The first ZFPA Restore Fund selection process has finally come and gone. Admittedly, it was an uphill learning experience across the board and one we're so humbled to have led. We were heartened by the sheer number of applications we received, from farmers young and old to farm projects that varied in size and location. Ultimately, what became clear to us was that all applicant farmers expressed a genuine desire to apply ecological farming practices on their farmland.
ZFPA advisory members assessed applications based on the following criteria:
the degree of soil improvement
the opportunity for enhancing both below ground and above ground microbiology and biodiversity
the readiness for implementation
the scale and possibility of increasing soil carbon sequestration potential
This year, we have selected 7 farms as the grantees to the ZFPA Restore Fund, totaling approximately HKD750,000, which is expected to create change on 26 acres of farmland. In the following weeks, as our technical advisors proceed to draw up each of the project plans with the awarded farms, we'll be looking forward to sharing more about the farmers and their project details with you!
Regenerative farming methods are not novel in any way and much of it is usually handed down from indigenous knowledge. However, farmers have lost touch with agroecological practices due to the pressure that industrialized food systems put on them. We have witnessed ourselves that older generation farmers are just beginning to (re)discover this way of farming. So just as the energy grid can be reinvented through a collection of individual subsidies and changes in government policies, food businesses can help subsidize this transition so to make regenerative and renewable food systems possible.
Several dollars per meal can add up to big investments to protect soil, restore underground ecosystems, increase nutrients in food, and draw down excess carbon from the atmosphere.