Scaling up the proven generative model
After a full crop cycle, the regenerative Model Farm in place is ready to be refined and scaled up. This is done through mid to long-term capacity-building programs running over multiple years that build deep regenerative agriculture expertise within the local farmers’ group. Hosting regular courses, and training educational programs, act as a knowledge hub for the region and support the transition in the local farming landscape.
The first Model Farm as a starting point for scale
The scaling up usually builds upon the demonstration Model Farm and utilizes it as a hands-on learning space. This is a proven concept based on the belief that farmers learn best from other farmers. This way, they help us promote transformation that is deeply integrated at the local level.
Once the Model Farm has been through at least one full crop cycle, it is evaluated to determine how the practices & principles can be effectively scaled up. This phase is very dependent on the insights brought by the Context Analysis and Implementation, validated by the data brought in through M&E.
Scaling up to implement a system farm-wide
Once a farmer is convinced that the regenerative system will work for his complete farm, he is ready to scale up. Since nature is not a one-size-fits-all, multiplying a proven system over multiple hectares requires a lot of detailed soil facts. Even the slightest difference in soil composition can make or break the crop combination. For this, the farmer knows best with the help of detailed maps shared by reNature’s remote sensing partners.
Scaling out to strengthen a region
The scaling out addresses a wider range of people while still maintaining a local sense of ownership. Through them, farmers are not only provided with the knowledge and capacities to perform the regenerative transformation of their plots but are also able to connect to other farmers who are already practicing regenerative farming.
A typical time frame comprises around 3-5 years of knowledge exchange and capacity-building. The focus is on creating a multiplication effect by training the trainers to ensure maximized outreach, sustainability, and long-term success. This way, knowledge is created, maintained, and spread locally.
At the same time, we apply a co-participatory approach centering around maximized utilization of local knowledge and traditions. Listening to those who have already farmed the respective land for decades is imperative. Further, we strive to ‘speak the farmer’s language’ and bring across our message in a way that participants can relate to it.
Regenerative farming practices can take many different forms and can be applied to a variety of different geographies and at various scales. Whilst our Model Farms and Schools are conceived to build and disseminate local knowledge and capacities, our Transition Package is designed to apply regenerative agriculture and/or agriculture at the landscape level through a Financial Instrument to enable that.
reNature’s toolbox for scale
reNature acknowledges that dependency is not the solution for scale. Therefore, the focus is on creating a ‘Regenerative Toolbox’ that has both quick wins (easy to implement, low tech, and providing quick results) and longer-term, high-impact interventions.
By developing a dedicated capacity-building program (a field school), which uses the Regenerative Toolbox and leverages the Model Farm as an educational and inspirational tool, we are able to train other lead farmers and agronomists to help create exponential yet cost-effective adoption of practices & principles.
Creating a Regenerative System
A common mistake or misconception is that many think implementing a regenerative agricultural system ends at farm level. reNature has learned over the past years that success also depends on the local market need, the ability to process the different yields, and transport the goods to urban areas.
With the support of the Swiss Leopold Bachman Foundation, reNature has developed a Regional Regenerative Entrepreneurship Program (RREP) to empower local communities to reclaim value through regenerative entrepreneurship. Local communities and their regenerative start-ups are supported by creating an ecosystem using local people’s entrepreneurship, social fabric, and self-determination to drive investment in regenerative agriculture. It’s hard to transition a single farmer successfully. Setting up a regional approach lays the foundation for a sustainable transformation.
Keeping an eye on the farm
reNature works closely together with farmers to track the impact of the transition on five key performance indicators. The proof the positive impact, the results from first baseline measurement are compared with the results in the years after the scale up.
The improvement of livelihood, soil and environment is monitored together with farmers and clients, The chosen KPIs cover socio-economic as well as environmental components. These can be:
- ROI (return on investment) on a yearly basis
- Human Workload
- Diversity of farmer income
- Women empowerment
- Community benefits
- Land use cover and change (LUCC)
- Carbon sequestered
- Soil health
- Soil micro biodiversity
If desired, reNature reports these outcomes annually to the project initiator.