What is regenerative farming, other than a buzzword? In my experience studying food systems, the term is all about land and how to restore ecosystem health—for example, through cover cropping—that has been degraded by conventional agricultural practices. Recently, I met some cannabis growers in Vermont who claim that their product, grown inside, is regenerative. What then counts as regenerative farming?

In her latest book, Healing Grounds, Liz Carlisle pushes her readers to think more deeply about how we use the term “regenerative farming,” as it is often overused and loses its meaning. What is being regenerated, why, and by whom? Carlisle encourages us to think about people, the group that is so often left out of scientific conversations about farming. So-called regenerative farming practices, often touted as new and innovative, generally have deep-rooted histories within marginalized communities.

Carlisle highlights how the foundation of the U.S. food system is...

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