The Food Lab is thrilled to announce that together with Practical Farmers of Iowa, we have been awarded a Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) which will expand our work to understand the value proposition of diversified crop rotations in the Midwest. The $1.1 million grant was one of 24 projects selected from more than 100 applicants through the competitive CIG program.
As part of the three-year project, we will work with 11 supply chain partners – including Cargill, General Mills, McDonald’s, Oatly, PepsiCo, Seven Sundays, Smithfield, Starbucks, Target, Truterra and Unilever – to help farmers in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin use small grains in extended crop rotations and market-based solutions to lower greenhouse gas emissions from manure and fertilizer application. Together with these companies and other partners like The Nature Conservancy, Environmental Defense Fund and the University of Minnesota, we’ll translate the sustainability and business case and explore what it would take to scale this extended rotation on the landscape and in company supply chains. More details on the CIG project can be found on PFI’s press release.
In addition to providing matching funds to the CIG, Walton Family Foundation has awarded the Food Lab another year of funding to support our work in the Midwest. We will build off the six years of supply chain engagement to address some of the systemic issues and opportunities we’ve come across – including how to scale beyond supply chain pilots, innovative contracting mechanisms to address farmer risk, regenerative feed hubs to build supply and equipping and empowering trusted farmer advisors through the Soil Health Leadership Lab. More details about our work with the Walton Foundation is available here.
We are grateful for the support of the USDA and Walton Family Foundation and especially for the dedication and innovation of the many organizations with which we partner. Here’s to the road ahead!
Learn more about our work to diversify the Corn Belt with extended rotations here.