WHAT IS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IN AGRICULTURE IN 13 YEARS?
"The Green Revolution introduced chemicals into our environment and food chains, whereas the current agro-revolution acts to remove them.”
TO THE CRAZY ONE
On the last working day of 2022, I left everything to say my final goodbye to a farmer and a friend whose story I should tell, for it impacted the lives of many and created a legacy.
You probably have yet to hear the name Ran Sadot. He lived and died as a farmer.
Ran was born in Israel in a Kibbutz.
He grew up in an agricultural environment as a curious and intelligent child with firm opinions that he did not reserve to himself or compromise easily, not even 70 years later, as he got older.
As a young man, Ran and his family moved from the Kibbutz to join Moshav Arugot (a cooperative village in Israel), where he managed a successful fruit farm.
As Ran had almost reached his 70th birthday, he found out he had Parkinson's disease. However, it wasn't regular Parkinson, but one which occurs only due to the use of chemicals in agriculture.
Ran was shocked, for he had used those strictly according to the agrochemical companies' safety instructions.
Ran soon realized that though he could not heal himself, he understood he could save the health and lives of others.
From that moment, Ran knew what to do next – he had to stop the aerial pesticide sprays of Moshav Arugot.
Hard to believe, but every Friday from May to August, an airplane sprayed all of Arugot orchards for fruit fly control.
Since the orchards and the residential area are intertwined, the residents were sprayed 16 times a year from the air and about the same number from the ground, and in total, no less than 30 dedicated sprays for fruit fly control.
Ran moved into action, and with the help of his wife Batia, he embarked on a legal battle against his fellow farmers, aiming first to stop the aerial spraying.
Ran and Batia prepared well for this legal battle and won it. Their fellow farmers were now obliged to stop the aerial sprays and find alternatives.
A short time after, I received a request from Moshav Arugot asking to study the possibility of working with Biofeed's solution instead of spraying fruit flies.
I presented and explained to Moshav Arugot's farmers the protocol that would be best for them.
The farmers accepted the proposal, and thus in early 2010, we launched the first zero-spray area-wide control project in Israel (and maybe worldwide).
The project’s characteristics and uniqueness -
* All farmers were Conventional professional growers.
* The goal was to quit the habit of decades and completely (100%) stop the aerial sprays.
* The project area included all land cultivated by the Arugot farmers – orchards and home gardens in the residential area.
* The project included 440 fruit plots, with an average size of 0.4 hectares (typical for smallholders), growing 14 types and hundreds of varieties of fruits that ripen throughout the year.
Presented are the project areas, surrounded by a black line (bottom), and the plots in the main part (top).
** Fruit fly sprays - 100% reduction in aerial sprays and 80% in ground sprays.
** Fruit infestation - lower than any previous year, with 83% of the plots presenting zero (0.00%) infestation!
Since the Arugot project began, 13 years have passed. No airplane has sprayed any part of the Arugot since then; overall, farmers have maintained and even increased their financial profitability.
One thing is sure, the health of 100% of the farmers, residents, and consumers highly benefited from the project.
Coffee with a friend, Ran Sadot (2015)
The establishment slowly adapted to the idea that there are better solutions than spraying from the air and ground.
Today, most Israeli farmers growing deciduous control fruit flies without sprays or with far less.
Ran passed away, and on December 29, 2022, I accompanied him on his last journey.
Ran is no longer with us, but the results of his struggle and his legacy remain with us forever.
Ran participated in the bottom-up change of global attitude towards using chemicals in the agro-industry.
He wasn't a passive observer but decided to step forward and take action to secure a better and healthier world than the one he grew into.
Ran did so much in his life, yet people will remember and speak of his heroic fight to stop sprays.
Ran’s legacy is; Agriculture is Life, not Death. Profitable agriculture must be healthy, easy to practice, and eco-friendly. There is no need to sacrifice our health and future to produce food.
Today, this attitude towards agriculture is called – Regenerative Agriculture.
FROM "CRAZY ONES" TO MAINSTREAM
Thirteen years after my first meeting with Ran Sadot, and one day after I carried his coffin on his last journey, on Friday morning, I received a WhatsApp message from Mr. Haim Alush.
You should know that Haim is an Israeli legend in everything related to written and digital media, exhibitions, and conferences in Israeli agriculture.
Me: Hi Haim, enjoy the weekend.
Haim: See you on Wednesday at the 13th Israel Agriculture Conference.
Me: Haim, my friend, thanks for the invitation, but I don't plan to be there.
Haim (with polite assertiveness): I'd love for you to come.
Me (if Haim asks, I arrive): What time and what do you want me to do?
And so, on Wednesday at precisely 09:30, I stepped into the 13th Israel Agriculture Conference meeting hall.
The conference began with the "round tables" session on the "hottest" topics.
I roamed through the tables, searching for a topic closest to my heart. When I passed by the Crop Protection table, I received invitations to join. I politely said thank you and continued roaming the room.
