The NZ0 team is proud to announce that we have been awarded an Agribusiness Innovation Grant (AIG) from AGMARDT (Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust, New Zealand).
We are now able to accelerate two key initiatives that we have been working on: a certification program for growers; and a pilot program to bring climate friendly food to the retail market.
While we were unfortunately previously unsuccessful in securing funding through the Food + Fibres Aotearoa New Zealand Challenge, the process introduced us to AGMARDT who expressed their interest in our project.
As a result of AGMARDT’s fantastic support and government funding, we are now able to accelerate two key initiatives that we have been working on: a certification program for growers; and a pilot program to bring climate friendly food to the retail market. With the $137,540 grant we can bring both initiatives to life significantly earlier than what would traditionally be financially viable.
Certification program for growers
We are excited to be developing one of the first fossil fuel free grown produce certification and audit programs, for growers who mitigate the use of fossil fuels on their farms and orchards. This certification will benefit the industry in two ways. The first as an identifying factor for consumers, allowing clear assurance that they are selecting the most climate friendly fresh produce available. And the second, as a benchmark for growers to achieve and be held accountable to. Ultimately, the goal is to encourage existing (and new) growers to join the zero emission movement – a win-win situation for growers, and for climate conscious consumers.
Entering the retail market
The second significant area this grant supports is a contribution towards the growing, picking and packing costs for the first two seasonal harvests from our first zero emission orchard supplier.
When orchards are in the early stages of development, as is the case with our primary orchard supplier, the trees are considered immature from a commercial basis as they can only produce small volumes. This means, in the first few years of an orchard’s life the fruit is generally left to waste. With the support of the AGMARDT grant, we can utilise the first two smaller harvests from our primary orchard supplier to pilot selling zero emission produce in New Zealand – bypassing what would normally be a few years of food waste.
As you would expect, the packaging types we will use in this retail pilot also match our climate targets and exclude oil-based products. We can’t wait to share with you some examples of our zero plastic, recyclable card based cherry punnets in the coming weeks – and then very shortly, let you know where you can get your hands on your very own zero emission cherries!