Boutique consultancy Sustainable Grain joins Regeneration Canada to spread the word about the importance and opportunities opening up in the regenerative space.
I appreciate the chance to introduce Sustainable Grain to the Regeneration Canada audience, and I’m excited about joining such a progressive, innovative national organization that is putting healthy Canadian soil front and centre!
My name is Brenda Tjaden, and I’m the founder of the boutique consultancy, Sustainable Grain, which is a market development firm offering education, professional services, networks, and analysis of emerging trends in regenerative agriculture.
Sustainable Grain serves the farm and food systems communities across the North American Prairie region. Drawing on the successes we’ve seen today in regenerative food production around the world, Sustainable Grain is working to accelerate this change in land management and food procurement, while offering advice and ongoing consulting services to farmers, food companies, and the proud consumers and retail supporters of sustainable agriculture worldwide.
Regenerative Food Report
We are thrilled to have just created the Regenerative Food Report. The purpose of producing this research and offering strategic guidance is to disseminate knowledge about ways to monetize the interest in regenerative agriculture and food. The audience is landowners and food companies, including processors, restaurants, retail and ultimately consumers.
“In all of these circles, conscious food consumerism is on the rise. Origin practices are hot topics because they directly inform the connection and experience that people are seeking in buying food.” The Regenerative Food Report unpacked this trend and suggests new ways of selling for farms who create and offer real, healthy, safe and nutritious foods off their land.
While Sustainable Grain broadly serves the North America market, we are currently focused on the Northern Plains region because that’s where large tracts of land can most quickly and economically be shifted away from heavy tillage and mono-cropping based farming, towards regenerative practices. One specific and timely example is vegetable-based protein ingredients originating from dry peas.
We all know that pulses like dry peas fix nitrogen, and are a more nutrient-dense crop, offering the customers of food companies added value. This is why they are the main source of protein in new plant-based protein products like Beyond Meat. But there are additives required to turn dry peas into a tasty drive-through burger-like meal. How this trend evolves is another one of the mega-influences on farmgate pricing that the Regenerative Food Report is covering.
Reducing Reliance on Pesticides and Synthetic Fertilizers With Regenerative Practices
At Sustainable Grain, we recognize that regenerative farmers who are reducing their business’s reliance on pesticides and synthetic fertilizers are generating healthy profits while limiting inputs and preserving soil health for future generations, which we want to showcase, support, and energize.
In the short term, we expect this movement to first monetize through organic-like reporting of regenerative practices that demonstrate reduced chemical applications. There are already new markets for glyphosate-free food ingredients, some based on affidavits and others on lab test results.
In the longer term, we believe that outcome-based metrics are going to be required for regenerative farmers to earn price premiums for their goods — i.e. they will have to prove improvements are being made in metrics such as increased soil organic matter, ecosystem rehabilitation, and nutrient content.
To that end, Sustainable Grain is currently working on a new transparency initiative aimed at carving out a niche for food ingredients grown on regeneratively-managed soils – of any kind. All on a pathway of continuous improvement are welcome to apply. We will place field records and inventory data on a digital market development platform and share the stories of the journey with keenly interested food companies – of all stripes.
I hope to meet and work with many of you as we continue to build awareness and new opportunities for regenerative farms across Canada and the Northern Plains. As with any new field of study or emerging trend, one of the first steps is education. Please take a look and download our content at sustainablegrain.ca.
Sustainable Grain is a member of the Regeneration Canada network. Become a member if you would like to exchange with Brenda and other pioneers of the regenerative movement!