Forces of Nature is a talkshow miniseries featuring dynamic leaders from across food & environmental movements. Tune-in for a dose of optimism.

– six-part miniseries –

SARA FARLEY

VP, Global Food Portfolio

The Rockefeller Foundation


FORCES OF NATURE




Food as Climate & Social Action

Sara Farley in episode 114

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by: Aaron Niederhelman


FEEDING A SHRINKING PLANET

HAS BECOME A BIG TICKET

AGENDA ITEM


For 110 years it’s been the mission of the Rockefeller Foundation to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. But this year something has changed. The existential threat of a changing climate has become so great that they’ve evolved their primary focus to become a climate-first foundation. The reality is the climate crisis is a human crisis, so this all makes sense. Looking ahead as conditions and impacts worsen, benefactors like The Rockefeller Foundation seek strategies to stabilize the planet and improve the human condition in one fell swoop.

We’ll see climate action in many forms over the next decade, but what feeds us may just possess the greatest potential to drive lasting change across large and diverse populations. Food and its production impact everyone; everyday. In fact, improving food systems and supporting the proper management of the resources required to produce more food in the years ahead is a pillar of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Climate-First mission.

From reducing externalities, protecting biodiversity, evolving extractive and input heavy production models, promoting ample nutrient security, banking carbon and reducing wasted food – improving the food system is chock-full of opportunity where sound investment leads to actions with mutually-beneficial rewards for people and planet. It’s clear that actions to improve food for more has potential for sustained impact on all.

“Climate change is already hurting the most vulnerable first and worst. If the world continues with business as usual, and the planet grows warmer by 3 degrees or more, life will become unbearable for many of the people we serve.”

– Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation

BIG INVESTMENT IN RESPONSIBLE FOOD

With a storied history supporting the greater good, The Rockefeller Foundation investments in food-as-climate-&-social-action will cast a long-shadow over the future of giving. Furthermore, documenting the lasting wins for the poorest to the wealthiest populations will influence State sponsored resources and traditional investment dollars seeking the mutually-beneficial returns from taking food actions.

watch the full 40 minute episode

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FOOD AS CLIMATE & SOCIAL ACTION

Sara Farley leads the global portfolio for The Rockefeller Foundation’s food team. In this capacity she is driving the Foundation’s inaugural regenerative food systems strategy and leading the articulation of a “Big Bet” for Food + Climate for the foundation. Sara is leading such signature initiatives as the Food Systems Vision Prize, and directs the diet quality portfolio and is expanding the good food purchasing portfolio and true cost accounting work globally with the aim of shifting the diet quality of 500 million underserved people by 2030.

#ForcesOfNature 

“We’re working to advance the evidence. Where looking at how to build a network of proof points.

We’re evaluating how to leverage those proof points to activate Regenerative Natural Resources and all of those wonderful (supporting) conversations, to transition from synthetic conventional agriculture to this alternative paradigm.”

– Sara Farley

The Rockefeller Foundation has earmarked fundamental changes to improve the U.S. food system

The Rockefeller Foundation has explored how to transform the U.S. food system with long horizon investments to promote healthy people, thriving communities and a stabile planet. The components detailed in their research are as follows:

COMPONENTS FOR CHANGE:

1) Integrated Nutrition

2) Regional Systems

3) Everyone Wins

1) More integrated nutrition security system

  • Strengthen nutrition benefit programs to ensure children and families are fed.
  • Invest public and private funding in school food programs as anchors of community feeding.
  • Expand Food is Medicine.

2) Reinvigorated regional systems

  • Ensure relief and stimulus policies improve the resilience of supply chains and strengthen local systems.
  • Direct the purchasing power of large institutions along a values-based (equitable, ethical, sustainable) supply chain.

3) Equitable prosperity throughout the supply chain

  • Enforce mandatory guidelines to keep workers and the food supply safe.
  • Provide credit, loan servicing, and debt relief for farmers and ranchers.
  • Increase prosperity of farmers, ranchers, and fishers by more equitably distributing risk and profit.

“3 billion people can’t afford a healthy diet. That’s almost 50% of the people on the planet. And then, many of the people that just barely can afford a healthy diet are reliant on government systems that have not been optimized for the sustainability footprint, and often not optimized for nutrition.”

– Sara Farley

promoting Regen

as food & climate solutions for a just and stable tomorrow

SARA FARLEY

VICE PRESIDENT

GLOBAL FOOD

PORTFOLIO

REGENERATING ACROSS A SPECTRUM

At the Rockefeller Foundation they have embraced the benefits of regenerative food production across a spectrum. The transition away from big ag won’t be easy, but from what Sara tells us – it’s all about the long game. “Regenerative agriculture is not just one thing. It covers a range of outcomes, and the practices to achieve beneficial impact on varied landscapes,” says Farley, VP of Global Food Portfolio at The Rockefeller Foundation.

Sara talks to us about just how important it is for like-minded benefactors to collaborate on big Regen efforts moving forward. “It’s not just the size of the undertaking to transition towards regenerative that requires funders to go at it together; it’s because of the multiple complexities that we’ll face in supporting the transition,” explains Farley.

“Well, sure… regenerative is just a term for the natural ecological process where everything is renewed in the process of using it. Regenerative agriculture is knowing how to work within that natural system to grow our food.”

– Fred Kirschenmann, SMs guest ep. #001

The Rockefeller Foundation Regen Overview

Regenerative agriculture is a holistic approach to food production that starts with the soil and includes the health of people, animals, and the environment. Regenerative farming principles have roots in Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge and food systems that have been with us for thousands of years. Now, braided with fresh innovations, they offer direction and hope for a planet grappling with the extremes of climate change and an industrialized food system operating outside of planetary boundaries.

GABE BROWN’S FIVE PRINCIPLES OF REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE:

  1. No disturbance (no-till, no-synthetics)
  2. Bolstering Soil’s Natural Defense (the outer-layer protecting all that life)
  3. Bio-diversity (marrying nature’s way keeps the system healthy)
  4. A living root in the ground as long as possible (cover-crops & seasonal diversity)
  5. Animal & Insect integration (nature relies on the system working together)

– Gabe Brown, SMs guest ep. #052

GETTING BETTER WITH EVERY COP

“Food arrived at COP27. We no longer the little kid at the back of the room. We did have a voice. There were 200 food focus in Egypt. There 4 or 5 Food-focused pavilions. It felt like a feast. What was also existing was the food conversation wasn’t only in the food pavilion, but food was central to climate discussions in all COP pavilions,” Sara shared while explaining some of the good things that came from COP 27.

“I think within the food tent we need more discipline. We need to get clearer and sharper for what we’re advocating for. Let’s tighten up the aperture. Let’s become very clear about high ambition countries. Let’s come clear about Regen financing mechanisms, and I think we’ll come to a shorter list to COP 28.”

– Sara Farley on what to expect in UAE

COP 28 will take place in the United Arab Emirates. The summit will be held at Expo City Dubai from November 30th until December 12th, 2023. Enthusiasm and anticipation are already building. Farley explains, “There’s a series commitment going into COP28. With the leadership that minister Al Mheiri and her team are showing in the UAE to put food at the absolute center of this year’s climate summit will be. We would be foolish not to take the opportunity and really get serious about trying to be as deeply collaborative as we can to advance that agenda.”

