Kick-starting Sustainable Agriculture - with Socio-Digital Infrastructure

Tags: sustainable, agriculture, Agroforestry, finance, mutual-credit

I want to introduce a new model we've been working on here at Grassroots Economics that is designed to foster the growth of sustainable agriculture and ensure socio-economic growth for communities. This initiative is based on creating a unique economic ecosystem using a blend of social commitment, digital tools, and an innovative approach to traditional supply and demand dynamics.

Our model revolves around the concept of Community Asset Vouchers (CAVs) - a kind of bearer instrument representing a community's commitment to providing specific products or services (also usable as a local medium of exchange and for traditional rotational labor accounting). Consider a group of farmers pledging to produce sustainable coconut oil through Agroforestry. Their commitment materializes in the form of CAVs, a socio-digital IOU, which promises a certain quantity of coconut oil in the future.

This is where our financiers come in. Whether it's a green-conscious organization, a cooperative, or a group of invested caring individuals, they make a commitment to purchase a certain amount of the product, based on specific impact metrics and their financial capacity. Their commitment offers a safety net of guaranteed demand for the community's products, thus giving the farmers confidence in their venture.

The third key player in our model is the Kickstarter, a role that manages a revolving fund designed to stimulate and support the community's work. By purchasing CAVs from the community, they provide a crucial influx of capital that can be used for everything from purchasing equipment to enhancing agricultural practices.

The Kickstarter then uses the CAVs to purchase the product - in this case, our sustainable coconut oil - and impact data, which could measure the environmental or social impact of the Agroforestry efforts. Once these products are delivered and validated by the financier, the cycle is complete - the CAVs have been fulfilled.

But the cycle doesn't stop there. Upon validation of the products, the financier adds more funds to the Kickstarter's revolving fund, allowing for the purchase of more CAVs and kick-starting the cycle anew. This replenishment ensures the sustainable continuation of the cycle, supporting more community activities, and bolstering the production of coconut oil.

What we're creating here is an economic ecosystem that guarantees a market for the community's products while providing the necessary upfront capital for production. This sustainable, self-feeding system encourages community-led commerce and incentivizes environmentally conscious practices.

Moreover, by intertwining supply and demand through this structured framework, we aim to build an economically viable, socially equitable, and environmentally responsible model for agriculture. By embedding impact metrics within the financial transactions, we not only create a market for the products but also for the positive environmental and social impacts that come with their production.

We're genuinely excited about the potential of this new socio-digital infrastructure and the far-reaching implications it could have for sustainable agriculture and community-led growth. Through these efforts, we're hoping to catalyze a revolution in how we think about commerce, community, and commitment to our planet.

Thank you for joining us on this journey. Here's to growing a greener, more equitable future for all.

Together we grow.


  1. Community Commitment: The community (in this case, a group of farmers) pledges to provide certain products or services. In our example, this is the cultivation of coconuts through agroforestry and pressing them into oil. This commitment is formalized as a Community Asset Voucher (CAV), which represents the promise of these products or services and can be traded as a form of currency. The CAV is essentially an IOU issued by the community, a commitment to provide a certain quantity of coconut oil in the future.

  2. Financier Commitment: A financier (could be an individual, an organization, or a consortium of buyers) makes a commitment to purchase a certain amount of the product based on specific impact metrics and their financial capacity. In our example, this could be a company committed to buying sustainable coconut oil for use in its products. This financier's commitment creates a reliable demand for the community's products.

  3. Kickstarter's Role: The Kickstarter, operating a revolving fund, supports the community by purchasing CAVs, thus providing them with capital to begin or continue their work. This support could be in the form of cash or in-kind contributions, like machinery, land, or training for coconut cultivation and oil pressing. In essence, the Kickstarter uses their resources to enable the community to fulfill the promises represented by the CAVs.

  4. Exchange of Goods and Data: The Kickstarter uses the CAVs to buy the produced coconut oil and impact data. The impact data could include measurements of how the community's agroforestry efforts have benefited the environment or contributed to social well-being. These tangible and intangible products are then validated by the financier to ensure they meet agreed-upon standards and conditions. This step closes the loop on the original CAV, demonstrating that the community has fulfilled its commitment.

  5. Financial Replenishment: After the products have been validated, the financier adds more funds to the Kickstarter's revolving fund based on the quantity and quality of the validated products. This replenishment allows the Kickstarter to buy more CAVs, support more community activities, and stimulate the production of more coconut oil, thereby keeping the cycle in motion.