Food And Agriculture: The Cause Of And Solution For Climate Change


Published:

Lara Dickinson is the Co-Founding Director of One Step Closer to an Organic Sustainable Community (OSC2) and Cofounder of the Climate Collaborative. She applies over 20 years of consumer packaged goods marketing, sales, and management experience to helping healthy product innovations grow in natural and mass markets.

The goal of the Climate Collaborative is to bring together the natural products industry—from manufacturers to suppliers, distributors, brokers, and retailers—to inspire and facilitate action on climate change. It launched in 2017 at Natural Products Expo West as a project of OSC2 and the Sustainable Food Trade Association (SFTA). On December 20, 2017, nine months after launching, the Climate Collaborative celebrated its 150th member, No Evil Foods, which committed to taking climate action in agriculture, deforestation, packaging, and transportation.

Dickinson earned a B.S. in Business from the University of Southern California and studied European international relations at the University of Oxford. Returning to the United States, she finished her M.B.A at Cornell University in 1994 and started out working in consumer products marketing. Dickinson served as the Vice President of marketing at several companies, including Numi Organic Tea and Balance Bar, and the CEO at LightFull Foods. In 2012, she helped create OSC2 to drive positive change in the natural products industry, provide sustainable leadership, and build a collaborative platform.

Food Tank had the opportunity to talk with Lara Dickinson about the Climate Collaborative and what role the natural products industry can play in mitigating climate change and reducing food waste.

Food Tank (FT): What incentives are there for the natural products industry to mitigate climate change?

Lara Dickinson (LD): Well, the first incentive is that if we don’t actually reverse global warming, our industry will be forced to face some dramatic challenges. But there is a much more hopeful answer. Food and agriculture together represent the number one cause and also most hopeful solution area for climate change. We have made the journey more straightforward for companies. In our initial survey of the industry, nearly every natural product business leader we spoke with agreed that they, and the industry, can and must do more. But the majority also shared that they were not clear on the most important thing to do. So we have identified the nine priority commitment areas where companies can have the most impact. We provide tools, resources, webinars, and case studies to help them on their path. The industry is a leader in so much—organics, animal welfare, non-GMO—and climate is now a focus. Retailers, such as NCG and INFRA, and distributors, such as KEHe, are a part of this network of companies working together and recognizing best practices among the brands engaged. In terms of incentives, there are solutions that actually have long-term cost savings benefits such as increased use of solar power and reduction of food waste.

FT: Your organization just accepted its 150th member. How are these companies working together through the Climate Collaborative?

LD: You can find our 150 CC announcement here.

We are encouraging companies to commit to action in one of the nine areas we have identified as the most effective pathways for the industry to mitigate climate change, including improving the energy efficiency of their operations, increasing their use of renewable energy, reducing the climate impacts of the agricultural practices used in their supply chains, reducing food waste, and supporting policies that will help mitigate climate change at a local, state, and federal level.

We host monthly webinars on our commitment areas that bring in partners and experts to provide practical guidance for companies on implementing their commitments. We also direct companies to tools, training sessions, and communities of practice where it’s possible to educate them on steps they can take in their operations, and to foster deeper, wider-reaching collaboration across the industry.

In addition to the technical webinars and email newsletter we provide each month, we’ve recently launched our first ‘action group’ for companies working on carbon farming. We call it Rooted Community and we’re offering it in partnership with the Sustainable Food Lab. The goal is to help a smaller group of companies work together to share knowledge, find new ways to reduce agriculture’s impact on climate change, and make it part of the climate solution rather than part of the problem.

FT: One of your focuses is food waste. Given that households are the top generators, how large of an impact can businesses have on this issue and what are some of their solutions?

LD: Food waste is one of our nine commitment areas. Both retailers and manufacturers can radically influence food waste and in turn influence consumers. Date coding, cold chain management, and the embracing of ugly produce are just a few things we address with our climate engaged companies.

FT: How do you think agriculture can be harnessed to mitigate climate change?

