Regenerative Agriculture - Proof of Practice


Stichting Soil Heroes Foundation


Emma Crasnier
Mellany Klompe


Mijnsheerenland | Netherlands


Soil Heroes Foundation (SHF) is a Dutch non-profit organization on a mission to catalyse the transition to regenerative agriculture in Europe. Regenerative agriculture is a way of farming that works with nature, rather than against it. Core practices include no tilling or shallow tillage, keeping the soil covered all year long by growing cover crops in-between cash crops, selecting deep-rooting crops, increasing crop diversity, growing flower field margins and integrating grazing animals. We have first-hand proof that it restores soil health effectively and draws down carbon compounds from the atmosphere. Nearly 40% of the world’s land surface is used for agriculture, so if we change farming practices and make regenerative agriculture the norm, we can significantly reduce the impact of farming on climate change. 

Our idea is to prove to farmers that adopting regenerative farming practices will solve their most pressing issue: soil’s water retention capacity. Increasing soil’s water retention capacity is vital for farmers because it improves soil and crops’ resilience to droughts and floods, reducing the need for irrigation and stabilizing food production.

As farmers ourselves, we know that farmers need to see it to believe it. We empower farmers and reduce barriers to adopt climate-positive farming practices. We 1) run large-scale experiments on our Showcase Farm to provide tangible evidence that regenerative agriculture has direct benefits for farmers, including storing more sweet water in the soil; 2) share knowledge and practical tools for farmers to start or continue their transition to regenerative agriculture; and 3) build network by connecting key stakeholders, encouraging peer-to-peer learning and cross-industry collaboration.

By showing farmers that changing their farming practices will improve water retention in soils, we can hugely accelerate the adoption of agricultural practices that are better for people and the planet – combatting climate change, preserving biodiversity, improving farmers’ livelihoods and supporting vibrant local communities.  


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Further information


Clients / Target group

  1. FarmersThey need to see it to believe it, know what to do and feel part of a bigger movement. We meet these needs by running proof of practice projects on our Experience Farm to provide scientific evidence of the direct benefits of regenerative agriculture on soil health and the potential to solve farmers' biggest issues, including water retention capacity
  2. Farming communities. By improving soil's water retention capacity, soil and crops become more resilient to extreme weather events like floods or droughts. This stabilizes food production and makes it more predictable. Therefore, it supports the development of stable healthy local communities, and improve farming families and communities' wellbeing and living standards. 
  3. Consumers. Regenerative agriculture can improve the nutrient-density of the food we grow and harvest. By spreading the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices globally, a broader range of consumers will have access to tasty and nutritious food.

Established collaborations and partnerships

We have established partnerships with a broad range of public and private organizations: 

  • Front-running regenerative farmers: we now have a strong network of front-running regenerative farmers in five different European countries (Belgium, Germany, Austria, the UK and The Netherlands). We use them as a "sounding board" to make sure the products and offers we are developing meet their needs. 
  • Patagonia: we have received two grants from Patagonia in the framework of the 1% for the Planet fund. These grants have partly funded our biodiversity proof of practice. 
  • Waterboard Hollandse Delta: this organization is responsible for the water management in the area where our farm is located. We collaborate closely to monitor the improvement is water retention capacity of our soils resulting from applying regenerative farming practices, and therefore the improvement in water resource management. 
  • University of Amsterdam: we work with experts from the research department of the University of Amsterdam to monitor the evolution of biodiversity on our fields, resulting from applying regenerative practices like flower field margins and biodiversity lanes. 
  • University of Wageningen: we work with experts from the research department of the University of Wageningen to monitor the improvement in soil water retention capacity resulting from applying regenerative practices. 
  • Local municipality of the Hoeksche Waard region: our Experience Farm is located in the Hoeksche Waard region, 20 km south of Rotterdam. We have received a subsidy from the local municipality to fund our toolbox project: we are creating a toolbox for farmers including all the necessary knowledge and practical tools to help them start or continue their transition towards regenerative farming. The first element of this toolbox is our Guidebook for Regenerative Farming: Foundations. This Guidebook will be built in three layers corresponding to three levels of complexity. 
  • European Commission: we have received a POP 3 subsidy to fund our water retention proof of practice project. We are still looking for co-funding. 

Desired collaborations and partnerships

We are still looking for partner organizations to help us spread the message, especially in the UK.

We are also looking for farmers who are interested in joining our network. We can provide practical tools and technical assistance in exchange for commitment to implement new regenerative practices.  

Finally, we still need funding for some of our projects: the water retention proof of practice project, the nutrient-density proof of practice project, the Experience Center project as well as to scale up our organization capacity (marketing and communication as a priority). 

Time for discussion (Video Chat)

During the indicated periods, one of the team members is available for a chat.

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Join us in changing the world through regenerative agriculture!

We are a small but dedicated team. Feel free to reach out for more information on our work or discuss opportunities for collaboration. 

Mellany Klompe, Director of the

Emma Crasnier, Executive Assistant to the