LASTING CHANGES

Previously to the Rockefeller Foundation, Farley co-founded the Global Knowledge Initiative, which she led for a decade, nurturing it from a concept to an organization designated as one of the “Top 100 Social Innovations for the next century.” During her time at GKI, Sara cultivated a dynamic team that she led in the design and execution of GKI’s programs in systems research and evaluation, network optimization, and collaborative innovation strategy setting, work that included serving as The Rockefeller Foundation’s Social Innovation Lab on Waste & Spoilage.

With “80% of the $600-800 Billion in global (food) subsidies still supporting industrial agriculture,” Sara sees a great deal of upside for the whole Regen movement. According to recent Rockefeller Foundation analysis, between $5B – $13B is being invested in Regen. So, what kind of critical-mass would develop with even 10% of the total subsidy budget being allocated to Regen?

One idea that the Rockefeller Foundation is spitballing with other funders is the creation of acceleration facilities that would offer technical assistance and matchmaking into current fragmented regional landscapes. The ultimate goal here is strategic investment for lasting climate & social benefit.

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CALL TO ARMS

“For The Rockefeller Foundation food team – our food & climate strategy is around Regen and agro-ecology. We will be working on: 1. a (food quality) measurements framework, 2. this global network – connecting the proof points, 3. trying to link-up, mobilize and facilitate multiple funders to bring substantial financial commitment to Regen.”

– Sara Farley, ep. 114 guest

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(t) @InnovationWoman

@RockefellerFDN


photo credit:  Rockefeller Foundation || Sara Farley Twitter media


FORCES OF NATURE


Sara Farley


“I think within the food tent we need more discipline. We need to get clearer and sharper for what we’re advocating for. Let’s tighten up the aperture. Let’s become very clear about high ambition countries. Let’s come clear about Regen financing mechanisms, and I think we’ll come to a shorter list to COP 28.”

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FORCES OF NATURE – series

As part of the FORCES OF NATURE series, in this episode you’ll hear from inspiring folks making good things happen to benefit people and planet.

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Benedikt Bösel – Pioneering Land Use
Eric Soubeiran – Forging a Value Chain
FORCES OF NATURE miniseries

complete catalog >>

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Forces of Nature is a talkshow miniseries featuring dynamic leaders from across food & environmental movements. Tune-in for a dose of optimism.

-guest: Benedikt Bösel

FORCES OF NATURE



Benedikt Bösel

Gut & Bösel Land Use Proprietor · Regenerative Pioneer

miniseries

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Benedikt Bösel – Pioneering Land Use · whole new ball of wax · ep. 113

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by: Aaron Niederhelman


ECOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES IN LAND USE


Benedikt Bösel is founder and CEO of Gut & Bösel, a 3,000 hectare ecological farm and land use research center east of Berlin, Germany.  The site is quickly becoming an epicenter for the future of food & fiber production.  It’s the whole ball of wax from regenerative food production practice, forestry management, savvy land use, stewardship initiatives, animal centric integration, and even a royal bed & breakfast to welcome new guests to the movement. It’s a gem of a spot and a big win for EU Regen.

In 2016, Benedikt took over management of the land that’s been in his family for 300 years. He changed the operating system to farm and forest by improving the ecology. In just a few short years, Gut & Bösel has grown from a concept to now tabulating positive outcomes of systemic land use management trials.   Brought together in Brandenburg, this epicenter will expand everyone’s capabilities to understand and to work smarter with natural systems. 

live recorded video conversation w/ Benedikt Bösel

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Buy-in has been good. Agtech is woven into the fabric of this innovation hot-bed, and influential players from around the Brandenburg region, across Germany and throughout Europe have responded to Gut & Bösel with resounding support. In the blink of an eye, Benedikt has laid the foundation for a Stone Barns, EURO.

ACCORDING TO GUT & BÖSEL SITE: (translated)

Between forest and research, cows and compost, agroforestry and arable farming – this is how we research and develop different forms of multifunctional land use.

#ForcesOfNature 

“An hour east of Berlin, Thor Odinson’s overachieving German cousin Benedikt Bösel pushes the REGEN envelope on a parcel the size of 6000 soccer pitches!”

THE WHOLE NEW BALL OF WAX

GUT & BÖSEL ECOLOGICAL LAND USE EPICENTER

GUT & BÖSEL
Land Use Testing & Research Center
Alt Madlitz, Brandenburg, Germany

Ecological Agriculture

Agroforestry

Forestry

Plant Nursery & Germination

Animal Centric Pasture Management

Compost Farming

Contemporary Research Institution

Park & Agri-Tourism Center

AgTech Hub

Early-Stage Company Incubator

Jobs Creator

– Community Builder

Movement Leader

FARMING THE ELEMENTS

The Brandenburg region has little precipitation and very sandy soils. It’s a challenging place to farm. Benedikt came to Alt Madlitz with a grand idea. Then drought came, and everything changed. This forced him to innovate years before originally planned. Benedikt doubled down on closing the nutrient cycling loop of ecology to keep healthy production from his land. He weathered that storm and continues to build resiliency.

Through holistic pasture management, composting, syntropic agroforestry and forest conversion, and even the development of new software and technology – the stellar team at Gut & Bösel are working on methods of multifunctional agriculture to build healthy and thriving ecosystems. So much more to come.

farming for our future

AWARD WINNING EFFORTS & DEFT TOUCH

Benedikt was named 2022 Farmer of the Year in Germany by the Federal Minister of Agriculture. The Gut & Bösel team was recently the subject of a six-part Disney+ miniseries titled ‘The Farm Experiment‘, which is expected to drop in 2023. The release of a book sharing more of the good, the bad and the journey to date is on the docket.

In ep. #113 we chat about the soon to begin World Cup 2022. You get some insight into Benedikt’s POV on global affairs, and where he believes change is going to come from. We also learn that despite being a German football fan at heart, it’s the NBA that gets Benedikt to kick back and have a few beers. In fact, it’s my hometown Boston Celtics may be his team. Go GREEN (C’s & The Planet). I’m pulling for team USA in Qatar, but no matter what happens I’m just excited to see the beautiful game played on its grandest stage.  Despite all the problems that brings.

“I realized that we have to dramatically change the system, and the philosophy of our land use models.  We were already doing agriculture in an ecological standard on the farm, but it was far from building soil, and looking after soil fertilizing and ecosystem health.  That’s how we started on our journey to discover what alternative land use models are out there to turn the situation around.”

