The story

This story is part of a series on business-driven landscape restoration. If you’re just joining, go back to the intro story to learn more.

Business cannot be the only driver, but it sure can be a key driver for landscape restoration. If your landscape vision and approach is the frame of the car, the business component is the motor.

The Almendrehesa company provides a strong incentive for farmers to switch to regenerative farming practices; farmers receive a significant (up to 8-10%) price premium on top of organic almond prices. In addition, the farmers are supported and trained to be able to make this transition through AlVelAl. The combination between higher prices and support to be able to get there, is the key to success, yet still a bumpy road. Meanwhile, La Almendrehesa is proving it is possible to restore large-scale degraded landscapes based on a sustainable business case, step-by-step becoming a driver for landscape restoration at large in the Altiplano.

Frank Ohlenschlaeger (left) the director of La Alemendrehesa talks with Willem Ferwerda, Commonland CEO at a regenerative almond processing facility.

The power of this model lies in the fact that the CEO of the business has been able to make the market for regenerative almonds, using the entire story of the project, and that has allowed to ask a price premium even though regenerative is not (yet) a label that is widely used.

Inspiration and a better price

Networks of entrepreneurs spark inspiration, create energy and allow you to work together towards a joint landscape and community vision. This new form of collaboration can, in turn, create a pull-effect for regenerative produce, thereby helping create the market for regeneratively produces goods further incentivizing farmers to transition toward regenerative practices that contribute to a more positive landscape impact. Entrepreneurs in the landscape hold the key to further catalyzing the transition by providing new business models and better prices for regenerative products than the conventional market.

“These better prices can be paid because less value is lost in the chain (enterprises fulfill the role of distributor and retailer, making the chain shorter) and higher prices are paid by the customers. In sum, entrepreneurs offer the farmers new business models (growing tea or foodswamp products) or additional income streams or sales channels (cheese and milk). Once the entrepreneurs are successful, and their demand for regenerative agricultural products increases, the business case for regenerative agriculture also improves and so the incentive for farmers to transition increases. Simultaneously, we create awareness amongst consumers. Doing so, we are creating a pull-effect in the chain, rather than a traditional push-effect.” Lisanne Hofman, Business Developer Wij.land

More Than Milk Amsterdam (MOMA) connects farmers directly with people living in Amsterdam.

The rise of landscape-to-consumer platforms are a great development helping remove blockages from the value chain for farmer suppliers, and on marketing products through multiple channels. Also contributing to this pull-effect in the market. These platforms function as an aggregator business connecting regenerative farmers to conscious consumers.

“The market may not be enough as a driving force behind landscape restoration, but it helps with innovation and fixing something that is broken. For example, the businesses that are connected to Wij.land are not founded by Wij.land and are not a spin-off. We also do not have any shares or any other official interest in their business, we are convinced that regenerative entrepreneurs can catalyze the transition.”
Jan Maarten Dros, Wij.land

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