bountifood.co

Our partner farmer working in his agroecological-based farm.

Regenerative Practices: Growing Biodiversity

Growing a variety of crops and beneficial plants not only acts as a hedge against the falling price of a particular crop but also creates an ecosystem for predators, helping control pests, keeps diseases from destroying the whole harvests, and form pollinator habitats. What's more, having diverse roots in the ground, which exists in polycultures rather than monocultures, provides a variety of food sources for microbes--supporting biodiversity below ground [1]. This type of biodiversity increases soil sequestration capability and creates different soil pore sizes, enabling efficient carbon storage [2].

rice, green beans, corn, and tomato is one of crop rotation patterns used by our partner farm

Crop Rotations

As we have seen above, farms covered with diverse living roots year-round yield many benefits. Crop rotation is a great way to achieve that. Rather than growing different crops at the same time, farmers grow them sequentially. They use crops with different pests and diseases to cut their cycles, select those with varying requirements of nutrients to optimally utilize soil resources, and then replenish the soil with nitrogen-fixing plants.

coffee plants grown under forest canopy

Agroforestry

Imagine a forest but with food. That could be what one feels like when walking through an agroforestry farm. Agroforestry is a system that contains a mix of woody perennials and crops. It can range from coffee trees grown under the forest canopy to multi-layered tropical "forest" that maximizes space by growing different species that grow to different heights.

bananas intercropped with durians

Intercropping

It is the practice of growing two or more crops close to each other, e.g., alternating rows or strips. In addition to increasing biodiversity, a mix of different crops with different enemies also help keep pests at bay [3].

1. Moore, Mark. "The Benefits of Crop Rotation and Diversity – USFRA." U.S. Farmers and Ranchers In Action, U.S. Farmers and Ranchers, 14 Sept. 2021, usfarmersandranchers.org/stories/sustainable-food-production/the-benefits-of-crop-rotation-and-diversity/. 2. Moyer, J., Smith, A., Rui, Y., Hayden, J. (2020). Regenerative agriculture and the soil carbon solution [white paper]. (https://rodaleinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/Rodale-Soil-Carbon-White-Paper_v11-compressed.pdf) 3. Mohler, Charles L. "Guidelines for Intercropping." SARE, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, 3 Sept. 2020, www.sare.org/publications/crop-rotation-on-organic-farms/guidelines-for-intercropping/.