Investing in Regenerative Agriculture across Asset Classes
"Soil Wealth" is what we call the constellation of benefits associated with building both soil health and community wealth through regenerative agriculture.
As the investment community in the United States, particularly within the fields of sustainable, responsible, and impact (SRI) investing, shows an increasing appetite for investing in sustainable agriculture and food systems across asset classes, a subset of investors is demonstrating growing interest in financing not simply “sustainable” agriculture but agriculture that is deemed explicitly “regenerative.”
What "regenerative" means for farmers and investors remains highly in flux, but broadly it refers to holistic approaches to agricultural systems that work with natural systems to restore, improve, and enhance the biological vitality, carrying capacity, and “ecosystem services” of farming landscapes. Regenerative farming operations also aim to support the resilience of the rural communities and broader value chains in which they are situated.
In order to advance the potential that regenerative agriculture presents in mitigating climate change, improving soil health, and building community resilience, significant capital needs to be deployed on farms, as well as across value chains. This report aims to quantify the current investment landscape surrounding regenerative agriculture and cultivate understanding of how investors can allocate investments across asset classes to further these efforts.
Based on our analyses of cash and cash equivalents, fixed income, real assets, public equity, private equity and venture capital markets, this report concludes with a series of recommendations for investors working within each asset class and for stakeholders such as foundations, policymakers, asset owners and asset managers, and regenerative agriculture practitioners.
Read the full report here.
The full press release can be found here.
Research for this paper was supported by a Conservation Innovation Grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), under number 69- 3A75-17-301 on Financing Regenerative Agriculture: Innovative Mechanisms to Mobilize Private Capital and Accelerate Deal Flow, led by Delta Institute.
Croatan Institute is an independent, nonprofit research institute whose mission is to harness the power of investment for social good and ecological resilience. Based in the Research Triangle of North Carolina with an extended team of affiliates in Boston, New York, the Florida Gulf Coast, and Geneva, the Institute has rapidly established a reputation for rigorous, cutting-edge research and actionable analysis to support strategic decision-making by organizations and practitioners in the field. Croatan Institute also coordinates the Organic Agriculture Revitalization Strategy (OARS). For more information about the Institute’s programs, people, and publications, please visit www.croataninstitute.org.
Delta Institute is a Chicago-based nonprofit that works with communities throughout the Midwest to solve environmental challenges. We envision a region in which all communities and landscapes thrive through an integrated approach to environmental, economic, and social challenges. Working with our partners, we identify opportunities for environmental solutions and design, test, and share solutions that yield benefits for communities. For more information about Delta’s work, please visit www.delta-institute.org.
The Organic Agriculture Revitalization Strategy (OARS) is an initiative that seeks to take advantage of growing consumer and investor interest in organic food and agriculture – now nearly a $50 billion mainstream market – and use it as a strategy for revitalizing rural communities and supporting regional economic development. Developed by Croatan Institute and Earthwise Organics with initial support from Organic Valley’s Farmers Advocating for Organics program and a growing group of partners, OARS aims to identify business and investment opportunities in regional value chains and to mobilize capital to help build community health and wealth. For more information, please visit www.OARSproject.org.