Natural Products Insider

JAN-FEB 2019

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naturalproductsinsider . com 35 operations farm this way, it isn't a requirement of USDA organic certifi cation. The Regenerative Organic Alliance already has more than 40 brand members. Schaeffer noted ROC has moved into the pilot testing phase with 22 farms essentially doing a trial run of the certifi cation and inspection/auditing process. "The farms represent many scales, countries and types of operation," she said. "We're also developing educational and training materials for inspectors, certifi ers and farms/ranches/producers. All current certifi ers with the NOP or IFOAM will be eligible to certify with ROC. The Alliance's goal is to have several farms certifi ed by late 2019." Boulder, Colorado-based Savory (savory.global) is another global community working to promote regenerative agriculture—relying on holistic management to address the widespread issues of desertifi cation, climate change, and food and water insecurity. According to the organization's website, one-third of the Earth's land surface is grasslands, 70 percent of which has been degraded. However, holistic management can result in soil regeneration, increased productivity and biological diversity, as well as economic and social well-being. Many certifi cation schemes provide farmers a "to-do" list of practice-based benchmarks. But in and of themselves, tools and practices don't always translate into regeneration. Savory's Land to Market™ regenerative sourcing solution adds value by using an Ecological Outcome Verifi cation (EOV) to identify farm and ranch products that have a positive impact on soil, climate and communities. "EOV is a practical and scalable soil and landscape assessment methodology that tracks outcomes in biodiversity, soil health and ecosystem function (water cycle, mineral cycle, energy fl ow and community dynamics)," said Daniela Ibarra-Howell, Savory's CEO and co-founder. "Farms and ranches demonstrating positively trending outcomes in land regeneration through EOV are entered into a Verifi ed Regenerative Supplier Roster, from which participating buyers, brands, retailers and end consumers can access products or services that have been produced on a verifi ed regenerative land base." Savory's EOV doesn't just provide lip service. In measuring and trending key indicators of ecosystem function, the aggregate indicates positive or negative trends in the overall health of a landscape. EOV endorsement is only given to a land base if its health moves in an overall net positive direction in the context of the region. However, if EOV data show negative trends, the affected farmers and ranchers can work with a regional Savory Hub for further training, mentoring and implementational support. Ibarra-Howell said often it's a matter of a land manager needing to stop unfavorable grazing patterns, such as overgrazing and over-rest of plants. She pointed out that improved management practices can help farmers better accommodate the desired complexities of a land mass, bringing resilience to Earth and business alike. She added, "Productivity and profi tability are natural outcomes of managing holistically." The fi eld data Savory uses to monitor EOV is being aggregated on a digital platform, along with GPS coordinates, photos and specifi c commentary. This "will allow for meta-analysis of trends in land regeneration worldwide, as well as by ecoregion, and will also help establish important correlations between similar indicators of ecosystem health," Ibarra- Howell shared. "Over time, this metadata will include longer-term trends in criteria such as soil carbon content and water- holding capacity, along with other important indicators of environmental health and resilience." To date, Savory has educated more than 5,000 land managers worldwide in holistic management. In addition, a handful of Frontier Founder brands in the Land to Market program are starting to incorporate EOV ingredients in their products. EPIC Provisions, Applegate Farms, Union Snacks and Zuke's Natural Pet Treats— and most recently, global luxury group Kering—are among the companies that "have made impact investments in Land to Market because they are deeply committed to a regenerative and transparent sourcing solution that supplants extractive and obscure agricultural supply chains," Ibarra-Howell noted. In fall 2018, EPIC launched its fi rst EOV-marked product—Sweet & Spicy Sriracha Beef Bites—and the other partners are looking to source from EOV suppliers for their products in 2019. "At the end of the day, brands have the crucial role and responsibility of educating their consumer on the impact to planet and people of the products or services they are offering," Ibarra-Howell said. "This will require major redesign of, and investment in, their supply chains—value networks— bringing outcome-based transparency on social and ecological sourcing practices, as well as impact on consumers' health." Despite the enormity of the task at hand, as a farmer committed to these ideals, Pittz is encouraged by the progress. "I'm very excited to see consumers and farms—and now thoughtful brands—driving the support for regenerative agriculture," he shared. "It is critical we continue the positive momentum; the more brands, the more farms, the more consumers supporting the regenerative agricultural movement, the better. Now is the time to double down our efforts and create a resilient, regenerative agriculture and food movement that can transform the land base and positively impact the health of farmers, consumers and the environment." Regenerative Agriculture Organic Systems: • Are competitive with conventional yields (after a 5-year transition period) • Produce yields up to 40 percent higher in times of drought • Earn three to six times greater profi ts for farmers • Leach no toxic chemicals into waterways • Use 45 percent less energy • Release 40 percent fewer carbon emissions Source: Rodale Institute's Farming Systems Trial Data

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