SUMMARY: Propagate’s mission is to grow agroforestry as a cornerstone of agriculture. We link market actors with farmers and land managers, and serve as a platform for increasing the supply and demand of permanent-crops. Our model is market-driven by the pull of consumer demand, collective pre-purchasing and early stage investment.
PROBLEM SPACE: “Agricultural landscapes are primed for collapse as climate change and soil degradation occur at alarming rates. Meanwhile, increased farm inputs drive yield demands, identifying the need for agricultural resiliency.
Current levels of soil loss tell the story. Conventional cropland loses 10 tonnes of soil per hectare, per year. This is equal to 254 5-gallon buckets of soil per acre. Globally, this results in 10 million hectares of land lost to erosion per year, translating to trillions of dollars in lost yields and livelihoods.
Agroforestry brings a solution as soil erosion rates in a forest range from 0.004 to 0.05 tons/ha/year. Paired with other benefits, like improved water cycling, trees reverse land degradation and sequester carbon in above and below-ground biomass, while also producing food. Integrated perennial crops address the UN’s global framework for a sustainable future through the 2nd & 15th SDGs.
Less than 3% of global land-base is in perennial-crop production This falls to .3% in the United States.Meaning, there is room to grow. We’ve recognized that implementation lags due to lack of access and inadequate financing infrastructure.The benefits of agroforestry is clear, yet our soils need momentum to put roots in the ground.”
SOLUTION: “We are building channels to make tree crops accessible to farmers. From blueberries to hazelnuts, permanent crops have existing markets and buyers. Longer time to yield paired with weak risk mitigation disincentivizes farmers from transitioning.
Our platform uses the following market incentives:
1. Through propagate.org, consumers drive demand via donation campaigns planting trees on U.S. farms. The appeal lies in combating climate change, diversifying farm income, and feeding people. These donations subsidize the up-front cost of tree planting, and philanthropy plays a key role in catalyzing agroforestry.
2. Buyers are instrumental in growing the supply of agroforestry products. Consumer brands are our connection point to our farms, and access to regeneratively grown products is key. Pre-purchase agreements allows buyers and producers to de-risk and incentivize agroforestry with long-term revenue contracts.
3. Investors can access managed portfolios of vetted farms that are planting tree systems and building ancillary infrastructure to support future crop needs. Through increasing access to projects and lowering the cost of due diligence, we provide investors with a lower cost alternative.
We are building a platform to increase the flow of capital into agroforestry by connecting change agents to regenerative farming networks and operators.”
UPDATE (2018): Propagate Ventures is an agroforestry asset management company focused on the integration of tree crops in broad-acre agriculture. We are on a mission to make agriculture work for 100% of humanity, one farm at a time. In the time since submitting our BFI application, we have begun to work with farmers in the NE, SE and Midwest USA to design and install tree-crop systems that work in tandem with existing farm operations. Meanwhile, we work together with brands and investors to build certainty in supply and bridge project level capital needs. In 2018 we have opened up a $1M funding round and are moving towards 500+ acres under management while outlining conversations with consumer brands on driving forward produce purchase agreements as a means to unlock regenerative agriculture as an asset class.
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