Regenerative Agriculture Impact Investing - Rachel Ashton Lim from Silverstrand.Capital
We are back with a new episode featuring Rachel Lim from Silverstrand Capital.
In this episode, we dived deep into the amazing scene of regenerative agriculture and nature based solutions!
From Bhutan to Australia, we are taking you on a (virtual) trip to learn about how the scene is creating impact for the environment and the farmers involved.
We also have listed down the amazing resources that Rachel has mentioned so you can impress your friends at the next dinner party with knowledge... That post-vacation glow you have coming back from Bhutan and Australia (virtual) trip? That's the insightful glow that everyone will bask in.
What is Silverstrand Capital?
Silverstrand Capital is a Singapore-based impact investor focusing on regenerative agriculture as well as other nature based solutions. They aim to catalyse systems change in the world’s food and agricultural sectors and turn existing extractive, ecologically-destructive practices into regenerative ones.
Introducing Silverstrand Capital
Rachel Lim is an impact investment analyst at Silverstrand Capital and they are a single family office based in Singapore. They invest in regenerative agriculture and other nature based solutions.
What is regenerative agriculture to Rachel? To her, it is a systems thinking approach to agriculture that is based on landscapes!
It is inspired by nature and a really big component of it is also the community resilience part, recognizing that humans are part of nature and not separate from it. (You know how much we love anything community-related since we are building our community impact platform. hi!)
What is the Perennial Fund?
What is exciting in the scene? Rachel points out that there has been innovative progress at the structure side where farms are being aided to transition:
Basically, the Perennial fund is a revenue sharing model for paying back the loan that farmers get.
They also get the technical assistance.
Also, they get the community support that's underlooked such as community building, understanding how to balance their books etc.
How are you dealing with Climate Depression and Burnout?
Rachel shared with us about what a lecturer mentioned when prompted about how one can even keep their spirits up despite the state of affairs happening in the world.
Here are some great #selfcare insights that Rachel gathered:
understanding how far progress has been made
sometimes it's just about putting her head down and doing the work and that's all she needs to ask from herself
Rachel recognizes that she's not going to be of use to anybody if she doesn't take care of herself
situating herself in a wider community of people who really cares and recognizing that if today she's switched off and taking a break, there are other people who are doing this work and they're here to support each other.
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agritech, agroforestry, agroforest tree, blue carbon, carbon monitoring, climate solutions, conservation agriculture, dual purpose cropping, food production, forest succession, grazing systems, holistic management, impact investment analyst, investment management, nature based solutions, nature-based solutions, new theory farming, NPK nutrient measurements, pasture-based gazing system, patient capital, perennial fund, precision agriculture, regenerative agriculture, social-ecosystem relationships, sustainable rice intensification, systems change, VAC farming
0:28 What is Silverstrand Capital
0:55 Rachel's introduction
1:55 Team's motivations (climate, biodiversity, need for patient capital in this space etc)
3:02 What does regenerative agriculture mean to Rachel (a system's thinking approach to agriculture based on landscape and inspired by nature and community resilience)
4:38 Agritech and regenerative agriculture
5:15 Agritech compatible with regenerative agriculture: precision agriculture and carbon monitoring
6:27 NPK nutrient measurements for plants to grow
7:35 Grazing, food production, and holistic management to be in tune with the environment
9:45 Pasture-based gazing systems: Australia's dual purpose cropping
10:48 Lihong mentioning Michael Pollan's Permaculture Project
11:35 Small-scaled farms, diversity and bigger players
12:55 Mad Agriculture's perennial fund (revenue sharing model, technical assistance, and community support in the US) transitional finance vehicle and being farmer friendly and understanding concerns from the ground when farmers take up more debt
14:40 Barriers to adopting new technology due to existing social-ecosystem relationships and being hard for farmers to go on alone
16:20 Community building side
17:40 Nature-based solutions being the bigger umbrella to regenerative agriculture, and it being climate solutions
19:30 Customers for nature-based solutions coming from carbon market and offset emissions side
20:25 Emissions associated with conventional agriculture (tilling, grazing etc), and putting carbon back into the ground
22:42 Blue carbon / Teal carbon
23:35 Regenerative agriculture and Asia (conservation agriculture, sustainable rice intensification, new theory farming, VAC farming, agroforest tree (Mountain Hazelnuts (Bhutan)), durains and early-growers, forest succession)
26:17 Challenges for small-holder farming (language barriers and investing)
27:58 Why did Silverstrand Capital set up in Singapore?
29:08 Scale for regenerative agriculture and interesting examples (perennial fund, Australia's Provenir mobile meat processor, Blue Nest Beef's ranchers sourced from are Audubon-certified that improved bird diversities)
31:12 What Rachel looks out for in a company and being intentional with the capital employed (impact, do they address gaps eg transition finance, research, capacity building etc, quality of team, background, partners, traction etc)
33:14 Regenerative agriculture and conventional agriculture
37:20 Barriers to Regenerative Agriculture US report
40:14 Her education background and time in Indonesia (doing a remote sensing project)
43:40 Climate depression and burnout, taking care of yourself, and community support
46:20 Rachel's day to day (deal sourcing, pipeline of companies to invest in, research of area and industry, competitive landscape, and technology available etc, screening companies)
47:20 Involvement outside of work with The Soil Regeneration Project (ground up initiatives, community gardens, rooftop gardens, helping with Green Circle Ecofarms), and learning Bahasa Indonesia
48:40 Advice to anyone looking to make an impact (networking)
50:10 How one can find their niche in the sustainability scene (Silverstrand Capital's Resources page). Food Systems Book: Mass Starvation: The History and Future of Famine Book by Alex de Waal. Podcast: Investing in Regenerative Agriculture, and Regenerative Agriculture by John Kempf