living roots. Plus, the roots keep fertilizer nutrients from leaching out of the root zone. 5. The fifth principle is very problematic for the almond industry. Our food safety Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) discourage livestock and other animals from entering the orchard. This is to prevent introduction of potential pathogens which could cause human illness — and product recalls which could be very damaging to our ability to sell almonds. Fortunately, while some regenerative agriculture advocates insist on this fifth principle, many others are more understanding of food safety situations such ours and do not insist on animal integration. An overarching theory behind these regenerative agriculture principles is that the combined use of them will also increase the capture of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to fight climate change, while also increasing the soil’s ability to capture and retain rainfall under both wet and dry conditions to make crops more resilient to floods or drought. If you are familiar with the Blue Diamond Orchard Stewardship Incentive Program (OSIP), you know we promote cover crops for bee health. In reading this, you probably realize that when almond orchards do a good job with cover crops, they align well with these regenerative agriculture principles. The fact that a significant portion of our members in the OSIP program are certified with Bee Friendly Farming is a great starting point for Blue Diamond when
we discuss regenerative agriculture with customers. And this demonstrates that our programs are not basic sustainability efforts but have elements which can be called regenerative. If you want to see how one major food company is investing heavily in regenerative agriculture in their supply chain, General Mills has become a leader. More information is available on their website at generalmills.com/how-we-make-it/healthier-planet/ environmental-impact/regenerative-agriculture or scan the QR code to read on your phone.
Dr. Dan Sonke, Director of Sustainability, Blue Diamond Growers
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