Tittonell P, El Mujtar V, Felix G, Kebede Y, Laborda L, Luján Soto R and de Vente J (2022) Regenerative agriculture—agroecology without politics? Front. Sustain. Food Syst. 6:844261. doi: 10.3389/fsufs.2022.844261
Regenerative agriculture is gaining momentum worldwide among practitioners, scientists and policy makers, and it is often associated with agroecology. Indeed, regenerative agriculture has plenty in common with agroecology: e.g., soil and ecosystem restoration, reliance on biological interactions and ecosystem services, integration of domestic plants and animals, efficient use of the photosynthetic potential of annual and perennial combinations (Luján Soto et al., 2020; Schreefel et al., 2020; Giller et al., 2021). One aspect of agroecology that does not always fit comfortably in the realm of regenerative agriculture is political activism, or the place and emphasis that the “social” dimension takes in the definition of the social-ecological system. This is perhaps one of the reasons why agroecology is more closely associated with peasant movements, for whom claims on rights and access to natural resources are urgent (e.g., Rosset and Altieri, 2017), while regenerative agriculture is an approach increasingly—but not exclusively—also adopted by commercial, often large-scale farmers or external investors less concerned with natural resource access or food sovereignty issues. Thus, while the agroecology movement sees sustainability first and foremost as a political issue, regenerative agriculture seems a priori to be less concerned with politics and with the social dimension of sustainability. Yet, our first-hand experience in the field tells us that there may be more than one “type” of regenerative agriculture, that vary in their degree of association with agroecology. We find it timely to explore the diversity of definitions of regenerative agriculture available and their relationship with the most widely accepted definition of agroecology (cf. FAO, 2019).