Savory Institute responds to Impossible Burger’s attack on regenerative agriculture

Plant-based proteins don't stack up to the ecosystem-regenerating potential of properly-managed livestock. Savory Institute responds to Impossible Foods' 2019 impact report.
GMO soy field vs. cows on pasture

The following is a response to the June 2019 impact report from GMO soy faux-meat startup Impossible Foods which calls out and attempts to discredit Allan Savory and the greater regenerative agricultural movement:

This is not the first, nor will it be the last, attempt to discredit Holistic Management as a sleight-of-hand for promoting and profiting off of large scale industrial agriculture. Given the recent popularity of plant-based proteins, we welcome the opportunity to discuss the overlooked nuances of regenerative agriculture.

Claims that our work has been “debunked” disregard not just the millions of acres that have been regenerated globally and the tens of thousands of farmers, ranchers, and pastoralist communities who have stewarded this land transformation and witnessed it firsthand, but they also overlook the growing body of peer-reviewed evidence documenting that properly-managed livestock can be a net positive for grassland ecosystemscarbon drawdownwildlife habitat, and rural communities.

Timely enough, a third-party lifecycle analysis (LCA) was recently conducted at White Oak Pastures, a Savory Hub in southern Georgia, showing their holistically-managed beef, when taking a full accounting of all greenhouse gases in and out of their farming operation, was a net carbon sink.

Interestingly, White Oak’s LCA was conducted by Quantis, the very same third-party firm that conducted Impossible Burger’s latest LCA showing their product to be less environmentally destructive than conventional beef. What Impossible Burger seems to have conveniently omitted is that their GMO soy-based product is still a net carbon emitter in comparison to White Oak’s properly-managed livestock that create a net carbon sink.

Could it be that GMO soy-based Impossible Burger feels threatened by the regenerative movement?

In a world where current agricultural practices have eroded soils to the point of having less than 60 harvests left (according to the UN FAO), the solution is not to maximize efficiencies in the broken, extractive, industrial model. These antiquated systems have no place in a civilization facing the enormous threats of climate change.

Rather, as environmentally-conscious businesses and individuals, we must address the root cause and adopt land management practices that honor the symbiotic relationships of plants and animals. One cannot exist without the other, so we must reevaluate our preconceived notions and return to farming in nature’s image.

Only then will we create a lasting and regenerative agricultural model for a livable planet.

Other Responses:

American Grassfed Association:

White Oak Pastures:

Savory Institute

Savory Institute

The Savory Institute is on a mission to regenerate the grasslands of the world and the livelihoods of their inhabitants, through Holistic Management. Since 2009, Savory Institute has been leading the regenerative agriculture movement by equipping farmers, ranchers, and pastoralist communities to regenerate land within culturally-relevant and ecologically-appropriate contexts.
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