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Societal Resilience
Stewardship of Nature

Penn Regenerative Ag Alliance

volunteers planting trees

Regenerative Agriculture describes holistic farming and grazing practices aimed at improving soil health via rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity. It leverages the power of photosynthesis in plants to close the carbon cycle and advance soil’s carbon drawdown, water retention, crop resilience, and nutrient density. Unlike sustainable agriculture which intends to maintain farming systems without degrading them, regenerative practices apply techniques to restore and revitalize farms and neighboring ecosystems to ensure long-term productivity.

Led by Thomas D. Parsons, Director of the Center for Stewardship Agriculture and Food Security at the Penn School of Veterinary Medicine, and Mark Alan Hughes, Founding Faculty Director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the Weitzman School of Design, this community brings together several University groups engaged on projects related to regenerative agriculture. Collaborators include scholars from the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, the PRECISE Center, the Clean Energy Conversions Laboratory, the Department of Earth and Environmental SciencePerry World House, and the Center for Stewardship Agriculture and Food Security.

Project Type:
Current Communities
Penn Vet Faculty at a Farm

From left to right, Zhengxia Dou, Laurel Redding, Meghann Pierdon, Dipti Pitta, and Thomas Parsons. (Photo: Penn Vet)

Protecting streams to support healthy farms

Led by members of the Environmental Innovations Initiative Penn Regenerative Ag Alliance research community, Thomas Parsons of the School of Veterinary Medicine and Ellen Neises of the Weitzman School of Design, and supported by a grant from the William Penn Foundation, a unique site is under construction at Penn Vet's New Bolton Center to create a farming model that protects the watershed, improves land utilization, bolsters animal welfare, and enhances ecosystem services, including carbon storage, improved water quality, and biodiversity. 

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volunteers planting trees at the New Bolton Center

"Concerns about conventional agricultural practices revolve around its long-term impact on soil health and neighboring ecosystems."

- Thomas Parsons, Penn Vet