The food industry is complicated. What makes it especially challenging is that it both starts and ends with restaurants. Investing in regenerative agriculture is the way to connect the two, ensuring the same guidelines and quality standards are followed at every level of the food production industry.
There is a mounting cultural change in regards to the way the general public treats the agricultural industry. These days, the topic weighs more heavily on the minds of the public, and younger people care far more about how their food is made than the generations that came before them.
There is also a shift in who is doing the agricultural work. Farmers were once middle-aged or even elderly, and farms were mostly inherited property. Today, younger people are moving into the country from urban areas, bringing innovation and change into the industry.
The concept of ‘carbon footprints’ is widely known by now: referring to the imprint each individual leaves on the climate through the combination of their waste and overall emissions. This is how the term “food print” came to be: describing the impact you leave on the environment as a result of your dietary choices.
A new NGO has arisen, and is taking on quite an ambitious goal: launching a program called “Restoring California” with the goal to sign up restaurants as supporters of suppliers using sustainable agriculture. It has also sparked the launch of the “1% For Healthy Soil” initiative.
The project is simple. Each restaurant pledges to give 1% of their income to the goal of having healthy soil and using farms that prioritize soil health. At least thirty restaurants have signed up so far, generating a combined ten million dollars each year.
California’s state government has a set a long term goal of carbon neutrality. This will be reached by 20145, making it a focus of the government for many years to come. The state has pledged 28 million dollars towards healthy soil projects.
The California government is pledging an additional 1.4 billion towards the green movement and use of green agriculture products.
These healthy soil models are not the only ones out there, as every state and country in the world attempts to pursue this agenda in their own unique way. Beyond the California model, some US states have taken a heavier approach, meaning the government will regulate how soil can be treated, and which farmers can sell their produce to restaurants and markets.
It’s a less attractive approach than the model from California, but these regulations will have to be met by restaurants in farmers in the affected states.
There is also a market place for carbon removal styles of farming. This type of farming will put to good use the additional gasses it emits, providing a market incentive for having a more eco-friendly farm. The portion of your production once deemed bad becomes a product you can sell.
It is essential that the issues of eco-friendly farming are presented as market issues, showing how farmers can turn these problems to their advantage.