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Farm to table 2.0
Healthy soil reverses
climate change through
A circular economy
The food system accounts for about
half of global GHG emissions
the bad news about food
(all on one slide)
Globally, farming and land
management are responsible
for major climate impacts
Source: UN FAO
Scientists are charting
climate solutions and
11 of the top 24
solutions come from
Food/Soil = best opportunity
to do more than slow climate
change but actually
DRAW DOWN atmospheric
carbon into soil and
REVERSE climate change.
Like planting trees,
increasing soil microbiology
can amount to hundreds of
tons of GHG capture per
the good News
(the first of
a few slides!)
New science and news!
Carbon Ranching protocol
approved on the American
- NY Times Magazine cover
story on soil as a climate
- Peer-reviewed scientific
paper proves global
potential to reverse climate
change using NASA
modeling, the work of UC
and carbon ranchers
FARM to TABLE 2.0: Theory of Change
Opportunity to build a circular economy
In support of climate, health, and profit
+ Healthy Soil Carbon Credits
+ Scaling new modes of farming
+ Carbon Neutral Restaurants
= Renewable Food System
Current consumer market
mechanisms and carbon
markets are not enabling
food & farming to
counteract climate change
within the necessary time
• After 40 years, the organic
movement covers ~1% of U.S.
acreage, some of which is not
even building soil.
• Subsidies and externalities create
a wide price gap between good
farming and bad farming.
• “Voting with dollars” does not directly fund soil restoration. The sustainable
consumer spending trickles down slowly and may not even benefit the soil.
• Even if there were suddenly overwhelming demand to pay a premium for
regeneratively produced ingredients, there would be insufficient supply.
• The existing farm-to-table movement is not engaged with the voluntary carbon
Farm-to-table is ripe for disruption
Fresh and local is nice,
But won’t save the world
Improving on Carbon Offsets
• Approved protocols are lagging
behind current soil science
• High verification costs (20-50% of
the cost for common protocols,
never mind for emerging projects!)
• Slow capital flows because carbon
offsets are only released annually/
healthy soil carbon credits vs. the Status quo
Healthy Soil Carbon Credits (HSCC)
• Low/no verification cost! HSCCs utilize
the existing work of the CA Healthy
Soils Initiative in which 100 producers
have already completed their carbon
farm plans and will be undergoing
verification at 3 and 5 year
• Respected environmental consultancy,
3 Degrees Inc., will underwrite, provide
up front funding, and backstop HSCCs
with food related carbon offsets in the
event of discrepancy upon verification
(as is common practice in forestry
• Modeling based: The COMET Farm
Planning tool offers scientific
calculations of CO2e sequestration
levels; it is accepted by CA ARB, CDFA,
California Department of Food and Agriculture
2017 Healthy Soils Program (HSP) Incentives Program ‐ Second Solicitation
Projects Selected for an Award of Funds (Updated as of June 2018)
Thomas D. Donati
The Recipient will compost in the Buttes of Sutter County and investigate the local
benefits of the conservation practice. The multi-generational ranch uses the project site
seasonally as part of a rotational livestock grazing system. The Recipient will apply
compost in the fall to rangeland to improve soil health. The project reduces emissions by
sequestering carbon in the soil, while supporting a local company who manufacturers
compost from municipal green waste. This project studies the limited number of
compost applications occurring in Northern California’s Central Valley. A partnership
has established between the ranching community, UC Cooperative Extension, Point
Blue Conservation Science and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to
investigate and share the economic and ecological outcomes from the project. Results of
the project will be shared with local ranchers and stakeholders though a variety of
avenues such as feature articles and project presentations.
$49,400.00 $26,425.00 Sutter 630.0
The Recipient will install cover crops and compost to increase the bio-diversity of the
parcel and attract beneficial insects, pollinators and birds to control unwanted insects.
The Recipient will perform soil and moisture testing to increase vine health and the
biodiversity of the area.
$6,651.20 $9,145.00 Sonoma 50.0
This project provides funding for compost application to fields intended for organic
tomato production. The fields have been converted to row crop production with drip
irrigation and are in process of being certified for organic production of tomatoes.
Addition of compost is expected to provide soil organic matter as well as needed soil
$50,000.00 $69,240.00 Colusa 1252.0
X-Line Farms, LLC
The recipient will implement soil management practices on 82.5 acres of wine grapes.
Certified compost will be banded and hydraulically ripped into the root zone of the
vines. Soil samples will be taken annually to monitor soil health and changes due to
management losses from harvesting. This project is expected to reduce greenhouse gas
(GHG) emissions by 128.2 tons of CO2 equivalent per acres.
10 of 10
These producers are receiving
some money from the Healthy
soils initiative but still cost-
sharing out of pocket.
