Holganix: Increasing crop yield with less chemicals and irrigation

Holganix technology harnesses the power of over 800 soil microbes to increase crop yield while using less chemicals and irrigation.

Photo of Barrett Ersek
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Written by

I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

Holganix LLC

Year founded

2010

Initiative stage

  • Established (the solution has passed the previous stages and demonstrated success)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • Over $5mil

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 5,000 - 10,000

Organization type

  • For-profit

Secondary Focus Area

  • Water

Headquarters location: Country

  • United States of America

Headquarters location: City

Glen Mills, PA

Location(s) of impact

U.S. States: ME, NH, VT, MA, RI, CT, NJ, DE, MD, WV, VA, NC, SC, GA, AL, MS, LA, FL, AR, OK, TX, KS, NM, CO, AZ, NV, CA, OR, WA, NV

Website

www.Holganix.com

Facebook URL

https://www.facebook.com/holganix/

Twitter URL

https://twitter.com/Holganix

Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

With the global population expected to reach 9.7 Billion by 2050, today's farmers are under pressure to feed the population using less land in a way that is environmentally and economically sustainable. Not only do they need to create more food, but they have to turn a profit and do it using less chemical fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

Holganix is dedicated to inspiring a better way to grow plants by harnessing the power of soil microbes to enhance nutrient uptake by the plant. The result? Farmers are able to increase yield while reducing their need for chemicals and irrigation.

We have several commercial growers and university trials that support the benefits of our products and can be viewed on our website: www.Holganix.com.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

By choosing Holganix, you are not only selecting an organic approach you are also choosing a product that helps eliminate nitrates, phosphates and pesticides from running off into our waterways. In fact, each jug of Holganix Bio 800+ allows you to eliminate:
80 Pounds of Nitrates
20 Pounds of Phosphates
75 Ounces of concentrated Pesticides

As a part of our core value sustainability, by Earth Day 2020 we have pledged to eliminate:
100,000,000 Pounds of Nitrates
25,000,000 Pounds of Phosphates
100,000,000 Ounces of Concentrated Pesticides

To date, we have eliminated:
25,594,000 Pounds of Nitrates
6,495,000 Pounds of Phosphates
24,182,000 Ounces of Concentrated Pesticides

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

1. In 2016, Holganix generated 6 Million USD in revenue.
2. Holganix is seeking 3 Million USD in equity investment to further their impact in agriculture.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

Holganix products:
1. Contain more diversity of soil microbes by 10x
2. DNA fingerprint each batch

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

“I can still remember sitting in my office chair and staring out the window, watching trailers come and go filled to the brim with fertilizer,” says Barrett Ersek, CEO of Holganix. “At the time I was running a growing and successful lawn care company called Happy Lawn out of the Philadelphia region.” In the summers, Ersek would spend his weekends bass fishing in the Chesapeake Bay. Each year there was more conversation about the detrimental effects chemicals were having on marine life in the Chesapeake. “The more successful I was as a lawn care provider, the more chemicals I used and the more run off into the bay I generated. I became obsessed with the idea that there had to be a better way to service my customers.”

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Ashoka page or contact

Evaluation results

2 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 0%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 100%

3 - I think the idea is great, but it needs some work before it moves onto the next round. - 0%

2 - I liked it fine but preferred others. - 0%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. Needs significant revisions. - 0%

2. Innovation

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 0%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 100%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

3. Social and/or Environmental Impact

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 0%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 100%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

4. Financial sustainability

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 100%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 0%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

Nothing stands out! I thought it was great. - 0%

5. Potential to Scale / Replicability

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 0%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 0%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 100%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

6. Organizational Leadership

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 0%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 50%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 50%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

7. Potential for Creating Shared Value

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 0%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 50%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 50%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

2 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Sharla Halvorson

Barrett, Congratulations on the work you've done so far on reducing the use of nitrates, phosphates and pesticides.  This is a great approach to ensure that we have healthier soil as well as healthier waterways.   How does using soil microbes compare in cost to using traditional fertilizers and pesticide?

Photo of Barrett Ersek

Hi Sharla, Thank you for your question! Our products often save farmers money because of the reduction in inputs and increased yields. For contractors (lawn and landscape, sports turf, golf) our product is often cost neutral.