Walton Family Foundation Awards Leading Harvest a Second Grant to Harmonize Sustainability Reporting Across Supply Chains

Maggie Eason

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Leading Harvest, a U.S. nonprofit advancing sustainable agriculture and food production through its unique Farmland Management Standard (Standard), announced today it was awarded a generous grant from the Walton Family Foundation to advance its work in harmonizing sustainability reporting across diverse supply chains. The grant, Leading Harvest’s second from the Walton Family Foundation, comes as Leading Harvest celebrates its second anniversary of launching on Earth Day 2020.

“Through the first generous grant provided by the Walton Family Foundation, Leading Harvest was able to pilot strategies to significantly reduce the cost of auditing and certifying sustainable farm management while delivering third-party sustainability assurance to the market,” said Kenny Fahey, President and CEO of Leading Harvest. “We deeply appreciate the Walton Family Foundation’s continued generosity and support, which allows Leading Harvest to take the next logical step – taking our proof of concept to scale across supply chains.”

Specifically, the grant from the Walton Family Foundation will support Leading Harvest’s work to demonstrate how diverse agricultural operations across regions, commodities, and operating conditions can conform to a single Leading Harvest Standard. In doing so, Leading Harvest will harmonize sustainability requirements for farmers, farm managers and landowners, and simultaneously eliminate confusion and complexity for supply chain companies seeking high quality outcomes-based assurance.

“The Walton Family Foundation is committed to supporting work that protects water and our environment. Innovative solutions like Leading Harvest’s work to harmonize sustainability reporting make sustainable management easier to adopt, implement, and verify, thereby protecting our environment and water supply for all,” said Paul Wolfe, Walton Family Foundation Environment Program Officer.

The grant award comes following exceptional progress in adoption of Leading Harvest’s Standard since launching in April 2020. To date, more than 1.3 million acres across more than 100 crop types have been enrolled in Leading Harvest’s Standard. Through Leading Harvest’s third-party certification process, farmers and landowners are achieving a social license to do business by demonstrating to the marketplace that they are managing the land and the operation with a high level of stewardship, including in the areas of soil health, energy use and climate change, biodiversity, farm labor relations, and waste management.

In 2021, Leading Harvest took an important step toward demonstrating the true universality of its Standard by beginning a pilot program in Australia with an initial 1,000,000 acres enrolled. The Australian pilot program moves Leading Harvest toward its goal of developing and implementing a single sustainability standard that can be adopted by the global food production supply chain across continents.

For more information on Leading Harvest, its Standard and the positive environmental and social outcomes being achieved through adoption of the Standard, please visit www.LeadingHarvest.org.

About Leading Harvest

Leading Harvest is a nonprofit organization committed to increasing adoption of sustainability practices in agriculture. It was formally organized in 2020 by and for all stakeholders across the agricultural value chain—from farmland owners to companies to communities. The organization provides assurance programs comprised of standards, audit procedures, training and education, and reporting and claim offerings that are optimized for flexibility, scalability, and impact.