An interview with Jeroen Klompe, co-founder of Klompe Landbouw and Soil Heroes on why everything starts with biodiversity above and below ground and how one of the most advanced regenerative farmers in the Netherlands is setting up a fair farmers first marketplace to connect farmers with buyers of ecosystem services. It is not just about carbon removal, but also biodiversity and water storage. It might not be the most sexy part of regenerative agriculture but it is absolutely crucial. How do we pay farmers for all the other services they provide, beyond the food, fibres and oils they (hopefully using regenerative practices) produce for us?
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In this episode, Koen van Seijen together with Jeroen Klompe, co-founder of Klompe Landbouw and Soil Heroes, talks about ecosystem services and building soils. They also discuss biodiversity and why carbon removal is not the problem that needs to be talked about in regenerative agriculture.
Ecosystem Services, simply, are the contribution of ecosystems to human life. They support human survival and quality of life. Water holding, carbon sequestration, biodiversity, stopping of erosion are some of the examples of ecosystem services.
“I was just thinking in a very easy way: soil can deliver us such beautiful things and we can see that there is a big, growing, extreme money absorbing problem. If we can connect those things, then those services that we are delivering, what we call ecosystem services now, have value.” – Jeroen Klompe
Marketing ecosystem services are different since their nature is not tangible, however, they provide a solution to the big problems of humanity. Nature and soil deliver such beautiful things, the whole ecosystem service restores and brings balance to the planet.
“This whole system is possible to realize. We can build soil, we can restore all the degraded farmland in the world by just using very natural practices, and then we can deliver such beautiful things. Soil is a problem but can be a huge solution.” – Jeroen Klompe
Carbon is always talked about in regenerative agriculture. The goal has always been carbon removal in soil. However, it is not the only problem. Klompe says that carbon is just a side effect and if it gets solved tomorrow, there are still problems in need of a solution.
“If we do this the right way, the carbon problem is there temporarily. If we do it on a large scale, we can solve the carbon problem by doing it all together. But in the end, it will be about sweet water and it will be about nutrients.” – Jeroen Klompe
In building soil, the approach in the different ecosystem services must not focus on one thing in particular. The four major services, at the moment, are water storage, biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and stopping of erosion, but there are 12 or 14 other ecosystem services that need to be approached.
“If you start improving the quality of soil, if you start building soils, you are not delivering. You’re not only sequestering carbon, you need to improve your biodiversity. You need to improve the water holding capacity. It’s not about carbon only. It’s about the whole approach of all the ecosystem service.” – Jeroen Klompe
What Farmers Need
Restoring Mother Earth for the future is at the end the big task for the farmers. There are so many opportunities for farmers as building a system which can monitor the soil and calculate ecosystem services, from which farmers will eventually profit from. As a farmer himself, Klompe wants to empower other farmers and guide them in ecosystem services area.
“The dots were continuously connecting in my head and that gave me the evidence and the trust in myself that we can do this. We can help other farms with such a system. We can empower the farmers bottom up with a beautiful system that they are stronger in the market, and other farmers can also build business models on their soil.” – Jeroen Klompe
Investing in Ecosystem Services
Eight years ago, nobody talked about paying for ecosystem services, there was no market for it. Klompe saw the possibility of restoring farmlands. He decides to market the cause to farmers, consumers, buyer companies, government sector, and non-profit sectors that want to improve their nature practices.
“There are front runners we are focusing on it at this moment and we do see that they can bind their community of buyers by doing good, doing something by implementing it in their whole business model, being carbon neutral or planet neutral or maybe planet positive.” – Jeroen Klompe
To learn more about Jeroen Klompe, the co-founder of Klompe Landbouw and Soil Heroes, and ecosystem services and soil building, download, and listen to this episode.
Jeroen Klompe is co-founder of Klompe Lanbouw and Soil Heroes, building a farmers first fair chain model to connect buyers of ecosystem services directly with farmers.
Their slogan? “Don’t compensate but regenerate!”
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