In biology, “regeneration” refers to the natural process of replacing or restoring anything damaged or missing within plants or animals. In the spiritual or moral sense, it's likened to rebirth or reform. And in agriculture, where we as humans have the capacity to improve the future of both the planet and the health and welfare of our children, regeneration points the way towards positive expansion in measurable, scientific, and even altruistic ways. This is because the very act of participating can bring a new sense of fulfillment to the participant...and by the way, getting your hands dirty is not a requirement!
Regenerative agriculture starts with farming practices such as composting, cover-cropping, managed grazing, and reduced tilling, and it culminates in the simple yet crucial act of consumers who choose to purchase products grown this way over others. Aside from naughty cravings and last-minute whims, most of us select food products based on taste, nutrition, sourcing, processing, and cost. We want to like what we eat. We want to perform optimally with what we put into our systems. We want to feel confident that we’re not harming ourselves or others, and we're really not trying to go broke from grocery shopping (at least not before we’ve traveled the world). All of these are logical things to consider when deciding what goes into our bodies. But once we have a number of options that are relatively equal within each category, how do we decide which product to choose?
Among the world’s crops, we might say Chocho is a multi-talented superstar, and a generous one at that. Its properties—a non-isolate whole food containing more protein than soy, pea, and quinoa combined, and as much calcium as a glass of milk—make it a force unto itself. But add to this the fact that for centuries, Andean farming communities have planted Chocho because they know it puts nitrogen into the soil and thereby increases the strength of other crops, and we have a reflection of what “regeneration” is truly all about.
To regenerate is to become more than. More than what was. More than “me” or “you.” More than the present moment in time. For some of us, and maybe someday for all of us, choosing foods like Chocho means more than filling our stomachs and satisfies more than just our appetites. It offers us a chance to help create positive and meaningful change, and to leave the world better than we found it.
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