– guest: Øistein Thorsen

In this series I speak with leaders fighting climate change, biodiversity loss, malnutrition and hunger through a focus on SYSTEMS CHANGE. Tune-in for a dose of optimism.


Scaling-up Meat Production Knowhow



-ft. ØISTEIN THORSEN

CEO of FAI Farms

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CORE SYSTEMS CHANGE: the 6-part miniseries >>


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ep. 107: Øistein Thorsen – CEO, FAI Farms

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ep.107: ‘ANIMAL CENTRIC (GOOD) MEAT PRODUCTION’

Host: Aaron Niederhelman
Guest: Øistein Thorsen of FAI Farms


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Did you know that across the globe we process over 70 billion land animals every year?! Nine billion in the US alone. Yet, it’s still pretty hard to find good meat and to know a little something about the animal that it came from. A growing opportunity has arisen in contemporary markets for meat from animals raised using elevated practices. These elevated practices are simply investments into the well-being of the food animal that result in holistic benefits to humans, the planet and of course the animal themselves.

As you’ll hear from today’s guest, this commitment to elevating practices in the production of good meat may not only be the best draw to attain and retain modern consumers, but when adopted into our collective consciousness as an obligation – it’s a clear path forward to clean-up a broken food system and to help stabilize the planet. We must start looking at food systems differently, and that can begin today with how we raise our food animals.

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Getting us to Animal Centric Meat Production

holistic

ANIMAL

AGRICULTURE

The reality is – people are going to eat meat. In fact, experts are saying that by 2050 demand for proteins will increase by 70%. New leaders have arisen. Leaders that have begun to think and act differently in raising animals to produce enough food for increased demand. Øistein Thorsen of FAI Farms is one of these upstart pioneers that is instigating a values-based food systems built on the practices of investing in health and well-being of food animals. In our conversation Thorsen explains the approach as “Animal Centric Meat Production”. That’s one of the best descriptions that I’ve heard for this commonsense approach to attaining a one-shared-health outcome from food. Thorsen says that “to keep a shrinking planet nourished and sustained for decades to come, it has to begin with respecting the food animal.”

Tune-in and learn what an Animal Centric Food System will look like in the Future

The French expression Noblesse Oblige translates to “nobility obliges”. It effectively means that with power and privilege we’re obligated to look out for the wellbeing of others that are less fortunate. Along with Thorsen, a handful of dynamic animal agriculture leaders working to clean-up the food system have adopted this as a mantra. They say, evolving how we manage sentient animals to produce meat, eggs, and dairy changes everything.

ep. 107: AUDIOGRAM – 90 sec. video short

As we hear from Øistein, not only is this evolution the ethical thing to do, but the resulting food products are significantly better for you and your surroundings than anything coming from conventional streams. In fact, this good meat, dairy and eggs from healthy animals living in more natural environments is better than anything coming to market at all, including all of the newly concocted lab-grown protein derived from artificial means.

Despite all the buzz behind those plant-based / lab-grown proteins, or the noise from conventional climate-friendly propaganda – the only silver-bullet solution to our big problems like malnutrition, hunger, supply-chain disruption and even climate instability is for us to do a better job shepherding the regenerative natural resources underpinning the production of our food. The conduit to food systems change can be Animal Centric Agriculture. So, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater, because we all have to know that… it’s not the cow that’s the problem, it’s the how.

“I have not seen a lot of examples where something starts as a niche (elevated standard) certification and becomes mainstream.

We have the need to look at some alternative playbooks that will change the approach from the ground-up.”

Øistein Thorsen CEO of FAI Farms

A Holistic Approach to Producing Good Meat

Farm Animal Initiative (FAI) Farms was founded in 2001 at the Oxford University farm estate. 20 years later they remain a ground-breaking research and advisory firm on a mission to help the food sector overcome key challenges and implement better practices on land and at sea. Utilizing their “3E” (Economic, Environmental, Ethical) approach, FAI works with farmers and many of the world’s largest food companies to implement practical solutions for climate and food security concerns in a contemporary world.

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The Growing Footprint of Animal Centric

A purpose driven company committed to providing solutions to climate and food security, FAI offers services led by science, data, and the practice of holistic food production. FAI’s world leading multi-disciplinary team work in partnership with major food brands to create a high welfare, equitable and regenerative food system. FAI is headquartered in Oxford, UK, with representation in the USA, Norway, Brazil, New Zealand and partners in China.

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feeding the planet ✔️

employing communities ✔️

stabilizing the climate ✔️

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a next generation pioneer in food animal production: Øistein Thorsen

As CEO of FAI, Øistein is responsible for the company’s growth and impact strategy, and new business development. He joined FAI in 2012, working with global partners including IKEA, Ferrero, McDonald’s and KFC, before leading the company through an MBO in August 2020.

Øistein grew up in shuttle between Sudan, Norway, and Ethiopia. He holds an MSc in International Political Economy from the London School of Economics (LSE) and a BA in African Studies and Development Studies from SOAS. Before joining FAI he followed in his parents’ footprints pursuing a career in international development. He worked for VSO and Oxfam, focusing on community engagement, global agricultural trade policy, and humanitarian advocacy at the United Nations.

Thorsen is the associate producer of “Black Gold”, a Sundance Film Festival feature-documentary film about coffee growers in Ethiopia’s place in the global coffee market.

Øistein lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children.

DO YOUR PART: Stabilize the Planet by Investing in Animal Centric Agriculture

With the huge uptick in global consumption of proteins over the next few decades, current conventional practice and cutting-edge tech will only continue to send natural systems out of whack. When scaled with proper knowhow, Animal Centric Agriculture food solutions can have positive and lasting impact on the planet and all of its inhabitants. When animals are put in the middle and given due respect throughout food production – it becomes the tent pole to build the new food system, to return to natural order, and to benefit each involved party. Especially the food animals themselves.

As part of the Core Food Systems Change series, in this episode you’ll hear that when Animal Centric Agriculture becomes part of our collective consciousness it’s the best opportunity that we’ve got for a stable future.

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@FAIFarms

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Listen-in to the full conversation with Øistein and Aaron as they discuss what it’ll take to achieve change in meat through becoming animal centric in our production.

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photo credit:  Melissa DiPalma & FAI Farms


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the rich & lasting benefits of:

CORE SYSTEMS CHANGE – content series

The thing is… all sorts of folks will be embracing the values gained from good food and its production. Good food is simply an investment in your own personal health and performance. It’s also a venue to take real climate action in every bite, and a daily dose of benevolence for the folks that keep us well. Good food is a boom-town innovation economy that’s ripening to become invasive throughout verticals and global marketplaces. That’ll begin as more local jobs, and with regional food security.

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