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Regenerative Ag and sustainable practices to build resilient food systems

A globalized food system has its obvious benefits staring at us from the grocery store shelves: fresh red strawberries no matter the season and flash-frozen seafood available thousands of miles from bodies of water. Access to seasonal and regional ingredients, no matter where we are, is so convenient it can be easy to overlook the negative impacts.

The list of drawbacks is long: monocrops depleting our soils and driving a loss in biodiversity; complex, petroleum-intensive supply chains; and produce bred to survive long-haul trucking rather than provide taste or nutrition. But there are solutions, however challenging they may be. Shifting to global agricultural practices that help regenerate the Earth while still nourishing people around the world will require a combination of regenerative solutions, innovations, and the right types and amounts of funding.

Recently, I experienced firsthand a few of the challenges of our complex food supply chains during a month-long local food challenge. The experience left me feeling intensely connected to the land where my family's food came from and the hands that produced it. I was not expecting, however, the enormous time commitment involved in acquiring and preparing items for our meals. While the lessons from that month-long challenge were personal to me and my family, they impressed upon me the challenges involved in our food and agriculture systems and the ripples of social and environmental impact they create.

Through my work with the Sorenson Impact Institute, I have the opportunity to learn from leaders in the food and agriculture sector who are pursuing more sustainable and regenerative food and agricultural systems. Renée Vassilos, Director of Agriculture Innovation at The Nature Conservancy, is working with early-stage technology companies that aim to expand and accelerate the use of regenerative agriculture practices. She admits to being "mildly obsessed with soil" and counts the soil microbiome as "the most impactful part of our ecosystem."


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