The creator of popular plant-based snacks, HIPPEAS®, has announced a partnership with Avena Foods Limited, a Canadian specialty pulse, and oat miller, to pioneer an innovative regenerative agriculture pilot program. This program involves the creation of a ‘living lab’ demonstration in collaboration with Rosengren Farms, an experienced Avena grower. The project aims to evaluate the climate impacts of intercropping – a technique involving the simultaneous cultivation of multiple crops – through scientific modeling with the support of Saskatchewan’s South East Research Farm.
Intercropping is an agricultural method that leverages the differences in nutrient requirements, growth patterns, and ecological niches of different crops, which can be mutually beneficial when grown together. It has the potential to enhance soil fertility, reduce pest and disease pressure, increase yield, and diversify farm income. However, intercropping has not yet seen widespread adoption due to the meticulous planning, management, and monitoring it necessitates to prevent crop competition, shading, and allelopathy. The proposed pilot program and ‘living lab’ can pave the way for a structured approach to realize the potential benefits of intercropping while mitigating climate impact.
HIPPEAS® aims to sponsor a scientific assessment to gauge the effects of regenerative farming techniques on soil health, biodiversity, and nutrient density. The initiative includes efforts to double biodiversity by co-seeding peas with canola and chickpeas with flax, promoting resilience to environmental extremes and pest infestations, enhancing soil protection from erosion post-harvest, and minimizing soil disturbance through prudent fertilizer use.
Julia Hecht, CMO of HIPPEAS®, expressed her excitement at the prospect of the collaborative regenerative agriculture pilot program with Avena, a long-term supplier of pulses to HIPPEAS®. The program aligns with the brand’s commitment to sustainable agriculture and the sourcing of regeneratively grown yellow peas, the primary ingredient in several of its products.
Avena CEO Gord Flaten also emphasized the importance of the partnership with HIPPEAS® in utilizing the expertise of farmers and food scientists to field-test and improve the environmental footprint of food production. The focus remains on innovations that benefit both people and the planet.
HIPPEAS® continues to be committed to sustainable farming practices that preserve soil health. By cultivating peas that naturally keep nutrients in the soil and require less fertilizer, HIPPEAS® is reducing its carbon footprint and promoting sustainability in farming and snacking.
Image provided by Avena Foods