Nourishing Soils to Nourish People
Soil SuperHeroes exist at all levels of the food and agriculture supply chains. And, while the conversation often focuses on producers—farmers and ranchers for example—there is also potential for huge, systemic changes by the companies that bring food to the market. These companies are important links between soil and the dinner table. Or, in this case, the medicine cabinet!
Eating well is crucial for human health, and if you’re taking vitamins or supplements, it’s important to ensure these are sourced from nutritious, whole foods. If these vitamins also help support farmers and an agriculture that’s good for the planet, even better. MegaFood, a vitamin and supplement company, has long had a commitment to sourcing non-GMO and organic, is also a leader in the supplement sector for its commitment to regenerative farming that supports soil health.
Sara Newmark, VP of Social Impact at the MegaFood, speaks to this: “We have a commitment to nourish, and you can’t nourish people without nourishing our soil.”
Involvement of companies like MegaFood is so important in the world of regenerative agriculture right now. Farmers may be interested in building their soil health and adopting regenerative practices, but this involves an investment of time and money, not to mention the fact that improving the soil can be a slow process and one that’s potentially risky during the transition. Companies send a strong message to famers when they say: we understand this situation and value your extra efforts.
Working Directly With Farmers
MegaFoods has a direct relationship with their farmers, providing support and a guaranteed market for their regeneratively-grown produce. They’ve developed a standard for sourcing the ingredients that go into their vitamins, which focuses on the trifecta of building healthy soils, conserving resources, and supporting livelihoods in regenerative agriculture.
This grassroots effort tackles many of the social and environmental issues that plague the food and agriculture industry. At a time when climate change poses a very serious and existential threat to life on earth, it’s important that solutions are explored and developed at all levels of the economy and in all sectors. Agriculture is a major source of the greenhouse gases that cause climate change, and regenerative agriculture has great potential to help fix this. Half of the world’s soil organic carbon has been released into the atmosphere through conventional agriculture. Regenerative agriculture recaptures this carbon in the soil, fighting climate change and ensuring healthy crops. Or, as Newmark puts it, “We know the soil has the ability to heal our planet, and that healthy soil leads to more nutrient dense foods.”
The next step? Widespread, global adoption of these methods and bringing regeneratively grown products into the mainstream. “We want to align food companies and farmers in addressing the climate crisis by encouraging all agricultural supply chains to take concrete and measurable, outcome-based steps to build soil health and sequester carbon.” This big-picture, systemic thinking is crucial for the scale of change needed to fight climate change in time. And, MegaFood is leading by example.
The Soil Carbon Initiative, a partnership between MegaFood, Green America, The Carbon Underground, Danone North America, NSF International, Ben & Jerry’s, and 150 additional stakeholders, is working on creating a global standard to measure and show progress towards soil health. “There is urgency around moving all of agriculture to a system that stores carbon and builds healthy soil. The goal of this standard is to make it accessible AND defendable, so that we can allow for rapid adoption across all farming systems. Afterall, we don't have much time left.”