As part of the NestFresh family of brands, New Barn’s eggs are the first national egg brand to launch shell eggs certified by the Regenerative Organic Alliance.
When New Barn Organics decided to partner with NestFresh Eggs earlier this year on its first egg products, co-Founder Ted Robb wanted to ensure the brand’s deep commitment to premium organic products was a focal point of this new partnership.
“NestFresh is one of the largest egg producers in the country, and there was no question that they could handle the day-to-day operations of our brand,” says Robb. “But what really excited our team was their genuine desire to support our deeper mission and purpose, which starts with the belief that regenerative organic agriculture is essential to creating a healthier food system for future generations. We couldn’t be more excited to be their partners in launching the first nationally distributed Regenerative Organic Certified (ROC™) eggs.”
Due to the brand’s deep commitment to regenerative organic agriculture, New Barn chose to certify its new pasture raised eggs through the Regenerative Organic Alliance (ROA). The only existing national standard for regenerative organic agriculture, the ROA’s rigorous certification program is designed to take existing USDA Organic standards to new – and even more environmentally-friendly – heights. The Regenerative Organic Certified standards include thoughtful measures protecting workers’ rights and improving animal welfare while also implementing practices known to improve soil quality.
This holistic approach is a natural fit for New Barn. “We’re really thoughtful about the ingredients we use in our products,” says Robb. “The ROC standard gives us regulatory confidence in our sourcing decisions because it builds on the well-established USDA National Organic Program standards already in place. Like our partners at NestFresh, we believe that high integrity third-party party certifications are critical to building trust with consumers.”
Regenerative organic agriculture is known to be a highly effective way to sequester carbon in agricultural soils.[i] But sequestering carbon and improving soil structures aren’t the only reason New Barn has chosen to become certified under the ROC standard. With mainly plant-forward products on offer, it was important to source the brand’s first animal products from farms practicing the most holistic animal welfare standards commercially available today. According to Elizabeth Whitlow, the ROA’s Executive Director, “ROC is the only certification program that requires a combination of organic certification, humane handling, and constant access to pasture as appropriate to the species.”
To be eligible for the ROC program, a brand’s products must adhere to the program’s three core tenets: Soil Health, Animal Welfare, and Social Fairness. This three-tier system works in harmony to restore the planet’s soils, provide a living wage and safe conditions for farm workers, and protect the animals who are part of our agricultural system. As Whitlow states, “We wanted to create a high-bar standard to demonstrate and clarify what regenerative can and should be: a holistic type of agriculture that regenerates resources and considers all players in the farm system, from the soil microbiome to the animals to the workers.”
Whitlow asserts that this type of holistic agriculture is beneficial to the environment, as well as the creatures that live within it. “We believe regenerative organic agriculture has the potential to address many of today’s pressing problems, including the climate crisis, factory farming, and fractured rural economies,” says Whitlow. “Our conventional farming system has degraded the soil to dangerous levels around the world. Building healthy soil and increasing organic matter is proven to sequester more carbon and make farms more resilient to flood and drought.”
Human activity has a direct and measurable impact on soil health and the amount of carbon capable of being sequestered in the soil. Agricultural activities such as clear-cutting and tilling farmland can destroy important soil structures, impacting its ability to hold water, carbon, and other important nutrients. While many conventional farming practices actively damage soil and contribute to furthering climate change,[i] regenerative organic practices such as eliminating tillage and planting cover crops can help to reverse these effects by pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere[ii] and locking it into the ground.
This style of farming is reminiscent of early American agricultural practices, many of which have been replaced by large-scale industrial farm operations today. “Small-scale family farming is part of the story for so many American families, including my own,” says Robb. “Our current food system has damaged a core part of who we are as a nation. We have a responsibility – and a massive opportunity – to repair and restore our farms for a more abundant and prosperous future that takes better care of the land, the animals, and our fellow humans.”
And with many consumers looking to brands to provide more transparency around food sourcing,[iii] New Barn is leaning into storytelling about their supply chain to celebrate this welcome consumer trend. Robb explains, “We believe the ROC standard offers us a credible way to provide our consumers with the assurance that our products are meeting their expectations.”
Decades of research solidifying the connection between varying farming practices and their resulting environmental impact may contribute to consumer trust of the ROC standard. One example is The Rodale Institute’s Farming Systems Trial, the longest-running side-by-side comparison of conventional versus organic agriculture in North America. This study has shown that sustainable agriculture models are not only demonstrably better for the environment, they’re also more profitable over time for the farmers.[v] And there’s an abundance of data showing the direct connection between agricultural models and carbon sequestration,[vi] including sobering figures showing that most agricultural soils have lost between 30—75% of their environmental carbon since the beginning of the Agricultural Revolution. It is this environmental degradation that the ROA’s program seeks to reverse, and the data provide plenty of evidence for the efficacy of its solutions.
In its desire to contribute to environmental repair, New Barn has fully embraced the ROC standard with its new certified regenerative organic eggs. Mixed breed hens are raised on traditional small family farms, with continuous access to pasture from sunrise to sunset. With at least 108 square feet of outdoor space per hen (and often far exceeding this base requirement), the chickens can forage for bugs, herbs, and other natural supplements that are available to them in the pasture where they spend each day. The hens are handled humanely, fulfilling the ROA’s “Five Freedoms” promise to provide farm animals with living conditions that are free from fear, discomfort, and pain. They’re also free to roam, taking dust baths and perching with other hens in order to fulfill their natural instincts.
New Barn is also committed to caring for its farm workers. All of the people who work on New Barn’s egg farms are provided a living wage and healthy working conditions. The company believes in caring for its farm workers so they can in turn provide for their families sustainably.
By leading the way with regenerative organic pasture raised eggs, New Barn aims to become a household brand name that Americans trust to make ethically and sustainably sourced dairy-free products. “From our almond milk made from dry farmed almonds to our regenerative organic eggs,” says Robb, “we’re solidly committed to a healthier future for food and farming in America.”
NestFresh cage-free eggs was the first nationally distributed egg line to receive the Non-GMO Project Verified seal from the Non-GMO Project and to offer liquid and dry egg products that are also Non-GMO Project Verified for retail, food service and manufacturing. Today, they produce Certified Cage Free eggs, offering pasture raised eggs, organic eggs, omega-3 eggs and Non-GMO Free Range eggs.
About New Barn Organics
Founded in 2015, New Barn Organics believes that the future of food is regenerative. Every single ingredient the company uses in its products is thoughtfully sourced, certified USDA Organic and Regenerative Organic whenever possible. No filler ingredients or strange chemicals you can't pronounce – just clean, healthy food, the way it should be. The brand believes that food should be nutritious, delicious, and without compromise. That's why their line of non-dairy milks, butter, and eggs is so special: New Barn makes the basic essentials you need to feed yourself and your family well, and everything they make is dairy-free. The company is committed to protecting the planet and feeding people well. Every decision is made with love for the earth and those who live here – that's why New Barn believes that Love is Food.™
[i] https://www.bbc.com/future/bespoke/follow-the-food/why-soil-is-disappearing-from-farms/ [ii] Ibid. [iii] https://www.innovamarketinsights.com/press-release/innova-identifies-top-10-food-and-beverage-trends-to-accelerate-innovation-in-2021/ [iv] https://rodaleinstitute.org/science/farming-systems-trial/ [v] Ibid. [vi] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0016706104000266