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How Do I Deal With Weeds Without Using Harmful Chemicals?

Regenerative Agriculture

All About


Section 1:

Regenerative Agriculture
What is regenerative agriculture?
Regenerative agriculture focuses on rebuilding organic matter and living biodiversity in soil, which produces increasingly nutrient-dense food year after year — while rapidly sequestering excess atmospheric carbon underground to reverse climate change.

Chemical agriculture enthusiastics have told the world that traditional agriculture cannot feed the world’s growing population, which is why GMO and synthetic fertilizers are necessary. Evidence points to a new wisdom: The world cannot be fed unless the soil is fed. Right now, we are in a soil crisis. Scientists predict we have roughly 50 harvests left if we continue with chemical agriculture practices such as tilling and synthetic inputs on a global scale. Regenerative agriculture enhances and sustains the health of the soil by restoring its carbon content, which in turn improves productivity—just the opposite of chemical agriculture.

Regenerative agricultural practices include:

  • No tillage
  • Diverse cover crops
  • In-farm fertility (no external nutrients)
  • compost
  • Holistic planned grazing
  • No pesticides or synthetic fertilizers
  • Multiple crop rotations
  • Biochar
  • Pollinator “highways”

Together, these practices increase carbon-rich soil organic matter. The result: vital microbes proliferate, roots go deeper, nutrient uptake improves, water retention increases, plants are more pest resistant, and soil fertility compounds. Farms are seeing soil carbon levels rise from a baseline of 1 to 2 percent up to 5 to 8 percent over ten or more years, which can add up to 25 to 60 tons of carbon per acre.

It is estimated that at least 50 percent of the carbon in the earth’s soils has been released into the atmosphere over the past centuries. Bringing that carbon back home through regenerative agriculture is one of the greatest opportunities to address human and climate health, along with the financial well-being of farmers.

How do I purchase produce from regenerative farmers?

The Farmer’s Footprint team is hard at work developing a centralized database of regenerative farms. Be sure you’re on our newsletter to be notified when our map database is complete. 

In the meantime, we encourage you to search your town name and the following phrases on the Ecosia web browser (they plant a tree for every search): regenerative farm, biodynamic farm, organic farm, organic CSA. 

We also highly recommend  attending  your local farmers market to purchase food and ask the vendors about their farming practices! A conversation can have a profound impact on someone’s life, and you can learn more about how the food you are purchasing was grown.

If you are a farmer, click here to submit your farm to our database. 

How can I find a CSA near me?

Enter your city/zip code on Local Harvest’s site to find a farm share program (CSA) near you. Or simply search an organic farm in your area and ask them if they sell direct-to-consumer!

What role do animals play in regenerative agriculture?

Animals play a critical role in building organic matter in the soil; more specifically, ruminants digest plant matter in such a way where their stool has shown to be paramount to enhancing soil health.

When ruminants (mammals whose diets are plant-based) are strategically managed in a holistic rotational grazing system, it’s been reported that they’re directly responsible for helping the soil sequester significant amounts of atmospheric carbon, greatly improving water retention, bringing native grasslands back (which eliminates the need for weed control via synthetic chemicals like glyphosate), and increasing biodiversity (Drawdown, 2017).

Unlike confined animal feed operations (CAFO), also known as factory farms, managed grazing accounts for the entire ecosystem’s health with animal welfare being at the forefront.

In this system, ranchers and farmers respectfully work with ruminants (cows, sheep, chickens, bison, goats, etc.) to increase the holistic health of their pasture or orchard (animals grazing trees is known as silvopasture). Managed grazing gives animals freedom of movement, so they can fully express themselves as sentient beings while creating a true ecosystem within the context of the farm or ranch they live on.

It’s important to note that managed/holistic grazing lets animals freely roam in paddocks and feed off the land, which in many managed grazing systems is a robust supply of native grasses, protein rich weeds, and diverse cover crops. Thus, the need to supply animals with outsourced food, usually genetically modified and chemically grown corn, or antibiotics is no longer necessary.

Practitioners of managed grazing report that not only does the organic matter in their soil drastically increase within several years, in some cases by several percentage points, but their costs go down and profits go up as the land can support more animals, and the need for equipment and synthetic inputs ends.

We realize the idea of working with animals is not something everyone supports, and we believe that choosing what happens to an animal after its life cycle is over is a personal decision. If you choose to consume meat, it is critical to understand the distinction between confined animal feeding operations and holistic grazing systems.

We hope that while you are here, you will consider the overall benefit ruminants have in rebuilding soil health, biodiversity, replenishing natural aquifers, and balancing the carbon cycle (addressing climate change).

If you’d like to dig deeper into this topic, here are some recommendations:

Brown’s Ranch – Grazing

Drawdown, The Book

Savory Institute – Holistic Management Case Studies, Profiles, and Articles

Sacred Cow: The Case for (Better) Meat – Holistic Management Case Studies, Profiles, and Articles



Section 2:

All About Glyphosate
What is glyphosate?

Glyphosate is an herbicide and the active ingredient in weed killer products such as RoundUp™. It is applied to the leaves of plants to kill both broadleaf plants and grasses. Glyphosate products are used on lawns and gardens, in agriculture and forestry, and to control weeds in industrial and residential areas, including school fields and public parks.

