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PFI Overview


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Overview of The Perennial Farming Initiative

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PFI Overview

  1. 1. Who We Are The Perennial Farming Initiative is a 501.c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to building a renewable food system rooted in healthy soil. Our work aims not only to reduce negative climate impacts associated with agriculture, but also to incentivize practicesthatactivelydrawdowncarbondioxideandofferourbesthopeofaddressing the climate crisis. The goal of The Perennial Farming Initiative is a food system in which healthy soil has economic value commensurate with its environmental value and nutritional value, and our method involves engaging restaurants, producers, and consumers in the development of a soil carbon market. Why Us Co-Founders Karen Leibowitz (Executive Director) and Anthony Myint (Director of Operations), have a history of leadership in the restaurant industry. As restaurateurs, Myint and Leibowitz are known for The Perennial, often lauded as the most sustainable restaurant in the world, and for founding Mission Chinese Food (over one million meals raised for the SF Food Bank and named among Bon Appétit’s 20 Most Important Restaurant in America). As environmental restaurateurs, the leaders of PFI are uniquely situated to mobilize chefs and diners around sustainable food system change: their non-profit work includes helping restaurants assess, reduce, and offset their greenhouse gas emissions in order to earn “Zero Foodprint” status and participate in the promotion of carbon- neutral dining as a category. Our Opportunity PFI’s goal is to create a positive feedback loop in which regenerative agriculture escapes the niche limitations that have kept organic produce at less than 1.5% of U.S. farm acreage. PFI plans to direct carbon offset funding from Zero Foodprint restaurants towards the implementation of regenerative agriculture through a Healthy Soil Carbon Fund. Carbon-neutral restaurants represent the most viable and scalable source of demand for soil carbon credits— not only providing the seed funding for a new market, but also leveraging chefs’ cultural capital to accelerate systemic changes needed to scale up food- and soil-based solutions. Our theory of change is inspired by the example of Chez Panisse in launching the farm-to-table movement as a “delicious revolution,” but also by the implementation of regional soda taxes. Restaurants represent the largest economic sector in the food system and can activate climate optimism as an aspirational value for diners, who will seek better choices in their own grocery stores, and eventually demand changes in food policy. Our Vision PFI’s vision for a “Farm-to-Table 2.0” empowers chefs, diners, farmers, ranchers, and eaters across the supply chain—many of whom would like to be more sustainable but need practical ways to create systemic change. PFI is working with 3 Degrees Inc. to use the carbon market as a financial mechanism to drive implementation. PFI is collaborating with scientists from Cornell and The Nature Conservancy to develop criteria for a chef- and con- sumer-facing Healthy Soil Guide that emphasizes Soil Organic Matter and acknowledges producers that employ soil-building practices, like cover cropping and adaptive multi-paddock grazing. We have the personal relation- ships with the restaurant and sustainability community to bring those worlds together and we are now seeking funding and programmatic support to create the conditions for a renewable and circular food economy that funds healthy soil as a climate solution
  2. 2. Our Strategies ZERO FOODPRINT - Activating the Restaurant Industry We are activating the global restaurant industry to be part of the solution to climate change. Functionally this involves creating a movement to recognize carbon neutral establishments.Chefsandrestaurateursachievecarbonneutralitythroughacombination of best practices and contributions to renewable energy projects and carbon farm plans. ZFP’s model falls between Fair Trade certification and a Soda Tax, creating a virtue out of very modest consumer contributions towards socially beneficial programs, with a focus on healthy soil as a climate solution. We are partnered with 3 Degrees Inc. on this effort to ensure rigor and potential industry-wide scalability. Over two years, our goal is to take 500 restaurants carbon neutral with Zero Foodprint, as early adopters and promoters of healthy soil. This would create annual purchasing power of over $1 million in carbon offset and healthy soil carbon fund contributions. HEALTHY SOIL CARBON FUND - Redirecting Capital Towards Healthy Soil We are in-process with the creation of a private sector complement to the California Healthy Soils Program in which investment from Zero Foodprint restaurants will fund the implementation of carbon farm plans already outlined through the CA Healthy Soils Program. ZFP restaurants will be the primary contributors to this Healthy Soil Carbon Fund, thereby taking the risk off of farmers while providing marketing value to the restaurants. We are seeking philanthropic or social impact funding to launch the program, which will then increase organically as more restaurants go carbon neutral. Five Hundred ZFP restaurants could implement carbon farm plans on 100,000 acres of land and sequester 200,000 tons of CO2e per year on an ongoing basis beyond the two-year campaign.* This program utilizes the buying power of carbon neutral restaurants to create an alternative to the standard carbon offset market, which entails unnecessarily costly verification. The HSCF approach relies on advanced science based modeling and periodic field verification, underwritten and overseen by 3 Degrees Inc. and local Resource Conservation Districts, in conjunction with the CA Healthy Soils Program. Subsequent focus areas would be funding carbon farm plans in the Hudson Valley, New York, and around Copenhagen--areas with critical mass of carbon neutral restaurants. HEALTHY SOIL GUIDE - Communicating Why Better Farming is Worth More Money Many consumers struggle to evaluate the impact of their food choices--and the challenge is to communicate these topics in under five seconds. The HSG highlights Soil Organic Matter % as a primary indicator of soil health and nutrient density. The guide will initially focus on two regions, with plans for additional locations and a national campaign. We will create Bay Area and Hudson Valley guides with at least 50 farms and ranches showing their SOM% data. The Heathy Soil Guide model will increase awareness and demand for renewable food with events and special offers with farmers markets and groceries, plus at least eight pieces of earned media. The goal of the Healthy Soil Guide is to cut through the static and label fatigue associated with food and create transparency around soil data, which coincidentally tracks with pricing—the $5 cherry tomatoes were probably grown in soil with >5% SOM and the $0.99 tomatoes grown in soil with <1% SOM.
  3. 3. Ultimate Impact: PFI is laying the foundation for a Renewable Food System Rooted in Healthy Soil. “A mere two percent increase in the carbon content of the planet’s soils could offset 100 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions going into the atmosphere.” --Rattan Lal, Professor of Soil Science, Ohio State University “What I’m really excited about is highlighting solutions...How can regenerative agriculture flip farms from being maybe a “problem” to being part of the solution?... We have four big tools to change the world: policy is one, but it’s also the flow of capital—where the money goes—and helping to highlight the risk of certain kinds of agriculture and the performance of other kinds.” --Jon Foley, Executive Director, Project Drawdown Organizational Resource Needs Executive Director Karen Leibowitz ($80,000/year) Director of Operations Anthony Myint ($70,000/year) Zero Foodprint Manager ($55,000/year) West Coast Farm Liaison for Healthy Soil Guide ($10,000/year) East Coast Farm Liaison for Healthy Soil Guide ($10,000/year) Accounting/Administration ($25,000/year) Total: $500,000 over 2 years Healthy Soil Carbon Fund – Pilot Healthy Soil Carbon Fund Program Buildout with 3 Degrees, Inc and regional RCDs ($40,000) Chef Outreach and Marketing ($10,000) Seed Funding - passed through to directly fund 10 carbon farm plans – approximate cost requirement is $25k/plan but varies. Fund will be “renewed” by carbon neutral restaurant purchasing. ($250,000) Total: $300,000 to launch