Then I saw a crowded table full of young people, in age and spirit, with a big sign - Regenerative Agriculture. I knew I had found the right table.
I asked if there was room for another chair.
Professor Yoram Kapulnik, who led the discussions, is a top Israeli scientist and a former head of Israel's Agriculture Research Organization (i.e., the Volcani Center), gladly invited me.
I grabbed a chair from a nearby table and joined.
This may seem like "one more event of round tables," but it was much more!
As the round-table discussion began, I realized that:
(a) In the conference, 13 years of existence, it is the first time Regenerative Agriculture is discussed. The conference itself is a “mainstream event.”
(b) The session is led by a world-renowned scientist representing the Israeli mainstream.
(c) The session was a self-evident statement that the "crazy fringes” are now the mainstream.
The discussion did not involve explaining why agrochemicals are harmful; everybody knew it. Instead, we discussed practical ways of transitioning into eco-rational regenerative agriculture.
Not surprisingly, the agrochemical companies were no longer "The Kings" of the event, and what once regarded as "Crazy people," like Ran Sadot, are now viewed as "visionaries."
I am sitting at the conference, thinking what a glorious day it is.
WE ARE THE MAINSTREAM AND THE FUTURE
Good day my friend, the morning of a new dawn has arrived.
Changes that take years or decades are often difficult to follow and reveal. This is the case with regenerative agriculture.
These days, finally, we can say it out loud and clear; regenerative agriculture is the mainstream, and the agrochemical companies are the outcast, unwanted industry.
You know regenerative agriculture is the winner when J. Erik Fyrwald, the CEO of Syngenta (the biggest pesticide producer), calls for "Tackling the food and climate crises with regenerative agriculture."
Remember, regenerative agriculture is not an approach that works against chemical companies.
The world is changing because nature and reality do not work for the chemical companies that bear significant responsibility for the global state of poverty, hunger, health, environment, climate change, soil destruction, pest outbreaks, and more.
Regenerative agriculture focuses on caring for people, the environment, global health, and the future while keeping the business and economy of farmers and the value chain at its heart.
Regenerative Agriculture is a bottom-up global change led by top farmers like Ran Sadot, scientists like Prof. Kapulnik, agrotech companies like Biofeed, and innovative trading companies like Dream Valley.
I feel fortunate to be a part of that significant historical change with macroeconomic, environmental, food production, and social implications.
I can't make global trends go faster or slower, but I do see the trajectories, where the world is aiming, and what the public wants – Stop pesticide and chemical release into the environment.
In the conference with MK Eli Cohen, Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs; emphasized the importance of agriculture and Israel’s connection with Africa.
In the conference with MK Avi Dichter, the Minister of Agriculture emphasized the urgency to change.
Our job is to prepare the ground for the macro change happening and progressing faster than visible on the surface.
I believe in leading by example. To this end, I prepared infrastructures that enable carrying this mission -
Biofeed - Crop protection based on zero pesticide spraying.
Dream Valley - A complete, highly profitable value chain generated by a novel business model dedicated to smallholders.
The International Conference On Business Models In Agriculture (IBMA) - is a mainstream conference and a tank hub for presenting and discussing improved business models for 97% of global farmers, i.e., smallholders. It happened that most people believe that this goes together with transforming from chemical-oriented agriculture to regenerative agriculture.
Business people, investors, and decision-makers, I invite you to get off the fence and join me in changing the world and creating a positive legacy, as Ran Sadot realized and practiced in his later years.
Text me +972-54-2523425 / email@example.com
IF YOU LIKE THIS COLUMN, PLEASE SHARE IT WITH FRIENDS WHO SHOULD KNOW ABOUT IT.
Ø GLOBAL CHANGES take time. Act with persistence and patience.
Ø CHEMICAL-ORIENTED agriculture is on the run and phasing out.
Ø REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE is already the mainstream.
Ø CONSIDER how you take advantage and benefit from these tectonic changes in agriculture.
Ø ACT. Follow the path of Ran Sadot, and act by joining those you trust.
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See you soon,
Text me: +972-54-2523425 (WhatsApp), or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you missed it, here is a link to last week's blog, "The Major Commandments Are My Message and Wish To You For 2023."
Link to recent columns.
Start-Up Nation Central welcomes delegation of UN ambassadors for Israeli innovation (The Jerusalem Post)
The IBMA conference provides the stage to share your experience with agriculture business models and learn from others.
Dream Valley is a field-proven disruptive business model based on the successful Israeli model. Contact me if you view yourself as a potential investor, business partner, or client. Email, +972-542523425 (WhatsApp/Text)
Please look at the video series “The Agricultural Gap." I explain the historical roots of the agricultural gap between African and Western countries with short videos.
I see this video series as "uncompleted," as I am waiting to gain more confidence before completing the chapters with The Solution, as I perceive it.
If you like it, don’t forget to share it with those who need to see it and Subscribe.
Change Begins With A Decision
That The Existing Reality Is A Choice
And Not A Decree of Fate