification:

Following the success of the organics movement, and in response to several of its shortcomings, this month saw the launch of the Regenerative Organic Certification (ROC). Initiated by the Rodale Institute in partnership with Textile Exchange and Patagonia, among others, ROC seeks to take sustainable agriculture to the next level by combining three ambitious sets of benchmarks into one certification: proven organic agricultural practices that regenerate the soil, enhanced animal welfare and social fairness.

While most organic certification schemes focus on mitigating soil damage by preventing erosion and prohibiting synthetic pesticides and herbicides, the Rodale Institute believes we can, and should, aim to improve soil quality by adding nutrients and building up organic matter. This approach would also have positive climate implications as soil is an excellent carbon sink. Soil is so effective, in fact, that a 2014 study by the Institute calculated that if all current farmland and pasture shifted to regenerative organic practices, 100% of annual global CO₂ emissions could be sequestered.

ROC is not intended to supplant existing certification schemes, but instead to support them. A company can apply for certification once they’ve attained a recognized organic, animal welfare and fair trade certification, and additionally made the changes ROC requires under each category.

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