Snapshot: the CA Healthy soils initiative
carbon farm planning and assessment work is complete and soil will be
tested again in 3 & 5 years. California’s healthy soils initiative creates
an opportunity to develop a market by paying farmers for the carbon
they are removing. But who will buy these credits?
(spoiler alert: Restaurants)
Case Study: Stemple Creek Ranch
350 acre pilot on a 3600 acre ranch
• Compost applied 5 years ago
• Livestock Grazing managed to optimize carbon
• Drawdown ~ 1,000,000+ gallons of gasoline past 5
years and expected for another 30+ years.
• Compost application costs $500-$1000/acre: high up
front costs that need HSCCs to support
• Delicious and Nutritious grass fed beef as a bonus!
• 760 million acres of pasture being
grazed in the US on land that’s not
suitable for crops.
• 50-70 lbs of manure/cow/day
• Fewer pounds of livestock in US
today than when bison roamed à
beef is not the problem, though
mismanagement of manure is.
• Carbon Ranching protocol is
approved on the ACR—but not
yet cost-competitive as a standard
Carbon Ranching: Scaling up to draw down
Kernza Bread & Housemade butter
at The Perennial in San Francisco
Farming with nature
Drawdown hails Perennial grains
as a “coming attraction --
an opportunity to return millions
of acres to perennial polyculture
healthy soil guide: Effective Mass marketing
For Regenerative Farming
Engaging consumers in an era of short attention spans and misleading claims
• Consumers have label fatigue; simple visual metrics can drive consumer choice
better than costly, imperfect certifications, and farming terminology.
• Soil Organic Matter offers single data point that aligns incentives with best practices
(reduce chemical fertilizer and tillage, increase cover cropping and compost, etc.)
• SOM % data is included in basic soil tests—the archival data is already on record and
can be compiled and presented at scale across the entre supply chain not just at the
• Highly motivated consumers can click for more details, mass market can just look for
the green icons
• Lyft just went carbon neutral.
• CA has pledged to go carbon neutral by
2045. Cities, states, and regions are setting
carbon standards that create new
• For a restaurant, going carbon neutral
typically involves only ~10 or 20 cents per
diner (less than 1% of revenue).
• To make real progress, we need to
close the loop and allow capital from
the food system to drive the transition
from bad farming to good farming,
and therefore build healthy soil.
• The Restaurant Industry represents
$799 Billion in the U.S. (more than the
retail food or agriculture sector)
• One in ten members of the US
• Half of the population has worked in
the food industry at some point
• 5 celebrity chefs could mainstream
Farm to Table 2.0 in 12 months
The Restaurant industry
lever for change & Delicious revolution
• Restaurant conducts
Life Cycle Assessment
with 3 Degrees Inc.
• Implements best practices
• Offsets remaining GHG
emissions as shown by
LCA with contributions to
mitigation projects—in the
future, including HSCCs
Cons: People don’t
currently think about
think about global
warming and dinner.
Mission Chinese Food, SF
benu, San Francisco
Pistola y Corazón, Lisbon
Monsieur Benjamin, SF
in situ, San Francisco
The Perennial, San Francisco
Lord Stanley, San Francisco
flour + water, San Francisco
State Bird Provisions, SF
The Progress, San Francisco
Namu Gaji, San Francisco
Cala, San Francisco
Atelier Crenn, San Francisco
Bresca, Washington D.C.
Commonwealth, San Francisco
• “Good Sourcing” credo has not
improved 99% of U.S. acres.
• Renewable energy is scaling
rapidly and has achieved price
parity with extractive energy
because of systemic efforts.
Solar energy is finally a
convenient truth—we can
improve the whole grid
incrementally by simply paying a
bit more, rather than having to
climb onto our own roofs.
• The key to systems change is
being able to improve the
food system incrementally
whether or not individuals buy
the best products.
• A “Carbon Neutral” filter on Yelp along
the lines of “good for kids” or a category
on Open Table or a different colored pin
drop on Google—green for carbon
• After 100 or 1000 great chefs are carbon
neutral, a corporation like Sweetgreen
(discussion underway) or Chipotle or
Shake Shack decides to start making
specific locations carbon neutral by
sending 10 cents per diner towards
carbon ranching in their supply chain.
• A city initiative in San Francisco, Portland,
Seattle, Copenhagen, etc. akin to soda
taxes, plastic bag charges, etc.
recognizing carbon neutral restaurants or
maybe even requiring a 1% surcharge at
restaurants that would go towards healthy
soil carbon credits.
Zero Foodprint has proven the
concept of Carbon Neutral
Restaurants and we are firmly
underway on Healthy Soil
Carbon Credits. We are seeking
funding and strategic
partnerships to scale these
restoring, Nourishing and
Investing in the future