Regenerative farming is key to securing our food future | Inquirer Opinion

Regenerative farming is key to securing our food future

/ 04:05 AM April 04, 2023

Food is an essential part of our lives, but the way we produce and consume it has enormous impacts on not only our health—but the health and longevity of our planet.

Unfortunately, the food industry’s large-scale pursuit of fast, easy, and cheap food has come at the massive expense of our environment, and it is responsible for a significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, and pollution.

In the Philippines—where 40 percent of the population relies on agriculture, a sector that contributes 20 percent of the country’s gross domestic product—many people are faced with challenges like food security, sustainability, and environmental problems. Additionally, small-scale farmers face challenges accessing markets and obtaining fair prices for their products, further perpetuating poverty and food insecurity.

The good news is that we’re not too late to do something about it, and through a combined effort, we have the power to reverse this situation.


Food security comes full circle. While sustainability is about slowing deterioration, regenerative food practices go even further to future-proof what later generations will inherit from our food systems. In short, regenerative agriculture is a focus on soil health and biodiversity, which uses cover crops, crop rotation, and natural fertilizers to improve soil quality, sequester carbon, and increase yields.

If you’re not sure why this is important, think of it like this—the soil acts like the skin of our planet. It’s a barrier and an important layer that holds nutrients and water, as well as key organisms and organic matter. Without it being healthy, we simply cannot grow quality food. And with food demand set to rise by as much as 50 percent by 2050, and one-third of our soil estimated to be degraded by the Food and Agriculture Organization, this is a big problem.

But transitioning toward regenerative food systems requires a mindset shift away from the linear “take-make-waste” model associated with conventional farming practices, and toward a more circular one that closes supply chains. This means reducing waste, reusing resources, and recycling materials—but it also means connecting producers and consumers to create more localized food systems that are resilient to shocks and disruptions.

This is, of course, easier said than done when it comes to the dominance of large agribusinesses and the industrial food system. And this is why supporting small-scale farmers and producers who prioritize regenerative practices is crucial to beginning to create this more sustainable food system.


In 2016, I started actively engaging our farmers in the aftermath of Supertyphoon “Nina,” and as a result, I founded The Cacao Project, a social enterprise that promotes sustainable farming practices, supports, and empowers local farmers and communities in the Philippines. By providing training to farmers to improve their yields and income, the project promotes sustainable and high-in-demand crops, including cacao seedlings and short-term crops such as bok choy, okra, pumpkins, and more. We also utilize unused or otherwise barren lands to create productive economic forests and livelihoods for local and indigenous farmers. Our project ensures that farmers receive fair pay and are better positioned for sustainable success.

Let’s take a moment to reflect on the impact of our food choices on the environment, and maybe make small changes to live more sustainably. Whether it be buying produce from local markets, supporting small-scale farmers who prioritize regenerative practices, reducing waste, and recycling. Let’s think before we shop and choose to live more lightly on the planet for the benefit of ourselves and future generations.


Louise Mabulo,


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The Cacao Project

TAGS: Farming, food crisis

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