Yvon Chouinard once said, “People need a new jacket every 5 to 10 years. But they eat 3 times a day. If we really want to protect our planet, it starts with food.” This is one of the reasons behind Patagonia starting the Patagonia Provisions business as a way to have an even larger impact on climate change. Now, the company teams up with Rodale Institute, Dr. Bronner’s and a coalition of other like-minded companies to create a new regenerative organic certification.
The companies involved in the Regenerative Organic Alliance will focus on areas of farming, ranching, soil health, animal welfare, and farmer and worker fairness. Part of this mandate includes the new Regenerative Organic Certified (ROC) classification — a holistic agriculture certification encompassing robust, high-bar standards for ensuring soil health and ecological land management, pasture-based animal welfare, and fairness for farmers and workers.
ROC was created to model an ecological and ethical system for agricultural production that addresses the problems of factory farming, climate change, and economic injustice, both locally and globally. The following objectives are at the core of ROC:
- Increase soil organic matter over time and sequester atmospheric carbon in soil, which at a global scale can help mitigate climate change.
- Model high-bar pasture-based animal welfare.
- Provide economic stability and fairness for farmers, ranchers and workers.
- Create resilient regional ecosystems and communities.
ROC basically goes above and beyond the current USDA organic certification. Only products that are certified under the USDA organic program as a baseline are further eligible to meet the Regenerative Organic Certified criteria. ROC addresses next-level soil health and also adds in requirements for animal welfare and farm labor.
With ROC, you will know that you are buying a product that addresses the environmental impacts of agriculture, animal treatment and fair and safe working conditions for farmers and farm workers. Also, since regenerative farming practices will enhance carbon sequestration, you will also be supporting the fight to mitigate climate change.
“What we did with clothing is show that you can make clothing more responsibly, now I want to do the same thing with food. We’re taking all our resources, going all the way back to the ground, and cleaning up our entire supply chain,” remarked Chouinard.
The nice thing about regenerative organic agriculture is that it doesn’t have to be just about food. For example, The North Face recently launched a beanie made from wool that comes from sheep on a California ranch that uses regenerative grazing principles. As an industry, we really can have an impact on the health of our planet by focusing on the small details of the entire supply chain and lifecycle of a product from start to finish.