REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE AND FOOD
Where is the highest potential impact in regenerative agriculture and food?
Why landscapes, nutrient dense food and payment systems for farmers (and transition finance) will change the world?
In Investing in Regenerative Agriculture and Food I have had the great fortune to interview over 60 people on how to put money to work to regenerate soils, people, local communities and ecosystems while making a fair return. Since 2019 I’m trying to focus on the parts within the regen food and ag space with the highest potential impact.
In my opinion these are the four most relevant topics in the sector: Nutrient dense food, Technology enabled landscape design, Payment systems for farmers for ecosystem services and Transition Finance (to finance it all).
Technology is needed to take regenerative agriculture to the watershed, ecosystem level
What to plant where and why? Taking into account climate models for the next 20 years, indigenous knowledge, market circumstances and much more.
Why now: Deep learning computers maybe finally make it possible to look for network effects in landscape restoration, and answer part of the question “what to plant where” for max effect.
Nutrients: how to make the nutrient differences visible in regenerative food
Will new technology show the link between: healthy soils – healthy produce – healthy gut – healthy people to the consumer and investors? And thus revolutionise the food and agro industry?
Why now: Tech may finally make this instant and affordable, plus the relationship with healthy soils.
Payment systems: farmers paid for biodiversity, water storage and carbon storage
Paying enough for good nutrient rich food isn’t enough for the huge transition needed.
Why now: Blockchain, and maybe markets, are ready to pay for water storage, biodiversity and co2 storage?
And a fourth narrative to finance the above:
Transition Finance to finance this huge transition
How funds and investment vehicles are stepping in to finance these transitions in companies and on farms. Looking at Climate Bonds, Green Bonds, new funds, vehicles blended finance, crowdlending /funding etc.
Why now: More and more fund managers and investors are seeing the potential of soil. We need more ways to put all of these money to work!
So I’m giving voice to the doers working in these segments.
Other topics that are not less important, but less relevant for me at the moment:
- Farmers first tech and software
Using all this information to get practical daily decisions at the farmer level
- Return nutrients to the soil
Circular economy, new developments in composting, biochar, insect fertiliser, seaweed all to speed up the regeneration of soil
- Protein discussion
What is the role of animals in regenerative agriculture (if there is one). From how alternative proteins (soy, oat, almonds) are grown and could serve the restoration of ecosystems to how insects, chickens, pigs are generating proteins and fertiliser from food waste.
- Short chains/food webs de-commodify food giants
Making sure that farmers get paid fairly for producing amazing food full of nutrients
- Land ownership
Land ownership is a barrier to regenerative managed landscapes. If yes, what are ways to fix that?