How Regenerative Organic Agriculture can help adapt and Restore Climate change
Coffee farming is facing a barrage of climate challenges that may be too late to reverse. So, farmers are looking for ways to restore what’s been lost and adapt to an uncertain climate future. One promising strategy is Regenerative Organic Certification®.
Regenerative Organic Certification® was established in 2017 by a group of farmers, business leaders, and experts in soil health, animal welfare, and social fairness collectively called the Regenerative Organic Alliance, or ROA. Regenerative Organic Certification® is a method of farming that incorporates restoring soil, respecting animal welfare, and improving the lives of farmers. It aims to sequester carbon, build healthier farming communities, and produce more nutritious and abundant crops. ROC draws from Indigenous wisdom and practices by employing methods such as cover cropping, crop rotation, low- to no-till, adding compost to soil, and zero chemical inputs. Farmers can go as far as to create wildlife habitats and incorporate agroforestry systems. Agroforestry helps farmers adapt to the effects of climate change via natural pest control methods, a focus on conserving natural resources, and creating plant and land buffers against extreme climate changes.
Regenerative Organic Certified® (ROC) is a new certification for food, fiber, and personal care ingredients that sets the world’s highest standard for organic agriculture, with stringent requirements for soil health, animal welfare, and social equity. ROC uses the USDA Certified Organic standard as a baseline, then adds criteria that incorporate three major pillars: Soil Health & Land Management, Animal Welfare, and Farmer & Worker Fairness.
Currently, 129 farms, 326 types of crops, and 82 brands are ROC-certified. Three producer groups in Nicaragua and one in Sierra Leone represent the first wave of ROC-certified coffee growing operations. Coffees from those groups moved through the ROC-certified Cooperativa Sacaclí in Nicaragua, and are sold by four coffee roasters in California, including Groundwork. As one of the first roasters to offer ROC coffee, Groundwork was proud to launch a medium roast from Cooperativa Sacalí this year.