Cows, sheep, goats and game (also known as ruminants) can do something amazing: they can thrive on…
A Greener World is thrilled to announce Challacombe Farm in Devon, UK as the world’s first Certified Regenerative by AGW farm. 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 programme 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 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 programme 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 programme 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 very limited in scope or require organic certification as a prerequisite — thereby excluding farmers in conversion to organic. While Certified Regenerative by AGW does not require organic certification, the two approaches are complementary, 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”
Tom Stratton the Estate Manager for the Duchy on Dartmoor says,
“The Duchy is delighted that the hard work undertaken by Mark and Naomi has been recognised through this new process of certification and indeed that the process itself recognises the extensive management benefits that upland farming delivers. The whole farm approach to management, which minimises reliance on purchased inputs clearly makes sense, as does the imperative to farm with nature”
A Greener World UK/Europe Executive Director Wayne Copp says,
“At A Greener World, we know the collection of practices described as regenerative could have huge potential to put the brakes on — and even reverse — many of the negative impacts of intensive agriculture.”
“AGW’s Regenerative certification is accessible, affordable and open to all farmers and growers. Our approach recognises that each farm is a unique part of an ecosystem, and that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all solution’ that can be applied consistently to every farm.”
“That’s why we’re so proud to launch Certified Regenerative by AGW: a food label that farmers and consumers can trust to deliver genuinely positive outcomes — on the farm, 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 agreenerworld.org.za.