Almond production around the world has a bad reputation for consuming huge amounts of water in water deprived, arid regions.

Excessive irrigation leads to a lowering of the water table, drying our the surrounding landscape leading to higher chances of fire hazards. Whilst the water use debate is relatively complex, what is far less debatable is the detrimental impact of periodic ploughing.

Most almond farmers prefer to leave the ground beneath their trees bare throughout the year, as this prevents competition for water and resources which ought to go toward the tree.

To maintain this bare ground, the land is ploughed every 2 months, creating a really loose top soil which is especially prone to erosion. Furthermore, the lighter, fluffier soils are more easily blown and washed away, a problem made worse by the extreme weather patterns associated with almond-producing regions, which experience drying spells followed by torrential downpours.

“I want to use what influence I have as a buyer in the supply chain to encourage the use of regenerative methods.”

— Charles Tebbutt, Director of Food & Forest

Soil integrity is important for 3 main reasons

1. Maintaining soil for growth and farm longevity

If this soil continues to be washed away, without being replenished, then there will be nothing left to grow in.

2. Reducing CO2 emissions

Ploughing soils causes oxidation in the soils, this is the process of breaking down organic matter, and it releases a lot of CO2. Some estimates show 3 tonnes released for every 1 hectare ploughed.

3. Habitat creation

Planting a cover crop of legumes can create ground cover for insects, and when the clover flowers in late summer, provides forage for bees and pollinators.

As shown in the image to the left, the land around the Almond trees becomes devastated when it is left barren.

We choose to source all our organic almonds from the Almendrehesa Association because of their ongoing efforts towards large-scale landscape regeneration.

Since Southern Spain is one of the regions most at risk of desertification, they're not just content to stop at one farm, they are looking for a way to spread the cover cropping practice throughout the region. The Almendrehesa Association practice cover cropping to restore soil fertility, ensuring that nutrient extraction is minimized while preventing runoff and nutrient loss, a practice they continue to promote to others.

Frank, their CEO is an excellent working partner because he is actively promoting regenerative farming practices to farmer groups across the region. As a result of working together, he is helping farmers increase their access to international markets as well as gaining fairer prices for their crops. By inviting them to join forces and gain access to large-scale processing facilities, where the nuts will be shelled and further processed, they benefit from efficiencies of scale and improved health standards. As a result, we are able to offer you superior quality products free from husks and debris, sustainably sourced, with our Food and Forest seal of approval.

“I am really keen to use the good things about the modern farming system, namely; the best practice harvesting techniques and processing facilities. If these can be combined with methods which improve the environment then we have hit the sweet spot.”

— Charles Tebbutt, Director of Food & Forest