Applying the principles of regenerative farming and gardening, we draw on the collective experiences of food growers and the evolved wisdom embedded in Nature to improve our growing conditions. Thereby enabling our land to give us more support with growing food.[1]

Well-designed and thought-through principles concentrate on what’s essential and can be applied regardless of our circumstances. Consequently, they help us focus on what will make a real difference and to design practical solutions suiting our climate, other growing conditions, and what we grow. Regenerative principles guide us, whether we’re growing veggies in a backyard in Wales, a community garden in Boston, fruit in a commercial orchard in Brazil, or running cattle in outback Australia!

Principles get us out of the trap of having “what practices should I use?” as our leading question.[2] Instead, we ask, “considering my circumstances, how can I apply these principles to develop effective practices to improve my growing conditions”? Established regenerative practices then become the source and inspiration for ways to do this rather than one-size-fits-all recipes to follow.

The challenge is deciding which set of principles to use. There are many options available.[3]

Here are the principles we use at Learning from Nature.

Table showing Eco-logical Principles

These principles focus on getting the ecosystems in our farms and gardens functioning again. We’ve done this because biodiversity, soil health, organic matter levels, water infiltration and storage in soil, and other indicators of our growing conditions are the products of functioning ecosystems. We need ecosystems that work for these to improve.[1]

The Eco-logic behind these Principles

Regain Nature’s Ecological Services

Ecosystems are complex, but nutrient cycles, water cycles, and solar energy capture are the three key ecological functions that drive most of the action in our farms and gardens.[5] Virtually all of the natural resource issues holding us back are resolved by ‘regaining these ecological services’.

Icon illustrating nutrient cycle - part of what is regenerative farming and gardening

Nutrient Cycles

Repairing our nutrient recycling systems, soil organisms recycle the nutrients in plant and animal waste materials, unlock nutrients from mineral particles, and make the nutrients available for plants to reuse.

Icon illustrating water cycle - part of what is regenerative farming and gardening

Water Cycles

Water cycles are enormous, but we can improve them by increasing water infiltration and storage in our soil and reducing water loss through evaporation. Done on a regional scale, cloud cover increases, and we get more rain.[6]

Icon illustrating Capture of Solar Energy - part of what is regenerative farming and gardening

Capture of Solar Energy

Why do we only think of fertilisers when we want to grow more food? Plants capture and store solar energy using their photosynthetic panels. Growing more solar panels, we increase energy supplies for the ecosystems in our farms and gardens.

Build Connections

Building connections between our ecosystem’s living and non-living parts, we create beneficial relationships improving these ecological functions and the use of the energy and nutrients made available. We create functional biodiversity by employing plants, livestock, and other living organisms to enhance our ecosystems’ productivity and resilience.

Grow from your Strengths

It makes sense to “grow from our strengths.” We rely on the ecological services provided by our plants, livestock, and other living organisms rather than on fertilisers, pest controls, and other inputs.

Mimic Nature

We learn how Nature maintains ecosystems in similar growing conditions and apply this know-how in our farms and gardens.

Co-Create with Succession

Working with succession, we shift our energy to “co-create” with Nature. We get our ecosystems functioning again and develop productive, complex adaptive ecosystems that assist with decision-making and are capable of bouncing back from extreme weather events.

Get Support with Applying these Eco-logical Principles

Suggested articles –

  1. What is Regenerative Farming and Gardening
  2. How to do Regenerative Farming and Gardening – Ecologically
  3. How to choose Regenerative Practices – that Work!
  4. What is Healthy Soil?

Or get help with applying the eco-logical principles in your garden or farm using these resources from Learning from Nature –

  1. Grow from your strengths by creating a GrowMap
  2. Fix your nutrient cycling with Feed your Plants without Fertilisers, and your water cycle with Drought-Proof your farm or garden.
  3. Better still get virtually everything you need to know using our Eco-logical Farming and Gardening Handbooks.

Image showing Learning from Nature Publications

References

[1] Wendy Seabrook, 2021, What is Regenerative Farming and Gardening. Learning from Nature

[2]Wendy Seabrook, 2021, How to choose Regenerative Practices – that Work! Learning from Nature

[2] They are a work in progress. Any comments and suggestions – we’d love to hear from you – info[at]learningfromnature.com.au

[3] See here for a collation of regenerative practices with an emphasis on soil –  L. Schreefel, R.P.O. Schulte, I.J.M. de Boer, A. Pas Schrijver, H.H.E. van Zanten, 2020, Regenerative agriculture – the soil is the base, Global Food Security, Volume 26, 2020, 100404,

[4] Eugine P. Odium, 1971, Fundamentals of Ecology. Publ W.B. Saunders Company

[5] Wendy Seabrook, 2021, Trees make Rain – there is science now to prove it! Learning from Nature

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