Agriculture

Restorative Cultivation

Creating ventures to transition agriculture from extractive to regenerative practices
Our current agricultural system is almost entirely extractive, designed to maximise yield but often at the expense of natural resources and lands of high biodiversity. Unless we correct our current practices, we risk declining food security and ecosystem collapse.

Our current extractive farming processes reduce the ancient natural potential of an ecosystem and its service value. We can see this in the industrial food system, which incentivizes mega-sized farming and monoculture, degrading the soil, wasting fertiliser and directly increasing emissions of greenhouse gases. When coral reefs bleach and rainforests are replaced by savannah, we know it will take centuries for these ecosystems to recover their complexity. If a similar collapse is allowed to happen in our agricultural heartlands, the consequences will be global.

We are creating ventures to avert this disaster, leveraging modern techniques to restore soil quality and increase biodiversity, while ensuring scalability through strong commercials and knowledgeable local partners. Using our proprietary methodology, we have a bioregional focus, assembling consortia of partners to create companies that can be scaled across similar ecosystems.

Thank you!

Contact

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Areas of venture creation:

Pollinator Reinforcement

Problem to solve

The significant global shortage of pollinator services continues to worsen as wild insects die off and managed honeybees lose ground to disease, climate change and habitat loss. Globally, 70% of crop production is dependent on or enhanced by animal-mediated pollination, accounting for 35% of food production. Despite this there are few companies and methods able to deliver or improve on this service. A lack of effective pollination seriously hinders regional crop yields from reaching their full potential.

Reason to solve

The prospect of actively deploying pollinators and restoring ecological systems to support more insects is an exciting opportunity for new companies to provide a profitable way to reinforce agriculture and nature in a mutually beneficial relationship. Improving the resilience and range of managed insects, domesticating new species, and improving habitats are well within reach using emerging insect husbandry techniques, in conjunction with novel monitoring technologies, automation and knowledge of pheromones.

Post-Harvest Loss

Problem to solve

We currently waste a third of all food produced, not just at consumer level but also as a raw product. Two staple goods that are particularly affected are sugarcane and sugar beet, with an annual production value of $75bn and $10bn respectively, and post-harvest loss of 20-30%.

Reason to solve

By developing loss-reduction technologies to counter this problem, we could enhance land use by maximising productivity without needing to rely on unsustainable practices to achieve the same major outcomes.

Topsoil Regeneration

Problem to solve

The world grows 95% of its food in the uppermost layer of soil, making topsoil one of the essential components of our food system. Unfortunately, due to conventional farming practices, nearly half of the world's topsoil has disappeared in the last 150 years, threatening crop yields and contributing to nutrient pollution, dead zones, and erosion.

Reason to solve

Historically, degraded soils are "remediated" by applying harsher agrochemicals to increase profits or are abandoned, leading to expanding into forests causing deforestation. Recently, there have been initiatives to restore topsoils, including cover cropping, polyculture, and, in some instances, alternating animal grazing. Still, its wide adoption is somewhat met with resistance since the process to regenerate topsoil takes time, and farm profits projections (if adopting) are not favorable. Our work in this area presents an opportunity to build top-quality topsoil in conventional farms for less time than traditional practices of soil health regeneration.

Available opportunities

Founder, Enabling 21st Century Bioeconomies through Plant Biotech

Agriculture

Founder, Adapting Tropical Farms to Climate Change

Agriculture

Founder, Enabling Circular Bioeconomies with Biomass Processing

Agriculture

Founder, Next Generation Construction Biomaterials

Agriculture

Our advisors

Bruce Whitelaw

Director Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh

“It's really exciting to see the novel approach that DSV brought to startup ideation, and to see the companies they created and the scientific entrepreneurship they enabled. I'm very excited about the way their programs put deals and new companies on the table that fit in with - and broaden - the overall entrepreneur ecosystem at the University of Edinburgh and Scotland.”

Our companies

  • agriculture
  • Pre-seed
Sustainable marine protein - no ocean required

Opportunity

Solution

  • agriculture
  • Seed
Restoring the underground network of forests

Opportunity

Solution

  • agriculture
  • Seed
Better soil health

Opportunity

Solution

  • agriculture
  • Seed
Making better insects

Opportunity

Solution

Content