Ep. 74: Live recorded from Treefort music festival in Boise, Idaho – Chef & food system advocate Kris Komori, and farmer & seed propagator Beth Rasgorshek  ||

For Sourcing Matters episode 74 we join chef & food system advocate Kris Komori, and farmer and seed propagation Beth Rasgorshek for a conversation @ The Treefort music festival in Boise, ID – recorded in-front of a live audience.
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With three consecutive James Beard nods, Kris Komori is the rock star of Idaho’s chef world. A graduate of the College of Idaho, he sharpened his kitchen skills in Portland before moving to the Gem State. Komori’s creative, constantly changing menus drew fast admiration when State & Lemp opened in 2013. Most recently, he and his team have been developing a new concept and restaurant that will launch in downtown Boise soon.
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Beth Rasgorshek has worn many hats: journalist, pioneering CSA farmer, flour producer and now seed farmer. Today, Rasgorshek grows certified organic vegetable seeds on seven tillable acres at Canyon Bounty Farm in Mampa. She now raises and sells both small-seeded and big-seeded crops like green beans, dry beans, edamame, various flower seeds, watermelon, muskmelon, peppers, wheat, leeks and onion.

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We’re a lot more alike than different. That’s said about people from areas all over the world.  But, when it comes to farmers and food producers – the similarity and bond is unquestionable.  With the regenerative agriculture revolution we’re discovering that we have friends and like minded brethren on every corner of planet -and- increasingly everywhere in between.  TuneIn to hear about what’s going on in Idaho.  Learn how our problems with a common enemy could ultimately unite our diverse stakeholder for battle.


ABOUT TREEFORT: The Treefort Music Fest is a five-day, indie rock festival which is held at numerous venues throughout downtown Boise, Idaho in late March.  Treefort has been called “the west’s best SXSW alternative” and Boise’s preeminent artistic, cultural and musical happening which has “morphed from quirky music festival to consuming community event. It has also been characterized as a “music lover’s joyous mayhem” which showcases and amplifies the soul of Boise.



Ep. 70: Elizabeth Whitlow – Executive Director of Regenerative Organic Alliance ||

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On Sourcing Matters episode 70 we welcome Elizabeth Whitlow – Executive Director of the Regenerative Organic Alliance (ROA).   In early 2018, the ROA was formed as a non-profit cohort of organizations and businesses led by Rodale Institute, Patagonia, and Dr. Bronner’s.  These vested founders began the process of developing a Regenerative Organic Certification (ROC) – a unique, high-bar agricultural standard that leverages the foundation of USDA certified organic – and elevates it steps further.
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The goal of regenerative organic agriculture is to offer practical solutions to the world’s biggest social and ecological challenges. We’ve learned that we’re beyond the point of sustainability and we need to regenerate the soil and land that supports us, the animals that nourish us, and the farmers and workers that feed us.  This has developed into a call to action of the ROA and defined a path forward where we’re all part of the solution.
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In our 45 minute conversation we discuss the iterative approach that Elizabeth and her supporters are taking in rolling-out the ROC standards.  We learn how the industry can begin to better incentivize on-ramping of more producers and suppliers that will implement elevated production standards to source differentiated food for the benefit of human, animal and planetary health. We assess the roles of the different stakeholders, and how that all comes to fruition through the actions of consumers.  We discuss how these new high-bar standards relate to Soil Health, Animal Welfare & Social Fairness, and what that means for broader audiences of both farmers and eaters.
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Elizabeth Whitlow has dedicated her career in regenerative agriculture to further the impact of high-bar certifications. Prior to taking the helm at the ROA, in her most recent role as EarthClaims’ director of certification she oversaw a team working to provide private, third-party verification services for animal welfare, grass-fed claims, antibiotic-free and customized audits to support specific marketing claims. Prior to EarthClaims, Elizabeth was a fellow at the Leadership for a Sustainable Future. Elizabeth also spent 16 years with California Certified Organic Farmers in roles ranging from reviewer, senior inspector, and livestock specialist to inspection operations manager.

