Farm to table 2.0
A recipe for chefs to save the world
Mission Chinese à my mission in life
2008: gourmet food truck, 2009 pop-ups! with guest chefs!
2010: Mission Chinese SF, Commonwealth ( !)
2012: Mission Chinese NY, Daughter Born.
Since then: The Perennial + Zero foodprint – a movement of
restaurants becoming part of the solution to climate change
thought experiment: systems change
An amazing tech company, let’s call it “teslah,” invents a bio-
reactor to convert greenhouse gases into fertilizer.
If This “bio-technology” could be scaled quickly enough,
mankind could actively reverse climate change…
In fact: Scientists and
farmers have pioneered
a comparable bio-tech,
but it looks different
than the photo here.
restaurants such as
noma, benu and mission
chinese food are
and scaling these
developments with a
few cents per diner.
Can you find a way to
join this movement?
Spoiler: sci-fi won’t save the world
The food system accounts for about
half of global GHG emissions
First, the bad news about food
(all of the data on one slide)
Globally, farming and land
management are responsible
for major climate impacts
Source: UN FAO
A rude awakening (Real talk. Sorry!)
The matrix is a story about wall street
Ø Most of capitalism is working against nature.
Ø Most of farming is working against nature.
Ø Maybe 1% of all food is grown in healthy soil.
Ø Even if you source well, the system is not changing.
But incredibly we can solve this. Like starting today!
Scientists are charting
climate solutions and
11 of the top 24
solutions come from
Food/Soil = best opportunity
to do more than slow climate
change but actually
DRAW DOWN atmospheric
carbon into soil and
REVERSE climate change.
Like planting trees,
increasing soil microbiology
can amount to hundreds of
tons of GHG capture per
the good News
(the first of
a few slides!)
Chefs - from the daily grind to hero
enough to make you
lose your cool…
and we can’t all be
Because of how most food is grown, a restaurant meal
creates about the same emissions as burning a gallon of
gas. But at Mission Chinese we have gone carbon neutral
by sending 10 cents per diner towards soil carbon
credits. Each diner’s meal creates healthy soil (and
more healthy food!) and in turn removes as much
emissions as not burning a gallon of gas to begin with.
This is happening whether or not we serve the food
from these farms.
This is the start of a renewable food system.
the miraculous bio-tech is healthy soil!
Carbon Ranching protocol
approved on the American
- NY Times Magazine cover
story on soil as a climate
- Peer-reviewed scientific
paper proves global
potential to reverse climate
change using NASA
modeling, the work of UC
and carbon ranchers
Case Study: Stemple Creek Ranch
350 acre pilot on a 3600 acre ranch
• Compost applied 5 years ago to jumpstart
• Livestock Grazing managed to optimize carbon
• Drawdown ~ 1,000,000+ gallons of
gasoline in the past 5 years and
expected for another 30+ years.
• Delicious & Nutritious grass fed beef as a bonus!
The Beef Industry: What Truly Matters
• 50-70 lbs of manure/cow/day. If the
cows (over)consume antibiotics, this
becomes waste instead of fertilizer.
• 760 million acres of pasture being
grazed in the US on land that’s not
suitable for crops. Most of it is for
cows + calves before heading into
the feedlots. That land can be
managed better even if the cows
end up in the feedlot.
• Fewer pounds of livestock in US
today than when bison roamed à
“Beef” is not the problemà the
mismanagement of production is the
• Carbon Ranching protocol from
pilots like Stemple Creek are
approved on the American Carbon
Carbon Ranching: a solution for the whole industry
• After 40 years, the organic
movement covers ~1.5% of U.S.
acreage (some of which is not
even building soil.)
• Subsidies and externalities create
a wide price gap between “good
farming” and “bad farming.”
• “Voting with dollars” does not directly fund soil restoration. The sustainable
consumer spending trickles down slowly and may not even benefit the soil.
• Even if there were suddenly overwhelming demand to pay a premium for
regeneratively produced ingredients, there would be insufficient supply.
