Soil&Co empowers farmers and consumers to reverse climate change by providing access to more sustainable practices of farming and consuming
Carbon Farming is practices and methods, that regenerate soil and sequester CO2 from the atmosphere back into the soil. According to studies, if done comprehensively (14% of all arable land), Carbon Farming does not only slow down climate change, but reverses it. In addition it results in bigger and more nutritious yields – free from synthetic chemicals.
We empower farmers to take the business into their own hands and take pride of their trade. We achieve this by creating incentives for farmers to move from conventional (carbon releasing farming) to Carbon Farming (carbon sequestering farming). The impact we create is two-fold: we provide education and peer-to-peer support about Carbon Farming, as well as create the opportunity to reach the markets easily without the distributor through an online channel.
Currently the farmers’ biggest pain is low profitability due to the costly distribution channels that hammer down the price of the produce. We cut out the ‘middle man’ by providing an online channel that connects the Carbon Farmers to high end producers. This changes the cost structure and increases farmers’ profitability.
The end producers compete of the high quality raw materials, which are hard to find from the markets. Another major struggle is securing a consistent supply of raw materials. For the end producers we provide a service to reach the farmers and a quality guarantee – of high end and more nutritious produce, as well as more consistent supply of raw materials, without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
The markets create a pull to change from conventional farming to Carbon Farming, and as a result increase the amount of arable land harnessed for carbon sequestration and increased climate impact.
The farming methods are easily approachable by any farmer, as they do not require large investments. Furthermore, we tap on a necessity – food – that moves everyone. Through this we reach large audience and are able to scale fast.
What actions do you propose?
Who will take these actions?
We are creating awareness about carbon farming and its positive impact on the environment and people’s lives. We achieve that by helping farmers take steps to reduce the huge climate impacts, that conventional agriculture has. In order to help people understand that Climate Change impacts are local, personal, and immediate, empowering them to be part of the solution we need to educate & create awareness, which eventually results in creating a natural demand for Carbon Farmed food. The efforts to create change will need to be collaborative, a cross-sector effort including:
Farmers, agronomists and scientists
We built a network of farmers, agronomists and scientists
Farmers join the network
Scientists & specialists farmers help educate around Carbon Farming
We create the process of transforming from conventional farming to carbon farming
Farmers further spread the word among other farmers
Food producers/business sector
Food producers supply Carbon Farmed food for the end consumers
Productize Carbon Food, which we will help with
Businesses can engage stakeholders & customers directly
Create & build up pressure on producers and farmers to offer Carbon Farmed food by building channels to directly demand those
Engage producers & farmers
Carry out education about the carbon and nutrient cycles and their role & importance in people’s lives - economically and holistically - in the short and long term
Will have to change their agricultural subsidies to adjust to carbon sequestration in the short term in order to adapt to climate change, and in the long term to stop over use of resources
Should lobby for carbon sequestering legislation
Support research about regenerating soils and sequestering carbon with land use
Non-profits, NGOs & other interest groups
- Help spread the word and awareness about Carbon Farming and its benefits, in order to create pressure on the above mentioned entities to take action for regenerating soil and sequestering carbon
Where will these actions be taken?
We are currently operating out of Finland where we started our efforts. We are planning on concentrating on the European Union in the beginning however due to the global impact, we need to take our initiative to other markets as we progress.
Australia and the US are particularly interesting to us and are on our roadmap for 2017. As our operations grow, and when we have the ability to, we will instantly expand to developing countries where the need is much greater, as they are often struggling the most with droughts and floods. The climate impact is also greater in countries with hotter climates, and the greater the depletion of the soil - the greater the potential of regenerating it.
How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?
What are other key benefits?
Other key benefits are manifold and are listed below:
Better food security and increased food quality meaning more nutritious soils and more nutritious food
Increased yields and more consistent output for farmers
Potentially increased time-savings for farmers’ daily operations
Increase in pride and joy for the trade of farming
Increased confidence in farming methods due to increased knowledge
Easier and more direct access to sales for farmers
Increased customer audience, as the ‘middle man’ is cut, for the farmers
Increased control over farmers’ business and direct feedback loops
End-to-end turnkey solution for farmers
Peer support from farmer to farmer
Support from large partner network of for instance scientists and agronomists
Development of science-based methodologies (UN, World Bank references
Contribution to the metrification of Carbon Farming Methods and Impact
- Better resistance to climate change & weather phenomena such as floods, droughts and other extreme conditions
What are the proposal’s costs?
