What do you know about regenerative farming?
I have to confess, before my research, knowledge was scant. I’d come across the phrase a couple of times and felt I needed to understand more.
My overall aim is to keep on top of trends and understand how they will impact the kind of executives I will be searching for in the months to come
Skills and knowledge change profoundly as things move so quickly in the food and ingredients sector. What’s happening at the start of the food chain often influences what happens further along the line. Consumers are demanding more transparency and calling for profound change in everything from farming practices to food for wellness, taste, fewer additives and preservatives, packaging, recycling and more besides. Photo: Jonathan Kemper
Regenerative farming is all about balancing our farming systems with nature and developing a more symbiotic approach compared to legacy practices.
Almost daily we are bombarded with messages about the climate emergency and other impending environmental disasters
With the ongoing development of a greener approach to business sustainability and governance investment concerns are also greener. The issue one supposes is how any biological type of crop production will not dent the bottom line. Until farmers and producers have the confidence that this will not be the case change might be slower.
Photo: Mika Baumeister
Is it time to swap orange juice for worm juice?
One of the issues regarding environmental concerns is that there seems little point in making a direct swap between chemical products, fertilisers, weed killers etc. for biological controls. Yes, it might be beneficial at a macro level, but we need to test whether we are working with soils, climate and local growing conditions at a micro level. If you are looking for the headline product in a search for the perfect farming recipe the phrase to note is ‘worm juice’! Although I don’t recommend swapping that for your breakfast orange juice! Photo: Rene Lehmkuhl
We need more understanding of what goes into the soil and why
Farmers Weekly recently reported on tests that have been carried out on a farm in Hampshire, UK. The aim is to see if seeds might be sown with something that will help them get a head start. The trials are keen to take the guesswork out of an application of product. Anyone making their own compost in a domestic setting will know that it is a leap of faith when you spread it on the veg garden or flower beds. You keep your fingers crossed and hope it will achieve a nutritional something above improving soil structure and retaining moisture.
Photo: Gabriel Jimenez
Let’s avoid guesswork
Obviously in a commercial agricultural setting, the fingers crossed approach this is not sufficient. Farmers cannot guess what impact their microbes are actually adding. One of the suggestions has been to add a little something that will act as a food source for the biology that inhabits the soil. Molasses is one product, and the ubiquitous worm juice is another.
Understanding whether plants are growing well and are capable of photosynthesising at the optimum level will also keep them healthy. A healthy plant will shrug off many pests and diseases. Anyone cultivating a house plant will know that one that hasn’t been re-potted, fed and watered appropriately is much more likely to experience a pest infestation.
Photo: Markus Spiske
It does sound like technology, data and good old fashioned careful land husbandry will help develop regenerative farming practices as a standard for the UK’s food production in the future. People who work within the food industry from farm to fork and beyond will need to be highly trained, agile, knowledgeable and even creative in approach. We are looking for executives that are prepared to make decisions at speed and offer insights that are authentic to what consumers and the general population wants from their food.
I have seen, over 20+ years how roles within the food and ingredients sector are increasingly complex. It does take a long time to find the right fit for an existing team or someone that is capable of setting up a new one or steering a company practice in an exciting direction. It usually takes months and needs more than ‘worm juice’ to grow a business. If you are looking to regenerate your business, develop it or add a new ingredient to the mix please do give me a call. Let me help you find the exact fit for your executive team.