Nonprofit Spotlight: Mad Agriculture

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In March, PennyLoafer donors collectively gave to Mad Agriculture!

The Rundown

  • Years founded: 2015

  • Leadership: Dr. Phil Taylor grew up on farmland in Maryland. He has a M.S. and PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, with a focus on soil science. He made the 2020 Grist 50 list, that recognizes “emerging leaders cooking up the boldest, most innovative solutions to save the planet.”

  • Issue they address: changing food systems to save our planet.

  • What they do: Help farmers transition to + thrive with organic regenerative agriculture, achieving both ecological and financial wealth.

  • How they do it:

    • Stewardship: work on the ground with farmers to create individualized plans, provide technical assistance and support to implement regenerative practices.

    • Capital: provide long-term, low-cost financing to farmers through the Perennial Fund, to support their transition to regenerative farming.

    • Markets: find buyers and new market channels for organic and regenerative farmers to improve farm profitability.

    • Build community: to advance regenerative farming through in person gatherings, workshops, webinars, fellowships, journal publications, social media and more.

Why they were chosen

Mad Agriculture is on a mission to create a regenerative revolution in agriculture. Their farmers-first, place-based approach ensures that the solutions and support they provide to farmers are catered to their individual needs. It 2021, they worked with 60+ farmers and 25K acres of land across 10 states, providing the capital, technical solutions, and markets they need to make regenerative agriculture a reality.

  • MadAg builds strategic partnerships across the food system, creating a diverse network of funders, practitioners and purchasers.
  • Their innovative farm finance model (10 year commitment, flexible repayment schedules) fits the needs of farmers making the transition to regenerative farming.
  • They’re part of several exciting initiatives, including a pilot, “Restore Colorado”, to build connections between restaurants and farms. Diners pay a 1% fee at participating restaurants, which goes toward grants to farmers to sequester carbon on their land.

For more, read MadAg’s 2021 annual report.

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What is regenerative farming?

🌱 Regenerative agriculture is a set of sustainable farming practices that increase biodiversity, improve soil health, conserve water and capture carbon from the atmosphere.

  • This is a great 3 min video that explains this holistic, natural approach to farming much better than I can 🙂
  • A few key components include: not disturbing the soil, keeping the soil covered, planting a diversity of plants and crops, minimizing chemical inputs and using compost to boost the amount of organic matter in the soil.

How is it addressing climate change?

The secret is in the soil.

The agriculture sector is a big contributor to climate change. Industrial farming (the way much of our food is produced today) is reliant on practices that destroy biodiversity, erode soil, and pollute the environment.

Regenerative Agriculture emphasizes the importance of soil health, and its practices sequester carbon from the atmosphere and store it in the soil, in turn, improving plant health and overall yields. Less carbon in the atmosphere = better for the 🌎 .

Proving its worth

📋 Mad Agriculture is a partner on the 1000 farms initiative, “the most ambitious agroecology experiment ever conducted.” This long-term, largest of its kind research study will measure the impacts of transitioning conventional farmland to regenerative farming practices, on soil and water health, biodiversity, profit and more.

The idea is to demonstrate the power of regenerative agriculture and, armed with data, create a roadmap for transitioning key food systems to regenerative ones.

🎬 If you are craving more RegenAg, I’d recommend watching the documentary Kiss The Ground.

If you enjoyed this and want to get involved, you can support the Climate Change cause on PennyLoafer, starting with as little as $5/month. Each month, you’ll support and learn about a different nonprofit fighting the climate crisis.