National Co+op Grocers and Partners Raise $113,575 for The Carbon Underground’s Initiatives to Restore Soil Health, Combat Climate Change

Jul 27, 2016

National Co+op Grocers (NCG) and industry partners have contributed $113,575 to The Carbon Underground to help the nonprofit promote the global benefits of restoring healthy soil to reverse climate change.

The donation from NCG and partners occurred as part of NCG’s annual Co+nvergence conference, held July 19-22 in Saint Paul, MN, and attended by more than 700 co-op buyers as well as representatives from natural and organic grocery and wellness companies. The theme for this year’s conference was food system disruption, focusing in part on innovations that can lead to a more sustainable food system. To raise funds, NCG contributed $47,725, with conference sponsors providing the additional funds.

The Carbon Underground works to connect farmers, consumers, academia, businesses, NGOs and governments to work collaboratively to avert catastrophic climate change.

According to the United Nations, mismanagement of soil has resulted in the loss of as much as 70% of topsoil worldwide. By seeking to inspire widespread adoption of regenerative farming methods such as crop rotation, cover cropping, composting and reduced tillage, The Carbon Underground aims to restore soil’s natural ability to remove carbon from the atmosphere by building healthy organic matter and allowing beneficial microorganisms to thrive.

“Most of us aren’t aware of the relationship between food and climate change, so our core goal is to educate,” said The Carbon Underground President Larry Kopald, who co-founded the organization with Tom Newmark, former CEO of New Chapter. “But we are also creating new business partnerships and models based on regenerative agriculture. We have spent two years developing programs and partnerships, from the farming and ranching communities to Fortune 100 companies, and now have the opportunity to execute. NCG and its partners’ contribution is much needed and greatly appreciated. It will be leveraged many times over.”

Kopald added that a part of the funds will likely go toward the creation of an educational tool kit for farmers, plus support a new food-climate exchange that is focused on stimulating demand for regeneratively grown ingredients while also ensuring a growing supply for manufacturers to use.

“NCG is proud to partner with industry leaders to support The Carbon Underground, which celebrates the power of healthy soil to combat climate change,” said NCG CEO Robynn Shrader. “Through cooperation and collaboration, the natural foods industry can help slow climate change and reduce the negative impacts of the food system overall. This organization sets a phenomenal example, and as they have noted, ‘if we cooperate, we can not only eliminate the threat, but enter a new period of abundance that truly is sustainable.’”

NCG’s donating partners included:

  • Alaffia
  • California Olive Ranch
  • Chobani
  • Desert Essence
  • Frontier Co-op
  • Global Health Labs/Natural Organics Inc.
  • Justin's
  • Lifeway Foods
  • Natracare
  • Nature's Plus
  • Once Again Nut Butters
  • Organic India
  • Vega

About NCG

National Co+op Grocers (NCG), founded in 1999, is a business services cooperative for retail food co-ops located throughout the United States. NCG helps unify food co-ops in order to optimize operational and marketing resources, strengthen purchasing power, and ultimately offer more value to natural food co-op owners and shoppers everywhere. Our 150 member and associate co-ops operate more than 200 storefronts in 38 states with combined annual sales of nearly $2 billion. NCG is a winner of the dotCoop Global Awards for Cooperative Excellence and a Certified B Corporation. Find a map of NCG member and associate co-ops. To learn more about co-ops, visit

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Media inquiries may be directed to Eric Davis (; 612-424-7545).