Allan Savory is on a mission to change the way we raise livestock. Not just to make livestock production less polluting, but to harness the profound role these animals play in carbon sequestration. In fact, Savory believes livestock management is the most powerful sequestration opportunity we have, and the foundation of regenerative agriculture. That’s a bold counter to a growing movement that insists that giving up meat is among the most climate-friendly things consumers can do.
Savory's 2013 Ted Talk, which has received over 3.6 million views, is largely philosophical, exploring how he came to his assertion. Now his Savory Institute is working to bring the message to producers and brands as a conduit to consumers. The institute's Eat It, Wear It, Regenerate It conference in Boulder—subsequently rebroadcast in 16 hub events worldwide and through digital access—is the launch of their intended “consumer revolution.” Additionally, the institute will be unveiling a “land-to-market” program next year with a third-party seal to go on qualifying product labels, indicating sourcing that is regenerative to the land on which it is produced.
Regenerative is the key word of the movement, reaching far beyond our conventional agricultural model—reaching well beyond even sustainable agricultural. Why? Because sustainable agriculture is insufficient.
To be sure, food production should be—and always should have been—sustainable, especially considering the alternative. But after a few thousand years of an agricultural model that grew increasingly extractive, and 100 years of full-scale degenerative agriculture, sustainability doesn't do the necessary job. It’s time to throw the machine in reverse and make up for damage done. This is regenerative agriculture, and the Savory Institute's brand of it harnesses the power of grazing ruminants. It's a counter-intuitive message, especially in natural products circles, but a compelling one based on a simple premise: Without livestock grazing and fertilizing grasslands, the grasslands die off in a process known as desertification. Without grasslands, we lose the largest carbon sink on the planet. With grasslands exhaling carbon instead of inhaling it … you can see where this is going.