Join Liora Adler and Andrew Langford as they present “The Cambia Solution” at the FOOD FUNDED entrepreneurship and investor fair in San Francisco next Tuesday, June 13th!
Register for the event with a special 25% discount here! You can read more about The Cambia Solution below.
by (Alejandra) Liora Adler, co-founder, Gaia University
The Cambia Solution is based on over two years of experimental research under a 45K grant to Gaia University from Lush Cosmetics. It proposes a new operating system for almond growing in CA that deals with the three major issues of this industry, an industry which produces 84% of the world’s’ almonds while currently using over 11 % of CA’s water resources, enough water to supply the city of Los Angeles for three years!
The Cambia Solution is a rare gem that helps fix climate change by increasing carbon drawdown by 5 times, reduces water use by up to 50% and at the same time doubles farm income per acre.
The results of our research were so powerful and far-reaching that we knew we needed to create a plan for adoption of the Cambia Solution throughout the CA almond industry and later expand to other crops and regions of the world.
Cambia will co-create with local farmers a Cambia standard of almond orchard–beyond organic–creating drought-hardy and diversified orchards in water-retention landscapes. Using water-wise rootstocks and a fungally-dominant soil-food-web approach we will help farmers to sequester significant levels of carbon dioxide from greenhouse gases and reduce water use while increasing net income — an exciting prospect of making a healthy profit while effecting climate stabilization.
Creating Living Soils
During our research one approach seemed exceptionally promising. Following on the work of Elaine Ingham, Dr David C. Johnson of New Mexico State University, for the last ten years, has been researching the positive effects of sequestering carbon into the soil by a fungal-dominant compost-making technique using an inexpensive, farm-built, static pile bioreactor.
This compost, aged nine months, used to inoculate soil or as a seed coating, creates a biology capable of sequestering 20-40 tons of carbon per acre of farmland per year. Compare this with the annual loss of 1.7 tons of soil carbon from conventional ag and to only 2 to 4 tons of carbon drawdown of organics. Dr Johnson estimates that if only 20% of the world’s soils were inoculated with fungal dominant compost, we would reduce greenhouse gas levels to 250 ppm, below the level we were at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution! Additionally, yields were increased by 25-40%, an enormous incentive for farmers.
Added to this carbon drawdown approach are Andrew’s 35 years of permaculture design and practical experience and you have the makings of a “Cambia Grown” Orchard producing almonds that from seed to harvest to distribution engender the highest values, practices, quality and productive success of permaculture practice.
Entering the New Economy
Cambia is also designing a revenue sharing program with options for tax credits and a voluntary carbon trading scheme which will make adoption of the standard created by Cambia for almond orchards both an enticing prospect for making a healthy profit while at the same time lowering water use and effecting climate stabilization. A triple win!
Our early adopters will be drawn from the organic farmers planting new orchards. In 2016 over 900 acres of new organic almond orchards were planted in CA. From the 11 Billion dollar almond industry in CA (2016 figures) there is ample room to scale to both current organic acreage and replants of both organic and presently conventional agriculture.
2017: First Cambia Grown Orchard at Full Belly Farm
As of Fall, 2017, we will be planting our first Cambia Grown Orchard at Full Belly Farm in the Capay Valley in CA. Full Belly, a leader in the field, growing organic fruits, vegetables and nuts on 350 acres for the last 30+ years, has set aside a 5 acre plot for this pilot project. Together we will design an integrated permaculture orchard, inoculating the soil with the fungal rich compost we have prepared, planting the 500 drought-hardy, rootstocks now grafted over with disease resistant sweet varieties currently under the watchful eye of the chief horticulturalist at Sierra Gold nurseries.
We are gathering a stellar team from amongst our local colleagues and global networks. Our Design and Consulting team is led by Andrew Langford, Chief Permaculture Officer, co-founder of the Permaculture Association of Britain and Diploma program as well as co-founder of Gaia U. Andrew’s blend of strong practical experience and academic skills is informed by work in manufacturing, farming, professional permaculture design practice and graduate studies.
I was an activist of the 1960’s, and entered the 70’s determined to be an actionist—to discover and enact solutions to our world’s most pressing problems. I have been a serial entrepreneur, boot-strapping my businesses, from a women’s sewing cooperative in a small village in Mexico to Gaia University, now in its 11th year. Along the way I have co-founded two ecovillage projects—Huehuecoyotl in the mountains of Mexico and la Caravana – a mobile ecovillage roving through South America for 13 years supporting and activating alternative and indigenous movements.
I have also served on the Board of Directors of the Global Ecovillage Network and as their representative to the United Nations. I am currently on the Boards of the Global Village Institute and the Permaculture Institute of North America.
I am now grateful to be serving as CEO (aptly called at this moment Chief Everything Officer!) of Cambia, guiding its growth as a start-up ecosocial enterprise.
Cambia also draws on a global network of permaculture designers, business consultants and advisors, the current staff of Gaia U, as well as our own experiential, social and spiritual capital. We are known in our fields for boldness (older and bolder!), resilience and integrity— qualities we value highly, as well as the value we place on the financial capital we are raising through investment, grants and donations.
Reversing climate change is the critical challenge of our generation. The fertile soil from which I draw hope and inspiration must be tended by people all over the world– by people like you and me. Remembering the children whose future depends on our decisions today I deeply claim what our indigenous elders have taught us– with every action we must envision its effects on the 7 generations to come.
As one of our valued advisors Dr. Robert Randall wrote to me recently “with the climate heading in the direction it is, people will need to eat and almonds are both nutritious and renewable. You and Andrew have the skills and track record to get it done.”
Creating Regenerative Livelihoods: An Invitation to you
Cambia’s current goal is to develop this concept almond orchard design into a proven model that can lever almond production away from the current industrial approach to a low water use, organic, polycultural approach that actively regenerates ecosystem functions and services in the broad landscape and enables farmers to create regenerative livelihoods.
For us, Cambia is more than just a startup business. It is a regenerative enterprise that provides us with an opportunity to create our own livelihoods while at the same time providing solutions to the most dire problem we face as humans in the world today – tackling climate change. But there is never just one solution, we must all work together to bring about this change. We invite you to sign up for our free online course, Creating Regenerative Livelihoods, so that you can begin the journey of building a regenerative future for yourself and the generations to come.
Register for the event to hear more about Cambia with a special 25% discount offer here!