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Regenerative Organic Certified: What it Means, Why it Matters, and How You can Join the Movement

  

Because Lundberg Family Farms is based in California, we see the impacts of climate change firsthand, from drought to atmospheric rivers. And as farmers, we see a massive opportunity for the agricultural community to positively impact consumers’ plates and the planet by using regenerative organic farming practices that build soil health, support biodiversity, and are more resilient in the face of climate change.

That’s why we’re on a mission to grow the highest quality rice using regenerative organic farming practices, and have set a goal to transition all the organic rice we grow to Regenerative Organic Certified® by 2027. Last year, Lundberg Family Farms became the first U.S.-grown rice brand to launch Regenerative Organic Certified® rice. But we’re just getting started! By the end of 2025, almost half of our entire product portfolio – 70 products including rice, convenient side dishes, and snacks - will be made with Regenerative Organic Certified® rice. As part of this transition, we are also rolling out a new package design inspired by the vibrant ecosystems our farming practices help protect.

                                                               Lundberg Regenerative Organic Certified Rice

Maybe you’ve already heard the word “regenerative,” which generally refers to a way of farming that gives back more than it takes. That’s great news for eaters and earth-dwellers, right? You bet! But with every buzz word comes a bandwagon. That’s why third-party certifications, like USDA Organic and Regenerative Organic Certified®, can help ensure brands are putting their farming practices where their mouths are and hold the industry accountable for making meaningful change, not just marketing claims.

So why Regenerative Organic Certified®? Lundberg Family Farms believes Regenerative Organic Certified® represents the gold standard in third-party certifications because it uses USDA Organic standards as a baseline and adds important criteria for soil health, animal welfare, and social fairness. That means it isn’t just another fancypants certification—it’s the only regenerative certification that also requires USDA Organic certification.

According to chief storyteller and fourth-generation farmer Brita Lundberg, “We believe regenerative starts with organic because, quite frankly, we don’t see anything “regenerative” about using toxic chemicals like glyphosate or Roundup, which can be harmful to soil, animals, people, and communities”.

                                                                                  Brita & Bryce Lundberg 

But Lundberg Family Farms isn’t jumping on the bandwagon—we’ve always been riding up front. The Lundbergs began growing organic rice in the 1960s, three decades before the USDA implemented national organic standards. People called them “those crazy Lundbergs” for refusing to burn rice straw left in their fields after harvest, which used to be standard practice in the Sacramento Valley. Instead, the Lundbergs return the organic matter into their fields to help reduce pollution and build soil. We are no strangers to changing, setting, and exceeding standards. Our industry-leading farming practices include:

Smart water and weed management: In our regenerative organic fields, we drown grass weeds and dry up aquatic weeds instead of dousing their fields with chemical herbicides. This “Dry Up” method of weed management can help reduce global warming potential by 49% compared to continuous flooding.

In-house nursery and resident rice doctors: We grow 17 different varieties of rice and have a team of dedicated rice experts who use natural methods to improve and develop varieties of rice that are compatible with regenerative organic farming instead of chemicals.

Wildlife protection and habitat creation: California has lost approximately 95% of its natural wetlands. Each winter, we flood some of our fields to replicate California’s historic wetlands, providing food and habitat for thousands of wintering waterfowl. After the birds fly away, Lundberg returns water to rivers and streams, where zooplankton from the fields can nourish juvenile salmon.

Cover crops and duck rescue: We also grow cover crops during the winter, which provide natural fertility to our fields as well as nesting habitat for ducks. When we find duck nests on its property, we hand carry the eggs to safety. We’ve rescued an estimated 30,000 duck eggs!

If Lundberg Family Farms cares this much about how rice is grown, just imagine how much we care about how it tastes.

Want to dig deeper? For more info about Regenerative Organic Certified®, head over to the Regenerative Organic Alliance. Or check out Lundberg Family Farms to find out what Regenerative Organic Certified® farming practices look like on their California-based family farms.


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