Planting Seeds - Food & Farming News from CDFA

Sustainable beef, social media and the environment – from Forbes

By Neil Yeoh

Christine Su, the millennial co-founder and CEO of PastureMap, a San Francisco-based social venture, is building a technology platform for the meat industry to help reward producers for regenerative practices. PastureMap’s ranch management software is making regenerative grazing easier for over 9,000 livestock producers in 40 countries with grazing planning, soil, and rainfall tools.

PastureMap seeks to provide consumers and supply chains with new levels of traceability: every day and pasture that an animal spent on grass can be traced, as well as every ton of carbon sequestered on a specific plot of land. Data like this is necessary for consumers to make informed decisions on the food we purchase.

To help achieve PastureMap’s mission of improving rancher profits by building healthy grasslands, the company partners with Point Blue, a science-focused nonprofit conservation organization. Together with Point Blue’s Rangeland Monitoring Network of 70 ranches in California, PastureMap is developing soil and ecological monitoring for livestock producers managing their land.

Most recently, PastureMap received grant funding from Elemental Excelerator, a growth accelerator focused on community impact. This grant funds PastureMap to build the first region-wide soil data sharing platform in California’s San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys enabling ranchers to compare their soil data regionally, and learn from each other on how to improve grazing practices to drive soil health.

Agricultural counties in San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys are especially vulnerable to the negative effects of multiple pollutants, including nitrogen runoff, pesticides, and greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, ranchers are uniquely able to drive local, place-based impact by building soil health and reducing emissions in farming communities. A 1% increase in soil organic matter can hold 20,000 gallons more water per acre when it rains. This makes the entire land more resistant and fertile in drought-prone California. “PastureMap is working to bring needed innovation to communities that are often left behind,” says Su.

Regenerative agriculture and soil building provides clean water and air to surrounding communities, and prevents droughts and floods—all critical to farmer livelihoods and to the health and safety of surrounding communities. Su summarizes it well for conscious everyday consumers, mentioning that she’d “rather eat food that actively drew carbon back into the ground, restored streams and rivers, and prevented droughts in [her] local communities,” than food that was grown in a lab. So no need to necessarily give up your burgers, but do seek out the information you need to purchase meat from farmers and ranchers that sequester carbon and build healthy grasslands.

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