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– Benedikt Bösel, episode 113 guest

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CALL TO ARMS

Benedikt is glass-half-full kinda of guy. That’s his nature. He’s also a trained investment banking who has sniffed this out as a business growth opportunity. Interest in smarter foods and fiber has become ripe, and as the regenerative movement brews – we’ll see more of these products hit mainstream. Sure, carbon markets monopolize much of the current discussions, and there’s all kinds of greenwashing of intents happening out there. This call to action is to elevate the conversation; to focus only on regenerative natural systems of ecology to grow our foods and fiber.

twitter: @BenediktBoesel

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photo credits:  Werde Magazine || ZEIT ONLINE || tagesspiegel || Food Matters Live


FORCES OF NATURE


Benedikt Bösel


Thor Odinson’s overachieving German cousin Benedikt Bösel is pushing the envelope on a REGENERATIVE landscape just East of Berlin, Germany. On 3000 hectares of land and with hundreds of team members / supporters – they’re proving-out, and showcasing what regenerative land use can look like.

Is this what the future of estate management and succession looks like?!

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FORCES OF NATURE – series

As part of the FORCES OF NATURE series, in this episode you’ll hear from inspiring folks making good things happen to benefit the world.

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Henk Ovink – World Water Super Agent
Eric Soubeiran – Forging a Value Chain
FORCES OF NATURE

full catalog >>

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Forces of Nature is a talkshow miniseries featuring dynamic leaders from across food & environmental movements. Tune-in for a dose of optimism.

– episode guest: Jennifer Hashley

FORCES OF NATURE

miniseries



Jennifer Hashley

New Entry Sustainable founder & Local Farming Pioneer

6-part series

.6-part miniseries

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Jennifer Hashley · Friendly Neighborhood Superhero · episode 112

.6-part miniseries

by: Aaron Niederhelman


A LOCAL FOOD SUPERHERO


SOURCING MATTERS

Rooted in the Tufts Friedman School of nutrition, the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project is one of the first initiatives nationwide to help immigrants and refugees develop commercial farming opportunities. Change-agent Jennifer Hashley grew New Entry into a sustained effort while she was getting her Master’s in Agriculture and Public Policy at Tufts. The goal since the beginning has been to help farmers thrive in the fields, the office and within their communities. Today, 25 years later and New Entry has established a framework that will teach anyone that’s ready to learn how to operate a successful sustainable farming business.

New Entry is teaching an approach to farming that could eventually become the model that everyone uses to produce food in the future. A model that is smaller scale, regional, diversified and using production that is bathed in ecological best practice.

Each and every food purchase from these farms is a circular dollar spent in local economies. Jobs are created, and in using this production approach the land, natural resources and nature are looked after in more responsible manner. New Entry farms are also beneficial in dealing with food waste, water and this healthy farmland sucks down and stores carbon. Additionally, farming the landscape to combat climate change is real, and as a whole local food is significantly less taxing on the environment as compared to conventional. The biggest win of all is the opportunity for more community members to eat more fresh and nutrient dense foods from nearby farms.

For others, with current geo-political instability and what was exposed as weak spots in global food supply chains during COVID, local food from regional production is actually all about guaranteeing food security for the future. More New Entry farmers on local lands helps with food surplus for any region or community. Local food is also about stability. After all, “Every society is (only) three meals away from chaos.”

The long and short of it, New Entry brings contemporary farmers up to speed. Jennifer has developed a system that is chock-full of creative ways to gain land access, grants and funding programs. She help farmers work with multipliers, to figure out distribution and value-ad, and they offer a network to help with staffing. This all adds up to capacity building of local and regional food production. Here we have a trained workforce that is champing at the bit to work their butts off. What’s needed is access to good land, some capital, and a community commitment to make it all grow. New Entry is infrastructure that will change food system by serving the needs and interests of this vested communities of eaters. So, tune in to hear how Jennifer is making it all happen…

WELCOME TO MY KITCHEN – VIDEO TALK SHOW SERIES


live recorded video conversation w/ Jennifer Hashley

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KICKING BUTT FOR A QUARTER CENTURY

Jennifer Hashley is the Trisha Pérez Kennealy and Michael Kennealy Director for New Entry Sustainable Farming Project (NESFP). Prior to becoming Director in 2006, Jennifer was the New Entry Project Coordinator for five years. Jennifer is a leader expert in local food systems work focusing specifically on beginning farmer development.

Jennifer Hashley initiated the MA ‘Choose Fresh & Local’ license plate

“Food security, civic engagement, social welfare, local dollars spent, fresher and higher-value nutrient dense foods (which is preventative health care, of course) and smart land use in your area is all being wrapped up by a movement of food as climate action. It’s right at the threshhold for local food,” explains Hashley.

Hashley’s role at New Entry has included building community partnerships, developing new programs and services, mentoring and supporting project staff, securing sustainable resources for all program operations, writing grants, strategic planning, and overseeing incubator training farm site infrastructure and a multi-year sustainable agriculture training curriculum in specialty crops and livestock production for limited resource farmers.

Where most see only the obstacles, Jennifer views hope and potential in the future of food. Jennifer is nothing short of an inspiration and a true force-of-nature.

INSIDER’S CORNER: institutional investors, public & private endowments, patient capital and family offices – owning the land that could be farmed by New Entry trained management teams is an investment opportunity of a lifetime! It’s a triple-bottom line impact investment that helps communities, and offers monitory reward via capital appreciation of the land, and cash-flow from differentiated products hitting the market. There are all kinds of wins for stakeholders supporting New Entry farms and farmers.


local neighborhood food SUPERHERO

FOOD PRODUCTION OF TOMORROW

For four years we’ve been on a listening tour with Sourcing Matters discussions. We’ve welcomed some of the greatest minds and innovators to chat about how to best manage the planet with future food production. We tapped into all kinds of diverse fields of study and focus areas. Every episode we’ve talked about food, agriculture, resource management and planetary stability. The consensus for how to move forward may not be what you’d expect. As it turns out, most agree that the future of food production must become based on more local foods coming from regional farms. That’s it. That’s the arena for food systems change.

Jennifer Hashley has joined many of these conversation as a Sourcing Matters co-host. Her breadth of knowledge, nuanced understanding of the current state of affairs and a vision for the future is welcomed as trusted voice with the chops of getting things done. For more from Jennifer Hashley – lend an ear to these select episodes:

ep. 44: MARION NESTLE: Waste not, Want Not

ep. 67: GOV. CHRISTINE WHITMAN: EPA & Fluid Politics

ep. 78: PAUL RICE: Fair Trade for all

BETTER FOOD FOR A BETTER LIFE

With her husband Pete, Jennifer oversees a diversified pasture based livestock operation on the the renowned Codman Community Farm in Lincoln MA. They’ve also built the recognized brand ‘Pete and Jen’s Backyard Birds’ known for supreme quality, clean production, humane treatment and for delivering all around delicious proteins.

Jennifer has earned leadership awards for her food systems work, was selected as an Environmental Leadership Fellow, and an Eisenhower Agriculture Fellow. Along with those Master’s degrees from Tufts University – she holds a Certificate in Management of Community Organizations from Tufts University, a Certificate in Ecological Horticulture from UC, Santa Cruz, and a B.S. in Environmental Science and Public Policy from Indiana University.

She serves on the board of the Carrot Project, a small-farm financing nonprofit, and on the board of the Urban Farming Institute of Boston. Jennifer is also an advisor to many state and regional food systems projects addressing agricultural policy issues.

