Stepping Beyond Sustainability with Regenerative Agriculture

“Sustainable.” 

It’s a word we hear from a lot of brands and food sources, and it’s a first step toward a healthier planet. But is it enough?

Frankly, we don’t think so. The literal definition of “sustainable” is “harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.” Sustainable practices, while they have value, are practices that are specifically designed to keep our planet from getting worse—minimizing our footprint and the damage we create simply by living. BUT, did you know that there are tangible things we can do that actually make our existence beneficial to our planet?

Goodbye, sustainable. Hello, regenerative!

Regenerative agriculture consists of practices that benefit soil health, animal welfare, and community development. While sustainability focuses on net-zero or minimal impact, regeneration is net-positive and provides a cycle that benefits farming, supply chain, and the environment. This type of farming goes beyond sustainability, and is one of the most impactful and cohesive ways we can create meaningful change as humans.

How Chocho makes a difference.

The main ingredient we use at Mikuna is Chocho, an ancient legume used by the Inca and Tiwanaku for thousands of years as a medium for nourishment and seed saving. Chocho is nourishing for the body, the soil, and the communities where it’s grown. Here are three of the primary aspects of regenerative agriculture that we focus on at Mikuna.

Healthier land
Chocho is an amazing cover crop. As it grows, it fixes nitrogen into the soil, making it more fertile and nutrient-dense. Primary crops like quinoa and potatoes, when planted directly after Chocho, often see much higher production yields (as much as 188% higher!). Read more about Chocho as a cover crop.

Minimal soil disturbance
The cultivation of Chocho requires minimal tillage (the preparation of land for growing crops) and soil disruption just once annually, and Chocho thrives on rainwater alone. Plus, no harmful chemicals or synthetic pesticides are used, so the food, the soil, and the neighboring wildlife are healthier.
Community wellbeing 
Indigenous farmers have been growing Chocho for generations, but as it becomes a larger part of the conversation, Andean farmers can increase and share their yields with a broader audience, strengthening their families and communities.

What can you do to be more regenerative?

  • Learn more. Don’t just take it from us! There are many resources for people who are looking for more information about regenerative agriculture. Here are just a few of our favorites:
  • Support regenerative efforts. Choose your food from regenerative farms, avoid factory farming, and opt for smaller food and lifestyle brands that are walking the walk. To help you get started, here is an interactive map of regenerative farms across the US.

  • Understanding and shrinking your “foodprint.” Measure the impact of your diet and consumption habits. You’d be surprised how making small tweaks and building a few new habits can put you on the right track toward a more regenerative lifestyle. Here is a great resource for low carbon “foodprint” recipes that we would recommend: Climate Friendly Recipes

  • Ultimately, you can sustain AND regenerate. 

    Don’t get us wrong. Recycling, eating less meat, and buying sustainable products are still great ways to keep your footprint in check! But we prefer to employ practices that leave our planet better than we found it, and we’re doing it one mighty little Chocho at a time. 

    Welcome to the regenerative revolution.



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