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TuneIn to hear what the future food system can actually turn into;
and who’ll be leading the charge.

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Ep. 67:  Secretary Dan Glickman – Executive Dir. of the Aspen Institute Congressional Program – former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture  ||

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On episode 67 of Sourcing Matters we’re joined by Secretary Dan Glickman.  Secretary Glickman is currently the Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Congressional Program – a nongovernmental, nonpartisan educational program for members of the United States Congress.  Dan Glickman served as the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from March 1995 until January 2001. Under his leadership, the Department administered farm and conservation programs; modernized food safety regulations; forged international trade agreements to expand U.S. markets; and improved its commitment to fairness and equality in civil rights.
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Prior to heading the USDA for President Clinton, Dan Glickman also served for 18 years in the U.S. House of Representatives representing the 4th Congressional District of Kansas. During that time, he was a member of the House Agriculture Committee, including six years as chairman of the subcommittee with jurisdiction over federal farm policy issues.
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Additionally, Sec. Glickman is the 6th member of the PEW commission on industrial farm animal production that we’ve profiled on Sourcing Matters.  The 2007 PEW commission report was a study of the Impact of Industrial (US) Farm Animal Production on issues of public health, environment, animal welfare and social justice.   It was a monumental series of reports that has established a new way forward for consumers and the industry to re-introduce values and ethics back into many of the proteins we eat.
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During our 40 minute conversation we also discuss Secretary Glickman’s 7 years as Chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).  His time spent as Director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and we chat about a few of the boards he sits on – including the Chicago Mercantile Exchange; Communities in Schools; Food Research and Action Center, National 4-H Council; and the Center for U.S. Global Engagement.

TuneIn to hear what this well rounded thought-leader has to say about our food, agriculture, policy and the current administration.  This one you don’t want miss.

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Ep. 64: Thor Sigfusson – Founder and Chairman of the Iceland Ocean Cluster ||

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On episode 64 of Sourcing Matters we welcome Icelandic entrepreneur, author and speaker Thor Sigfusson to the show.  Thor is the founder & chairman of Iceland Ocean Cluster.   It’s the mission of the Iceland Ocean Cluster (IOC) to create value in the seafood industry and for the planet by connecting together entrepreneurs, businesses and knowledge for future marine industries.  To serve this mission, Thor and his team have established a new type of working forum that will incubate and propagate new ideas for our future fisheries.

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Beginning with the Ocean Cluster House in Reykjavik harbor – The Iceland Ocean Cluster is now pooling together satellite locations in coastal cities of the US, and eventually the World – in effort to work in unison in tackling many of the biggest problems facing our shrinking planet.  Each cluster site will be filled with like minded entrepreneurs and a business ecosystem to support and invest in a replicable model for a modern marine innovation economy.  During our 40 minute conversation we learn that fishing communities around the globe have many similar fish-to-fry.  We learn that there are fundamental problems with an antiquated seafood industry, and in dealing with our warming Oceans which need new perspective – now!

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Previous to spawning the IOC, Sigfusson co-founded Codland.  He’s also launched a few food halls in Iceland, and he’s responsible for the creation of the Ocean House.  Additionally, he’s written five books on topics of international business, knowledge networks and salmon.  Schooled in the US, and most recently spending a good amount of time in New England and the Northwest – we ask Thor for his perspective on the current state of affairs of US fisheries.    TuneIn to hear his surprising response.

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The need for action on these big problems we face together is real and it’s immediate.  Sigfusson has been busy curating a fresh crop of smart and passionate folks set on doing well by doing great good through defining solutions of change.  It’s Sigfusson’s goal to leverage his overworked coffee machine and the engaging interactions that it’s brewed to steer a new blue food economy for the betterment of Iceland; for the betterment of the world.

