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Zero Foodprint Asia Monthly  |  31 March 2022

Zero Foodprint Asia
March Newsletter

Hello Friends, 

Our long-anticipated, first-ever grant season has finally arrived!

Since June 2021, ZFPA partner restaurants have been pledging monthly to the Restore Fund, helping to spread the mission via their platforms. We’ve launched several collaborative pop-ups and received generous donations from supporters during this time. Thank you to YOU, YOU, and YOU for making part of this work possible.

Starting tomorrow, ZFPA will be accepting applications from farmers in the region - from Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area who are interested in implementing regenerative practices on their farmland. We can’t wait to receive the first batch of applications and start the process soon! So if you know someone who a) owns or operates a working farm, and b) aligns with our mission to #farmforthefuture, send them to the application form on our website available in both
English and Chinese.

Why is the Restore Fund necessary?

Although implementing best practices in our restaurants is a start, it’s not going to shift the needle far enough. The food industry has long promoted an industrial model of agriculture that prioritizes short-term yields over environmental health with many governments around the world providing subsidies for fossil fuel industry produced fertilizers and other intensive farming inputs. The modern industrial agricultural system is economically viable only because policy frameworks allow for environmental damage permitting this to go unchecked. (O-K. Short rant over…)

… but wait, there’s more!

The World Resources Institute estimates that by 2030, we would need to restore 350 million hectares of degraded forests and agricultural land (WRI, 2017). How big is this you ask? Well, it’s only the size of India, but no biggie. Oh, and if we want to meet the IPCC’s goal of limiting global warming by 2 degrees by 2050 (IPCC, 2022), the world needs to triple our annual investment for nature-based solutions to $USD536 billion annually (UNEP, 2021).

At ZFPA, we value less talk and more action - which is why we’re here.

Currently, farmers are not subsidized or remunerated for attempting to reduce their environmental impact. But switching to regenerative will include some initial upfront costs (and a mindset change), which is where the Restore Fund comes in! Call it a subsidy or an incentive if you may, but the ZFP family firmly believes that regenerative agriculture is the key to advancing social justice, strengthening food security and solving climate change. “It is a classic triple-win situation. Consumers can receive healthier foods, farmers can have a more secure and prosperous future and the planet will benefit because regenerative agriculture provides it a better chance to heal and restore itself” (Forbes, 2021).

FoodAg giants in the West are already jumping in on the regenerative train and have pledged to restore agricultural farmland in their supply chains in the next 5-25 years. Unilever, Cargill, Danone, Nestle, Walmart and General Mills are amongst those who have begun setting clear targets and goals to transform their organizations into ones that internalize ecosystem restoration as part of their net-zero strategies. Stakeholders and investors know this to be the best thing to do because by now, the science is clear - without food, there is no business. So when will Asia take notice?

Head on to our website for more information on the Restore Fund Guidelines and Application process. And do share this with your farmer friends cause everyone is going to need a regenerative farmer in their lives pretty soon.

Smallholder farmers in HK and Asia deserve the attention, training and monetary support needed to mainstream regenerative practices.

Earth Week

We think every week should be Earth Week, but for now, we will stick with this one. Whether you’re a diner, or a restaurant operator, here’s your chance to make a difference! Become a ZFP member for a week or donate as you please! Your contributions - no matter big, or small - will help farmers here in the region work to turn bad atmospheric carbon into good soil carbon.


Join ZFP on this global #eat4earth campaign by connecting with us here! 

 Meet our Folks

Dr. Ying Li

Dr. Ying Li is our resident agricultural expert with vast insights into the regenerative space happening slowly but surely in China. She's the Sustainable Agriculture Director at The Nature Conservancy in China and a Member of the Soil Science Society of China. With years of research experience under her belt, Dr. Li now promotes sustainable agricultural development in response to climate change and works to improve soil health and biodiversity by scaling regenerative agriculture and farmland carbon sequestration. This ultimately increases smallholder farmers' resiliency and strengthens food and nutrition security in the face of this changing climate. Having a wider set of lenses into the growing field of regenerative agriculture knowledge in China will most certainly help us build the framework and to put things in context. We thank you for your input, Dr. Li!

 Briefings with ZFPA

In this [Briefings with ZFPA] series, we want to share with you the stories of those who have made the first Restore Fund in Asia possible. With commitment from our restaurant peers and the support of their diners this past year, it’s made it MORE apparent to us both food businesses and people are eager to participate in climate action.

Restaurant MONO, headed by Chef Ricardo, who just ranked #32 at
Asia's 50 Best Restaurants was one of the very first to sign up, pledge and promote ZFPA values. Partnership, community support, educational engagement and the transfer of knowledge is what makes this work possible. Thank you for your heart and dedication, Chef!

 Industry News 

Validating Regenerative Agricultural Systems relative to Conventional Systems

Jonathan Lundgren and his Ecdysis Foundation have begun the most ambitious agroecology experiment ever conducted, researching regenerative systems across North America. “The 1000 Farms Initiative” will demonstrate the power of regenerative agriculture on a network of farms, where his team will assess the status of key agronomic, ecological, and economic factors. This is some important groundwork (pardon the pun) being done here and we hope to use some of this research in our quest to have a specific regenerative tool for Asia!

There are two overarching scientific goals in Ecdysis’ work:
1) Validate key regenerative agricultural systems around the U.S. relative to conventional systems
2) Develop data-driven roadmaps for transitioning key food systems from conventional to regenerative systems.”

An exciting initiative that we as ZFP(A) will continue to follow and learn from. More information can be found
here.


Nature-Based Climate Solutions are a Key Strategy to Reach Net-Zero

Why Nature-Based Climate Solutions? Because we are nowhere close to reducing carbon levels enough to limit temperature increases to the global 2-degree target, let alone the more ambitious 1.5 degrees goal. Yep, we have a very long way to go. The WRI mentions that smallholder farmers are key in this fight to encourage behaviour changes that address root causes.

"Nature-based climate solutions (NCS) are initiatives that protect, restore or create habitats and natural carbon sinks such as forests, peatlands, mangroves, savannahs, soils, and marine ecosystems. Such carbon sinks also support biodiversity, access to freshwater, improved livelihoods, and other positive 'ecosystem services' nature inherently provides."


1. They lower the cost of emission reductions.
2. They fund conservation.
3. They can be deployed at a huge scale.

Permafrost Peatlands

On the topic of Nature-Based Solutions, news came out this month about the future of peatlands. Unfortunately, frozen peatlands that contain roughly 40 billion tonnes of carbon (twice the amount contained in Europe’s forests) are at risk of melting and being released back into the atmosphere. It is likely that the Nordic countries and Russia will become too warm for permafrost peatland by the 2040s. If you’d like to listen to an incredible story about peatland, we highly recommend the 99% invisible episode.

 

 Resources 

Gather

An insightful documentary shadowing four native tribes as they work to preserve food traditions. New York Times Critics pick: “this documentary wonderfully weaves personal stories with archival footage that contextualizes the continued violence against Native Americans. Find out how you can watch it here.

Are Duck Eggs the Future?

This Youtube video is about Parc Caregg, a regenerative farm in Wales. They are the UK’s number 1 organic duck egg producer and have implemented many other regenerative farming practices on their farm like growing blueberries and sheep. Learn about how and why they have prioritized biodiversity on their farm here.

Thank you for sticking around and stay tuned for more news and updates
with the Restore Fund and Earth Week campaigns!

Let's solve climate change with good food and drinks!
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