At Wellside Foods, we are the first to admit that there are only so many month based annual awareness campaigns the world can tolerate, but some have more merit than others. We have Veganuary, Dry January, Janu-hairy, Ape-ril, Shave-ril, Steptember, Sober for October, Frocktober, Stoptober, and Movember (leading naturally to Decembeard). Incidentally, why are so many obsessed with shaving or not shaving? One of the newest is ‘Regenuary’, and it is particularly compelling, and could one-day co-exist with Veganuary as an annual mainstay event. If you haven’t heard about Regenuary yet, don’t worry, you are not alone.
What is Regenuary?
At its core, Regenuary is about eating sustainably and is centred around the concept of ‘regenerative’ farming methods. #Regenuary was conceived in 2020 by The Ethical Butcher, a popular online butcher specialising in grass-fed meat. As their website explains, it is pronounced “‘re-jen-uary’ – as in regenerate”. Regenuary differs from Veganuary in that it doesn’t advocate for the removal of animal products from the diet, but all products should be:
- farmed or grown using regenerative agriculture methods;
- seasonal, and;
- local (i.e. not imported)
Regenuary is not just about sustainably sourced food, it also aims to reduce the impact of our food system on the environment.
What is regenerative agriculture?
Regenerative agriculture is seen as a practice which can have considerable benefits in relation to climate change. According to the , “In addition to a long list of incredible benefits for farmers and their crops, regenerative agriculture practices help us fight the climate crisis by pulling carbon from the atmosphere and sequestering it in the ground”. This is achieved by using a variety of methods such as keeping soil disturbance to a minimum, and protecting the ground with living roots, hence ensuring it is not eroded by wind and water. As a result of improved soil quality, more carbon is absorbed, and water is retained. The effect of this way of farming is that soil biodiversity is improved by rebuilding the levels of organic matter present.
Which campaign should I follow?
While we believe in the unparalleled benefits of a whole-food plant-based diet for health and the environment, flexitarianism is a realistic goal for many. This also provides a way of transitioning towards a diet which wholly or predominantly contains plants. Hence, if you do continue to eat meat and dairy, albeit in much smaller quantities and on fewer days than you have in the past, by ensuring the products you do eat are ethical, local, and sustainable, this is surely a considerable step forward.
Another aspect to consider is that many farmers across the UK are struggling with red-tape, which is limiting their access to the EU market as a result of Brexit. By supporting local farmers to sell high quality and sustainable produce locally, the greater the chance that they will be able to weather the impact on their businesses.
No matter what your diet, we all need to consider the quality of the food we buy, where it comes from, and how it is produced. This applies to all forms of agriculture and food production. Purchasing blackberries from Argentina, sugar snap peas from Zambia, and blueberries from Chile, which are flown halfway around the world to reach our supermarkets may broaden our choices, but there is a real price to pay. In future years, with climate change, healthcare, and food security becoming increasingly fragile, it is likely that movements such as Regenuary will gain greater traction.