The Standard is a score card to go deeper into practices on the farms where MegaFood (MF) sources their ingredients. I spoke with Bethany Davis, MegaFood Director of Advocacy & Government Relations, about MegaFood’s Healthy Farm Standard and their Supplier Code of Conduct.
“MegaFood exists to grow a healthier world. And at the root of that is healthier soil. We believe in the power of farmers and that regenerative agriculture can help us meet our soil health, climate and nutrition goals. So, we have developed a sourcing standard that allows us to work together with our farm partners on our shared goals.” – Bethany Davis
Partners must meet minimum requirements in three key areas:
They are beginning to implement the standard with their Farm Fresh Partners, and as with other standards and assessments, this includes asking a range of questions, including on herbicides, what they use, how much they use and under what circumstances. They are gathering data about labor practices as well data on water quality and markers of soil health.
The standard is a point system and a continuous improvement standard. Partners need to meet a bottom line and then move along from there. For example, MegaFood has minimum pesticide residue testing. A farm has to meet these standards and then they work collaboratively with MegaFood to meet shared goals.
MegaFood incentives farmer’s participation. This can be financial incentives to support on-farm equipment purchases or other types of partnership with MegaFood. For example, these incentives might allow a farm to purchase a particular weeder that will allow them to spray less. Or they might help farmers acquire a certain tool to then allow them to use farming methods that are healthier for the soil.
They are not asking farmers to change practices or to meet an externally imposed set of standards. They do not want to make it harder for farmers or add to what they already have to do. Instead, MegaFood wants to help farmers see where things are by documenting what they already have in place and information that they already know. MegaFood offers webinars and walks them through the steps to report.
For example, they asks farmers about their soil conservation practices, how they conserve resources, etc. to learn how MegaFood can best support their partners to become healthier, thriving farms. This will in turn help the farmers be healthier economically, more resilient, etc. “It’s a win-win,” Bethany said.
MegaFood has a Supplier Code of Conduct that all companies they work with must meet. The full code is available on their website. I spoke with Bethany to understand how the code worked in practice.