Robert Rodale, J.I. Rodale’s son, coined the term “regenerative organic” to distinguish a kind of farming that goes beyond sustainable.

Regenerative organic agriculture not only maintains resources but improves them. With only about 60 years of topsoil remaining at current practices, nothing less will do.

bob in a field

Going Beyond Organic

Robert Rodale (pictured) coined the term "regenerative organic" to describe a holistic approach to farming that encourages continuous innovation and improvement of environmental, social, and economic measures.

The number one priority in regenerative organic agriculture is soil health.

Soil health is intrinsically linked to the total health of our food system. Soil health affects everything from plant health to human wellbeing and the future of our planet.

Regenerative prioritizes soil health while simultaneously encompassing high standards for animal welfare and worker fairness. The idea is to create farm systems that work in harmony with nature to improve quality of life for every creature involved.

Beyond Sustainable

Watch this video of Bob Rodale describing the difference between sustainable and regenerative (start at 1:23) in an interview with the USDA in 1989:

Regenerative Organic Certification

In 2018, we introduced a new, holistic, high-bar standard for agriculture certification. Regenerative Organic Certification, or ROC, is overseen by the Regenerative Organic Alliance, a non-profit made up of experts in farming, ranching, soil health, animal welfare, and farmer and worker fairness.

regenerative organic certification logo

The Three Pillars

Using the USDA certified organic standard (or its international equivalent) as a baseline requirement, Regenerative Organic Certification adds important criteria and builds off these and other standards in the areas of soil health and land management, animal welfare, and farmer and worker fairness.

Soil Health

  • Builds Soil Organic Matter
  • Conservation Tillage
  • Cover Crops
  • Crop Rotations
  • No GMOs or Gene Editing
  • No Soilless Systems
  • No Synthetic Inputs
  • Promotes Biodiversity

Animal Welfare

  • Five Freedoms (from discomfort; fear & distress; hunger; pain, injury or disease; freedom to express normal behavior)
  • Grass-Fed / Pasture-Raised
  • Limited Transport
  • No CAFOs
  • Suitable Shelter

Social Fairness

  • Capacity Building
  • Democratic Organizations
  • Fair Payments for Farmers
  • Freedom of Association
  • Good Working Conditions
  • Living Wages
  • Long Term Commitments
  • No Forced Labor
  • Transparency and Accountability

Learn more about ROC

View the full framework and get more information at the official website of Regenerative Organic Certification.

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