• The existing farm-to-table movement is not engaged with the voluntary carbon
market at all
Farm-to-table is ripe for disruption
Fresh and local is nice,
But won’t save the world
(but I still source well!)
But how can we directly fund better farming?
California Department of Food and Agriculture
2017 Healthy Soils Program (HSP) Incentives Program ‐ Second Solicitation
Projects Selected for an Award of Funds (Updated as of June 2018)
Thomas D. Donati
The Recipient will compost in the Buttes of Sutter County and investigate the local
benefits of the conservation practice. The multi-generational ranch uses the project site
seasonally as part of a rotational livestock grazing system. The Recipient will apply
compost in the fall to rangeland to improve soil health. The project reduces emissions by
sequestering carbon in the soil, while supporting a local company who manufacturers
compost from municipal green waste. This project studies the limited number of
compost applications occurring in Northern California’s Central Valley. A partnership
has established between the ranching community, UC Cooperative Extension, Point
Blue Conservation Science and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to
investigate and share the economic and ecological outcomes from the project. Results of
the project will be shared with local ranchers and stakeholders though a variety of
avenues such as feature articles and project presentations.
$49,400.00 $26,425.00 Sutter 630.0
The Recipient will install cover crops and compost to increase the bio-diversity of the
parcel and attract beneficial insects, pollinators and birds to control unwanted insects.
The Recipient will perform soil and moisture testing to increase vine health and the
biodiversity of the area.
$6,651.20 $9,145.00 Sonoma 50.0
This project provides funding for compost application to fields intended for organic
tomato production. The fields have been converted to row crop production with drip
irrigation and are in process of being certified for organic production of tomatoes.
Addition of compost is expected to provide soil organic matter as well as needed soil
$50,000.00 $69,240.00 Colusa 1252.0
X-Line Farms, LLC
The recipient will implement soil management practices on 82.5 acres of wine grapes.
Certified compost will be banded and hydraulically ripped into the root zone of the
vines. Soil samples will be taken annually to monitor soil health and changes due to
management losses from harvesting. This project is expected to reduce greenhouse gas
(GHG) emissions by 128.2 tons of CO2 equivalent per acres.
10 of 10
farmers are receiving money
from the state to reverse
climate change but still cost-
sharing out of pocket.
Farmers implementing carbon farm plans:
the CAlifornia Healthy soils initiative
100’s of farmers are standing by to implement carbon farming practices if
government, businesses and consumers can provide financial assistance.
Turning degraded farmland into healthy soil creates delicious and
nutritious food, AND it is the most practical solution to climate change—
like planting trees, but simultaneously benefitting the businesses too.
• Restaurant conducts
Life Cycle Assessment
with 3 Degrees Inc.
• Implements best practices
• Offsets remaining GHG
emissions as shown by
LCA with contributions to
mitigation projects such as
Cons: People don’t
currently think about
think about global
warming and dinner.
noma, Copenhagen (hiatus)
Mission Chinese Food, SF
benu, San Francisco
Pistola y Corazón, Lisbon
Monsieur Benjamin, SF
in situ, San Francisco
The Perennial, San Francisco
Lord Stanley, San Francisco
flour + water, San Francisco
State Bird Provisions, SF
The Progress, San Francisco
Namu Gaji, San Francisco
Cala, San Francisco
Bresca, Washington D.C.
Commonwealth, San Francisco
Grass Roots Pantry, Hong Kong
inject the capital
to create a circular economy
funding healthy soil as a
• To make real progress, we need to close
the loop and allow capital from the food
system to drive the transition from bad
farming to good farming, and therefore
build healthy soil.
• A few cents per diner à restaurant
becomes carbon neutralà $1,000s per
year, per restaurant towards carbon
• The Restaurant Industry represents $799
Billion in the U.S. (more than the retail
food or agriculture sector)
• One in ten members of the US workforce
• Half of the population has worked in the
food industry at some point
• 5 celebrity chefs could mainstream Farm
to Table 2.0 in 12 months