Regenerative Agriculture is the past, and the future, of farming.
Various cultures around the world have preserved and improved their soil fertility for thousands of year by using what today are being called regenerative practices.
The book Farmers for Forty Centuries documents in detail the practices of East Asian farmers that allowed them to farm the same soil for over 4,000 years. A key practice was fermenting organic waste and returning it to the soil.
David Montgomery documents how soil degradation has caused civilizations to fall, and how microbes are the hidden key to regenerating our soil and transforming agriculture, in his trilogy of books, Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations, The Hidden Half of Nature (coauthored with his wife, Anne Bikle), and Growing a Revolution. They also wrote a great article about the same topic, Junk Food Is Bad For Plants, Too.
In his book Dirt to Soil, Farmer Gabe Brown describes how he, a midwestern farmer managing a few thousand acre ranch, accidentally fell into regenerative agriculture after four straight years of natural disasters that destroyed his crops, and how it has made him far more profitable than his neighbors.
Soil microbes are the key to growing plants without fertilizers
Soil science has advanced in leaps and bounds over the past decade. Scientists are just now confirming what organic farmers have believed for decades: plants are best fertilizer with healthy soil, which means active and abundant communities of the right microbes.
How Plants Harness Microbes to Get Nutrients. This study from Rutgers University shows that plants can literally extract nutrients from the bodies of microbes.
New research: synthetic nitrogen destroys soil carbon, undermines soil health. It was previously assumed that synthetic nitrogen could help build soil carbon.