This partnership comes at a crucial time, as the food and agriculture sector is under increasing pressure in environmental debates as being responsible for ⅓ of global emissions. To put that into perspective, global food production contributes almost 19 times the amount from the commercial aviation industry. These figures are reflected in this year’s COP27, where a whole day is committed to agriculture – and for good reason.
A promising solution to the climate crisis lies beneath our feet which, when unlocked, can be a businesses greatest economic asset, too.
Through their partnership with Soil Heroes, Mindful Chef are showcasing a fantastic example of how the food sector can improve its economic outlook through a regenerative business model designed to tackle the climate crisis. It all starts with supply chains.
Introducing: Supply chain partnership with positive ecological impact
Leading healthy recipe box company Mindful Chef are taking the leap from being a certified carbon neutral company to moving beyond sustainability, by working towards a solution that will restore their supply chain from the ground up.
“Not only will [this project] increase the health of the crops, it’ll also restore natural habitats whilst increasing biodiversity and wildlife on our farms. Whilst at the same time, actually taking carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in the soil beneath our feet.”Myles | Mindful Chef Co-Founder
Stourgarden is the first of Mindful Chef’s supply chain partners to implement regenerative practices in the Soil Heroes program. The program provides peer-2-peer learning to farmers, monitors and quantifies the ecological benefits of the regenerative practices.
To date, Stourgardens onions have already featured in millions of their recipe boxes and (being UK’s largest onion suppliers) you’ll probably find them in a big portion of your meals at home, too.
“Regenerative farming to us has become an essential tool to the business, we’re looking to protect our most important asset which is the soil.”Ed | Stourgarden
Though this doesn’t come without its complexities. Onions are a balancing act, and for the regenerative farmer, this is amplified.
Regenerative onions: Big challenge, bigger reward
Like Stourgarden, 4th generation farmer and Soil Heroes Founder Jeroen Klompe grows onions at a commercial scale on Klompe Landbouw. Jeroen has been growing onions regeneratively for 11 years.
As all growers know, onions are a balancing act. The difference between conventional and regenerative are the solutions to these challenges. Here are 3 differences in the growing practices at Klompe Landbouw:
- Onions have limited root systems, therefore are nutrient-hungry. Farmer Jeroen builds soil organic matter to feed the crop by applying organic amendments, cover crops, mulching and compost ahead of sowing.
- Commercially-grown onions are planted directly from seed which, in the early stages, are ultra climate sensitive and result in a longer growing process. Typically, farmers would spray chemical fertiliser to support crop growth. Jeroen replaces this with natural sources of nitrogen, which serves as an example for other onion growers in North-Western Europe.
- Onions are uncompetitive, making them vulnerable to other weeds. Herbicides are used in conventional farming to kill the weeds which protects the crop from physical damage and rotting, however destroys the soil biology. At Klompe Landbouw, Jeroen uses a mechanical precision weeder to remove weeds with minimal soil disturbance.
Through regenerative methods, the soil structure builds over time and more minerals are accessed by the onions, meaning – in Stourgarden’s case – more nutrient availability for Mindful Chef’s customers.
“By working with suppliers like Stourgarden on their regenerative journey, we are enabling [our customers] to eat more sustainably whilst also lowering agricultural emissions significantly. It’s all about working with nature, not against it.”Giles | Mindful Chef Co-Founder
Along with this, Stourgarden and Mindful Chef will add to the research pool of regenerative onions through Soil Heroes impact measurements, providing proof of practice for other farmers.
Soil Heroes and your supply chain
This is a fantastic example of a business model that holistically tackles sustainable and economic challenges facing businesses in the current commodity structure. Soil Heroes facilitates this by providing transparency and security within the supply chain, so that businesses and farmers alike have control over their future.
“Soil Heroes are taking genuine action to facilitate the translation to regenerative agriculture and this could not have become clearer than through their unwavering determination to work with us to pioneer on a project & model that hasn’t been used before; they have championed one of the MC core values of being Unafraid. We’re excited to see what we can continue to achieve together. “Emma | Mindful Chef Sustainability Manager
Soil Heroes works case-by-case with businesses and farmers to tailor sustainable strategies best suited to your organisation and we offer knowledge based support every step of the way.
If you want to maximise your impact, Soil Heroes can help. Why not contact Rubie from Business Development by clicking the link below.
Rubie Van Crevel
Account Manager – Corporate Clients
Let’s talk about Regenerative Agriculture
You know you’ll dig it too.