Traceability and transparency
Grounded has spent the last eight years helping farmers in southern Africa transition to more regenerative practices. We know firsthand that accessing fair markets is difficult for producers.
Existing value chains serve the big-volume buyers first, prioritising scale and uniformity. In this system, crops from a number of producers are processed and combined to create a consistent product, losing their origin stories and differentiating properties along the way. The result is no longer traceable, and this system provides little incentive to producers putting in the extra effort to use regenerative methods.
At the same time, brands struggle to access the traceable, regenerative ingredients they’re looking for.
We want to bridge this gap: producers invested in regenerative practices should be paid fairly for their goods, and brands seeking regenerative ingredients should be able to access them at the volumes they need. Grounded Ingredients is a marketplace that serves both.
Traceability systems and transparent communication
Traceability and transparency are terms which are widely used, but their meaning can use clarification. We want to be clear about what we mean when we say that the ingredients we source are traceable and transparent. The goal of traceability systems is to ensure that the entire value chain of an ingredient is clearly accounted for and the impact of the production of the ingredient is clear. Where traceability ensures that the right information is captured and stored, transparency relates to what we do with it.
We strive to be 100% traceable and to transparently share information on the origin and production details of the ingredients we source (while protecting the producers from unlawful disclosure or use of their personal information). We ensure that traceable value chains are in place and we can link customers directly to the producers to facilitate upstream and downstream transparency.
We are working to make regenerative agriculture and sustainable wild harvesting financially viable for small and mid-sized producers. Instead of prioritising volumes and homogeneity, we prioritise production practices and quality. We know from experience that getting to a fully functioning regenerative operation is a long process, achieved incrementally.
To ensure the ingredients we offer live up to our values, we developed guidelines to evaluate the environmental and social impacts of the independent producers from whom we source. Available below, these sourcing guidelines incorporate standards set by market-recognised certification schemes, such as Organic and Regenerative Organic, while drawing on the work of the Union for Ethical Biotrade, Commonland, and FairWild. By making our sourcing guidelines available and monitoring production practices over time, we hope to promote a more nuanced conversation about the commitment required for individual producers to adhere to regenerative practices.
Regenerative agriculture is a way of farming that goes beyond organic and sustainable principles, aiming to reverse degradation and kickstart restorative ecological processes. In this model, the farmer, the soil and biodiversity all grow richer.
Healthy soils are not only better for agriculture, they are essential for climate change mitigation, acting as sinks for the carbon in Earth's atmosphere. This higher carbon content allows for more water absorption, while life in the soil encourages more life, without the need for chemical interventions.