General Mills' New Commitment To Regenerative Ag Could Affect 1 Million Acres Of Land
One of the most significant factors in mitigating climate change is reducing carbon emissions in the atmosphere. General Mills' new commitment to bring regenerative agriculture to 1 million acres of farmland by 2030 aims to do just that.
"We recognize that our biggest opportunity to drive positive impact for the planet we all share lies within our own supply chain, and by being a catalyst to bring people together to drive broader adoption of regenerative agriculture practices," said Jeff Harmening, chairman and chief executive officer of General Mills in a statement.
Why is regenerative agriculture so important in fighting climate change?
General Mills will work with its farmers to implement more regenerative practices—using biodiverse crop cover, shifting away from pesticides and tilling, etc.—in order to improve soil's strength and ability to actually capture carbon from the atmosphere instead of emit it.
Unlike regenerative agriculture, large-scale industrial farming often employs lots of chemical pesticides and machinery and can lead to biodiversity loss, soil degradation, and increased CO2 emissions. A typical industrial agriculture practice is machine tilling, a type of soil preparation that disrupts the carbon cycle by breaking down organic matter in the ground and releasing CO2 into the atmosphere, which contributes to global warming1.
General Mills' first training sessions for farmers will kick off in North America and expand as the initiative grows. The corporation has also donated $650,000 to a regenerative agriculture nonprofit organization called Kiss the Ground to help get the momentum going.
Certain General Mills brands, like EPIC Provisions, a line of animal protein snacks, are already proving that regenerative practices can be profitable. The popular Austin-based company works with regenerative ranches to create its grass-fed treats, and last year it released the first packaged product to feature the Savory Institute Land to Market Ecological Outcome Verification seal, a science-backed measurement that ensures a product does more good for the planet than harm.
General Mills isn't the first food giant to jump on regenerative ag train. Recently, Applegate Farms released a new line of pork sausages made using these practices. mbg has predicted that 2019 will be a huge year for the regenerative movement, and we hope to see more industry leaders planting the seeds of change in the coming months.
Caroline Muggia has a B.A. in Environmental Studies & Psychology from Middlebury College. She received her E-RYT with Yoga Works and is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. A writer and environmental advocate, she is passionate about helping people live healthier and more sustainable lives. You can usually find her drinking matcha or spending time by the ocean.