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We believe that the food world must lead the way in the fight against climate change. As charitable restaurateurs (The Perennial, Mission Chinese Food, Commonwealth) we were excited to learn that food production can draw CO2 out of the atmosphere and store it as soil carbon. We started our restaurant The Perennial to approach the sustainable food movement from a culinary perspective by engaging the world of chefs and diners; The Perennial Farming Initiative (PFI) is our non-profit branch that will enable diners to help farmers employ the most environmentally beneficial methods. We believe that eating is an agricultural act and our best way to reverse climate change.
Project 1: Regenerative Grains
PFI has been working with bakers, farmers, millers, and food activists to make the Bay Area a hub for regenerative and perennial grains. We have been working with The Land Institute and The Granary Project to support their efforts to promote knowledge about perennial and regenerative grains.
Project 2: Carbon Farming
PFI is conducting an ongoing compost drive to fund the purchase and application of compost to pasture land. In accordance with the Carbon Farming Protocol developed by The Marin Carbon Project, the one time application of compost and subsequent managed grazing promotes carbon sequestration through improved growth of Perennial grasses and soil biology. Their research shows that each year, one acre of rangeland can store as much CO2e (greenhouse gas equivalents) as burning 230 gallons of gasoline.
Project 3: Aquaponics
Aquaponic agriculture creates a closed-loop system in which fish waste fertilizes plants grown on hydroponic rafts, while plants feed worms that in turn feed the fish. PFI’s aquaponic greenhouse in West Oakland was designed as a proof of concept that aquaponics is a viable and intensive method of production that can occur in urban areas and utilize urban waste streams to power an aqua-farm and greenhouse.
This 2,000-square-foot greenhouse utilizes waste from our sister restaurant, The Perennial, and in turn provides produce and (eventually) fish back to the restaurant. The greenhouse is an urban farming demonstration facility that highlights production and efficiency as well as waste management and interdisciplinary collaboration.