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We are a beginner farmer training program. We can get people excited,  they are passionate, they see a vision, they want to grow food, they want to steward the land, they want to feed their community.  They want to contribute to society, but they burn out because they are not making enough money to live.  To me, that is very scary.  What are we doing to change that?!”

– Jennifer Hashley, episode 112 guest

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FORCES OF NATURE


Jennifer Hashley

Local Neighborhood

Food SuperHero

CALL TO ARMS

Jennifer is optimistic for the future. She wants you to share in her vision of stability through focus on production of good local food. Her call to action is to simply support the things that we believe in. Use your purchasing power of this good local food as a way to exercise those beliefs. When more of this is done in your community, more folks that you care about will benefit. That’s actually true for any community that gets a New Entry farmer to start farming for them. She’s got the IP to train a workforce and drive food systems change. So, time to break some bread with Jennifer and find out how to light this local food candle! Who wants in?

twitter: @JHashley


photo credit:  Angela Klempner || NESFP || TUFTS ||


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FORCES OF NATURE – series

As part of the FORCES OF NATURE series, in this episode you’ll hear from inspiring folks making good things happen to benefit the world.

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Benedikt Bösel – Pioneering Land Use
Eric Soubeiran – Forging a Value Chain

series catalog >>

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– guest: Henk Ovink

Forces of Nature is a talkshow miniseries featuring dynamic leaders from across food & environmental movements. Tune-in for a quick dose of optimism.

FORCES OF NATURE

miniseries



Henk Ovink

Special Envoy International Water Affairs, Netherlands

2023 UN Water Conference Sherpa

6-part series

.6-part miniseries

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Henk Ovink · World Water SuperAgent episode: 110

.6-part miniseries

by: Aaron Niederhelman


QUARTERBACKING

A WATER SMART

PLAYBOOK


SOURCING MATTERS

Water is a fundamental part of all aspects of life. Yet, today, 40% of the world’s people are affected by water scarcity; 80% of wastewater is discharged untreated into the environment, and more than 90% of disasters are water-related. And despite all of these real concerns – we still suck down 70% of available freshwater to lavishly manage antiquated cropping systems chock full of chemical externalities.

The long and short of it – we need awareness of the problems and more solutions for the vast water crises enveloping the planet. So, to find out what should be done to manage water better in the future – we’ve turned to the guy that the United Nations has asked to quarterback their once in a generation Water Conference happening in March of 2023. We welcome Henk Ovink to show.

How we all decide to consume will play a major role in eradicating pressing water concerns. Spurring on more awareness and incentivizing change in stakeholder behavior is ultimately what’s needed to evolve our relationship with nature. Food seems a logical place to begin taking action, and from my POV it’s all about good storytelling that’ll be the remedy here. Tune-in to hear what this Force of Nature has to say about the future of water and our shared future.   – Aaron 

WELCOME TO MY KITCHEN – VIDEO TALK SHOW SERIES


WELCOME TO MY KITCHEN – video conversation w/ Henk Ovink

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HOW HE GOT HERE

Henk Ovink was appointed by the Dutch Cabinet as the first Special Envoy for International Water Affairs in 2015. As the Ambassador for Water, Henk is responsible for advocating water awareness around the world, focusing on building institutional capacity and coalitions among governments, multilateral organizations, private sector and NGO’s to address the world’s stressing needs on water and help initiate transformative interventions.

Ovink is also Sherpa to the High Level Panel on Water, installed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and President of the World Bank Jim Kim with 10 Heads of State / Heads of Government including Prime Minister Rutte from The Netherlands, in a effort to catalyze change in water awareness and implementation. Henk is Principal for REBUILD BY DESIGN – an innovation competition that would forever change how natural disaster clean-ups look at resilience. Ovink is also a founding father of the Dutch-founded public-private partnership “Water as Leverage”.

A SUPERSTORM 10 YEARS OUT

In 2012, Henk Ovink was appointed by President Obama and the Secretary of HUD, Shaun Donovan, to become the special envoy of Water to the US. He was directly responsible for launching the HUD & Rockefeller Foundation funded program REBUILD BY DESIGN – a global crowdsourcing initiative of top designers and planners to pool the best ideas which would rebuild using federal resources after Hurricane Sandy. The program was such a success it reformulated the approach the US government used for federal payouts on natural disasters, and became the linchpin for “resilience” in infrastructure rebuilds following future incidents.

Lend an ear to hear what’s still happening with the clean-up efforts, and the new policy framework still in play a decade after Hurricane Sandy.

World Water SuperAgent

THE MASTER ARCHITECT

In our 35 minute conversation with World Water SuperAgent Henk Ovink we learn about some of the biggest issues that will need to be addressed in both fresh and sea water. After decades of experience, Ovink has come to the realization that water is leverage.  Currently, water is barely a commodity in most markets, but that worth will become invaluable for generations ahead. We hear how resiliency is the ability to bounce-back, and how we must embrace incidents of natural disasters to adopt changes in practice and mind-set and develop that capacity to bounce back. It’s not about building back bigger, but smarter.  It’s just too expensive to wait any longer.

CALL TO ACTION

Currently, 70% of accessible freshwater across the global is used for agricultural irrigation. In some regions that percentage tops 90%. Henk explains that 71% of the planet is covered in water, but only 4% is sweet (fresh) water, and only ½ % of that is available for our consumption. With more and more pollutants, sewage, runoff, forever chemicals and other contaminants clean potable fresh water is a valuable and scarce resource that we can no longer squander. Our process for growing food with antiquated agricultural practice is concerning in a world running up against planetary boundaries. Being Good Natured about wasting water just doesn’t make sense anymore.

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“Water is connected to everything. As Ban Ki-Moon said, water is life! Without water there is no food, no energy, and no security. With poor quality water there’s biodiversity loss and human health issues. Billions of people around the world lack access to clean drinking water, and hygiene/sanitation facilities. An understanding for the complexity of all of these relationships and managing them across all sectors, disciplines and scales isn’t happening. Water management is just fragmented and often in a silo. That’s what we’re going to change.” – ep. 110 guest, Henk Ovink

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twitter: @HenkOvink

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FORCES OF NATURE


Henk Ovink

World Water SuperAgent

BEHAVIORAL CHANGE

The methodology and technology for sound water management behavior is coming online around the planet. Hopefully we can all start paying more attention to what Henk has to say, and use this call to action to get involved – in our own way – in dealing with something bigger than ourselves by being smarter for ourselves.

Here’s the WEBSITE that Henk recommends using to get involved with the 2023 UN Water Conference, now!


photo credit:  Evert van der Worp || NY TIMES || Jump the Gap || Government of the Netherlands


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FORCES OF NATURE – series

As part of the FORCES OF NATURE series, in this episode you’ll hear from inspiring folks making good things happen to benefit the world.

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series catalog >>

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– guest: Dan Barber

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.

Dan Barber

BLUE HILL RESTAURANT & FARM


Collective Consciousness


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CORE SYSTEMS CHANGE: the 6-part miniseries >>


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ep. 109: Dan Barber of Blue Hill

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Q: Can our hedonistic self ignite a collective good?


