We see this image perpetually over LinkedIn. The argument is that finance, policy and business are suffering from carbon myopia: they are too focused on just carbon. What if there was a nature-based solution that focused on building more than natural capital and ecosystem services and solved other wicked problems such as transforming the food and agriculture system at scale towards a systems-based approach that is simultaneously ecologically regenerative and profitable?
At New Foundation Farms, we are addressing more than just carbon drawdown. We are doing it within a profitable business model that does not depend on carbon sales to work.
Don’t get us wrong: the importance of carbon drawdown cannot be overstated; it is vital. However, there is a lot more to do and sustainable business models cannot depend on carbon pricing to be viable – if they do, they are vulnerable to the whims of policy priorities in the same way that subsidy dependent agro-chemical farming has been in Europe for the past 40 years.
New Foundation Farms, at its core, is a disruptive farm-to-fork food business, addressing the problems of the current food system including the parallel challenges of farm profitability and GHG emissions as well as addressing both ecosystem health issues and human health. We do this through a focus on providing people with affordable nutritionally dense (and delicious!) food grown in healthy ecosystems. This is a systemic solution to the climate crisis. It is also a nature-based solution, with for example over 100,000 trees typically planted on each 1,000 acre farm. The trees are not an “add-on” but are part of a variety of integrated habitats for farmed and wild animals. We can sequester CO2 back into the soil, increase biodiversity and address water issues like flooding, water stress and clean water downstream.
Restoring natural capital is vital to humans and the planet. These added benefits can make a huge impact on carbon drawdown and solve three major aspects of the current interconnected crises: climate, food production, and farm profitability. By contrast, reforestation, which is offered as another nature-based solution, has large set-up costs and relies on someone paying for the carbon to deliver investment returns. Reforestation also increasingly takes land out of food production on a false narrative that it is degraded and therefore not suitable for growing food.
Modern science means we now know how to build ecosystem health and grow food on degraded land and in so doing, increase it’s ecological health.
New Foundation Farms approach to stacking agricultural enterprises is sensitive to the local context and delivers food, ecologically positive outcomes and social regeneration in rural economies. It’s a systemic WIN-WIN-WIN rather than a one-trick pony focused on carbon.