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@OceanCluster

 



Ep. 63: Lucas St. Clair – Founder of the ‘Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument‘  -ft. co-host: Jay Vilar of Nourish ||

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120 years ago Teddy Roosevelt started the US national park system to protect and preserve shared resources. We’re hard pressed to believe that in our current political landscape – and with a compounding national debt – that our Federal Government would acquire any new large swaths of land for ecosystem and natural environment conservation.  In fact, it been the exact opposite as more conserved land gets squeezed with every congressional cycle.  Well,  there’s a guy in the Maine woods who’s got a solution for this problem.  Lucas St. Clair’s has adapted an innovative approach of succession that could attract more good folks of resources to look at land preservation as their way of giving back, and for planning for a more stable future.

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On episode 63 we welcome Lucas St. Clair – the founder of ‘Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument’ –  a U.S. National Monument spanning 87,563 acres of mountains and forestland in northern Penobscot County, Maine, just off the eastern border of Maine’s Baxter State Park.

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We begin our conversation discussing St. Clair’s extensive efforts to turn Maine Woods & Waters into a national monument. We learn of the communities in Maine’s 2nd. Of the logging empires, and of their recent demise. We learn more about his run for Congress in 2018, and what drives him to serve at the will of the people.  A native to the Maine woods, we hear a bit of the lineage of the iconic brand his family spawned – ‘Burt’s Bees’.  It sounds like good values were adhered to in both the household, and the brand.
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Joining as cohost is Jay Vilar, founder and a Practitioner at ‘Nourish’ – a bespoke consulting company with a mission to educate, teach, and train people on the benefits of using food to heal your body and optimize your health.  He attributes his success to principles he learned studying health, nutrition, and business principles on increasing your energy, sharpening your mind, being a more productive human being.
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TUNEiN to this conversation.

@LucasStClair

 



co-host:

Jay Vilar

  • Founder of Nourish
  • A focus on Nutritional Therapy
  • Rodale Institute Fellow
  • Host of  ‘listen to your mother’ show

@twitter

Ep. 62: Natasha Lamb – Managing Partner & Portfolio Manager at Arjuna Capital ||

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Sustainable investing starts with the understanding that a just society, a healthy environment, and competitive financial returns are all “bottom line” issues – explains our guest for ep 62 – Natasha Lamb – Managing Partner & Portfolio Manager at Arjuna Capital. The Arjuna Capital team brings five decades of sustainable investing experience to their vision of better tomorrow. “Together, we invest in the kind of world we want to live in.”
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Arjuna Capital works with high net-worth individuals, families, and foundations to create a suite of sustainable investments that makes sense to and for the client. At the heart of these relationships is an ongoing, in-depth conversation about the ways clients want their money put to work.
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Lamb has quickly become a powerhouse in Stakeholder Activation. Her efforts have some of the biggest companies in the land adhering to changing societal norms and common sense action. Her work in the last few years has instigated pay equality for women and minorities at giants like: Apple, Intel, Microsoft – financial institutions: J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Mastercard, and retail players – Amazon, Nike, Starbucks.
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In our 40 minute dialogue we discuss place-based investing, divesting, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors, sustainable Ag, and more. TuneIn to hear how this rising star with an impressive track record has set her sights on food & the environment.

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Arjuna Capital

 

 

 



Ep. 61: A.G. Kawamura, Founding Member Orange County Produce -ft. cohost: Scott Soares, former Mass Ag Commish & shellfish farming leader  ||

A.G. Kawamura is third generation fruit and vegetable grower and shipper from Orange County. He is the former Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (2003-2010). As a progressive urban farmer, A.G. has a lifetime of experience working within the shrinking rural and urban boundaries of Southern California. Through his company, Orange County Produce, LLC, he is engaged in building an exciting, interactive 21st century 100 acre agricultural showcase at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, CA.

In our 45 minute conversation we discuss California’s massive impact on our food system. We also discuss climate, water, citrus, berries & produce, the Government, and the system as a whole.