The projected costs for the first year of operation amount to about 587.000 €. The projected costs for year five of operation amount to about 9.532.000 €, as the following estimations show:
1. Staff – 2.100.000 €
2. Technology – 790.000 €
satellites, platform, data
3. Expert consultancy – 650.000 €
Agrologists, scientists, carbon farmers
4. Transport – 200.000 €
Vehicles, transportation costs
5. Equipment – 212.000 €
Tools for farmers, turnkey solution
6. Research – 1.080.000 €
Measure & guarantee quality of produce
Develop carbon sequestration methods & systems
7. Training and capacity building – 455.000 €
8. Investments – 1.600.000 €
Expansion to developing countries
Strategic business investments
9. Other direct costs – 520.000 €
10. Overhead costs – 1.925.000 €
The award of $10k would help jumpstart the next phase not only of the website but also the platform. A fully functional website is the basis for developing the two-sided channel we are aiming at as well as developing partnerships. It would allow the team to furthermore pursue additional sources of funding such as crowdfunding.
The only known challenge to us is a slump in the productivity at the start for the farmer, when methods are being changed from conventional agriculture to Carbon Farming. Normally the slump period is 1-3 years, depending on the conditions and methods used. The productivity will eventually rise above the initial stage, when the soil recovers and returns to a healthier stage, where it is able to produce greater yields, as well as more nutritious food. We hope to minimize and address those by creating a system, that categorizes farmers according to the stage they’re at in the transformation process, enabling end-consumers to find them and support them, and lift them up in the channel from the pool of farmers for the consumers to find.
By the end of June 2016 we will deliver the MVP of the service and aim to recruit 20 more farms to our database of interested farms. By the end of 2016 we have set up an early version of the channel, recruited 100 farms altogether, and closed the first sales.
Within one year we furthermore aim at establishing a spearhead contact in a beachhead market in order to validate and scale ourmodel early on. At the end of the first year we have already established contacts in another country, where we are planning to expand our operations next.
Developing the science and proof. Investing in expansion to 10 new countries.
Have the first farms transformed from initial conventional farming to Carbon Farming, on the road to producing Carbon Farmed food.
5 - 15 years
Within the next 5 -15 years we will be expanding heavily to developing countries together with intergovernmental organizations such as the UN, the World Bank and governments in order to prevent large scale crises. Furthermore we will be collaborating with other businesses in order to transition economies towards more sustainable ways. We’re operating in 29 countries in 15 years time.
15 - 50 years
In the next 15 - 50 years we aim for a transformation of 60% of all farming to Carbon Farming, within the limitations of political forces and challenges such as property right issues and volatile governments. The threat of climate change has been avoided due to changes in agricultural practices and with a move to a low-emission economy along with changes in consumption behaviors and use of resources. Soil&Co is a recognized standard for Carbon Farmed food. Soil&Co is recognized for spearheading the conversation and driving the science around Carbon Farming, guiding the conversation and actions towards a global change.
50 - 100 years
In the next 50 - 100 years all farming is Carbon Farming and climate change has been reversed.
Liquid Nanoclay (LNC) retains water and fertilizer better than impoverished soil. In sandy deserts it is said to result in the same yield as in good USA farm soil. We see potential in collaborating with this initiative i.e. in locations with bad droughts. One application of LNC lasts for 5 years. If we apply Carbon Farming simultaneously with first LNC application, after five years (length of the LNC cycle) we hope to result in nutritious and resilient soil that is able to hold water without any external synthetic agents. This potential collaboration requires more research, and is dependent on the methods that LNC uses.
The proposal tackles the same challenge as we do – but in the mangrove forests. They suggest a “ridge to reef” approach. By combining these two initiatives we could gain synergies and approach the challenge holistically.
Rattan Lal, study Ohio State https://sustainability.water.ca.gov/documents/18/3407623/Soil+carbon+sequestration+to+mitigate+climate+change.pdf
Rodale Institute White Paper ‘Regenerative Organic Agriculture and Climate Change: A Down-to-Earth Solution to Global Warming’ http://02f.e55.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Rodale-Institute-White-Paper-1.pdf
Rodale Institute ‘The Farming Systems Trial’
The Carbon Underground ‘The Formula is easier than you think’ https://thecarbonunderground.org/the-formula-is-easier-than-you-think/
Carbon Underground ‘Science’
New York Times ‘A Boon for Soil, and for the Environment’
French Goverment ‘4 Pour 1000’ Initiative
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development ‘Trade and Environment Review 2013’
The World Bank’s ‘Carbon Sequestration in Agricultural Soils’
Acres USA’s Interview with Dr. Christine Jones
Centre for Food Safety’s ‘Soil Solutions to Climate Change’
Kiss the Ground’s ‘The Soil Story’ narrated by Larry Kopald
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ ‘Soils: Our ally against climate change’
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ ‘Let’s talk about soil’
Peter Byck’s ‘Soil Carbon Cowboys’
TedXGrandForks by Gabe Brown ‘Regeneration of Our Lands: A Producer’s Perspective’
Ted Talk by Allan Savory ‘How to fight desertification and reverse climate change’
The Carbon Farming Solution - A Global Toolkit of Perennial Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices for Climate Change Mitigation and Food Security By Eric Toensmeier