The regeneration of Australia’s food and farming systems
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A metal watering can watering some rows of plants.
A beautiful collection of tomatoes that are lots of different colours.
A metal watering can watering some rows of plants.
A beautiful collection of tomatoes that are lots of different colours.
20 April 2023
20 April 2023

Actions Philanthropists & Investors Can Take for Regeneration

Written by Tanya Massy
"Fortunately, as the old world falls apart, our knowledge of what is possible expands, and with it expands our courage and our willingness to act.
The present convergence of crises - in money, energy, education, health, water, soil, climate, politics, the environment, and more - is a birth crisis, expelling us from the old world into a new."

— Charles Eisenstein Sacred Economics , 2021.

Well, we're racing through the early part of this critical decade, which means it's time to bloody well get on with regenerating our food, farming and fibre systems from the ground up.

As investors and philanthropists, what can you do to join us on our mission?

Read Regenerating Investment in Food and Farming: A Roadmap

Academic, writer and farmer, Tanya Massy, has spent almost a year researching how we can work together to shape a new finance paradigm in order to transform our food and farming systems. The detailed report outlines pathways and principles for navigating this journey and it is the best place to start if you are hungry to learn more.

Collaborate with Sustainable Table

We are stronger together. Connect with Sustainable Table and join the evolving collaborative network we are developing across investors and funders to share learning, deepen our thinking and build connectivity between industry and enabling capital.

Utilise our Investment Directory

As part of our research, we have been curating a live directory of investment opportunities and gaps that span across the pathways. Have a chat with us as a starting point to identify opportunities and needs that align with your interest and capacity.

If you are taking leadership in an area, or already have something in the works — wonderful! Tell us about it so we can get it on the live directory, and share the opportunity with our community.

What is your role?

Whether you’re a philanthropist, investor, banker, researcher, civil servant or you work in the food, fibre and farming industries, everyone has a role to play in the regeneration.

We need you, our investment community, to be innovative and come up with your own responses that fit with your individual context. We all have varying risk appetites and capacities for agility and innovation. The work is finding the 'fit' and for all of us to push our edges to reorient towards life.

We want to remind you that business as usual currently dominates investment activity into food and farming in Australia. If this trend continues, we are not going to shift onto the path of regeneration that Planet Earth, and this beautiful continent, are so clearly telling us they need.

Additionally, there is limited investment activity occurring in the realm of transformation. If we are really going to shift the dial, we need more financial actors and investors to step into this space and co-create solutions.

In the words of the IPCC ‘it is literally ‘now or never’ - global greenhouse gas emissions need to peak before 2025 and be reduced by 43% by 2030 - and we are well into 2023 (IPCC 2022).

Based on our research, we’ve summarised below a list of pathways and opportunities for investment. We ask you to pause and take a few moments to consider what could be a good fit for you.

Hearts and Minds
  • Invest in:
    • Your own personal sphere: Regeneration starts here, with you and me. All of us have some learning and unlearning to do.
    • Knowledge development and sharing to legitimise and catalyse regeneration.
    • Creating and amplifying the stories to plant the seeds of cultural change and connect us to what matters.
First Nations Equity, Leadership & Sovereignty
  • Invest in First Nations-led initiatives to develop, maintain, evolve, apply and share Traditional Ecological and Cultural Knowledge and Aboriginal agricultural practices.
  • Rework power and decision making structures - investment frameworks need to be co-created with First Nations people not for them.
Farmland, Community & Ecosystem Transitions
  • Invest in projects that transition our communities and ecosystems to places of renewal and restoration.
  • Develop new models of finance that are place based, systemic in design and patient, relational, flexible and grounded in trust.
  • Develop new farmland investment models that rethink power, equity, value and ownership.
Proving and Deepening Nature-Based Solutions Markets
  • Invest in the development and growth of nature-based solutions markets that are designed and structured in collaboration with farmers on the ground. Actively explore ways to move beyond place-keeping 'offsets' to the realm of 'onsets' and active restoration.
  • There is a role for philanthropy to pilot and prove some of these solutions.
Infrastructure for Values-Based Supply Chains
  • Invest in:
    • Diverse and innovative infrastructure needs, particularly for early-stage farmers.
    • Projects that share and centralise infrastructure across local farms and industries.
    • Those educating the government and advocating for public funding for values-based supply chains.
    • Regional business incubators to support new farmers to access land/packing/processing facilities as they refine their products and test and build initial markets.
    • Technological solutions that align with regenerative values.
  • Develop new forms of investment to enable businesses that are operating outside of mainstream corporate structures and are trying to work regeneratively.
Rethreading Circularity
  • Invest in:
    • Initiatives that are underpinned by circular economy principles to eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials, and regenerate nature.
    • Knowledge sharing, capacity building and infrastructure that allows farmers to create inputs on farm using their own waste and byproducts.
    • Regional businesses and infrastructure that can turn waste from growers into inputs and other products.

Explore our Toolkit

When investment decks come across your desk and/or you're making decisions about funding allocations and capital deployment, draw on some of the tools and prompts we have provided in this toolkit to help sense-check your thinking and inform your decisions.

This article is an extract from Regenerating Investment in Food and Farming: A Roadmap.