LD: Agriculture accounts for about 13 percent of climate change-causing emissions globally so it’s critical that the sector be part of the solution to the climate challenge. To really tackle climate change as an industry, we need every part of the industry represented, and it starts at the farm. We need farmers working with their buyers and vice-versa to set common goals and join forces to reach them.

Produce companies are key to this approach because they touch the wholesale, retail, and direct markets and can influence the entire food industry. Taking action on climate change is a natural leadership position for the produce sector, so we are inviting them to join the Climate Collaborative so they can work alongside others in the industry to really drive forward meaningful solutions.

LD: What role do you think businesses, the government, and individuals should play in effectively mitigating climate change?

We all have a role. And with shifts at the national level, business and individual voices are louder and stronger. Climate Collaborative helps amplify those voices. One way is through our policy commitment. We can harness hundreds of companies at once to help influence and support important climate-related policy.

FT: What do you think is the future of our food system?

LD: That is just it… a System. We have a lot more systems thinkers coming together to create food companies. Companies that are launching more than novel brands, but radical solutions that change the way we eat in delicious and convenient ways that we feel good about. And not all of these new foods are more expensive. Everything from plant-based foods that are delicious and thoughtfully sourced, like Miyoko’s Kitchen and REBBL, to disruptive dairy and meat products from Organic Valley, Straus, Emmer & Co, to food/technology solutions like Sunbasket, to Thrive Market, to Imperfect Produce. These and so many other companies are offering systems-based solutions to improving our food system. We believe that mission-based foods will become the cost of entry for mainstream food producers over time. Our industry and thinking are moving in that direction as this next generation of college grads’ purchasing power increases. Like with many food trends, the movement starts with the natural products industry and then goes mainstream. To think that nutrition bars, greek yogurt, almond milk, specialty coffee, and organic chocolate hardly existed two decades ago and are now topping the charts among how we snack and eat.

FT: The Climate Collaborative will be putting on Climate Day at the Natural Products Expo West in March. What are your plans for this event?

LD: We launched the Climate Collaborative at Expo West 2017 to a packed audience of natural products leaders. We could hardly believe the turnout. We expect an even greater number this year and have expanded to accommodate this. We will share best practices and keynotes on solutions from an array of business leaders, policy experts, and solutions providers on everything from making a business case, to addressing packaging, to carbon sequestration and agriculture.  We will also give out the first Climate Collaborative NCG awards to best in class brands and retailers in our industry.  

Brian Frederick is a research and writing fellow at Food Tank. He received a dual-B.S. in chemistry/biomolecular science and an M.S. in chemistry from Clarkson University, as well as an M.S. in biochemistry and molecular biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania. Brian has worked in academia, nonprofit research institutions, and pharmaceutical companies researching biofuels, cancer, and immune health. Lastly, he is an avid traveler and loves the outdoors.

This article was republished from Food Tank.

See also:
The Tea Industry: A Model For A Sustainable Future
Dr. Bronner’s Makes Soap, But It’s Changing How We Eat

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

May 26, 2019

During the wee hours of the morning the Moon arrives in Pisces. Moods grow fickle and sensitivities increase. Imaginations are also fertile as a lunar sextile to Uranus implores and inspires curious souls to explore new horizons. The uneasy Last Quarter…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

May 2019

Sunday afternoon: 3–4:30pm at Hillside Herbals Healing herbs for women's health part I: tonic herbs for hormonal balance—normal cycling and aging. Rachel has created a 10...

Cost: Drop in Fee $10 includes all materials and handouts.

Where:
Hillside Herbals
Jefferson, MA


Sponsor: Hillside Herbals
Telephone: 508-847-8615
Contact Name: Rachel Ross
Website »

More information

Sunday Reiki treatments with Reiki master and practitioner Linda Simons in Brookline, MA. Start your week off on a more balanced note with a Reiki treatment on a Sunday afternoon. Please join me...

