Grounded has been working in this area for quite a while, and we have learned a lot from navigating this complex ecosystem. Initially, we tested a large-scale outgrower model for peanut-farming in hopes of creating enough financial incentive for small-holdings bordering the conservancy to switch to regenerative farming. However, working in a scattered area with hundreds of farmers at once made for extremely challenging logistics, and uncertain impact. Because the dirt roads in the Simalaha are often waterlogged in the rainy season, buying produce from farmers at harvest time was next to impossible–nevermind monitoring their regenerative practices.
But most importantly, we realised that working in this way ultimately meant shallower impact. Trying to support many farmers in an already low-production system would only bring incremental changes to their food and income security –not much was likely to improve for them and their families 10 years, or one generation down the line. So we switched our strategy completely, focusing instead on a centralized farming system where we could work with a few farmers on a high investment, high value regenerative farm, while hopefully increasing their profits significantly as well.