Joining-in as cohost is the talented and knowledgable Scott Soares. Soares is former commissioner of Massachusetts Agriculture, and served as the Director of USDA Rural Development for Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island for the Obama administration.  Scott has 15 years of fishery and aquaculture experience prior to that – including early in his career serving as the 1st Massachusetts coordinator of aquaculture for nearly a decade.  TuneIn.

 

 

@twitter



co-host:

Scott Soares

  • Former Commissioner MA Agriculture 
  • Dir. USDA Rural Dev Northeast for Obama administration
  • 15 years of fishery & Aquaculture experience
  • Served as 1st MA coordinator of aquaculture for a decade

@SjSoares65

 

Ep. 58: David Montgomery – author ‘Growing a Revolution’  &  ‘Hidden Half of Nature’ & ‘Dirt’ ||

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For episode 58 we’re lucky to be joined by David R. Montgomery. A MacArthur Fellow and professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington, Montgomery is an internationally recognized geologist who studies landscape evolution and the effects of geological processes on ecological systems and human societies.  He is the author of numerous scientific papers and has been featured in documentary films, network and cable news, and on a wide variety of TV and radio programs.

 

 

In his book ‘Growing a Revolution’, Montgomery introduces us to farmers around the world at the heart of a brewing soil health revolution that could bring humanity’s ailing fertile grounds back to life remarkably fast. Montgomery assessed different approaches being used to instigate health into the living systems making up our food. It’s called Regenerative, and with it agriculture can help cure what ails us, and the planet.  Cutting through standard debates about conventional and organic farming, Montgomery explores why practices based on the principles of conservation agriculture help restore soil health and fertility. Drawing on visits to farms in the industrialized and developing worlds he finds that the combination of no-till planting, cover crops, and diverse crop rotations provides a profitable recipe to rebuild soil organic matter. Farmers using these unconventional practices cultivate beneficial soil life, smother weeds, and suppress pests while spending far less on diesel, fertilizer and pesticides. It’s revolutionary stuff.

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With his wife Anne Biklé, David is currently framing out his fourth book. We learned that with “What your food eats” – working title of this latest deep dive – this husband & wife writing duo seek to connect soil fertility to human health. Anne and David have also worked together to pen the book ‘Dirt’ —about the plight of soil and what we’ve done to it since the dawn of agriculture. And, ‘The Hidden Half of Nature’, a revealing exploration of how microbial life underpins the health of soil and, even our own bodies.

.It’s great to speak with David. He’s always a wealth of information. His concise and logical explanations of complex subject matter and interconnected systems is pretty special. That comes across in his books, and it came across in 45 minute conversation.  I listening in pre-production I realized that this may be the guy who may finally stitch soil health -to- human health.  That would be a game changer in establishing broader awareness and appreciation to the fact the Sourcing Matters first.  An investment in food and its production is our silver bullet of change.

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@Dig2Grow

 

 



Ep. 57: Gabe Brown – Innovator, farmer, businessman, author and soil health pioneer  -ft. co-host: Jay Vilar of Nourish ||

On episode 57 we welcome Gabe Brown – farmer, businessman, author and soil health pioneer.   Gabe, along with his wife, Shelly, and son, Paul, own and operate a diversified 5,000-acre farm and ranch near Bismarck, N.D. Their operation focuses on farming and ranching in nature’s image. The Browns holistically integrate their grazing and no-till cropping system, which includes a wide variety of cash crops along with multi-species cover crops and all-natural, grass-fed beef, poultry and sheep. This diversity and integration has regenerated the natural resources on the ranch without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or fungicides. Over 2,000 people visit the Brown’s ranch annually with visitors from all 50 states and 16 foreign countries.

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Brown recently released the book “Dirt to Soil” describes their personal voyage into regenerative agriculture.  This insight gained over a these decades of hard work has established a nimble knowledge-base.  In this his first book – Gabe Brown has distilled all that complexity into five (5) principles of a healthy soil-ecosystem.

