Category: Transition finance

Maarten van Dam – How to fund the transition of the first pioneers in regenerative agriculture

A conversation with Maarten van Dam, founder of Schevichoven Regenerative farm, about numbers when transitioning from conventional to regenerative agriculture and keeping records on inputs, prices, and machinery. Maarten is changing that and keeping a lot of records of their pioneering farm transitioning from a mono dairy farm to a diverse agroforestry system.

Remember the Dutch farming protests? What do we miss when we talk about the transition of conventional? We miss numbers numbers numbers. Many of the pioneers- rightfully so- didn’t keep good records, on inputs, prices, machinery and, of course, hours. Nobody tracks hours in agriculture. What does it cost per hectare, and what off-take do you need? With a minimum of 50K euro per hectare in the Netherlands, you can transition in about 7 years to a diverse perennial agroforestry system, only counting wholesale prices, counting all your hours, and paying a fair wage. Of course, at Schevichoven they are only in year 4, so all of that has to be proven. But what does it mean for the rest of the 50.000 farmers in the Netherlands? What are the types of regen systems they can apply? We need about 150 billion to transition them. It sounds like a lot, but is doable.

Henk Mooiweer – If you can get paid now by Nestlé, Shell and Microsoft to change grazing practices, why wait?

A conversation with Henk Mooiweer, co-founder of Grassroots Carbon, about the current state of carbon markets, high quality soil carbon removal credits, how this company manage to sell 5 million dollars’ worth of them, and where the market is going. Why did Nestlé, Microsoft and Shell start buying? Why does Henk argue that now is the time to sign up as a rancher and not wait to sell your carbon later? Where is the science in all this regen grazing? What about methane? And why is this actually not about carbon?

Fernando Russo – From selling Playboy’s to growing coffee, cacao, credit and lots of cows

A deep dive conversation with Fernando Russo about the reasons why he is going deep into coffee and cacao without being a coffee drinker and how he turned from being a Playboy’s salesman and a travel entrepreneur to an impact investor in the regenerative agriculture and food. We also talk about fashion and heights, the Amazon, deforestation, reforestation, the role of cattle—the good, the bad, and the ugly—and, of course, the potential and why he is in the water camp, not the carbon camp.

What is driving one of the most active impacts investors in the regenerative space? What Fernando tells fellow impact investors when they ask him about this regen thing?
Getting credit and other finance into the hands of farmers and land stewards who want and can change is way more important. Let’s get to work.

Henry Dimbleby – From designing the National Food Strategy for England to starting a £50M fund focussed on food transition

A wide range conversation of almost two hours with Henry Dimbleby, founder of Bramble Partners, a venture capital firm, that invests in businesses seeking to improve food security. Before Bramble Partners, Henry co-founded Leon Restaurants and the Sustainable Restaurant Association and also served deep in the heart of the UK government as he was appointed lead non-executive board member of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

In this exchange we discuss everything from Donella Meadows in complex systems to what that means for all of us trying to influence these systems and policies and how you actually change policy. How it was to manage the COVID crisis from within the UK government, keeping food on the shelves of the supermarkets and local shops, and trying to drastically improve school meals and their accessibility for children living in poverty in the UK. Plus, a deep dive into the junk food cycle, the differences between ultra-processed food and junk food, and the crazy ultra-processed food addiction we all, or mostly, have fallen victim to. And finally, how eating lentils can change everything.

Koen van Seijen interviewed by Naeem Lakhani and Antony Yousefian on his journey in regenerative food and agriculture and the introduction of Generation-Re investment syndicate

Koen van Seijen settles into the guest chair for a special 300th episode celebration and is interviewed by Naeem Lakhani and Antony Yousefian. Starting from a coffee with Tony Lovell of SLM Partners, we recall moments and conversations that pivoted our path from a general interest in food to a passionate advocate for regenerative agricultural practices and the untapped investment opportunities beneath our feet.

We share how the podcast has served and serves as a bridge, connecting people and ideas and how embracing the role of an investor has deepened our commitment while putting “skin in the game”.

The journey has led recently to the launch of the investment syndicate Generation-Re (https://www.gen-re.land) and the thrill of shared investment. Of course, turning tables and mics, you will find as well Koen’s answer to the 1 billion dollar question.

Cameron Frayling – Forget biodiversity credits (for now). Regen ag farm land funds and regulation are driving the biodiversity sector

A check in conversation with Cameron Frayling, CEO of Pivotal Earth, about biodiversity, one of the most important sets of things we should track and measure, and yet it is super difficult and mostly hasn’t been done until now at scale at all. The data is simply not there, so what do we do? With Cameron we check in with one of the leading companies trying to bring technology to this space and make biodiversity measured at scale and cost-effective.

We learn a lot about the current tracking devices and new hardware Cameron would love to see developed, how little most biodiversity experts actually know and not many are able to identify the right insects, etc. What data to trust and how to build trustworthy data, plus the most active customer of the company, not biodiversity credit developers, but regen farm land forestry developers that want to report to their investors about biodiversity gains because the investors are asking for it or regulation is forcing them.

Sonja Stuchtey – Have billions flow into regeneration by having accountants agreeing that it is an investment, not a cost

A conversation with Sonja Stuchtey, co-founder of The Landbanking Group, about innovative financial strategies, accountancy standards and rules, reliable sourcing, better quality and lower prices, investing in the value chain and more.

Let’s say you are an orange juice or chocolate bar producer: your margins are under pressure because the costs of buying raw ingredients have exploded the last few years. What do you do? In any other business you would likely invest in your supply to secure reliable sourcing, better quality and potentially lower prices. Why haven’t we done that in regen (with some exceptions of fully vertically integrated brands)? Now it seems possible for companies to invest in their value chain so to allow orange farmers to make regen changes in the practises to future proof them. 

How? Crucially it comes back to treat it as a long term investment and not as a short term cost which will hurt you margins and, thus, annoy your shareholders. Treating investments (which btw we need billions) in regen as an investment and not a cost sounds so trivial and simple, but it takes a whole lot of technology to measure, report and a lot of talks with the big four accountancy firms to get this done.

Why these 21 Funds with $3.75B AUM could transform agriculture

After interviewing 300 people for the podcast series Investing in Regenerative Agriculture, we noticed many people are setting up investment funds to rebuild soil. The question comes: Could these funds really transform agriculture?

Paul McMahon – With over $500M invested, there is a regenerative edge of about 1-3%

A conversation with Paul McMahon, co-founder of SLM, about why it makes so much sense to put money to work in real regenerative agriculture, yields, and more importantly, profits and the regenerative edge, and more.

Few papers in regenerative agriculture have been shared more than the Investment Case for Ecological Agriculture written by Paul McMahon. We have shared it countless times, learned a whole lot from the simple investment terms describing why it makes so much sense to put money to work in real regeneration. Now it has been updated, even better, it has been completely rewritten and with a lot more science and a lot more experience from the field.

In the conversation with one of the most experienced regenerative farmland investors, we explore the modules of our recent video course on why we need to change agriculture and food systems urgently, and why now is the time to do it.

Martin Reiter – Why regen hasn’t produced Steve Jobs yet and how to build a modern Nestlé

A conversation with Martin Reiter, former senior manager at Airbnb and Wayfair, and prior to this at McKinsey and Groupon, about what excites him about regeneration, where are the Steve Jobs and Elon Musk of regenerative agriculture going to build companies, and how can we help more talent flow into the space?