On 31 January and 1 February, the first SAI Platform Crops Workshop in North America was received with positive and enthusiastic support. Setting a precedence for future workshops and events, the aim was to target regional agricultural challenges and address specific sustainable practice solutions. The event was well attended by North American members, many of whom are new to SAI Platform as the workshop focused on the benefits and opportunities of sharing experiences and learning together. Sessions also included an introduction to SAI Platform’s Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA) programme and how to better engage and interact with farmers.
Speakers at the Crops Workshop in Dallas, Texas included Rob Meyers from PepsiCo and SAI Platform’s Director, Americas, Nick Betts. Introducing SAI Platform’s data collation and collaboration tool – Spotlight, Brian Nash from Ingredion presented the tool’s workings, latest features and projects. First-hand experience on the FSA in practice was given by members Rebecca Larson from Western Sugar Cooperative and Catherine Roué from Kalsec as well as FSA user Cathy Resler from Ocean Spray. Sharing his experiences about piloting the Field to Market equivalency model with the FSA, Kevin Ogorzalek from Barry Callebaut, spoke about how this local tool was assisting them in harmonising their sustainability sourcing objectives on a global scale.
The importance of an increased presence for SAI Platform in North America was commented on by Brian Nash from Ingredion – “SAI Platform has many members located in the US, but to date we have primarily been operating independently. The meeting in Dallas was a great opportunity to bring a lot of the US-based member companies together, discuss the areas where we are engaged, and begin to develop a plan to collaborate moving forward. We were also able to bring in outside groups – companies interested in joining SAI Platform as well as stakeholders in US sustainable agriculture – to broaden the conversation and improve familiarity with the work that we are doing.”
SAI Platform provides a model that enables collaboration in innovative and new ways that has previously not existed in North America. As a network demonstrating a common vision and interest, we offer an excellent model for sharing knowledge and approaches to sustainability as well as working in collaboration to accomplish more.