Location: Los Angeles, USA
Sector: Agriculture, Sales and services
A non profit organization engaged in inspiring people to participate in building healthy soil to cope with climate change.
One of the greatest challenges of our time is climate change. Ryland Engelhart, during a conference in New-Zealand heard that soil can be a solution to fight against climate change. Indeed, an healthy soil can sequester carbon from the atmosphere. But soil has other good functions : clean water, produce food, habitats, etc. Ryland started to tell all the benefits of a healthy soil to other people. This story inspired a lot of persons, and Kiss the ground began.
He found this non profit organism, in 2013, with the mission of inspiring participation in the global movement to restore soils through 5 programs : media, education, farmland and garden. Another part of the company deals with national and international coalitions toward their main goal : increase soil carbon and biodiversity on 500 million acres of land by 2050.
The organism is composed of 6 employees and also several contractors which are working a part-time job, 20h per week : in total 15 persons are involved.
The first goal of Kiss The Ground is to share with everybody that building healthy soil can be a solution to climate change crisis. In order to reach this goal they have implemented 6 different programs:
This program allows to tell the story about healthy soil and its benefits to fight against climate change: they made different movies about the soil story, compost and even about persons who are working about those topics. They use also several social medias or youtube to communicate and they work with a company which is specialized in this topic. In one of their videos, you can see famous actors, it’s a strategy to keep public’s attention.
They educate brands, farmers, policy makers, consumers and students about healthy soil and regenerative agriculture. They give lessons to middle school students about carbon cycle, photosynthesis, soil, regenerative agriculture, and taking community action. They make presentations at conferences, events, schools. They were also present at Cop 21 in Paris. Each year, 24 volunteers are selected to achieve this education program, which also includes a downloadable soil health curriculum, that is soon to be released.
They help farmers to switch into a regenerative agriculture : it’s a new program still in development. Once a farmer has a carbon farm plan in place they are eligible for funding to implement the plan from the State of California.
It’s not a consulting activity, they link farmers and consultants and also farmers and restaurants which want use ingredients from regeneratives farms to support regenerative practices. For farmers who wish to switch into regenerative agriculture, they can learn how to change their practices thanks to the Savory Institute (https://www.savory.global/). The institute puts forward trainings, farmers have to pay for follow them.
They act also just around them, in their community where they live. In Venice Beach, they have created a garden for developing urban regenerative agriculture. This space, open to the public, enable them to show how we can farm a land with healthy practices. They host events, community work days (on Mondays, Wednesdays and some Saturdays) and job-trainings internship for homeless people:
Once a week, a school use the garden for outdoor classes. In total, hundred of volunteers work there. The food grown is donated to those volunteers, it’s a non profit garden.
They propose trainings, tools and support to those inspired by regenerative agriculture and healthy soils. The next Soil Advocate Training Course will start in January 2020 and will be accessible online from anywhere. It will cost 200$ for the full training.
This new program helps brands to invest in the Farmland program by supporting regenerative agriculture and carbon shortage.
Multiple benefits of supporting regenerative agriculture:
We can’t really quantify benefits resulting from media and education programs, however people would be more aware about their environmental impact and may adopt more sustainable practices in their daily life.
Through its non profit status, no money is created through the different activities. In few occasions they can earn money, for instance some people ask them to create a movie about their organism and they gave money for that.
This organism system could be replicated everywhere, it doesn’t require a lot of specific equipments, buildings or location. As said just before, the main difficulty is to have enough money to implement it and to have a significant impact. The issue is to create partnerships with public or private agencies, to convince them to support the project.
The main constraint is economic: they try to collect more and more money to develop their activities and raise people’s awareness. They have individual’s donations through their website and also private donations from companies. Some people donate money each month, regularly.
Several programs are still in development as the business program.
Copyright CirculAgronomie 2020