A new brief by Friends of the Earth summarizes the scientific connection between pesticide use and the death of soil microbiotic communities, a key pillar of regenerative organic agriculture.

Compiling scientific studies across disciplines, “Pesticides and Soil Health” make a strong case for the need to eliminate pesticide use if we ever hope to transition to a fully regenerative agricultural system.

Key Findings

  • The soil microbiome is made up of crucial bacteria, mycorrhizal fungi, small organisms, and more that help it sustain plant life and cycle nutrients. Pesticides can significantly change this composition, disproportionately increasing bacterial colonies, altering biochemical processes, and hindering nitrogen fixation.
  • While reducing tillage is essential to regenerative organic agriculture, no-till farming conducted with pesticides such as glyphosate damages fungi, increases pathogenic microorganisms, and creates resistant weeds.
  • The research on pesticide use is still limited, due to constraints on knowledge and real-life research conditions. (Rodale Institute has been studying the effects of pesticides in situ for almost 40 years)
  • Removing pesticides from the agricultural equation must occur in order to reach a truly regenerative food system that can adapt to climate change, increase biodiversity, and safeguard human health.

Prohibition of synthetic pesticides is a requirement of USDA Organic certification. When you buy organic, you know that your food items didn’t introduce any chemical pesticides into the soil microbiome.

Want the products you buy to go even farther to protect soil health? Look for the Regenerative Organic Certification coming soon. This new standard goes above and beyond Certified Organic to build on the three main pillars of soil health, animal welfare, and social fairness.

Read the Full Brief Here
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