On this episode of the Vegan Visibility show, we had the pleasure of hosting Omaid Hiwaizi, a veteran in technology marketing and an ethical vegan for almost three decades. Omaid is the founder of ReFarm Fund, a novel project aimed at promoting sustainable farming practices that align environmental impact with farmers’ profitability.
Throughout the show, Omaid shared his journey of blending his passion for veganism with his expertise in technology and fintech. He discussed his concern about the challenges faced by small-scale farmers, the rise of industrial factory farming, and the significant environmental footprint of animal farming.
Omaid commissioned a study which demonstrated that a transition from animal and intensive farming to rotation-based arable farming and tree planting could result in a higher return on capital, even with potentially lower output, due to decreased input costs. Inspired by these findings, Omaid and his team are developing a loan product to support farmers in making this transition.
The ReFarm Fund will provide farmers with the necessary capital to implement changes like adopting regenerative agriculture, installing renewable energy sources, and establishing structures like polytunnels and large glasshouses powered by renewable energy. The loan will be commercial, but the environmental impact of their transition will be quantified, potentially reducing their loan payments.
This model is being launched in the UK but could potentially be replicated in various global scenarios. The team is currently collaborating with Cambridge University on a study to evaluate the environmental and economic impacts of these farming transitions.
Omaid believes that as net zero requirements tighten, the true cost of food, including its environmental impact, will be reflected in its price, potentially shifting consumer behavior. The transition facilitated by the ReFarm Fund could help adjust the supply side to meet this new demand.
Omaid is keen on playing a part in the shift towards net zero, noticing that banks that serve farmers are adopting net zero policies. He envisions a future where business operations will have to account for their carbon emissions and sequestration, leading to potential commercial benefits for farmers who switch to carbon sequestering techniques.
To learn more about Omaid’s work, visit the ReFarm Fund website refarm.fund
More about Omaid Hiwaizi
Omaid Hiwaizi is a technology marketer and a long time vegan (he’s 53 and turned vegan at 24). He’s passionate about the application of technology to create positive change and is developing innovative projects where the impact is aligned with the commercial. ReFarm Fund is a perfect example this: aligning the transition to positive environmental impact of farming with greater profits for the farmer. And a key pillar of this is the drastic reduction and ultimately the removal of farmed animals.
More about Kathleen Gage
Kathleen Gage is the founder and CEO of Vegan Visibility, a marketing and visibility consulting company dedicated to healthy living, compassion for the animals and kindness to the planet. As an ethical vegan, Kathleen is committed to doing all possible to shine the spotlight on those who align with the vegan mission and message.
Kathleen is the co-founder of Vegan Visibility Productions, a production company working with vegan and plant-based identified companies.
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