Half of all the habitable land is used for THIS one activity
Which is also one of the major polluters
This is probably one of the most powerful graphs that I saw recently.
Out of all the habitable land we have, 50% is being used to feed us.
And out of that 50%, 75% is being used to feed us dairy and meat products.
And that’s why changing our food habits can drastically change these percentages.
Reduced demand for dairy and food products would reduce the production and the land allocated to them.
This could be taken back by forests.
This would bring down the emissions and the new forests would start absorbing even more carbon out of the atmosphere.
For this week, we have 3 startups that are reducing the carbon in the atmosphere by rethinking our agricultural practices.
Making agriculture part of the climate solution
Natural carbon capture…Conventional agricultural practices are destroying the top layer of the soil, which consists of 60% of the carbon in the ground. Destroying this layer releases this carbon into the atmosphere. Regenerative agricultural practices like flower strips, hedges, and agroforestry prevents this. It not only prevents the topsoil from emitting carbon but also lets it absorb more carbon from the atmosphere.
However, there are a few hurdles…Farmers’ transition to regenerative agriculture practices is slow because of a lack of awareness, lack of appreciation from customers and a possibility of lost revenue during the transition phase(from conventional to regenerative). And that’s where Berlin-based agritech startup Klim comes in. They are overcoming that by providing the farmers with financial support and incentivizing them with social nudges.
It has an app that helps the farmers set the transition goals best suited for their land and actively track them.
Farmers using Kilm can put Klim labels on their food products that would let consumers know about their regenerative practices.
The carbon captured as a result of the improved topsoil is converted into Klim CO₂ Credits- which are available for others to buy.
Even better…Klim is also working with food companies and retailers to see how they can get the farmers on its platform a higher value for their products as compared to products grown using conventional practices. This would further (financially) incentivize even more farmers to switch to these practices.
Turning waste biomass into marketable products
Slash and burn…To clear their fields from the previous harvest and prepare them for planting, farmers burn corn stalks, rice husks, hay, straw, and other waste. Globally, around $120 billion worth of crop and forest residues are burned in the open each year. This creates huge seasonal clouds of smog, contributing to rising air pollution, that is killing millions of people every year.
A portable solution…Takachar is on a mission to reduce air pollution associated with crop residue burning while helping farmers generate extra income. They are preventing these crop residues from being burnt and are converting them into marketable products, such as fertilizer, fuel or activated carbon. To do that, they have built a small-scale, low-cost, portable equipment that can be installed on farms.
It sells this equipment to farmers, who own and operate them with training and support from Takachar.
In return, farmers sell the agricultural waste to Takachar, and the company is able to sell the fertilizer blend.
This provides the farmers with a way to reduce waste, make money, and help the planet by reducing air pollution.
Marketing strategy…Takachar usually starts working with older and more affluent farmers who have more risk appetites and are more influential. Once they implement it and start seeing the results, smaller farmers get to know about it through word of mouth. They also work with electric utilities that constantly trim vegetation to avoid catastrophic wildfires and minimize the risk of starting it.
Supporting farmers to move to regenrative agriculture
The usual challenges…Regenerative agriculture is becoming popular but adoption and scaling remain a challenge. A lot of farmers are hesitant to share their knowledge in the field (literally). Others who have been working with conventional practices are not sure about the implications of shifting to regenerative practices. There are small movements that are happening across the world but there isn’t a global organized approach to the problem.
Building a structure and process…Netherlands-based reNature is on a mission to make regenerative forestry mainstream by supporting farmers and corporates in their transitions. It takes on projects around the world to support the adoption and scaling of regenerative agriculture. This helps to sequester carbon and reverse the effects of global warming while improving the lives of the farmers.
They help farmers and corporations to switch to a poly-crop structure- growing more than one crop; different types of plants and trees are grown together.
This reduces the input cost(fertilizer, pesticide) for the farmer.
And it helps to capture more carbon- creating an additional source of income for the farmers who can offer carbon credits.
Baby steps…reNature sits with its clients to first understand their strategy. They then develop a model farm and demonstration plots before scaling up. Once the results are proven on a small piece of land, these practices are implemented on the entire farmland. This makes the transition to regenerative forestry easier for farmers and corporates.
🙋Trivia of the week
The answer to last week’s trivia is Almond. To grow one almond requires ~1-3 gallons of water.
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