BUILDING A COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUSNESS

w/ host: Aaron Niederhelman


In a far-reaching 40 minute conversation, chef, advocate, writer and businessman Dan Barber joins host Aaron Niederhelman to discuss the future of food and production.  From alternative proteins, the environmental brass-tacks of regenerative, how seeds rule the way we use the world, the mission of a well suited regional food system and the potential to stabilize the planet by tapping into our hedonistic self – it all gets airtime.

So, tune-in and be empowered to partake in a global movement that only asks of you to feed your pleasures, vanity and soul some super-delicious, healthy and responsible real foods. That’s how we save the planet and each other!

“What we need is a food system that is an engine for the improvement of ecological systems and the environment. Having to sacrifice the health of the environment for food production is a false choice.” – ep. 109 guest, Dan Barber

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Hear Dan’s 2-minute take on alternative meats

Smooth like Butter Margarine

The dialogue begins by evaluating the current state of alternative meats. You see, sales of alternative proteins reached $7 billion last year. The market value is predicted to hit $25 bl. by 2030. The cultured and lab-grown arena is obviously big business with a lot of capital behind it, but come on! Are these growth expectations realistic? Are new folks really buying it?! Based on what we know now, can the trend be sustained? And, should it?!

Comparing it to the adoption of the butter-alternative margarine by cutting-edge families of the 1970s, Barber says that current day consumers of animal protein alternatives have been given equal parts false hope, and false advertising. He explains, “It’s a technology that supposedly does it better than how nature does it!”

Hedonism Spawns Greater Consciousness

tapping into the

PLEASURE

PRINCIPLE

When asked what it’ll take to create real change in food, Dan says that it’s all about deliciousness.

“The practices that produce the best environmental conditions – are the same practices that produce the most delicious, hedonistic food experiences,” explains Barber.

The more you look into food systems – the more layers, reasons and rationale for change that you’ll find. For some of you eco-warriors who are just tuning in – check this out – the environmental food movement isn’t just for vegetarians and vegans anymore. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Pastured ruminants (hoofed herbivores) are the most elegant approach on the board to balance complex energy, nutrient and carbon cycles found in food production. Hey, even anti-meat agencies & NGOs are now stating that, “it’s not the cow, it’s the how.”

Barber continues: “We will have to make sure that whatever we put in our mouth is an agricultural product that won’t degrade the environment, but instead improve it! Part of that is eating meat. If you are eating grass-fed meat from a cow that was truly raised on pasture, than you’re erasing the carbon footprint of the animal. You are eating net-positive. You’re not just doing less bad to the earth, you’re improving the environmental function of pastureland and the ecosystem.”

Row 7 Seed – honeynut squash – photo credit: Johnny Autry

Seeds Determine How the World is Used

Conventional agriculture has long-since used breeding and genetic modifications to optimize seeds for intervention. Effectively, these are seeds that marry with treatments to address problems which arise only when managing large plots of monoculture crops. The impact and environmental degradation of this conventional seed playbook is well past an unsustainable threshold. And, the proliferation this approach has been so successful that we’ve reached a point in which how we grow food from these conventional seeds determines how the planet is being used.

Today, the molecular scalpel of modern seed science can eliminate many of the environmental & human health externalities tied to this conventional production. Consumers seem interested in the change, the industry is evolving to a biological toolkit to adapt, and the appetite of big food has been whet. Is it progress?! Well, maybe?!

Barber thinks that we need to look at it all differently. Tapping into that pleasure principle found in us all, he says that once again change will come down to deliciousness of food. As an example of how to leverage this hedonism and drive change through focus on taste over treatment or shelf-life, Dan shares the development story of the Row 7 honeynut squash. If that’s the future of organic & non-GMO – sign us up!

“Seeds have been bred for yield; bred for shelf-life; and they’ve been bred for long-distance travel – because our food travels thousands of miles. Flavor was not one of the criteria used for picking when to propagate a seed.”

Dan Barber

A Hope & Potential for Generations Next

“I’m pretty much a cynic through & through, but I tend to be an optimist when it comes to genZ & millennials. They know their stuff, and the bullshit quotient is very high,” Barber describing his lens on the future of the food & environmental movement.

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feeding the planet ✔️

employing communities ✔️

stabilizing the climate ✔️

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Regional Food Will Again Have Its Day

“I do think that in light of COVID, and in light of some of the distribution challenges faced over the past couple years, that a regional food system is going to become more and more prevalent. To me, it’s deliciousness, it’s healthcare and it’s more responsible to the environment,” says chef, activist, author and businessman Dan Barber.

Tune-in for more with this icon of the good food movement.

Kingfish: Dan Barber

Dan Barber is the chef and co-owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and the author of The Third Plate (2014). He opened Blue Hill restaurant with family members David and Laureen Barber in May of 2000 and two years later he was named one of the country’s “Best New Chefs” by Food and Wine magazine. Since, he has been addressing food issues through op-eds in The New York Times and articles in Gourmet, Saveur, and Food and Wine. Dan has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, The New Yorker and Martha Stewart Living. 

Appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, Dan continues the work that he began as a member of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture’s board of directors: to blur the line between the dining experience and the educational, bringing the principles of good farming directly to the table. Barber has received multiple James Beard awards including Best Chef: New York City (2006) and the country’s Outstanding Chef (2009). In 2009 he was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world.

@DanBarber

@BlueHilllFarm

Collective Consciousness


DAN BARBER

BLUE HILL & STONE BARNS

As part of the Core Food Systems Change series, in this episode you’ll hear that when we’re empowered as eaters to become the solution – good things will happen.

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now available: tune-in to the full conversation with Dan and Aaron


photo credit:  Melissa DiPalma || EATER || Blue Hill || Johnny Autry


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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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for complete series catalog CLICK >>

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– guest: Todd Barker

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.


Subsidies with Favorable Outcomes



-ft. TODD BARKER

CEO of Meridian Institute

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CORE SYSTEMS CHANGE: the 6-part miniseries >>


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ep. 108: Todd Barker – Chief Executive of Meridian Institute

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ep.108: ‘Repurposing Subsidies for Favorable Outcomes’

Host: Aaron Niederhelman
Guest: Todd Barker of Meridian Institute


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Favorable Outcomes

In this episode you’ll hear that when subsidies are dolled out based on positive outcomes instead of crop type – good things happen. 

You see, according to a Sept 2021 UN FAO briefing, agriculture contributes a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions, 70% of biodiversity loss and 80% of deforestation across the globe. And, it’s also true that nearly 90% of the $540bn in global subsidies given to farmers every year are “harmful.” It’s true that the majority of well-intentioned agricultural support now damages human health, exacerbates the climate crisis, dwindles nature and drives inequality by excluding smallholder farmers. For real food systems change – support needs to be better aligned with favorable outcomes.

To learn more about this whole ball of wax we connected with Meridian Institute CEO Todd Barker on the myriad ways that the organization is bringing together stakeholders in the U.S. and around the world to take action.

