Lotus Foods is an international company that is dedicated to the uplifting and restructuring of the rice production industry. What many folks don’t realize is that rice production and cultivation is a labor and water intensive process with small yields (and thus profits) at the end of the day. In 2008, Lotus Foods committed to partnering with small-scale family farms who were adopting a sustainable method of growing and producing rice – called the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). In doing so, they committed to the betterment of our global community; becoming a strong partner in Growing Community Together.
The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) was developed in Madagascar in the 1980s, but was fully tested and spread at Cornell University in the 1990s and early 2000s. It is a new way for rice farmers to manage their production process, i.e. plants, soil, water, and will ultimately change their soils from flooded beds to aerobic, healthy soils with consistent oxygen access. This method actually reduces methane gas (a leading contributor to the changing climate, like carbon dioxide) omissions into the atmosphere by 40%. WOW! Further, the SRI offers the opportunity for small-scale farms to double or even triple their yields using 90% less seed, 50% less water and no agri-chemicals. This ultimately produces more food for consumers, better incomes for small family farms, and a significant saving of water – our most precious resource.
"We're thrilled that our efforts to support the System of Rice Intensification, what we call More Crop Per Drop ™, are being recognized. This rice growing method allows family farmers to increase rice yields without new seeds or chemical inputs, while dramatically reducing water use, methane gas emissions and women's labor. Since 2009, our retail success with our More Crop Per Drop™-grown rice proves that mitigating climate change through this kind of innovative sourcing strategy is a win-win for businesses, farmers and the planet." - Caryl Levine and Ken Lee,Lotus Foods Co-CEOs and Co-Founders
Most of the farmers within the ricing network make only $1-$2 per day and there is a large need to intensify yields. Currently serving over 3000 farms in three countries, the role (and goal) of Lotus Foods is to connect rice farmers to existing distribution channels, building a stronger income stream for sustainably grown rice.
But the story doesn’t end there. By supporting farmers who are committing their livelihoods to the SRI method of rice cultivation, Lotus Foods is directly combating climate change – having saved approximately 500,000,000 gallons of water in 2016. In 2017, at the 2017 Natural Products Expo East, Lotus was the first NEXTY Gold Award recipient, in recognition of their products and mission. In 2017, Co-founders/CEO’s Ken Lee and Caryl Levine also received the first Leadership of Global Impact Award by Conscious Company Media, which recognizes leaders who use the power of business for positive change. In March of 2018, Lotus Foods received the award of “Outstanding Value Chain Engagement” for the company’s outstanding support, development and implementation of the System of Rice Intensification.