September 20, 2015 marked 25 years since my father, Robert Rodale, was killed in a car accident in Russia. If on that fateful day someone would have asked him what his legacy was to be, I know for a fact he would have answered: “Regenerative organic agriculture.”
To him, organic alone was not enough. He believed we needed a commitment to making things better. But more importantly, he understood that nature inherently makes things better when left to do her work. Nature heals itself, just as our bodies inherently attempt to heal themselves when wounded. We needed, he thought, to get nature on our team to make organic agriculture reach its true power.
A lot of people thought he was crazy. But some thought he was onto something.
After he died, the idea of regenerative agriculture seemed forgotten as the organic movement grew. But lately, there has been a resurgence of support behind the idea of regeneration. Thanks to the work of Tom Newmark, with the Carbon Underground, people are gathering around the tribal fire of regenerative organic agriculture in a way that my father would have only dreamed about. There’s even a growing movement toward regenerative capitalism, an idea proposed by the Capital Institute‘s John Fullerton.
While my father was still alive, I was working with him on sketching out the philosophy of regeneration based on the process of healing in the soil as the land transitions from chemical to organic, which scientists were observing on the Farming Systems Trail at the Rodale Institute. We applied the idea not just to agriculture, but to communities, personal health, and spirituality, as well. Together, we created a document called The Seven Tendencies of Regeneration.
I dug that document out of the files recently to share with a few people, and thought it would be a great way to honor the 25 years it took from my father’s death until now for the topic of regeneration to finally begin finding a home in people’s hearts and minds.
Here it is (click to enlarge):