Organic and Regenerative Farming – What’s the Difference?

Organic and Regenerative Farming – What’s the Difference?

There is a rising excitement and buzz around regenerative farming practices as a more sustainable way to farm.

Whilst organic and regenerative farming both share a common goal of creating a restorative food system that benefits the environment and society, there can be confusion around the commonalities and differences between the two farming systems.  

Soil Association Certification and Organic Farmers and Growers have worked together on a series of infographics clearly demonstrating organic’s restorative approach in the context of other farming systems and the differences and commonalities between organic and regenerative farm practices. They can be used as a tool by the industry to help frame organic effectively within the regenerative farming space.  

Download the infographics.


The infographics communicate 2 key messages: 

1. Degenerative and restorative farming systems have significantly different outcomes for the environment and animal welfare. We desperately need a shift away from today’s prevailing degenerative food and farming system, towards one that works with nature for people and planet. 


2. Both organic farming systems and regenerative farm practices are restorative, with a focus on improving soil health and crop diversity, but there are key differences between the approaches.

Unlike organic, there is no legal definition for regenerative farming practices which means that it can be used as a vehicle for greenwashing by others in the supply chain. Data from the World Benchmarking Alliance shows that less than 10% of the companies using the term disclosed data on optimising use of fertilisers and only 4% on minimising use of pesticides It also means that regenerative practices can be cherry picked rather than taking a whole system approach to sustainable farming, meaning that there is no guarantee that harmful practices are not happening alongside positive but isolated regenerative techniques

In comparison, organic certification protects against greenwashing because the term is underpinned by law and involves a stringent third-party auditing process, providing verification that products labelled as organic truly meet the established standards. Organic standards take a thorough whole system approach to promote soil health and biodiversity and include additional restorative practices such as prohibiting the use of artificial fertilisers and pesticides and delivering the highest standards of animal welfare in the UK.


We recognise organic certification as the most comprehensive, verifiable, legally protected benchmark for regenerative agriculture and believe it should be recognised and supported as such. Those who want to support the best of regenerative agriculture can make a start by choosing or specifying organic. These graphics can help the sector communicate this more clearly.  

Download the infographics.

We are compiling a set of case studies to support these graphics and would love to hear from you if there is a particular regenerative practice you are particularly proud of and have seen success in providing positive outcomes on your farm. Please get in touch at