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Sustainable from seed to shelf: Woolworths heralds a new era in regenerative farming

| Going green

Retailer's new Farming for the Future campaign aims to inspire transformative action in agriculture to help mitigate climate change

Nature is disappearing faster than ever, and species are vanishing at an alarming rate. This is a risk to the wellbeing of our people and our planet. More than a decade ago, in line with Woolworths’ commitment to protect the environment we so heavily rely on, it shifted its focus to regenerative agriculture, a sustainable approach to help restore and heal the land. 

In a bold step towards supporting a more sustainable future, and as part of its well-known Good Business Journey, Woolworths recently launched a visionary campaign within the business’s Farming for the Future programme, featuring an immersive digital experience, the aim of which is to encourage worldwide agriculture transformation. The initiative and its overarching commitment “For Our Collective Tomorrow” intends to herald a new era in farming practices.

Woolworths brings 15-plus years of dedication to regenerative farming practices to the forefront. As part of its Vision 2025+ strategy, the retailer has recommitted to elevate its Farming for the Future programme — a cutting-edge approach to agriculture that's grounded in science and aimed at mitigating climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter (promoting healthy soil) and restoring biodiversity.

This programme, which also contributes towards a #ZEROHUNGER FUTURE, embraces a holistic approach that manages the entire farming process — from seed to shelf — and is about more than just producing quality food.

Woolworths gathers data points from individual farms on aspects such as soil health, water usage, crop protection, energy consumption, irrigation effectiveness, as well as wastewater management. In conjunction with an independent specialist, it assesses and certifies farms using scientific data. With this data-based approach, its chosen farmers can work towards continuous improvements, producing more food and earning more profits, while enhancing ecosystem capacity.

Through its commitment to partnering with suppliers that are open to using, or already using regenerative farming methods, Woolworths has significantly reduced its reliance on industrial fertilisers made from fossil fuels. (In the cases where the farms are not yet compliant with Farming for the Future practices, Woolworths invests years of assistance with guidance and installation of the technologies that make it possible).

At present, 319 of Woolworths’ suppliers across its produce, horticulture, wine, and dairy departments are part of its Farming for the Future programme. By making compost from weeds, transportation needs are minimised, and water is conserved, two confident steps towards demonstrating a commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship.

“At Woolworths, we recognise the urgent need for transformative action in agriculture to address climate change and ensure the wellbeing of generations to come,” says Latiefa Behardien, chief food technology and sustainability officer at Woolworths. “Through our Farming for the Future campaign, we aim to leverage our experience in regenerative farming to inspire change across the industry and drive meaningful progress towards a more sustainable food system.”

By partnering with farmers who adopt restorative practices, Woolworths seeks to amplify its impact and foster a community of agricultural innovators, committed to stewarding the land for future generations.

Woolworths believes that the future of farming lies in regenerative practices that nurture the land, support biodiversity and mitigate climate change 

Latiefa Behardien, chief food technology and sustainability officer

One of the key pillars of the campaign is cutting carbon emissions to support human survival. By adopting regenerative farming practices, farmers can play a pivotal role in sequestering carbon from the atmosphere, mitigating the impacts of climate change, and safeguarding the planet. Through initiatives such as composting alien plants and reducing reliance on petroleum-based fertilisers, Farming for the Future offers tangible solutions to combating climate change at a grassroots level.

As part of the campaign launch, Woolworths unveiled an immersive digital experience designed to educate, inspire and empower people worldwide to join the call for sustainable agriculture. The digital platform offers a glimpse into the future of agriculture, showcasing innovative farming practices, how they work and offering practical tools for sustainable farming.

“We believe the future of farming lies in regenerative practices that nurture the land, support biodiversity and mitigate climate change,” says Behardien. “Through the implementation of these practices, our customers can be confident that Woolworths has taken steps on everyone’s behalf to help shape a more resilient and sustainable future for all.”

Farming for the Future represents a pivotal moment in the journey towards a more sustainable food system, where every action taken today has the power to shape tomorrow.

Immerse yourself in the digital experience here:

This article was sponsored by Woolworths

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