91. Fertile Ground: Regenerative Agriculture, Restoration & Reciprocity / Yanniek Schoonhoven

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Yanniek Schoonhoven, a regenerative farmer, co-founder of the Regeneration Academy, coordinator of the Re-Generation Festival, and trainer for the regenerative agriculture research program in Murcia, Southern Spain.

Holding a master degree in Environmental Sciences, Yanniek has worked with farmers throughout Southern Spain for several years as part of Commonland and AlVelAl, two projects that aim to initiate, catalyse and enable large-scale and long-term restoration initiatives.

With a shared mission to transform degraded landscapes into thriving ecosystems and communities, these projects take a practical, holistic approach to developing viable solutions based on social and ecological needs, science and entrepreneurship.

The folks at Commonland have been working tirelessly since 2013 to build a universal proof of concept that brings farmers, landowners, entrepreneurs, communities, nature organisations and legislators together to create real returns on investment per hectare. Called 4 Returns, this framework is capable of initiating, organising and following through on large-scale and long-term restoration initiatives that integrate ecology, land use and business – a framework we’ll be exploring in greater depth a bit later.

I’m really delighted to be having this particular conversation today, not least because I’ve seen the work they’re doing on the farm, and experienced their passion, determination and open-heartedness first-hand. I’m also excited to be sharing this with you, because it offers a practical example of the transformation we can achieve, at a large scale, when we’re able to envision a different, more regenerative path forward, and work collaboratively with others to make it happen.

Recorded on 5th May 2022.