How the Regenerative Economy Is Strengthening the Environment
Bioneers Pulse – updates from the Bioneers Community
In her book, The Regenerative Business, Carol Sanford writes, "A business that adopts a systems regeneration approach moves the boundary of what it is taking into account. It begins to take responsibility not only for its own internal systems (such as accounting or production...) and the systems in which it is immediately embedded (such as markets or distribution networks), but also for the larger social and natural systems that we depend on collectively. By extending its purview in this way, a business is able to become much more strategically powerful within its markets and its industry, and in society at large."
This week, we look at the regenerative economy and how some businesses are using their power for good.
Innovative Enterprise: ‘Greening’ Agriculture and Boosting Farmers’ Livelihoods
At the 2018 National Bioneers Conference, visionary leaders of cutting-edge, mission-driven enterprises working in the U.S. and globally shared their strategies for succeeding at spreading ecologically sound agricultural practices while boosting farming families’ incomes and wellbeing.
The panel was moderated by Erin Axelrod, a worker-owner at LIFT Economy. The panelists were Alex Eaton, co-founder of Sistema Biobolsa; Theresa Marquez, Mission Ambassador at Organic Valley; Kyle Garner, CEO of Organic India USA; and Ken Lee, co-founder and co-owner of Lotus Foods. The following is an excerpt from the panel.
ERIN: How do these regenerative agriculture models replicate in other regions?
ALEX: I think the challenge with small-scale agriculture that’s being done right in a lot of ways is not copy/paste. What we’ve really tried to do is focus on the outreach and the social component of how we train farmers.
We spent the last year dedicated to building a curriculum-based replication model, so that it does come out of the box for other organizations that are reaching farmers.
We’re trying to understand how to get it into people’s hands that don’t want to cut corners. The biggest challenge is not diluting the impact that we have by replicating too fast. It’s easy to talk about scale, but you don’t want to do it wrong.
KYLE: What’s nice about the approaches that a lot of the people up here are taking is most of the winners are the people that can scale the biggest. Success favors scale.
Regenerative agriculture practices favor the smaller farmer in a lot of ways because the things are maybe not tougher to scale, but when you scale them you lose some of the essence that makes them so powerful. By reapplying the education in more places, you can actually create a structure that’s anti-scale that leads to scaling the movement. It’s one of the few things I’ve come across that favors smaller is better. That’s the reason we should be trying to reapply it.
How to do it I think is hard, because it requires education and convincing small farmers to buy in. But I think if we can get enough case studies in enough places, we can actually do it.
Video of the Week: Alisa Gravitz – Field Notes from the Green Economy
Alisa Gravitz, President and CEO of Green America, affirms that companies do listen to customer concerns, and energy and water conservation is a matter of their survival. Thanks to battery storage technology, solar and wind are knocking dirty energy off the grid. CSAs and farmers markets are booming, helping reverse the prevalence of childhood illness. As with biodiversity in nature, respectfully engaging unlikely allies is our best strategy for making meaningful change.
Denman Island Chocolate: An Interview with Entrepreneur & Environmentalist Daniel Terry
Denman Island Chocolate was the first organic chocolate company in Canada. It is located in a beautiful non-commercial spot on a wooded ridge on Denman Island, British Columbia, with views of the Strait of Georgia. Co-founder Daniel Terry placed a conservation covenant on the property when he bought it to restrict logging and other activities that would degrade the ecosystem. All ingredients are organic, and the chocolate and coffee are also Fair Trade. Arty Mangan, Bioneers Restorative Food Systems Director, visited the custom home combination chocolate factory and spoke with Daniel about his business and how he uses it to support environmental causes.
The National Heirloom Expo will be held September 10, 11, & 12 at the Sonoma County fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, California. The Expo will feature over 300 vendors with thousands of heirloom varieties from across America, as well as workshops, speakers, a contest, art show, music, and much more.
Bioneers spoke to the organizers to find out more details about what attendees can expect this year.
Café Mam has been sourcing Fair Trade, shade-grown coffee since 1990. Café Mam's farmers use regenerative agriculture practices. Bioneers is thankful for Café Mam's partnership for this year's conference.
A handful of global business leaders are blazing trails to a biologically based “eco-nomics.” They are fundamentally recalculating core assumptions to allow business to make a fine living without killing the planet. Ray Anderson, leading-edge founder and CEO of Interface, the world’s largest modular carpet company, articulates his bold vision to operate the company to take from the Earth only that which the Earth can renew rapidly and naturally. His mission is a zero footprint by the year 2020. He calls on the entire industrial system to join him on the remarkable path to Mt. Sustainability.
Why the Future of the Planet Is Brighter Than You Think: the Regenerative Economy
Harry Doull and Stephen Tracy, founders of Keap Candles, write that in the face of dire environmental damage, there is hope for the future: the regenerative economy. A regenerative economy goes beyond sustainability to have a net positive benefit on the environment through business operations.
The Visionaries Summit in California brings together thinkers, changemakers, activists and political leaders to address the most pressing issues of our time. The summit encourages collaboration and inspiration. Bioneers co-founder Nina Simon will be speaking at the event.
Bioneers is honored to be hosting a screening of Wilder than Wild: Fire, Forests, and the Future. This compelling one-hour documentary reveals how fire suppression and climate change have exposed our forests and wildland-urban landscapes to large, high intensity wildfires—and explores strategies to mitigate the impact of these fires.