Cost: Sliding Scale $25-45

Where:
233 Harvard Street
Suite 36
Brookline, MA  02446
View map »


Telephone: 617-304-2205
Contact Name: Linda Simons
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
No Events
No Events

This is a light fun evening to help get you going into the summer season. This evening we will be discussing and working with Geraniums and Pelargoniums. We will be discussing the plants, their...

Cost: $ 20 includes material, pre-reg required

Where:
Brookside Farms
8 Mammoth Rd
Sute #A
Pelham, NH  03076
View map »


Sponsor: The Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
Telephone: 603-275-7688
Contact Name: Stacey Smith
Website »

More information

Instructor: Pam Driscoll Wednesdays, April 17, May 8, 22, June 5, 19, 6:30pm–7:30pm Join us for the Mid-Week Meditation Sampler at Creative Spirit…an opportunity to pause,...

Cost: $20 per class

Where:
Creative Spirit
80 Washington Street
Marblehead, MA  01945
View map »


Sponsor: Creative Spirit
Telephone: 781-797-0389
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Be An “Eat to Thrive” Graduate This Summer. Come to an introductory class for the summer session from June 6–August 15 in Point of Pines, Revere, MA. Congratulations to the...

Cost: Free—all are welcome!

Where:
Point of Pines
Revere, MA


Sponsor: Eat to Thrive
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Activists and artists will create inspiring chalk imagery encouraging kindness to animals On May 31, people around the world will gather to create colorful chalk imagery promoting compassion for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Worcester City Common
Worcester, MA  01604


Telephone: 617-5430189
Contact Name: Melissa Scher
Website »

More information

Experience the process to a past life. Learn why it is beneficial and potentially: Clear emotional trauma and physical issues Calm feelings of stress and/or sadness Get insight into...

Cost: $50

Where:
Voice of Clay
16 Meetinghouse Hill Rd
Brookline , NH  03033
View map »


Sponsor: Voice of Clay
Telephone: 603-672-2626
Contact Name: Wendy
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

You do not need any musical background but please be sure to register early! Class is limited to 16 students. 6-hole flutes in G are provided for use during class. You are welcome to bring...

Cost: $35

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
386 Merrimack Street, Suite 1-A
Methuen, MA  01844
View map »


Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
Website »

More information

Learn an intro to the magick and science of dowsing. Tools, techniques for information, clearing, balancing, healing, and more. Bob will introduce you to dowsing and basic radiesthesia,...

Cost: Class is $45

Where:
The Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
68 Stiles Rd
Suite #A
Salem, NH  03079
View map »


Sponsor: The Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
Telephone: 603-275-7688
Contact Name: Stacey Smith
Website »

More information

In celebration of ushering in the Strawberry Moon Cycle and we will be doing a new moon planting. This is a great opportunity to literally sow the seeds for some of our other upcoming workshops...

Cost: Pre-reg $35, $40 at the door, materials included

Where:
The Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
68 Stiles Rd
Sute #A
Salem, NH  03079
View map »


Sponsor: The Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
Telephone: 603-275-7688
Contact Name: Stacey Smith
Website »

More information

June 1–2 Join other like-minded seekers as we take a journey through the concepts of the new Earth paradigm, higher self and soul sovereignty, ascension mechanics, and spiritual alchemy.

Where:
Chester, VT


Telephone: (617) 366-6042
Website »

More information

Using Lessons from Music to Harmonize Your Life You know how you want to show up in the world—expressing yourself through your essence, centered in your heart, effective in your life and...

Cost: $90 prepaid by May 30th, $100 at the door

Where:
Center at Westwoods
590 Gay Street
Westwoods, MA
View map »


Telephone: 617-784-4426
Contact Name: Janet Kessenich
Website »

More information

May 4–June 8, 2019 Saturdays 10am–11:30am Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) is a healing martial art using breath and movement. It is just one way to stay young and healthy. It...

Cost: $120

Where:
Metta Wellness
679 Pleasant Street
Paxton, MA  01612
View map »


Sponsor: Metta Wellness
Telephone: 774-245-5487
Contact Name: Rick Rocha
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags