The VF Foundation will become a Sustaining Supporter of the Soil Health Institute's (SHI) US Regenerative Cotton Fund (USRCF), contributing directly to the Institute's work in Texas, where about 60% of US cotton is cultivated.
The VF Foundation is a private grantmaking organization supported by VF Corporation, one of the world's major apparel, footwear, and accessory corporations, with brands such as Vans, The North Face, Timberland, Smartwool, JanSport, and Dickies. The VF Foundation aspires to innovate and problem-solve in collaborative ways with its partners in order to achieve transformative, long-term change with the goal of making the world more equitable and sustainable.
Meanwhile, the USRCF is a farmer-focused, science-based effort aimed at promoting long-term, sustainable cotton production in the United States, with the goal of removing 1 million metric tonnes of CO2e from the atmosphere by 2026.
Gloria Schoch, executive director, the VF Foundation and director of global impact, VF Corporation, said that this initiative complements their corporate efforts to advance regenerative agricultural practices by taking a farmer-centric approach to scale these practices and measure their impacts when growing cotton, a key material used by VF brands and across the apparel industry.
The VF Foundation's support of the USRCF directly benefits the Institute's activities in Texas, which produces over 60% of the country's cotton. Support will go toward establishing farmer-to-farmer mentoring networks, conducting economic analyses of regenerative soil health systems, increasing access and opportunity for minority students in scientific leadership positions, and establishing Soil Health and Soil Carbon Targets, which will let growers know how healthy their soils can become and how much carbon they can remove.
As a crucial avenue to achieving its climate goals, VF Corporation set ambitious science-based targets in 2019 and committed to obtaining 100% of its top nine materials from regenerative, responsibly produced renewable or recycled sources by 2030.
Dr Cristine Morgan, chief scientific officer and leader of the US Regenerative Cotton Fund, said that they’re grateful for The VF Foundation's past support, which served as a catalyst for establishing the USRCF to assist cotton farmers and their advisors across the US with building drought resilience and mitigating the effects of climate change Lack of knowledge on the business case, locally relevant education programmes and grower networks, and locally determined Soil Health and Carbon Targets are all stumbling blocks to widespread adoption of regenerative farming methods. These tools can provide growers with particular information about how much their soil health can improve and how that improved soil can translate to drought resistance, crop stability, profitability, and other benefits.
The USRCF works to bring farmers, partners, and financial backers together to promote soil health as the cornerstone for regenerative agriculture. The Fund was established in 2021 with a contribution to the Soil Health Institute from the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation.
Cotton Incorporated, the National Cotton Council, and Field to Market are among the Fund's participants.
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