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Incentivizing Collaborative Efforts

multi-

STAKEHOLDER

CHANGE

“Interest in food systems has never been greater. As challenging and controversial as the problems are, we at Meridian are seeing that while issues about partisanship, polarization, and conflict are capturing media headlines – the hunger for collaborative solutions to these problems has never been higher,” explains episode 108 guest Todd Barker.

A Novel Angle at US Crop Insurance

The AGree Economic and Environmental Risk Coalition (AGree E2 Coalition) advocates for federal policy improvements to drive broader adoption of conservation practices on working lands. Conservation practices such as cover crops, no-till, and other recognized good farming practices can reduce farm risk to extreme weather events while improving environmental outcomes and soil health. Meridian Institute launched the AGree Initiative more than 10 years ago after more than two years of collaboration with a diverse group of food and agriculture stakeholders.

“The risk reduction benefits of agricultural conservation practices were not being adequately represented in the federal crop insurance programs. We wanted to focus on the crop insurance program. Our objective was to find ways for farmers to be supported not by crop, but instead for outcome measures like improved soil health, enhanced biodiversity, and climate mitigation.”

Todd Barker, CEO Meridian Institute

ep. 108: AUDIOGRAM – 90 sec. video short

Multi-Stakeholder Initiative (MSI) Juggernaut

Meridian is a mission-driven, nonprofit consultancy that has helped clients and partners develop and implement solutions to complicated, often controversial problems—big and small, global and local—for over two decades. They do it with an innovative approach that brings together a deep understanding of the issues at hand, as well as the people, politics, and power dynamics that surround them. Meridian not only shapes meaningful consensus and action in the near term, but also builds partners’ capacity for cooperation that often continues for years, even decades.

“We bring our skills to bear on a diverse range of issues, including environment & natural resources, climate change, agriculture & food systems, forests, health, oceans & coasts, resilience, science & technology, and water. Across issues, boundaries, and systems, our work is a catalyst for powerful impact.”

Todd Barker – CEO of Meridian Institute

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Finding Common Goals to Drive Change

The Meridian Institute offers five key services: collaboration, implementation, strategy, research, and philanthropic support. Meridian has a dedicated team of 80 experts and an ability to foster constructive discussions, manage decisions, and support actions that shape the world for the better.

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feeding the planet ✔️

employing communities ✔️

stabilizing the climate ✔️

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“There’s growing interest in a global treaty for Ocean plastics pollution. Think about it as the Paris Agreement for plastics. We have now brought together over 500 stockholders in six countries to get a jump start on developing national action plans,” Barker describes Meridian’s role in fighting against ocean plastic pollution.

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facilitating change: Todd Barker

Todd Barker is CEO of Meridian. He currently leads projects that focus on agriculture, food systems, water, climate, big data, and clean energy. A highlight of his over 20 year tenure at Meridian has been the AGree Initiative, which successfully advocated and lobbied for changes in the 2018 farm bill that support soil health. He also has extensive international experience, including current work with the Global Alliance for the Future of Food.

Todd cut his teeth as a mediator, facilitator, and strategist over 20 years ago, working on the cleanup of Rocky Flats nuclear weapons facility. He is a trusted advisor to foundations and funder collaboratives working on agriculture and food systems. He serves on the board of the DendriFund and chairs the board for the Clean Energy Group.

@MeridOrg

@TFBarker

Subsidies with Favorable Outcomes


TODD BARKER

Meridian Institute

As part of the Core Food Systems Change series, in this episode you’ll hear that when subsidies are dolled out based on positive outcomes instead of crop type – good things will happen. We all have more resources to fuel a movement.

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social media tile

Listen-in to the full conversation with Todd and Aaron as they discuss ag. subsidies.

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photo credit:  Melissa DiPalma || Meridian Institute || Bryan Liscinsky


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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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for complete series catalog CLICK >>

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– 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 MEAT PRODUCTION’

Host: Aaron Niederhelman
Guest: Øistein Thorsen of FAI Farms


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Did you know that across the globe we process 70,000,000,000 (billion) land animals every year?! That includes nine billion food animals each yr. in the U.S. alone. And yet, it’s still difficult to find good meat! That’s so out of sync with where consumer trends are headed. Why isn’t better meat more of the norm? Elevating practices to reap the benefits at market is very feasible in (better quality) meat production. In this episode we hear more from upstart leader Øistein Thorsen of FAI Farms about the opportunities there are for evolving production practice and scaling supply of better quality animal proteins.

With some tweaks and strategic investments into the well-being of the animal producing meat, fish, eggs and dairy – FAI thwarts impending supply chain concerns for big food companies while aligning with buying behaviors of contemporary consumer interests. As insurance & marketing tilth – it’s a no-brainer for these food companies with large scale needs. Investments that will benefit the eater, the producer, the environment and the planet all by improving farm animal qualify of life.

Øistein Thorsen, CEO of FAI Farms

“Animal welfare is ground zero for food systems change.”

Based out of Oxford, U.K., for twenty years the Food Animal Initiative (FAI) has been developing systems that improve the supply chains of big food companies through investments into the well-being of the food animal. Rich in knowledge and deep in insight, they’ve honed “animal-centric” operating models for each food animal category.

As you’ll hear from Øistein, more commitments to elevate production practice in meat, dairy, farmed fish and eggs is is a tent post in repairing the broader broken food systems. And, since new growth in conventional meat and animal protein production proves more unsustainable with each passing year, the notion that this old system can manage more production load on top of the current through-put just seems irresponsible to plan around. Right?! Thorsen argues that the market opportunity for pushing the holistic view of personal well-being, planetary stability, and benevolence has a pinnacle in meat production. So, is the well-being of food animals the foundation for large scale food systems change? #Tunein to get more on that from Øistein.

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Getting us to Animal Centric Meat Production

HOLISTIC

ANIMAL

AGRICULTURE

The reality is that people are going to eat meat in the future. A lot of it. And as new folks adopt western lifestyles, a lot more of it. In fact, experts say that 2050 demand for animal proteins will increase by 70%.

Can you imagine what 2/3s more load will do to the current impact of conventional meat? Leaders have arisen with new approaches to raise food animals and produce enough protein to meet this increased demand – while still respecting planetary boundaries, and tapping into those current POVs.

Øistein Thorsen of FAI Farms is one of these upstart pioneers that’s instigating a values-based food system through focus on improving in the health and well-being of food animals. In our conversation Thorsen explains the approach as “Animal Centric Meat Production”. He describes it this way, “to keep a shrinking planet fed and nourished for decades to come – it all begins with respecting the food animal today.”

Animal-Centric Food Systems in the Future

The French expression Noblesse Oblige translates to “nobility obliges”. It effectively means that with power and privilege then we’re obligated to look out for others and a shared surroundings. Thorsen tells us that a bit more respect is needed here for the animals that sustain us. To clean-up the food system, this animal-centric mantra actually taps that obligation that is seeded in us all, while also fueling actions of consumer empowerment that will help sway consumer behaviors.

