As the organic movement flourished, certification companies began to emerge, with the power to grant specific labels guaranteeing authenticity of food that are “sustainably-grown”. These labels are seen everywhere in grocery stores, giving consumers a sense of peace when choosing which product to buy. But does “sustainability” even vibe with our society anymore? Is the word sustainablegoing to be, well, sustainable for the livelihood of our future generations?
It’s not just about preserving what we have now. What can we do beyondorganics that will continuously improve our environment? Farmers that use regenerative agriculture apply their skills and solutions by working one with nature through a holistic approach. The idea of regeneration surpasses the word sustainable and transcends it to a progressive term that is more thought-provoking to the general audience. Even from a consumers’ standpoint, all this generation wants is to thrive in a world that is ever-evolving and expanding with new ideas. In this way, the concept of “regenerating” agriculture resonates with the public far better than the notion of ‘living in a sustainable environment’.
Our farm’s emphasis on Regenerative Agriculture started about 30 years ago. The land used to extend for hectares and hectares, but decided to cut the tea field in half to put more focus on what really matters. Mimicking nature as much as possible, we use the changing seasons to our advantage as well as harboring the balance between inanimate things including soil, minerals and rocks. Every environmental piece is integral for our farm to become a complete life force -- from the health of the soil, crops, animals, to our farmers nurturing it.
Our most valuable player in regenerative practice is soil fertility. The soil is living just as much as the crop, and plays a huge role in plant growth when treated with fertilizer. Realizing that there is no fertilizer out in the market that carries a positive effect on human health, we began to produce our own fertilizer from scratch. To prevent waste, we collect the surplus of scraps and leftovers from global supermarkets, gather the waste of our farm animals and return it back to nature to ferment through the microorganisms. By befriending these microbes, our plants grow stronger as the soil softens.
Minerals are considered to be a major source in soil health. Our tea farm hails all the way across seas in the southernmost tip of Japan, called Kagoshima, where Mount Sakurajima erupts 100-200 times a year. Capitalizing our natural surroundings, this actually works in favor for our tea. The volcanic ash contains a very high mineral content that is broken down and absorbed into the soil. These minerals form strong bonds with organic matter (specifically carbon and nitrogen), containing essential nutrients for rapid regrowth. In a habitation where the terrain is constantly being destroyed, the soil builds the immunity to bounce back quickly to become fertile again.
Another way we apply our region to the fullest and regenerate resources is the inclusion of sedimentary rocks. These are formed from magma erupted into the air, and sunken down to the oceanic floors. In the abyss lived various plankton that helped accumulate the sea minerals to form into rocks, eventually rising to surface level. Those rocks are then processed into powder-form, incorporated into our homemade fertilizer.
So what does all this mean to you as a consumer?Nutrient-rich soil produce nutrient-rich plants that ultimately provide for a healthier you.Our health is directly linked to the integrity of all living things, and our land should be treated better than just as a mere resource to be exploited, but as a vital vehicle for the future of our socioeconomic, biological and physical environments.