Regenerative Agricultural Practices
Growing Roots is a two-year regenerative agriculture pilot program focused on soil health launched in 2022 by ALUS with support from General Mills. With this program, ALUS continues to experiment with on-field project offerings, exploring how modified farming practices can produce ecosystem services and enhance biodiversity on agricultural lands and beyond.
The goal of this pilot program is to test the delivery of on-field regenerative agriculture programming using the ALUS model. A key aim of the pilot is to introduce farmers and ranchers to the principles of regenerative agriculture. Participants in this pilot are invited to establish on-field projects that benefit soil health with financial support and technical guidance from coaches and an advisory committee composed of producers experienced in the implementation of regenerative practices.
Along with the deployment of projects rooted in regenerative principles, the pilot will focus on the facilitation of information transfer and knowledge exchange between program participants, ALUS PACs, coaches and the advisory committee. Growing Roots will promote peer-to-peer learning and the development of local, interactive networks of producers interested in implementing regenerative practices and principles on their land.
Taking part in the pilot program are the communities of ALUS Assiniboine West, ALUS Saskatchewan Assiniboine Project and ALUS Seine Rat Roseau. For more information, contact your local Coordinator or Growing Roots Program Manager, Nicole Baldwin, at [email protected].
6 Core Principles of Regenerative Agricultural Practices
No two farms or ranches are the same, and the regenerative agriculture principles should be implemented based on the environmental, economic and cultural context of each unique operation.
Minimize soil disturbance
Soil is very porous, like a sponge, and tilling soil weakens its structure. It collapses on itself, hardens, and over time loses its ability to absorb water or allow roots to grow. Reducing or eliminating tillage, along with limiting other disturbances like overgrazing and over-application of nutrients and pesticides, can reverse this process.
Maximize plant diversity
Many problems that farmers and ranchers have to deal with – such as pests, diseases and poor nutrient cycling – can be traced to a lack of diversity in the agricultural system. Including a broader range of plants and animals in the system decreases pest and disease pressure, while also supporting biodiversity and improving the health of the soil.
Keep the soil covered
Keeping the soil covered with living plants and crop residue protects it from wind, sun, hard rain, and other elements that erode it and damage the organisms living in the soil.
Maintain living roots year-round
Green, living plants are the foundation of the soil ecosystem. While most crops only grow for a few months out of the year, growing plants continually throughout the year retains nutrients and increases the supply of food to the living things in the soil, which leads to carbon sequestration, cleaner water and improved soil function.
Integrating grazing livestock on crop land benefits plants and soil in numerous ways. Natural pruning inspires new plant growth, natural fertilizer invites helpful insects to aerate the soil and spread organic matter, and livestock movement increases nutrient cycling by trampling crop residue.understand that every farmer approaches his/her operation differently to account for unique characteristics and challenges, be it climate, soil type, topography, crop history, markets, labor, or equipment.
Growing Roots at a Glance
$2.3M USD invested
Regenerative Agriculture Stories
MINNEAPOLIS and TORONTO, July 27, 2022 — Today, General Mills and ALUS announced a multi-year partnership to support farmers and accelerate regenerative agriculture in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Canada – key regions where General Mills sources oats for brands like...