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Is regenerative agriculture egg-zactly what the planet needs?

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From The Hustle

Which came first? The chicken or the egg?

In this sustainability story, it’s the chicken.

According to Bloomberg, American farmers are tackling the $6.1B US egg industry by raising chickens with regenerative agriculture, resulting in “climate-friendly eggs.”

What is regenerative agriculture?

Modern agriculture was responsible for 10% of greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, per the EPA.

Regenerative agriculture improves soil’s organic matter and biodiversity through farming and grazing techniques. This healthier soil holds more water and -- most importantly -- draws carbon into the earth. (See this handy illustrated video.)

The Rodale Institute, a nonprofit that researches organic agriculture, suggests it could even reverse climate change.

Will people buy sustainable eggs?

Demand for specialty eggs -- cage-free, free-range, etc -- already makes up ⅓ of the industry and are projected to grab 70% in 5 years, per Bloomberg.

While regen eggs aren’t cheap (~$8 per dozen), Big Food is getting into it:

  • General Mills has committed to 1m acres of regenerative farmland by 2030.
  • At the UN Climate Summit in 2019, 19 companies -- including Kellogg, Nestlé, and Google -- agreed to protect and restore biodiversity through practices that include scaling regenerative agriculture.
  • In 2020, The Nature Conservancy, Target, McDonald’s, and Cargill launched an $8.5m investment into 100k acres of land in Nebraska, potentially trapping 150k metric tons of CO2.

For a sample of how this works, check out Applegate Farms' regenerative agriculture sausages.

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