008 - Andre Leu: Goodbye Toxic Old World Systems, Hello Regenerative Revolution
André Leu, the International Director of Regeneration International. It is an organization that promotes food, farming and land use systems that regenerate and stabilize climate systems, the health of the planet and people, communities, culture and local economies, democracy and peace.
A friend in New York asked a couple days ago what was the difference between industrial agriculture, and regenerative agriculture, I’ll give you guys a quick example: In industrial agriculture, you take a piece of land, and create a vegetable or fruit factory, let’s call it a raspberry factory: you wanna make it as productive and efficient as possible, get the most efficient genetically modified seeds, and use pesticides and industrial fertilizers to achieve your goal of making as much food and as much money as possible. In regenerative agriculture, instead of creating a food factory, you decide to manage an ecosystem where raspberries will grow. You manage your soil, cover crops, bee population, you encourage bird of prey, use compost, less water, you don’t need pesticides, reduce water consumption, and ultimately, manage the health of the soil, so that it becomes richer every year.
Two very different models of reality and our relationship with food and the planet. Both profitable. One makes the soil and the environment toxic, the other replenishes nutrients, makes the most nourishing food, and helps capture carbon from the atmosphere. It’s ok, we had to make mistakes to relearn, and we’re moving in the right direction.
Every major transition begins with education. So before we can replace policies that subsidize degenerative agricultural practices with policies that support regenerative farming and land-use, before we can create demand for food produced using regenerative methods, we must educate policymakers and consumers.
Through their multi-lingual website and social media networks, through consumer campaigns, international conferences they organize and sponsor, RI provides information and resources that highlight the connection between healthy soil, regenerative agriculture and land use, food, health, healthy economies and climate change.
André lectures and teaches at universities, institutions and workshops around the world. He speaks at numerous conferences, seminars, workshops as well as United Nations events on every continent. He meets with governments, United Nations bodies, industry, farmers, consumers and NGOs on the multi-functional benefits of regenerative agriculture and on the science of increasing soil organic matter to both mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Regeneration International works with numerous agricultural systems such as agroecology, organic, permaculture, ecological agriculture, holistic grazing, biological agriculture, and agroforestry.
Andre is the Author of ‘Poisoning our Children’ and the ‘Myths of Safe Pesticides.’
He was the longest serving President of IFOAM – Organics International, the world change agent and umbrella body for the organic sector.
André has over 45 years of experience in all areas of agriculture from growing, pest control, weed management, marketing, post-harvest, transport, grower organizations, developing new crops and education.
André has been actively involved in developing new crops/products and the markets for these crops. He has a long history of problem solving to innovate new methods of production, promotion and overcoming market barriers.
He has published extensively in magazines, newspapers, journals, conference proceedings, newsletters, websites and other media, as well as doing numerous media interviews for TV, Radio and online systems.
Andre and his wife Julia, who is the Mayor of the Douglas Shire, have an organic tropical fruit farm in Daintree, in Australia.