KIND Snacks has launched the Almond Acres Initiative, a three-year pilot program to advance regenerative production of the company’s most-used ingredient. 

The initiative will be conducted over 500 acres in California, the location of 80% of U.S. almond production.

“As a global brand and a top-five global buyer of almonds, we believe it’s our responsibility to crack the nut on regen ag in almonds,” Caitlin Birkholz, regenerative agriculture pillar lead at KIND Snacks, told Agri-Pulse.

The three-year pilot program will analyze the impacts of using a blend of five cover crop varieties to improve soil chemistry and structure. Additional practices including whole orchard recycling, compost and biochar testing, off-ground harvesting and surface irrigation will also be tried out.

KIND started the initiative to determine “solid, science-based data that clearly shows the most impactful combination of practices and tools for almonds grown in California,” Birkholz said.

The company will collaborate with a company called ofi, the on-the-ground partner that will implement the initiative on the project acres they own. The “massive joint effort in regenerative agriculture,” according to Zac Ellis, senior director of agronomy at ofi, will connect innovative technology with traditional farming practices.

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A partnership with the University of California, Merced — a Hispanic-serving institution and one of the most sustainable universities in the U.S. — will award eight “KIND to the planet” scholarships to support the next generation of agriculture leaders focused on sustainable and regenerative production.

Additional partners include the California Water Action Collaborative, Pollinator Partnership and the University of California, Davis.

The company will share progress on the Almond Acres Initiative through a Snapchat lens focused on regenerative almond production. The company will also launch an interactive program landing page.

In 2022, KIND committed to sourcing 100% of its almonds from bee-friendly trees by 2025.

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