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

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Nutritionist Jay Vilar joins again as co-host.  Vilar is the founder, and a practitioner at ‘Nourish’ – a bespoke consulting company with a mission to educate, teach, and train people on the benefits of using food to heal your body and optimize your health.  Jay has always been on the forefront of using optimal health techniques, and bio-hacking his nutrition to achieve remarkable results in his career. Jay now spends his time teaching people how to use food to heal their body and speaks to businesses on how to optimize focus & productivity using nutritional and behavioral science.  Jay recently completed a Fellowship at the Rodale Institute, and just relocated from DC to join our crew in Boston.
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It’s a fascinating 45 minute conversation with a guy who has a unique ability to tell it like it is.  To clarify and simplify some pretty sophisticated subject matter so that we can all better appreciate the broad-reaching values that soil health and regenerative agriculture can bring to our world.

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@twitter



co-host:

Jay Vilar

  • Founder of Nourish
  • A focus on Nutritional Therapy
  • Rodale Institute Fellow
  • Host of  ‘listen to your mother’ show

@twitter

Ep. 55: Gray Harris – Senior Vice President of Food Systems @ Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI)  ||

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On episode 55 we welcome Gray Harris, Senior Vice President of food systems at Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) in Brunswick Maine.  Harris is responsible for the strategy, development and implementation of action-oriented business initiatives in the agriculture, food systems, and aquaculture and fisheries sectors. In her role, Gray assesses sector needs and identifies sources of specialized technical assistance and financing for start-up and expanding food businesses; this includes spearheading the development of funds for sector-specific lending and investing at CEI.
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In our 45 minute conversation we discuss the ins and outs of investing in regional and sustainable food systems of the Northeast and beyond.  CEI is a mission-driven lender and investor specializing in rural business development and financing. In Maine, and throughout the U.S., CEI helps to create economically and environmentally healthy communities in which all people, especially those with low incomes, can reach their full potential.  CEI is unique with its dossier of offerings which include business loans, micro-loans, new market tax credits, sub-debt loans, SBA 504 loans, business plans, marketing plans, business advising, financial advising, and public policy leadership.
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Gray Harris  is a former director of the Maine Farms for the Future program, a statewide business planning and grants program for Maine farmers. She participates in numerous action-oriented initiatives statewide, including the boards of Wolfe’s Neck Farm and the Maine Harvest Credit Union,  the Tech Board of the Maine Technology Institute, and she’s a marathon runner!  This all comes in handy with her role of conducting Maine’s Value chain.

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Dutch-American agricultural economist Renée Vassilos joins again as our co-host.  Stemming from fifteen years of agriculture industry know-how with John Deere and the USDA, Vassilos leverages her global cross-functional experience to support the growth of sustainability-focused agriculture business.  We’re lucky to have her wealth of knowledge in the co-pilot seat for these types of conversations.
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Tune-In to hear more from our conversation which ranged from place-based investment, circular economies, Maine fisheries and we profile the vertical integration of some of the best beer you’ll ever get to experience with Lunch!

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@CEIMaine

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co-host:

Renee Vassilos

  • Agricultural Economist
  • Regenerative & Big Ag intermediary
  • past portfolio manager: Deere China
  • Bilingual Dutch / American citizen 

Full bio: Renée Vassilos is a Dutch-American Agricultural Economist with over fifteen years of agriculture industry experience. Her expertise ranges from strategic market analysis and product development to sales, marketing and distribution strategy. She has lived and worked abroad- three years in Amsterdam and six years in Beijing- contributing to her robust global experience, cultural competence, and network. 

Today, Vassilos is sharing her expertise through her consulting business. She utilizes her global cross-functional experience from working for the USDA and John Deere to support the growth of sustainability-focused agriculture businesses. She has a BS and MS in Agricultural Economics from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana and University of California, Davis, respectively.