TERREBONNE, OR (APRIL 14, 2022)—Nonprofit certifier A Greener World (AGW) has announced Challacombe Farm in Devon, UK, as the world’s first farm to be Certified Regenerative by AGW. This innovative certification provides a whole-farm assurance of sustainability, measuring benefits for soil, water, air, biodiversity, infrastructure, animal welfare and social responsibility.
As public interest in sustainability continues to increase and broaden in scope, the demand for rigorous, meaningful assurances of responsible farming practices has grown. Building on its successful family of leading labels, AGW’s Certified Regenerative program is a whole-farm, plan-based regenerative certification — giving farmers, consumers and buyers confidence in reliability and impact.
The term ‘regenerative agriculture’ is often used to refer to a range of sustainable stewardship practices, many of which have been used by indigenous and traditional agricultural communities for thousands of years, but rising interest has led to a wide and growing variation in how ‘regenerative’ is defined and practiced. As commitments to adopt regenerative practices increase, so does the risk of misusing the claim to imply sustainability without delivering it — also referred to as ‘greenwashing.’ A Greener World’s third-party certification verifies meaningful regenerative claims and provides transparency that benefits producers and consumers.
Challacombe Farm was a participant in AGW’s inaugural Certified Regenerative pilot cohort, a group of 50 farms across the globe that spent the last 18 months in partnership with AGW evaluating farm standards, plans and auditing procedures for Certified Regenerative by AGW, which have been under development since 2017. As the pilot concludes, AGW is accepting public comments on the standards and will open the program to new farm applicants this summer.
Located in the heart of the Dartmoor National Park, Challacombe Farm is part of the Duchy of Cornwall estate on moorland that has been inhabited and cultivated for thousands of years. Naomi Oakley and Mark Owen raise a herd of Welsh Black and North Devon beef cattle, and a flock of around 200 Icelandic and Shetland sheep. The farm management practices at Challacombe Farm are better for the animals and for the wider environment, and the farm was eager to take part in the new program to certify their high-welfare livestock management and environmental stewardship.
Certified Regenerative by AGW ensures farms are meeting initial rigorous sustainability standards, but also foster continual improvement. Acknowledging that every farm is a unique part of an ecosystem, the core feature of Certified Regenerative by AGW is an individualized, farmer-led Regenerative Plan where producers assess risks, set goals and track progress toward their own meaningful milestones with support from qualified experts in agronomy, biodiversity, water quality and other fields. Plans are reviewed and audited annually by A Greener World, offering farmers and consumers a third-party source of accountability for each farm’s regenerative progress.
Currently, most regenerative claims are not verified at all. The few verified labels that do exist are either limited in scope or require organic certification as a prerequisite — excluding 99% of U.S. farmland and farmers in transition to organic. While Certified Regenerative by AGW does not require organic certification, the two approaches can be complimentary, giving farmers a way to distinguish their stewardship practices and validate important metrics not covered under organic standards such as emissions reductions and biodiversity.
Mark Owen of Challacombe Farm says,
“Our goal is to raise our beef cattle and sheep outdoors on pasture, whilst conserving and enhancing the wildlife, landscape and archaeology that makes our farm such a special place. Taking part in the accreditation trial proved to be a good way of consolidating our plans to farm in harmony with nature, and get external, independent feedback to help us achieve our aims.”
A Greener World Executive Director Emily Moose says,
“We are thrilled to celebrate this milestone with Challacombe Farm and to be a partner in their regenerative goals. As the increasing pressures from climate change and disruptions of every sector challenge our global food system, land stewards play a crucial role. Regenerative practices have huge potential to put the brakes on — and even reverse — many of the negative impacts of industrial agriculture.
Food trends come and go, but experience has shown us there is a constant and growing demand for food that is part of the solution. With this certification we provide trusted assurance of verified, positive impacts — on the farm, in our communities, at the table and for the planet.”
Certified Regenerative by AGW is designed to welcome farmers and growers of all backgrounds, meeting producers where they are as partners in a journey of regeneration. For more information about Certified Regenerative by AGW or A Greener World visit regenerativeor 1-800-373-8806.