Today’s Solutions: February 08, 2023

Shifting the world’s food production to a regenerative system has been a frequent solution we’ve written about here at The Optimist Daily. In May 2021, Kristy and Summers sat down with award-winning chef Anthony Myint to discuss Zero Foodprint, his project to expand regenerative agriculture.

Anthony Myint is a restaurateur, activist, and pioneer in the table to farm movement. He and his partners joined the farm-to-table movement and opened their restaurant Perennial to support healthier food choices and regenerative agriculture. This is a system of farming that regenerates nutrients in the soil by growing plants that have synergistic effects with their surrounding crops. The restaurant route, however, was not the way to expand regenerative agriculture. After five years he closed Perennial and began looking for a new approach. 

Myint then stumbled across a carbon ranching pilot program, a regenerative farm that prioritizes plant growth and sustainable compost. Something clicked, and Myint decided to champion this business that enriches soil and plants to both store carbon and support food systems through regenerative farming. 

Zero Foodprint allows consumers to support regenerative agriculture without having to eat exclusively regeneratively grown produce. It takes a small percentage of every sale from participating restaurants, then redistributes that money to farms looking to expand or create regenerative agriculture plots. They also work with cities to create city-wide composting programs. This is the start of the table-to-farm movement: cities supporting regenerative farms while the farms feed the people.

To make this happen, Myint created city-wide compost programs in order to utilize discarded food waste as fertilizer. He also got restaurants to participate in supporting regenerative farming by adding a built-in percentage charge that will go to Zero Foodprint. He is also working to involve more to expand participating farmland and increase regenerative projects supported by grant funding. 

Concentrated funding will allow regenerative plots to expand quickly, while the compost program will increase gross profit for regenerative farms. Myint is working to create a closed loop, where regenerative farms receive their organic waste in the form of compost; allowing nutrients to cycle once again.

Link to podcast here!

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