Originally published in Masters of Health Magazine
Hardly anyone had heard of regenerative agriculture before 2014. Now it is in the news every day all around the world. A small group of leaders of the organic, agroecology, holistic management, environment, and natural health movements started Regeneration International as a genuinely inclusive and representative umbrella organization.
The concept was initially formed at the United Nations Climate Change Meeting in New York in October 2014, at a meeting in the Rodale headquarters. The aim was to establish a global network of like-minded agricultural, environmental, and social organizations.
The initial steering committee meetings included Dr. Vandana Shiva from Navdanya, Ronnie Cummins from the Organic Consumers Association, Dr. Hans Herren from The Millennium Institute, Steve Rye from Mercola, and myself, Andre Leu from IFOAM-Organics International. It was soon expanded to include relevant leaders from every continent.
Our founding meeting was held on a biodynamic farm in Costa Rica in 2015. We deliberately chose to hold it in the global south rather than North America or Europe and include women and men from every continent to communicate that regeneration was about equity, fairness, and inclusiveness.
Ronnie Cummins raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for the travel, accommodation, food, and other expenses for all the representatives from the global south. It was a truly international and inclusive start.
RI has a mission to promote, facilitate and accelerate the global transition to regenerative food, farming, and land management to regenerate the environment and end world hunger. Rebuilding deteriorated social, ecological, and economic systems.
RI has grown to around 400 partner organizations in over 70 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Oceania, North America, and Europe in six years.
Organic 3.0: the third phase of the Organic sector
The need to form an international regeneration movement was inspired partly by the development of Organic 3.0 by IFOAM – Organics International.
Organic 3.0 was conceived as an ongoing process enabling organic agriculture to engage with social and environmental issues actively and has been seen as a positive change agent.