Regenerative Agriculture & Resilient Food Systems: 7 Important Examples

At Nature For Justice (N4J), we’re working with global and local partners to lay the foundation for climate justice.

Regenerative agriculture and resilient food systems refer to holistic approaches to agriculture that prioritize ecosystem health, biodiversity, and soil regeneration. They aim to build resilience and sustainability into food production by promoting regenerative practices, reducing resource inputs, and enhancing ecological functions that promote biodiversity conservation.

Regenerative agriculture and resilient food systems include a vast array of approaches. Here are seven:

1. Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR)
A low-cost, sustainable land restoration technique that involves the selective pruning and assisted regrowth of trees, often with natural reforestation occuring once the right enabling conditions are in place, such as reduced damage from livestock grazing and slash and burn agriculture. FMNR has been successfully implemented in West and East Africa, restoring degraded land, reducing the risk of soil erosion, and promoting biodiversity. In some cases FMNR can be combined with temporary crop farming as the trees mature.
2. Agroforestry

Agroforestry is an integrated farming system that combines crop production with the cultivation of trees and shrubs, often with the trees providing seasonal cash crops. This practice has been implemented in many countries, including Kenya, Mali, Ghana, and Rwanda, providing farmers with additional income while promoting soil health, water conservation, and aquifer recharge.

3. Agroecology

Agroecology is a farming approach based on ecological principles that aims to create resilient food systems that enhance soil fertility, promote biodiversity, and reduce resource use. It emphasizes the interaction between soil, plants, animals, humans, and the environment and balances traditional knowledge with modern scientific research. Agroecology is practiced in many developing countries, such as Cuba, India, and Brazil.

Regenerative Agriculture
Resilient Food Systems
5. Conservation Agriculture (CA)

CA is a set of farming practices that includes minimum tillage, crop rotation, contour farming, reduced fertilizer use, and cover cropping. CA has been adopted in areas with low rainfall, such as Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, improving soil fertility and crop productivity, and reducing soil erosion.

4. Sustainable Fish Farming
In countries where fishing is an important source of livelihood, sustainable fish farming has been promoted as an alternative or complement to marine capture fishing. Sustainable fish farming practices can minimize environmental risks, reduce dependence on fish imports and marine fishing, and improve access to proteins. Examples of sustainable fish farming practices include integrated fish farming, cage fish farming, and pond fish farming.
6. Organic farming

Organic farming practices avoid the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and often genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and instead rely on natural processes and inputs to maintain soil fertility and control pests and diseases. Organic farming practices are adopted in developing countries, such as India, across different food crops, livestock, and forestry.

7. Certified sustainable agriculture
Certified sustainable agriculture: There are a number of certification standards, such as Rainforest Alliance, Global Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), and Fair Trade, that require annual third party audits and farm inspections to demonstrate that agreed sustainable and ethical practices are being followed by the certified organizations and farmers; while these can apply to any scale of farming, the majority of those certified are smallholder farmers that belong to some form of association.
Regenerative Agriculture

These examples show that regenerative agriculture and resilient food systems can be adapted to the needs and context of developing countries, build climate-resilient food systems, enhance soil fertility and biodiversity, and boost local livelihoods.

At Nature For Justice, we focus on communities most impacted by climate change where the adoption of regenerative agriculture and resilient food systems enable communities to adapt to their evolving local context. In the USA, we provide the resources to Black and indigenous farmers who know how to practice regenerative agriculture but lack the means to switch. In Africa, we are using the voluntary carbon markets to generate cash that can be used as a catalyst for regenerative agriculture practices that lead to resilient food systems.


  • Michael O'Brien-Onyeka

    N4J Executive VP - Global Partnerships: Michael brings a wealth of expertise and more than 25 years of experience to this position. Most recently, he was the Senior Vice President – Africa Field Division at Conservation International. In addition, Michael has held senior positions at Greenpeace Africa, Oxfam, the National Democratic Institute, the African Child Policy Forum, and Amnesty International.

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