We’re excited to introduce The Almond Project, an exciting, one-of-a-kind partnership created to evolve the health of our food system by identifying and advancing more sustainable methods of almond farming. Simple Mills is on a mission to advance the health of people and the planet and that starts with how our food is grown. That’s why we’re embarking on a journey to revolutionize almond farming in California’s Central Valley.
The Almond Project is a multi-year, farmer-led program in which Simple Mills, in partnership with third-generation growers at Treehouse California Almonds, will implement and evaluate outcomes of regenerative farming principles. This research will allow us to learn more about climate-smart almond farming practices and ultimately, pave the way towards a more prosperous, resilient future for almonds.
Why are we doing this? And why now? The climate crisis poses a dire threat to almonds and the people who grow them – especially in California, which supplies 80 percent of the world's almonds. Mounting evidence suggests that soil health is key to the long-term viability of all food crops, but practical research remains sparse and the financial risk of adopting these practices often falls solely on farmers. That’s why we’ve decided to take action and do our part in reimagining what almond farming can look like for years to come.
Throughout the next five years, The Almond Project partners, including pioneering food brands, farmers, soil scientists, technical assistance providers, and nonprofit organizations, will implement a variety of soil health practices on two 80-acre blocks of farmland – one conventional and one organic. These practices, which include cover cropping, animal integration, composting and the reduction of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, aim to improve natural soil fertility, sequester carbon, conserve water, and increase biodiversity.
In collaboration with soil scientists, we’ll measure outcomes such as water infiltration, carbon sequestration, and ecosystem biodiversity. As a result, we’ll be able to better understand how the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices impacts soil health. Healthy soil is the foundation for a thriving food system and improving soil health is one of our greatest opportunities to address climate change.
We’ll share our learnings with other food companies and almond farmers in the region to help empower them to advance sustainable agriculture on their own farms. The ultimate goal is to create industry-wide transformation by bringing farmers, scientists, and brands together to ignite change.
Personal health and wellness has always been a cornerstone of our mission, and in 2021 we evolved our commitment to include planetary health. As an early step in this journey, we’re piloting a product design framework that connects our regenerative agriculture initiatives to our innovation pipeline, ensuring that 100% of new innovation advances our regenerative agriculture commitments.. This is a bold promise, particularly in a rapidly-evolving industry in which innovation is growing increasingly complex due to supply chain volatility. This promise reflects our holistic commitment to advancing personal and planetary health by pioneering the way the world eats, bringing others into the movement, and being a positive force on every part of the ecosystem.
Almonds have, and will continue to be, an integral part of our products and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to make lasting change in the industry so that we can continue to enjoy the many benefits of almonds for generations to come. A transformed almond industry has the power to sequester more carbon, improve water efficiency, sustain yields in an increasingly uncertain climate, improve farmer livelihoods, and ultimately strengthen the holistic health of our food system.