In South Africa, the world’s first bales of Verified Regenerative Wool hit the market

As part of the continued rollout of the Savory Institute’s Land to Market™ program (announced earlier here in the January 15, 2018 issue of REVITALIZATION), the Savory Hub in South Africa has delivered its first bales of regenerative wool to the international wool market in Port Elizabeth.

These bales carry Savory’s Ecological Outcome Verification™ (EOV™) seal, which is the first to indicate that the land from which the wool is sourced has been verified to be regenerating. Brands and businesses sourcing EOV wool at the Port Elizabeth Wool Exchange will be early supporters of a system of Holistic Management verified to achieve positive outcomes in soil fertility, biodiversity, and water retention.

Savory Institute’s Land to Market program is a farmer-focused, collaborative sourcing program that prioritizes regenerative agriculture as a solution to critical environmental issues such as climate change, and water and food security. Ecological Outcome Verification (EOV)—or the “science inside” the Land to Market program—is a soil and landscape assessment methodology that tracks outcomes in soil health, biodiversity, and ecosystem function on participating farms and ranches.

More than three years in the making, the EOV protocol was developed in collaboration with land managers, scientists, agronomists, and ecologists, including OVIS 21 in Argentina, and Michigan State University the the U.S.

The bales of EOV wool offered at the Port Elizabeth Wool Exchange were produced at Evenson Farms, which recently received its EOV credential. “Delivering this wool to market is a full circle moment for us,” says Rolf Pretorius, leader of the Savory Hub in South Africa, “it differentiates exemplary producers for their ecological outcomes, and it connects them directly to wool buyers who prioritize land health in their sourcing decisions.

Sheep farmer Neil Evens delivers the first bales of EOV-marked wool to the Port Elizabeth Wool Exchange. Photo courtesy of Savory Institute.

Located on the Eastern Cape, Evenson Farms is a fourth generation operation that has been in Neil Evens’ family since 1905. Over the past two decades, Neil and his wife Robyn Conroy have implemented Holistic Management on their land and livestock, which has allowed them to restore their land base while increasing their stocking and production capacity.

Says Evens, “Over the last twenty years we have managed the land holistically and seen tremendous restoration of our veld [grasslands] and watershed. Receiving EOV and being able to carry that message to market is enormously gratifying and exciting.

Savory’s Land to Market program is in its early development but has ambitious—and global—goals. As the program progresses, consumers will be able to choose wool, leather, dairy and meat products carrying the EOV seal and know they are investing in a regenerative claim that can be trusted to support farmers who are improving the environment. Verified farms and ranches will be listed in a global regenerative supplier roster from which participating brands, retailers, and consumers can access livestock-derived supply and products.

The Savory Institute is a US-registered non-profit organization, facilitates large-scale restoration of the world’s grasslands through Holistic Management. Together with Savory’s global network of Hubs, the Savory Institute equips farmers and ranchers around the world with education, training and implementation support to achieve success within their cultural and ecological contexts.

Savory Institute also helps remove barriers and creates enhanced conditions for large-scale progress by informing policy, engaging the marketplace and increasing public awareness. Savory’s long-term goal is to positively influence the management of 1 billion hectares of grasslands by 2025, thereby contributing to global climate, water and food security.

Featured photo of sheep in the Carpathian Mountains via Adobe Stock.

See Land-to-Market website.

See Savory Institute website.

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