#75 - Ladd Wahlen @ Roots Potato Chips
ReGen Brands PodcastJune 14, 202401:05:26

#75 - Ladd Wahlen @ Roots Potato Chips

On this episode, we have Ladd Wahlen who is a fourth-generation potato farmer and Co-Owner of Roots Potato Chips.

Roots Potato Chips is supporting regenerative agriculture with its lineup of single-origin, regeneratively farmed potato chip products.

In this episode, we learn how a college research project catapulted Ladd into his regenerative journey, how radically different his farming operation is from his conventional potato peers, and what its been like to go from farmer to also potato chip manufacturer and CPG brand operator.

Ladd’s farm is proving that you can build a regenerative model for commercial-scale potato production with the farm boasting 10 times the diversity of conventional farms, a 75% reduction in tillage versus conventional farms, and ground cover 90% of the year versus an average 33% of the year for conventional farms.

The Nature Conservancy has made the Wahlen’s farm a demonstration site to help other Idaho potato growers adopt regenerative practices and Ladd and his family hope that the Roots brand can become a commercial engine that incentivizes those same farmers to adopt these practices and while being paid for their efforts.

Episode Highlights:

🥔 Single-origin and regeneratively-farmed potato chips
🤩 Fourth-generation farmer + first-generation CPG founder
✍️ How a college research paper sparked Ladd’s regen curiosity
😯 The stark contrast between their farm and conventional farms
🥇 Being a demo farm for The Nature Conservancy
🚜 The impossibility of eliminating tillage in potato production
🤯 Starting the brand with 25 initial SKUs
👎 Why don’t retail buyers care more about regen?
🤝 Working with Soil & Climate Health Initiative Verification
🔥 Using the brand as a tool to convert potato farmers to regen

Links:
https://rootschips.com/
https://non-gmoreport.com/articles/idaho-farm-offers-model-of-regenerative-potato-farming/
https://www.nature.org/en-us/
https://www.soilclimateinitiative.org/
https://a.co/d/9kXoazt

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