Something like – knowing how we manage sentient animals that produce meat, eggs, and dairy will evolve everything about the food system – because we become more empowered eaters with a deeper connection to our food. The well-being of animals and our connection to nature is central. Animal Centric food production may be what scratches a primal itch to do better for all, including those that sustain us. We’re indebted.

Q: How much of the holistic continuum impacts your current food buying decisions?

Q: Will you evolve your behavior if you knew of the direct impact?

Q: Are you obligated?

ep. 107: AUDIOGRAM – 90 sec. video short

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

Despite all the buzz behind those plant-based / lab-grown proteins, or new noise from conventional climate-friendly propaganda – the only silver-bullet solution to big global problems like malnutrition, hunger, supply-chain disruption and even climate instability comes from doing a better job shepherding the regenerative natural resources underpinning the production of our food. So, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater; it’s not the cow that’s the problem, but the how we raise the cow for dairy and meat. Let’s start there. “It has mutually beneficial outcomes in which all stakeholders win,” explains Thorsen.

“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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next generation food production pioneer: 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. We learn that 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. Starting with the quality of life of the food animals themselves.

Twitter: @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.

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.


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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for complete series catalog CLICK >>

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– guests: Bri Warner & Chris Sherman 

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.

REGENERATIVE OCEAN FARMING


BRI WARNER


CHRIS SHERMAN

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CORE SYSTEMS CHANGE: the 6-part miniseries >>


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ep. 105: Bri Warner & Chris Sherman – Regenerative Ocean Farming

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EPISODE 105: ‘Regenerative Ocean Farming’

Host: Aaron Niederhelman
Guest: Bri Warner, CEO & Pres. @ Atlantic Sea Farms
Guest: Chris Sherman, CEO @ Island Creek Oysters

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This latest episode is about how to re-build a food system that creates quality sustenance for people, new jobs on working waterfronts and healthier oceans through the adoption of smarter management practices on regenerative ocean farms. Regenerative ocean farming is an aquatic farming system that grows seaweed and shellfish on no inputs. As is the case with terrestrial production, aquatic regen farming is all about investing in the ecological health of an ecosystem to create good food.

ep. 105: AUDIOGRAM – 90 sec. short – Bri Warner

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Regenerative Ocean Aquaculture

US seaweed pioneer Bri Warner shares in her experience of having to make a compelling business case for kelp production in coastal communities in Maine. Ahead of the curve, Warner has leveraged some creative methods and core business fundamentals to establish a whole new kind of values-based food production company. We discover that what she’s producing actually has a pretty unfair advantage in catching the eye of contemporary consumers over almost everything else in the food value chain.

“The three best foods that you can eat on the planet are (regenerative) aquaculture mussels, oysters and kelp. We’re all removing carbon from the water. We’re all doing this with zero arable land. Zero freshwater. Zero pesticides. The fact is, these three products grow more efficiently than any terrestrial food, especially any terrestrial food animal protein out there. What we can honestly say about these aquaculture products is that they’re actually making the planet better,” explains Warner – CEO & President of Atlantic Sea Farms.

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feeding neighbors ✔️

employing communities ✔️

stabilizing the planet ✔️

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CHRIS SHERMAN

Island Creek Oysters (ICO) is a vertically integrated Regenerative Ocean Farming success story. They grow out their own oyster seed; they produce feedstuff algae to raise oysters; they sell that seed to other growers; they operate their own farms that grow-out seeds from adolescence -to- maturity; they aggregate & distribute mature oysters to diverse retailers and food service relationships – including their own restaurants; they invest in preserving and improving the marine ecological systems that grow their crops; they offer an experience for anyone to share-in the stories of their food with the community that produced it.

“Through its benefit for the economy. The social, cultural and gastronomic benefits that we all get, and all of the nutritional values this seafood offers. And, the environmental gain – which gets at the concept of adding value back into the ecosystem from which we depend on to produce good food. This all culminates in us supporting the concept of ‘coastal communities’, which is core to our mission and values at Island Creek Oysters,” says Chris Sherman – ICO CEO and Eisenhower Fellow.

ep. 105: AUDIOGRAM – 90 sec. short – Chris Sherman

“We’ve built incredible demand for kelp, but we’re doing something completely new here for US markets.”

BRI WARNER, CEO & PRESIDENT @ ATLANTIC SEA FARMS

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How Regen Business Backs The Planet

As for environmental restoration, oysters grown not for consumption have become part of the equation for producers like ICO. Each mollusk can filter up-to 50 gallons of seawater a day, oysters bond together to create natural reefs that protect shorelines and cities, and these shellfish act as great neighbors in estuaries to keep oceans thriving with other keystone species and biodiversity. Sherman explains how they support NGO-backed restoration projects through a few different channels. But always interested in pushing the envelope, Sherman is evaluating how the farms can work in lockstep with restoration projects to instigate more environmental action for the industry.

“We harness the power of private industry and profit to scale environmental impact. One of the things that we focus on is validating some of the claims that we make as an industry about the positive impacts of commercial farms. The questions that we’re trying to answer include: How do farms stack up to natural oyster reefs? How do farms compare to synthetic reefs brought online in restoration projects? How do we optimize nitrogen removal, and deliver habitat creation? Through scientific methods, we’re on a path to quantify the ecosystem value of commercial shellfish farms,” explains Sherman.

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An Innovation Economy Supporting Community

BRI WARNER

Warner has built a creative business model that employs Maine lobsterman as her production team of this line-grown kelp coming from the clean, cold waters of the North Atlantic. With over 4000 boats working in the Maine lobster industry, Bri sees kelp production as a mutually beneficial relationship that offers existing boat owners a new revenue stream without requiring additional equipment or extensive operating expenses.

The approach has been so successful that when Warner first took over as CEO of Atlantic Sea farms in 2018 the company was sourcing 30,000 lbs. of seaweed a year. Now, after building-out the required processing infrastructure, finding new markets ripe for this next super-food, and via that creative approach to employ a lobstermen workforce in their off-season – Atlantic Sea Farms will harvest 1.2 Million lbs. of human-grade kelp this year alone. With plenty of capacity to grow. As we’ve seen in our stories before, there are many creative ideas generating on the innovation economies of Regen farms.

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hear how Regen Ocean Farming shapes collective consciousness

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Listen-in to the full conversation with Bri, Chris, and Aaron as they discuss how we can achieve good for the people and planet through smarter ocean management on regenerative ocean farms.

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@IslandCreek

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photo credit:  Island Creek Oysters & Atlantic Sea 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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COMPLETE SERIES >> CLICK

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– guest: Jonathan Webb 

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.

JONATHAN WEBB


CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT AGRICULTURE

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CORE SYSTEMS CHANGE: the 6-part miniseries >>


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ep. 104: Jonathan Webb – where tech embraces nature in controlled growing environments

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“To feed the population of 2050 we’ll need to grow more food than we have in the entire history of agriculture. That’s what keeps me up at night. That’s a need for more food than the previous 10,000 years of human food production combined,” says Jonathan Webb.

