Why the Regenerative Ag Movement is Seeing Deepened Roots


Virginia Lee, The Food Institute

July 27, 2022


These days, more farmers and food companies are embracing regenerative agriculture farming principles. Their main motivations: to create healthier soil and improved growing conditions, in order to achieve higher yields, produce high-quality, nutrient-dense food, and sequester CO2 emissions to protect against climate change.


Terviva, a regenerative food and agriculture company, is working with farming communities around the world to grow and source the pongamia tree, a subtropical legume tree that produces beans that are rich in oil and protein.


The company, which has raised over $100 million in equity capital, is launching “a regenerative food system that satisfies consumers’ appetites for quality plant-based ingredients that are responsibly sourced and sustainable”, said Naveen Sikka, CEO of Terviva, in a March 16 press release.


Terviva’s goal is to promote sustainability by working with farming communities to provide carbon sequestration, improved soil health and water quality, and enhanced biodiversity. The beans from the pongamia tree are processed into oil, flour, and protein powder under the Ponova brand name. The Ponova ingredients are deforestation free, non-GMO, and reportedly have low carbon intensity while containing all nine essential amino acids. 


New Barn Organics uses regenerative organic ingredients. Unlike most almond milk produced in the U.S. that uses almonds grown in California (which suffers from droughts), the company uses heirloom-variety almonds that come from a cooperative of small family farms in Spain.


Those almonds are dry farmed, meaning the trees rely only on rainfall for their water after being irrigated for the first few months of their lives for proper root development. Its coconuts are sourced from a collective of small family farms that use regenerative farming practices such as mulching.