The concepts of regenerative farming and sustainability were the topic of discussion during one of the sessions at the recent Organic Grower Summit. Moderated by Walt Duflock, Vice President of Innovation at Western Growers, the education session addressed the question of marketing around sustainable and regenerative practices. Duflock explained that both ‘regenerative’ and ‘sustainable’ have become very popular buzzwords, but the concepts are nothing new to farmers.
“No farmer wakes up out of bed panicked about ‘oh boy, I’ve got to be more regenerative. I’ve got to be more sustainable.’ Not that they don’t care about it, it’s that if you’re a fifth-generation family farmer, you have sustained yourself through five generations of family farming. It’s table stakes,” Duflock explained. “We were already aware of these buzzwords; we just didn’t think to go market around them. So, it’s funny how hot they’ve become because to us it’s just standard operating.”
While regenerative farming and sustainability have become more prevalent in the minds of consumers, farmers have traditionally held these concepts as basic principles for production. Duflock points out that producers have always been invested in sustainability in order to “grow the food with newer and better and faster tools, to make it safer, better and arrive at the customers’ doorstep faster.” Even with regenerative and sustainable practices being ingrained in the agricultural industry, the general public may not be aware. Duflock noted that with historically fewer people involved in agriculture, educating consumers about production becomes even more important.
“We have to tell the folks that no longer know the farmers just what we’re up to and how we’re doing it, and why we’re doing it better than ever to grow all that great food that they want to buy at the market,” said Duflock. “They want to buy those foods today, tomorrow, and the day after. We can do a better job of messaging.”