Bella Gluten Free, Around the World Gourmet and Knopf Farms start building a supply circle that fights climate change, benefits communities and consumers
Mar. 2, 2018 (Richmond, VA) Noble Growth Network, a business development web connecting farmers and food companies, kickstarts a project this month with two food companies and a farmer to build a regenerative supply circle. Food companies will provide information about the kind of ingredients they need directly to farmers. In return, farmers will share information about how key ingredients were responsibly grown. Once the food companies in the Network establish partnerships with farmers, their products will serve as a means for consumers to be able to support farming practices that fight climate change, improve water quality and restore soil health.
Peer group members will each undergo a triple bottom line sustainability assessment (measuring impacts across the categories of people, the planet and profitability) that will include measurements of their greenhouse gas emissions and soil health on the farm side. These assessments will be conducted by an independent third party, K·Coe Isom, a top 100 agricultural accounting and consulting firm.
“Third-party assessment of sustainability standards increases transparency in a credible way,” says Emily Johannes, Principal at KCoe Isom. “The program that Noble Growth Network is building will directly connect sustainability data and information across the value chain. As a firm dedicated to helping farmers and food companies grow and sustain their businesses, we are excited to be a part of the sustainable food solution Noble Growth is leading in the food and ag industry.”
Cecilia Ciarlo, co-owner of Bella Gluten Free, a Boulder-based company specializing in high quality, allergen-friendly, convenient baking products, said the peer group will help them build upon the company’s current mission to bring joy back to gluten-free baking.
“As we have learned about the benefits of regenerative agriculture, we see a definite parallel between the way regenerative farmers help restore and heal the land and how our products help people restore their gut health once damaged by celiac disease or other food intolerances. We are excited to be able to connect to farmers who can supply this balance” Ciarlo said.
Jennifer Kocher, CEO and Founder of Kocher Foods International and food brand Around the World Gourmet, a gluten free, vegan and allergen-free pizza crust company, says for her, joining Noble Growth Network is a chance to connect directly with farmers about her ingredients. “I’m interested in both organic and regenerative ingredients in my products. Part of our mission for Around the World Gourmet is to provide consumers with a product that’s healthier for you and our planet. This peer group is a great way to be connected directly to farmers who are practicing regenerative agriculture and to share with them what consumers are demanding.”
For the initial farmer-member of the group, Justin Knopf of Knopf Farms, the peer group offers a rare chance to work directly with food companies. “So often, we farmers have no connection with the people that decide how our crops are turned into food – or with the end consumer who is now so interested in farming. The chance to become more than just a commodity – but a partner with food companies that share a similar culture and reverence for regenerative principles, is extremely valuable.”
David Sheluga PhD, head of consumer and marketplace insights at Ardent Mills LLC, the nation’s largest flour miller, says regenerative farming is a trend to watch, “As we watch marketplace trends unfold, we know that leading edge food influencers are turning their sights on farms and farming practices. Over the next several years, the focus of criticism will be on pesticide use, fertilizers and soil health. Regenerative farming provides a way to reduce dependence on outside inputs over time. We predict regenerative farming will become more popular in the coming years.”
The Founder and CEO of Noble Growth Network, Sara Hessenflow Harper says the project establishes an ecosystem of support for good people who want to do great things. “Having worked with both farmers and food companies over the past 20 years, I saw so many ways that these two groups could help each other — and give the consumer what they so clearly want, if only they had a way to work together. Noble Growth Network provides that opportunity.”
Want to learn more about regenerative agriculture and what a regenerative food system could look like? Check out this blog, “Falling In Love With Regenerative Agriculture“.