A Kentucky native, Webb first made a name for himself in building-out clean energy infrastructure throughout Appalachia. With starting AppHarvest, Webb returned to his Blue-Grass home-state-roots to create a large-scale, state-of-the-art, value-based food production operation that is truly disrupting the apple cart. TuneIn to ep. 104 to learn about the many benefits that AppHarvest is finding in Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA).

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ep. 104: AUDIOGRAM – 90 sec. video short

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feeding neighbors ✔️

employing communities ✔️

stabilizing the planet ✔️

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With a consistent supply of fresh quality produce, Webb and AppHarvest make inroads within food supply chains. AppHarvest utilizes proven Dutch solutions for large-scale horizontal glass-house production farms to service growing consumer demand for more local fruits & veg. In fact, through affiliations, partnerships and ambassadors – AppHarvest is making headway for the entire CEA industry. Working on both Main Street and Wall Street, the company will have all the capacity that it needs to become real competition to fresh and frozen produce across the US.

We need to be looking around the world for where the best ideas are coming from.  The challenge in front of us can be scary at times, but that challenge is the opportunity.   It’s an opportunity for a world where nature meets technology in how we feed ourselves. 

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We’re doing this in Appalachia now – in the region where I’m from – through controlled environment agriculture, at scale.”  

JONATHAN WEBB – CEO & Founder, AppHarvest

New Expectations for the Salad Plate & Fruit Bowl

Something that I found especially insightful from Jonathan was his take on regional food systems. He draws-upon an analogy of shipping coal to spawn progress. Citing how cities in his region first began to thrive thanks to the innovative supply chain that sourced consistent coal-energy from the hills of Kentucky.

After years of learning about decentralized energy production in the solar industry, Webb leveraged his skill-set to build out large-scale infrastructure and establish a company that sources good food, at scale, across his region. Funny enough, it’s once again all about a consistent source of ‘energy-units’ to make these cities thrive and prosper once again. Now coming in the form of a delicious vine-ripped tomato.

So, look out fellow patriots on both sides of the aisle – you’re about to experience a whole new kind of Green-Energy-Revolution coming straight out of coal-country. A revolution that will feed neighbors, employ communities and have a net positive impact on the planet. It’s CEA, and it’s a CORE SYSTEMS CHANGE in food production that borrows from the best that tech and nature have to offer.

Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA)

Once a regional market has been saturated with all kinds of good veg & fruits grown under glass – AppHarvest will expand its footprint. Then, grow into new regions. The Controlled Environment Ag glass-house model that AppHavest has established can become a turn-key scalable solution that will grow more good food for diverse regions across the United States for decades to come.

For the investors interested in this, new footprints can made available anywhere there’s a market ripe with new consumer expectations. That’s everywhere! From what we learn from Webb, the positive impacts of this better quality, healthier, fresher, smarter, and safer foods can be (and should be) enjoyed by everyone.

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In this 45 min chat, you’ll learn what AppHarvest is doing now to begin to ‘Fight the good Food Fight‘.

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@AppHarvest

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photo credit:  AppHarvest & eatingwell


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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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– guest: Jonathan Lundgren

In this teaser series I speak to leaders with LAND USE ADAPTATIONS to fight against climate change, biodiversity loss, malnutrition and hunger. Tune-in for a dose of optimism.

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JONATHAN LUNDGREN


The 1000 Regen Farm Initiative

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LAND USE ADAPTATION – Building Regenerative Agriculture


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The planet needs a paradigm shift in our food.  Nature has been shouldering the externalities from our input-based and extractive models of food production.  In the contemporary world, that’s just not going to cut it anymore.  Demand for differentiated value-based food product is skyrocketing, while conventional commodities have begun to melt under new pressures & economic strain.  

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We’re bumping-up against planetary boundaries. That’s a pressure-point which will change food and how we’ll manage regenerative natural resources.  So, it’s time for a change, but what gets us there the quickest? Our guest today says that what’s missing is modern science. That this science must become a pillar in every regenerative effort, and with all thinking in order to gain broader adoption.  

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ep. 103: Jonathan Lundgren || On-farm Scientific Analysis to Fuel the Regenerative Movement 

Joining for ep.103 is Ecdysis Foundation founder, Jonathan Lundgren. What’s really needed to frame-out mainstream adoption of regenerative – “it’s good data,” describes Dr. Lundgren.  Good and accurate data coming from bleeding-edge scientific study. So, in January 2022, Ecdysis Foundation launched their 1000 (Regen) farm initiative as the most ambitious agroecology experiment ever conducted.  

Scientific analysis on the oodles of rich data being pulled from all kinds of different farms within diverse regions, sizes and crop types is needed to instigate regenerative from a slow evolution – to the revolution. The millions of data-points-of-light coming from the 1000 farms will be used to measure outcomes inline with best regenerative food production principles.  Jonathan explaines that a simple scoring matrix can make some in-tune predictions. What they seen already is that the more regenerative farms have higher values in this desired Regen outcome matrix.

“The 1000 farm study is to establish the scientific spine to support a transition of food systems more regenerative.”

Dr. Jonathan Lundgren

On all studies at the Ecdysis Foundation each scientist must also be a farmer.  Dr. Lundgren believes the scientific community should rethink what applied science really looks like in their space.  That scientists must connect with the problem that are trying to solve. Can an agricultural scientist truly make revolutionary discoveries in food production when only stuck in a lab, or behind a computer?    

Lundgren says that scientists must once again get their hands dirty in any agricultural domain they’re working in.  Could that type of immersive science accelerate large-scale adoption and grow the regenerative movement? Yeah! More good science from talented scientist is a foundation for growth.

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It’s time for a change. The old stuff is broken. We need a new approach, but this systemic change stuff can be really hard!  There’s all kinds of entrenched interests too.  Lundgren teases us with the notion that this movement could be turned into a revolution with an ecological enlightenment of the scientific community.  

tune-in to find out what it’ll take to…

You see, while working at the USDA, Jonathan Lundgren was an award winning superstar scientist bounding his way up the ranks.  Not willing to be silenced for his true and accurate work, Dr. Lundgren kept to his beliefs and stood tall for what’s right.  These types of folks in public roles, those that stick their neck out to fight corruption are often labeled as… a whistleblower. I think you’ll agree that Dr. Jonathan Lundgren would be better described as a guy who just says it like it is.  

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– bring Regen mainstream.

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As for Lundgren’s POV – to instigate a paradigm shift in food and its production, it has to be done on the shoulders of farmers and with the scientific community that are ready to engage in Regenerative. I think he’s got it right. We need this apples-to-apples comparison with conventional. That analysis speaks the proper language to support the large-scale conversion from conventional to Regen. This may very well be the spine for the Regenerative playbook.

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@Ecdysis Foundation

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photo credit:  Ecdysis Foundation


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LAND USE ADAPTATION – content series

Food produced using innovative REGENERATIVE ADAPTATIONS (like the solutions discussed in this miniseries) will instigate a whole new way of thinking. Eating good food shapes our relationship with nature for the better, and sustains the stomachs of those who influence mindsets well beyond agriculture fields. Demand for this food produced using elevated standards has already skyrocketed. In this series we connect with those in the US leading a paradigm shift towards smarter LAND USE with good food production.

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