Can Regenerative Agriculture Really Heal Humans And The Planet?

Episode 146 1h 3m


The argument that is often made against organic farming is that it can’t feed the world. Opponents say it can’t be scaled to the level we need to feed our current and growing population, but the real data actually says otherwise. The Rodale Institute is leading the way when it comes to research in the area of regenerative agriculture. Their work over the last 40 years shows organic agriculture leads to equal or better yields than conventional (sometimes over 30% better) with less energy use and three to six times more profits for the farmer. And they’re not the only ones who’ve found this to be true—it’s been repeated in five different studies from various universities and the USDA.

Today on The Doctor’s Farmacy, I’m thrilled to sit down with Jeff Tkach to talk about the amazing work the Rodale Institute has done and is continuing to do to further the cause of regenerative agriculture. I’ve followed the Rodale Institute since I was a teenager and have stayed a loyal fan over the years. J.I. Rodale paved the way for the concept of agriculture that mimics nature, and his equation was that healthy soil = healthy food = healthy people, something that still adds up today.

Jeff and I talk about the essential work Rodale has done since 1947 and how they are still an integral part of the current regenerative agriculture movement. We talk about turning the system upside down by connecting doctors with farmers as well as why our agricultural policies are in desperate need of an update and how we’re moving them in a better direction. People often wonder if organic is worth the extra cost. Jeff shares the most current research comparing organic produce to conventional (hint: organic carrots had dramatically higher levels of phytonutrients) and the exciting discoveries he expects we’ll continue to see in the next 40 years. Regenerative agriculture is the answer to better food, a cleaner environment, and healthier people.

I hope you’ll tune in to learn more.

Topics Covered

  • How the Rodale Institute came to look at the linkages between healthcare and health

    (4:43 - 9:18)

  • The meaning of regenerative healthcare

    (8:43 - 13:18)

  • Our societal and governmental disconnect between agriculture and human health

    (13:06 - 17:41)

  • Rodale’s research on regenerative organic farming practices

    (17:14 - 21:49)

  • The Farming Systems Trial, a 40-year side by side comparison of organic vs conventional grain production methods, and the creation of the USDA’s organic standard

    (19:47 - 24:22)

  • The benefits of feeding the world using organic farming methods

    (24:04 - 29:22)

  • Is organic food more nutritious?

    (25:33 - 30:51)

  • Are the chemicals and pesticides in conventional foods harmful or harmless?

    (35:18 - 40:36)

  • Evolving beyond the current organic standard with the launch of the Regenerative Organic Certification

    (39:02 - 44:20)

  • Are animals needed in regenerative agriculture?

    (50:31 - 55:49)

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Ep. 146 - Can Regenerative Agriculture Really Heal Humans And The Planet?