HIPPEAS is piloting a cutting-edge regenerative agriculture pilot program with Canadian specialty pulse and oat miller Avena Foods Limited. The collaboration includes the development of a field crop ‘living lab’ demonstration with Rosengren Farms, an Avena grower. Rosengren has more than a decade of experience in the innovative practice of growing multiple crops (grains and pulses) in combination, which is also referred to as intercropping. This important sustainability project, with the support of Saskatchewan’s South East Research Farm, will evaluate the intercropping practice for climate impacts through scientific modeling.
Intercropping is based on the principle that different crops have different nutrient requirements, growth patterns and ecological niches, which can be complementary when grown together. Intercropping can enhance soil fertility, reduce pest and disease pressure, increase yield and diversify farm income. Despite these benefits, it has not yet been widely adopted as it requires careful planning, management and monitoring to avoid competition, shading and allelopathy between the crops. That’s where pilot programs and ‘living labs” come in, as they can create a blueprint for farmers and suppliers to reap the benefits and ultimately reduce climate impact.
By sponsoring this science-based assessment, HIPPEAS seeks to measure the impact of regenerative farming methods on soil health, biodiversity, and nutrient density:
- DOUBLE BIODIVERSITY by seeding a mixed field of peas with canola and chickpeas with flax
- GREATER RESILIENCE in the field to extremes of moisture, disease and pest infestations
- ENHANCED SOIL PROTECTION from soil erosion after harvest when compared to pea or chickpea monoculture (i.e., just one crop in a field)
- MINIMUM SOIL DISTURBANCE with fertilizer stewardship, reductions in fertilizer
“We have been working with Avena as a supplier of our pulses and are so excited to be taking our partnership to new heights with our collaborative regenerative agriculture pilot program,” said HIPPEAS CMO Julia Hecht. “Yellow pea is the No. 1 ingredient in our HIPPEAS Veggie Straws and is also used in our Chickpea Tortilla Chips and Chickpea Puffs, so we’re proud to source regeneratively grown yellow peas from Avena. HIPPEAS has always aligned with suppliers who are trying to make a difference in sustainable agriculture and Avena’s commitment is incomparable — we are thrilled to be a part of this impactful pilot program and look forward to sharing our findings and other exciting news later this year,” she continued.
“Our partnership with HIPPEAS harnesses the expertise of farmers and food scientists,” explained Avena CEO Gord Flaten. “We want to field-test ideas for improving the environmental footprint of food production. Our focus is on innovations that are good for people and also for the planet.”
HIPPEAS peas are farmed using practices like conservation tillage to improve soil erosion and crop rotations that improve soil health. Peas naturally use less fertilizer by pulling nitrogen from the air, which helps lower the brand’s carbon footprint.