How do we measure the success of regenerative agriculture?

What’s the problem with regenerative agriculture?

Regenerative agriculture refers to a wide array of agricultural practices designed to restore the global ecosystem, protect soil, water and local communities and prevent biodiversity loss while feeding a growing population. However, for the last few years, the industry has been struggling to agree on a definition and framework to measure the success of new initiatives and strategies.

While some attempts​ have been made to set out clear parameters, at COP28 Regen10​, an initiative run by organisations including the Sustainable Food Trust and the Food and Land Use Coalition unveiled its Zero Draft Outcomes-Based Framework. Its aim is to build an evidence base that makes clear what can be measured at farm and landscape level that captures deep environmental, social, and economic outcomes.

A real world approach to regenerative agriculture

By taking into account farmers’ experiences, the wellbeing of local communities, and aiming to focus on outcomes rather than methods, Regen10 believes this will help deliver a more complete picture of the state of agricultural land globally.

“A focus on outcomes over practices is critical because practices in one place do not always deliver the same outcomes as practices used in another – acknowledging there are many ways to build a regenerative food system,” Theodora Ewer, Program Manager for Regen10, tells FoodNavigator.

The framework will be developed through consultations with farmers, business, experts and academia, civil society and indigenous peoples to optimise its potential. It will also be trialled on the ground in farms and landscapes to see how it works in real life.