22/04/2021

A group of frontrunning companies and farmers in The Netherlands use Earth Day to showcase that an important solution for our environmental crisis lays within our agricultural sector

Earth day is initiated in the 1970s with the mission to hold sectors accountable for their role in our environmental crisis while also calling for bold, creative, and innovative solutions. 

There is a growing awareness that the current state of the agricultural sector, supplying to many essential sectors like food, beverages, apparel, medicine, construction, can be held accountable for a significant part of the current environmental crisis. Most importantly, both companies and farmers start to realize that the sector can play a huge role in solving our environmental problems. Dutch companies like Bruggink en Van der Velden (BvdV), the first B-corp legal and tax firm, Jack Bean, a frontrunning sustainable fast-cuisine brand, and Zwarthout, a sustainable wood company, are taking a lead in The Netherlands to partner with pioneering farmers, as part of Soil Heroes, to restore nature at scale.

A key sector

Agriculture is a key sector in solving the climate crisis due to its two fold relationship with climate change. On one side, agriculture is a significant contributor to climate warming considering that it is responsible for ~10% of the total greenhouse gas emissions [CO2, N20, CH4, and equivalents] in Europe1. On the other side, there is an important, often-missed point here: the downward spiral effect of yield driven subsidies, soil degradation from conventional farming practices, and the resulting contribution to climate change, is just as big a problem for a farmer’s own livelihood and family’s future as it is for the health and security of our planet. The overall impacts of global warming could produce a significant loss [up to 16% loss in EU agriculture income by 2050] for the European agricultural sector2, by decreasing crop yields, depleting water resources, endangering biodiversity, and declining soil health, amongst others.

Approach farmers as potential stewards of our lands

At Soil Heroes, we approach farmers as potential stewards of our lands. Farmers can be agents of positive change and at Soil Heroes we make it possible for farmers to become solution providers and be heroes of their soils again. Soil Heroes connects companies directly with farmers on their journey to bring back nature onto their fields through regenerative land management. This means that nature comes first: phasing out chemical inputs, rebuilding the natural ecosystem by taking action to protect insects and ensure they can thrive, planting flowers in otherwise crop-designated fields, using local biomass to develop natural biofertilizers and composts. Moving to regenerative practices also means that farmers no longer leave fields fallow, for example, and rather ensure that fields always have green cover. In turn, this maximizes drawdown of emissions and builds life-giving carbon in the soil, resulting in the natural biological and chemical soil cycle turning faster, which amongst other things builds better structure to hold more sweet water and so increase resilience to drought and run off. Regenerating soils also means a significant relief on the ask of local water supplies for irrigation and is just one example of the upward cycle and many amazing benefits of farming with nature.

1 Eurostat. ‘Greenhouse gas emission statistics – emission inventories ‘(2020)
2 European Environment Agency. “Trends and projections in Europe 2010- Tracking progress towards Europe's climate and energy targets”. (2010).

Enabling companies to pay for scientifically quantified positive climate impact

Soil Heroes guides farmers during their transition to regenerative agriculture, and measures the environmental benefits generated by that transition. Soil Heroes enables companies to pay for scientifically quantified positive climate impact, giving them the assurance that by teaming up with the farmer, they really are driving improvement in soil health and so climate health. Companies can then act with conviction that they are taking real steps to heal planet earth and can share the story of the farmer and all they do to tackle climate change.

quote JB

"We cannot go back to business as usual"

Jack Bean

Jack Bean is partnering with one of their supplying farmers to enable the farm to transition more plots to regenerative agriculture. Jack Bean pays for the quantified environmental impact generated by the transition, with the ambition to start sourcing regenerative crops the year after from the same farm. Zwarthout is partnering with its neighboring farmer to support the transition of Schevichoven farm from being a conventional farm towards a holistically managed regenerative farm. BvdV is committing part of their revenues to contributing to restoration of nature, while receiving the quantified carbon, biodiversity and saved water generated by a local farm who is restoring nature via his farm management practices.

Everyone is talking about how we cannot go back to business as usual. And on this Earth Day, a day to celebrate of our Mother Earth, Gaia, on Dag van de Aarde, we are thrilled to share news of how when companies, like BvdV, Jack Bean and Zwarthout and farmers work together, climate change not only can be slowed down but even reversed.

Press Contact Soil Heroes

Press Contact Soil Heroes

Gina Pattisson

Partnerships Director
gina@soilheroes.com