A regenerative agriculture system can only be achieved in
practice with a mosaic of innovative solutions. Some of these solutions may
exist as best practices today and most likely there will be a need to develop
‘next practice’ solutions in practice.
Therefore, the team of researchers cooperates with a community of practice of 20 farmers in the Netherlands. This community is set up to facilitate the sharing of best practices between farmers, to measure the impact of best practices and helps researchers to learn from farmers what systemic changes are needed to enable a transition towards regenerative agriculture.
In addition to this Dutch community of practice we can learn from the international lighthouse farm network of Wageningen University & Research.
The community of practice consists of 20 farmers now. In the first step we are measering to what extend the farmers are practising regenerative methods at present.
The Dutch community of practice and the international lighthouse farm network represent a breath of best agricultural practices that may contribute to a regenerative system. These practices vary from system approaches in order to create a new system, to relatively small adjustments to the current system.
We use the ‘donut’ method of visualizing the performance of participants in our Community of Practice against criteria of regenerative farming. This shows whether the farm stays within ecological boundaries and stands on a socioeconomic foundation. For each participant, we start with a self-assessment of the current situation, the starting point and future goals. This is followed by objective measurement of the actual outcomes on each topic in the ‘donut’.
Many farmers also make combinations of various practices.
The list of best practices so far consists of the following practices.
Soil-based plant production practices
Soil-based animal production practices
Soil-based mixed plant/animal production practices
Non soil-based circular systems