This tech start-up could reward small farmers for their sustainable practices
US Department of Agriculture photo “There is an app for this.”
It’s not just an Apple brand slogan, it’s becoming a reality. Well, what if I told you that there is a new app in development that will help reward farmers for adopting sustainable practices. An app that will create a market for farmers to sell their produce directly to buyers and allow farmers to purchase inventory cooperatively to lower their operating costs.
Sounds like a big question, right? Well, that’s exactly what the folks at the Carbon Drawn Initiative are building with Genihub, a tool designed to reward farmers for adopting sustainable practices, and so much more. But before we dive into what exactly GeniHub is, I want to give you a bit of background.
The ground from which this technology springs
Tokya Dammond, co-founder of the Carbon Drawn Initiative, is a family friend. Over the years, I did a lot of odd jobs for him growing up. From mowing his lawn to trying to repair his old obsolete BMW. During the years of working with Tokyo, I discovered his company, SymBio.
Symbio is an international company that Tokyo has used to develop organic supply chains. A company he has run for three decades, SymBio has always encouraged farmers and businesses to adopt more sustainable practices, often working directly with farmers to teach them how to be more sustainable and create a way for them to sell their products.
This 30-year experience has played a crucial role in the development of the GeniHub tool, created by the Carbon Drawn Initiative. So what exactly is GeniHub?
Take a look at GeniHub
Tokyo Dammond, co-founder of The Carbon Drawn initiative, says of “think of it as the combination of Facebook, Amazon and PayPal from Regenerative Food.” Farmers will love how Geni automates all of their payments as well as their bookkeeping and bookkeeping for you no matter which bank or accounting program you use. Geni is designed to truly be your “Geni in the Bottle” (or in this case, in their smartphones). While helping farmers manage their land while growing nutritious food.
Genihub fulfills many roles, including that of tracking products from the seed stock to the farmer and from the farmer to the production line. It allows farmers to cooperate and buy equipment, seeds, fertilizers and more, and creates a new market for farmers to sell directly to buyers. Finally, it allows companies to reward farmers for adopting sustainable practices.
Farmer Services GeniHub Diagram Photo by Carbon Drawn Initiative
GeniHub will follow products from source to table
GeniHub will track a farmer’s purchases like the seeds and fertilizers they buy. And track products as they are grown to the manufacturing facility where they are sent.
How is this useful? Well, not only will GeniHub help you manage your bookkeeping. He will act to verify that your produce is grown as you say it is. In the same way that farmers pay high fees for their products to be certified organic or non-GMO. GeniHub will improve product integrity and increase consumer confidence in the products they buy, at no additional cost to farmers.
For example, if an oat grower in Wisconsin does not use synthetic fertilizers and practices crop rotation. GeniHub will be able to verify this with their purchase history and other audit methods. This will allow consumers to be better informed about the products they buy. Which can create a deeper level of confidence in a product that doesn’t currently exist.
The app will allow farmers to cooperate for purchases
“Being able to work with other farms would help us learn and use different technologies,” says Nate Krause, COO at Swan Trail Farms. “It’s one thing to get hard data about our growing practices, but being able to interpret the information and apply it to our growing program is key.”
To put it simply, things get better when we work together. However, this is not always as easy as it sounds. But GeniHub is creating a collaborative space for farmers in what they call “Regen Street”. Basically Wall Street for regenerative farmers.
The technology will allow farmers to take advantage of wholesale discounts by allowing them to collectively purchase seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. Additionally, farmers can cooperate to buy the equipment they need to implement a new sustainable practice, but simply cannot afford it themselves.
And by tracking which practices work and which don’t, GeniHub will be able to provide feedback on which practices or products work best in each region.
Create a B2B and B2C marketplace
In many ways, GeniHub serves as both sort of Facebook and Amazon Marketplace. Check that the products exist and that they are of the quality they are supposed to be.
Farmers big and small will collectively have access to a global market of businesses and consumers. Here they can list their products and set their own price. And even allow them to negotiate with buyers through the GeniHub network.
For example, let’s say two farmers have a similar oat product. Both have been verified to be non-GMO crops grown without pesticides. One farmer wants $ 2 a pound for his produce and another just $ 1 a pound. Meanwhile, the buyer is prepared to pay $ 1.50 a pound.
In this scenario, Geni will notify each of them and automate the sale by acting as an “intermediary,” much like eBay automates the sale of a t-shirt. In addition, the buyer will get details about the product that they would not otherwise receive, such as; the area where the product was grown if pesticides were used, the variety of seeds that was used and any other practices that the farmer may have implemented.
Allows companies to reward sustainable farmer practices
“Carbon Drawn plans to donate Geni to farmers around the world so you can go online and automate all of your market transactions,” says Dammond. “Better yet, farmers can connect with other farmers to enter markets together. Even in contact with NGOs for financial assistance. Geni even lets you connect directly to consumers and larger buyers. Geni will be able to authenticate the quality of inputs and products throughout the process.
In my opinion, this is one of the coolest features in the GeniHub Marketplace. Here’s the deal: Businesses know that the last century of agricultural monoculture is simply unsustainable. And the last thing a business that makes a profit selling food wants is a supply chain collapse due to a new disease, drought, or other natural disaster.
As a result, companies are constantly creating incentives for farmers to develop more sustainable practices. From the purchase of carbon credits to the granting of subsidies to farmers to practice crop rotation. Companies continually seek to invest in more sustainable agriculture to stabilize their supply chains. As a result, farmers large and small can receive benefits or higher profit margins by adopting better practices. And GeniHub will allow farms of all sizes to access these grants.
How farmers can be involved
GeniHub will aim to revolutionize the way products are grown, bought and sold around the world. Additionally, it creates a tool that sustainability-conscious small and medium-sized farmers can use as leverage to compete with mega-farms using “conventional” farming practices.
Best of all, the technology is free for small farmers who qualify. The app is expected to be released and up and running by the end of 2021. Only time will tell how impacting this app will have on the market, but it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Douglas dedrick is a landscape designer, documentary filmmaker and environmental law writer. When not looking to investigate, he usually writes articles on lawn care. Connect with him at Law of healing, and read all Douglas’ MOTHER EARTH NEWS publishes here.
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Originally published: 06/28/2021 10:17:00