Where is glyphosate sprayed?

It is estimated that we spray more than 4.5 billion pounds of glyphosate into our soils and plants, which eventually pollute the water cycles of Earth. Numerous cities, counties, states and countries throughout the world have taken steps to either restrict or ban glyphosate. Check out this link to see each country’s status on glyphosate regulations.

What is the history of glyphosate?
In the U.S glyphosate was first patented by the Stauffer Chemical Co. in 1961 as a descaling and chelating agent used to clean out calcium and other mineral deposits in pipes and boilers of residential and commercial hot water systems. (United States Patent 3,160,632).

In the 1970s, Monsanto scientist John Franz discovered glyphosate as an herbicide (weed killer). By 1974, it was patented by Monsanto and brought to the market under the trade name Roundup.

Over the last four decades, glyphosate has grown to dominate the herbicide industry as the most effective and inexpensive weed management technology in history.

In 1985, The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classified glyphosate as a Class C Carcinogen, which means it’s possibly Carcinogenic to humans because there is little to no data on it. In 1991, the EPA changed the classification of glyphosate from Class C to Class E which suggests “evidence of non-carcinogenicity for humans.” This change in glyphosate’s classification coincidentally occurred during the same period that Monsanto was developing its first Roundup-Ready (glyphosate-resistant) Genetically Modified Crops.

Is glyphosate registered as an antibiotic?
Yes, in 2010 a third patent filed by Monsanto for glyphosate as a parasitic control type antimicrobial, or antibiotic was granted (United States Patent 7,771,736). It is proposed that glyphosate be used as a treatment for microbial infections and parasitic control of various diseases such as malaria. However, research proves that when glyphosate based herbicides act as an antibiotic, they harm beneficial soil communities and gut bacteria which causes immune system damage (Ackermann 2014, Shehata 2013, Schrödl 2014).
Why does the EPA say glyphosate is “safe”?

Regional, national, and international agencies have engendered much controversy over glyphosate’s safety. The EPA states, “There are no risks of concern to human health when glyphosate is used according to the label and that it is not a carcinogen.” However, the courts and the scientific community believe otherwise. A recent study by researchers at the University of Washington found that glyphosate raises the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma to those exposed to the substance by 41 percent. Prior to that, the World Health Organization reclassified glyphosate as carcinogenic to humans.

What are glyphosate alternatives?

Sign up to download Non-Toxic Neighborhoods’ Organic Toolkit featuring their Preferred Products List of organic alternatives.

What steps can I take to get glyphosate banned in my community?

Download Non-Toxic Neighborhoods’ free digital PLAYbook for a step-by-step approach on how to ban glyphosate in your neighborhood.

Section 3:

Learn More
How do I find POC owned farms?
Soul Fire Farm – Petersburg, New York

Sundance Harvest – Ontario, Canada

Rise and Root Farm – Chester, New York

Patchwork City Farms – Atlanta, Georgia

Ron Finley – Los Angeles, California

Amber Tamm – Brooklyn, New York

Seka Hills Farm – Clarksburg, California

Sakari Farms – Bend, Oregon

Indigenous Regeneration – San Pasqual Reservation, California

Ultimate List of Black Farmers By State

Intertribal Agriculture Council

Food and Land Justice Groups

22 black-owned organizations and individuals

Do you have resources for female farmers?
What books do you recommend?
 Perilous Bounty – Tom Philpott

 Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants – Robin Wall Kimmerer

 Dark Emu – Bruce Pascoe

 Indigenous Food Sovereignty in the United States – Devon A. Mihesuah, Elizabeth Hoover, Winona LaDuke

 Call of the Reed Warbler – Charles Massy

 Citizen Farmers: The Biodynamic Way to Grow Healthy Food, Build Thriving Communities, and Give Back to the Earth – Daron Joffe

 Permaculture, A Designer’s Manual – Bill Mollison

 Bring Back Black Farmers – Will Scott

 Seeds of our Ancestors, Seeds of Life – Winona LaDuke

 One Straw Revolution – Masanobu Fukuoka

 Gaia’s Garden – Toby Hemenway 

 Teaming With Microbes – Jeff Lowenfels

 The Field Guide I for Actively Aerated Compost Tea – Elaine Ingham

 Organic Manifesto – Maria Rodale

 Sacred Seed – Vandana Shiva

 The Market Gardener: A Successful Grower’s Handbook for Small Scale Organic Farming – Jean-Martin Fortier

 For the Love of Soil– Nicole Masters

 Project Drawdown – Paul Hawkens

 Secrets of the Soil – by Peter Tompkins

 The Secret Life of Plants – Peter Tompkins + Christopher Bird

 As Long As Grass Grows – Dina Gilio-Whitaker

 In Defense of Food – Michael Pollan

 Who Really Feeds the World? The Failures of Agribusinesses and the Promise of Agroecology – Vandana Shiva

 Restoration Agriculture: Real World Permaculture for Farmers – Mark Shepard

 Farming While Black – Leah Penniman

 Freedom Farmers – Monica M. White

 Kiss The Ground
– Josh Tickell


Visit our Resources page for aspiring farmers, current farmers, and active citizens.