Zack Gazzaniga is passionate about tortilla chips. He started a company, Zack’s Mighty Tortilla Chips, in 2020 to make the best tasting tortilla chips possible—chips that wouldn’t break when dipped in guacamole. More importantly, the chips had to be certified organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, and certified regenerative. Zack’s recently became the first company to be Certified Regenerative by A Greener World (AGW).
To make his tortilla chips, Zack researched corn varieties to find a great-tasting corn. He learned that flint corn is a delicious corn that was grown in the Northeast U.S. but fell out of favor in the early 1900s as the higher yielding dent hybrid corn varieties came to dominate corn production. But he learned that a variety of flint corn called Otto File is widely grown in Italy to make polenta. Zack traveled to Italy and secured 2000 pounds of seed for Otto File yellow, which is similar to a flint corn that was grown in the Northeast.
He then needed to find farmers who would grow Otto File flint corn for his tortilla chips.
“I needed to find growers who were crazy enough to partner with me to grow this ancient corn,” Zack says.
He connected with two organic farmers, Bryce Irlbeck, in Manning, Iowa, and Ed Sills in Pleasant Grove, California. Both farmers were focused on regenerative agriculture and shared their knowledge of regenerative with Zack, who saw its value.
“Regenerative agriculture made so much sense to me that I decided then that this would be a pillar of our business and a mandate that everyone who grows our corn follows regenerative practices,” he says.
Zack then connected with A Greener World, a certification firm that was developing a regenerative certification and became part of their pilot program, which included 50 farms worldwide. The farms spent the last two years working with A Greener World, evaluating farm standards, plans, and auditing procedures for Certified Regenerative by AGW, which have been under development since 2017.
Certified Regenerative by AGW ensures farms are meeting initial rigorous sustainability standards, but also continually improving.
Zack wanted the credibility of a third-party regenerative certification. “Even though we’ve been following regenerative farming practices, we wanted to wait until we had the legitimacy of a third-party certification before we started talking about it,” he says.
A Greener World says its Certified Regenerative program is a whole-farm, plan-based regenerative certification—giving farmers, consumers, and buyers confidence in reliability and impact.
“I got swept up in this idea that agriculture can have a huge positive impact on climate change and reversing the carbon cycle,” Zack says.
All of the corn used in Zack’s Mighty Tortilla Chips is regeneratively farmed, and the chips are the first to be made with corn that is Certified Regenerative by AGW.
Zack’s Might Tortilla Chips feature the Certified Regenerative by AGW logo—along with the USDA Certified Organic seal and the Non-GMO Project butterfly logo.
Zack is committed to regenerative agriculture, and he hopes consumers learn about the benefits of regenerative agriculture by buying his tortilla chips.
“We want people to buy the product because it’s excellent, it’s delicious, it’s organic, and there’s this benefit of it being regenerative,” he says.