Oats and cover crops: long-term benefits but collaboration is needed to share costs

Many Midwestern farmers remember oats as a part of their grandparents’ farm, a thing of the past. Corn and soybeans (or 2-crop rotation) now accounts for 95 percent of Iowa’s crop acres. This is slowly changing and oats, with a little help, are making their way back into modern farm crop rotation, bringing with them…

Towards a Shared Approach for Smallholder Performance Measurement: Common Indicators and Metrics

This paper presents an aligned yet customizable framework of indicators for measuring farm-level sustainability in smallholder agricultural supply chains. These indicators are proposed primarily in the context of performance measurement, but can also be useful for more in-depth impact evaluation studies. The proposal is not for one single common set of indicators, but rather for…

A Practitioners Guide to Developing a Performance Measurement Approach

Small-­‐scale  farmers—whose  output  supports  a  population  of  roughly  2.2  billion  people  worldwide—manage roughly 85% of the world’s farms. And every day, companies trade with these farmers in a wide variety of products. As companies seeks more transparency through  complex  supply  chains  and  invest  together  with  development  and  financial  organizations, there is more and more interest…

Assessing the Sustainability of Smallholder Sugar in Paraguay

In 2012-2013, Food Lab company members of the Values Based Sourcing group supported a study on smallholder sugar in Paraguay to to pilot a performance measurement methodology while collecting data to assess the sustainability of smallholder sugarcane production there. This study was supported by Annie’s, Ben & Jerry’s, Clif Bar, The Body Shop and the Ford…

Climate smart cocoa picks up steam in Ghana

A cross-section of more than 50 people representing the Ghana cocoa sector came together March 9 in Accra to review the advances of the Climate Smart Value Chain project being implemented by CIAT, IITA, Rainforest Alliance, Root Capital and the Sustainable Food Lab. This workshop builds on a kick-off workshop held in May 2015, field visits and joint work combining soil mapping with climate…

Scope 4: How to grow sustainable sourcing to measureable impacts in regions and commodity systems

Seven years ago, Gene Kahn, then a VP at General Mills, hosted a boardroom meeting for business leaders in the Sustainable Food Lab. He described the environmental footprint of General Mills’ products, acknowledged that the largest part of that footprint was in agriculture, but urged others to join him in focusing on packaging because it…

Cool Farm Alliance celebrates achievements and plans for future developments

As we prepare for the Cool Farm Alliance’s 2016 Annual General Meeting, we are also looking back to reflect on several notable achievements marked in 2015. Specifically, the Alliance: Was announced winner of the hotly-contested ‘Practice with Science’ Award Added new software features including data aggregation and a more flexible fertilizer interface allowing users to…