General Mills provides funds for healthy soil initiative

Published 9:23 pm Monday, May 21, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS — Global food giant General Mills is providing financial support to University of Minnesota’s Forever Green Initiative that grows crops, promoting soil development.

General Mills has invested in renewable energy and pollinator protection, Minnesota Public Radio reported. The company has put $3 million into soil health in the last couple of years. That represents just 1 percent of the company’s overall corporate giving.

“We take the output of Mother Nature and farming communities, we transform it into products for consumers to get the nutrition they want in the midst of their busy lives, and we market it to them,” said General Mills’ chief sustainability officer, Jerry Lynch.

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He recently told agribusiness and food industry leaders that healthy soil can help with issues stemming from climate change.

“If the front end of that engine — Mother Nature and farming communities — starts to break down, our business becomes either really expensive to operate, or sometimes impossible to operate because we can’t get what we need in order to make those products,” he said.

Lynch said healthy soil can absorb and hold water rather than let it run off the land. It can also reduce the need for pesticides and fertilizer, which cost money and can increase a crop’s carbon footprint.

“Soil health practices work differently on every farm,” too, he said. “There’s not a silver bullet for every single solitary farm.”