“Finding the Bigger Me” with Christian Shearer
Part of the Better World Blog Series by LOACOM
The Better World Blog series is a compilation of articles based on interviews conducted by the LOACOM team with our clients, intended to share their powerful leadership and stories. Each blog is carefully constructed to highlight our ecosystem of changemakers actively working to build a better world.
“Regenerative agriculture” is a buzzword you might have heard lately. While the definition is ever-evolving, mirroring the concept itself, our crack at it is: to manage agricultural land in a way that not only sustains it but makes it continually better. Regenerative agriculture utilizes techniques that promote soil health, build biodiversity, and improve ecosystem services. By implementing positive ecological practices, regenerative agriculture can increase carbon sequestration, therefore decreasing carbon levels in the atmosphere.
Seems incredible, right? A potential puzzle piece in fixing global climate change, while creating more bountiful harvests and cultivating healthier land for farmers.
Why isn’t this concept plastered on the front page of every news source?
While regenerative agriculture continues to get more attention every day, the reality is that implementing regenerative land management practices has often been a costly endeavor — until now.
Enter Regen Network, a LOACOM partner and Techstars-backed company. Regen Network is a startup on a mission to connect environmentally-driven funders to global farmers seeking to implement regenerative land management practices in order to incentivize a widespread shift towards regenerative principles. As Regen Network’s Marketing Team, LOACOM works closely with Regen to develop their story, share it with the world, and build their network.
Christian Shearer, Co-Founder and CEO of Regen Network, has a deep-rooted history in ecological agriculture. At the core of this is 15 years of ecological agriculture experience, some of which time was spent working with small farmholders in Southeast Asia.
Christian founded The Panya Project, a permaculture education and empowerment center located in Northern Thailand that works to expand the knowledge and skillset of farming communities and volunteers. Christian first proposed his idea in 2002 by sending out a written proposal of the project (then called The Baan Thai Project) to friends and family. In the next two years, he was able to organize a group of passionate individuals to combine resources and purchase land just north of Chiang Mai, Thailand. Thanks to Christian’s vision and the work of everyone involved, the land is now occupied by their ever-growing edible forest, guest accommodation, learning spaces, and eager volunteers. The Panya Project represents Christian’s dedication to sustainable, mindful living with regenerative agriculture at the heart.
After his significant time spent in Southeast Asia, Christian moved back to the States and co-founded Terra Genesis International, another LOACOM client that serves brands by unearthing the nitty-gritty of their supply chain sourcing and empowering them with the tools and services to shift towards regenerative sourcing. TGI’s mission served as the baseline and inspiration source for Regen Network by highlighting demand for verified sustainable crops and the need for adequate technology connecting investors to those sources.
After years of working with his business partner Gregory Landua and learning about new technologies like blockchain, a fresh business venture vision began to take hold. Connecting the dots between powerful emerging technology, the dire need to save the planet, and under-compensated global land stewards, Christian and Gregory founded Regen Network.
Regen Network was created with 2 goals:
a) Creating a platform that financially motivates farmers to choose ecologically-beneficial practices, while
b) Helping investors verify the impact of their financial contributions.
Regen uses blockchain technology and satellite imagery to set up digital contracts, allowing investors to directly fund a project while monitoring the ecological progress online. Currently, Regen has 5 projects operating in pilot phases in the United States, Ecuador, Peru, and Australia. Though still in the early stages, Regen is already connecting with farmers. In the three weeks since debuting this aspect of their platform, they have connected with 105 global farmers that manage 3.2 million acres of land.
Not all of Regen Network’s projects are focused on agriculture, however. This technology can be applied to any global environmental cause, such as combating deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon. Regen’s Peruvian pilot project secures international donor payments to the community of Buen Jardin de Callaru in Loreta, Peru for monitoring illegal forest activity, using Regen’s satellite imagery data. By connecting investors to frontline communities, Regen is paving way for innovative solutions to global climate change.
When asked why this work is important to him, Christian responded that “we are facing serious threats to the future of humanity, making it difficult to imagine working on anything that isn’t directly associated with trying to maintain a healthy place for our grandkids to thrive in.” With climate change threatening our ecological and social systems, LOACOM is proud to support projects like Regen Network that work to make meaningful strides towards a better world.
“In a better world, we have more care for each other and natural systems because we realize we are all interconnected. That would be pretty huge.” — Christian Shearer, Co-Founder and CEO
Excited about Regen Network as we are? Their time at Techstars is culminating in the Techstars Sustainability Accelerator Demo Day on October 30th in Denver, CO. This is the final event of the program and will highlight all ten participating companies. If you are local and interested in attending, you can register here. If you can’t make it to Denver, worry not — there will be a livestream taking place at this link on October 30th at 5pm MT.
Connect with the Regen Network community: