Ep. 39: Scott Murphy – VP of Compliance & Security at MA-based marijuana cultivation & dispensary facilities – Revolutionary Clinics, and President of Veterans for Safe Access to Compassionate Care (VSACC) ||

 

According to HHS.Gov – in the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to opioid pain relievers and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates. Increased prescription of opioid medications led to widespread misuse of both prescription and non-prescription opioids before it became clear that these medications could indeed be highly addictive.  Easy access to highly addictive drugs now has 11.4 million consumers misusing prescription opioids.  Directly correlated, nearly 1 million folks now use heroin, and 130 people die everyday from opioid-related causes.

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Today we welcome a Veteran with some answers in how to deal with this Opioid Epidemic crippling many communities and families with its mighty grasp.  What’s so interesting – Scott uses many of the same soil management practices that we do in food. Scott Murphy is currently VP of Compliance & Security at Revolutionary Clinics. Previous to this, Murphy was Chief of Compliance / Director of Operations at Garden Remedies – where beginning in 2014 he built-out one of Massachusetts’ first professional marijuana grow, processing & value-ad facilities. Scott is also an Army combat veteran who served from 2006-2010.   Murphy was deployed to Iraq with 3rd Infantry Division as part of the “Surge” from January 2007 to April 2008.

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Last, Scott Murphy serves as President of Veterans for Safe Access to Compassionate Care.  An organization fighting for smart, just pain management programs for their brethren; for every community, and for every family as a proactive plan against this epidemic.

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@VSACC1

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Ep. 38: Judith Schwartz – Author of “Cows Save the Planet” & “Water in Plain Sight” ||

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Acclaimed author Judith Schwartz joins us for Sourcing Matters episode 38 – One on Land, a second on Water. Schwartz has written two transformative books which get under the hood of vast ecological systems, and their impact on us.

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First, in “Cows Save the Planet” – she takes a look at restoring large scale ecological systems through holistic planned grazing of herbivores.   Basically, by keeping animals on the parterre lands, in natural environments we evolve our management practice to actually harmonize with natural order. This kick starts natural environments that can have vast net positive impact on the climate.  Soil everywhere becomes a thriving carbon bank – by first stabilizing natural exchanges, then sucking-up excess carbon we spew into the air.  Judith shares her thoughts on the current state of affairs with this approach & mindset, and some new discoveries since publishing the book.

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In her most recent work “Water in Plain sight.  Hope for a thirsty world” – Schwartz goes into the often forgotten, but supremely complex natural systems that sustain and maintain clean water.  She makes a direct connection of her past work studying living soil, and its ability to store, lever and interchange life with water.  The lifeblood for all living things, water is set to have vast and drastic impact if we continue to manage our natural resources like this.  Water is now, and maybe at one point was an actual tip of the iceberg thanks to climate change.
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Tune-In to our 40 minute discussion as Schwarz brings it all full circle with her latest work – hitting us all close to home.

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@JudithDSchwartz

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Ep. 37: Bob Martin, Dir. of Food System Policy Program at Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF)  -ft. co-host: Ken Kaplan, Sloan Initiative for Health Systems Innovation (HSI) ||

On episode 37 we welcome an icon in our field who has long since promoted cleaner food animal production throughout the US.  Bob Martin is Director of the Food System Policy Program at Johns Hopkins Center for a livable Futures (CLF). Operating within the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Martin and his team at the CLF have embraced their role in systems leadership. They’ve begun curating a revolution in food production and healthier eating through a deeper understanding of planetary boundaries and by defining a common language of ethics in food.  Tune-In to be part of the change.

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Previous to beginning his work at the CLF in 2011, Martin was the Executive Director of the PEW Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production.  Martin managed a comprehensive two-year, $3.6 million study that led to the publication of eight technical reports and a final 122-page report on the public health, environmental, animal welfare and rural community impacts of our conventional methods for producing meat, dairy and eggs. The report – Putting Meat on the Table: Industrial Farm Animal Production in America defined a seminal moment of awareness in US production, food systems and supporting a shared one-health. It’s been a significant part of our realization that the approach we’re using to raise animals has broad reaching human and public health impact that needs immediate attention.

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Joining the conversation today as is co-host and friend Ken Kaplan. During his impressive 20 year career at MIT, Kaplan has been a visiting Scholar, a Senior Health System Advisor at the Sociotechnical Systems research center, and now acts as a Advisor the Sloan Initiative for Health Systems Innovation. Kaplan leverages his unique background in health, food systems and architecture to institute systems thinking on broader problems needing new perspective. Ken and Bob have been friends for over a decade, and that proves evident in the conversation as the two leaders share stories of each other’s commitment and accomplishments throughout our 45 minute chat.

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Our engaging 45 minute conversation ranges broadly in subject matter.  From food animal wellbeing & living environment, Superbugs, the more general concept of investing in a shared Onehealth, the power of convening diverse stakeholders – and much, much more.  Without a doubt it’s the concept of systems thinking and design that underpins our discussion.   As it relates to all other conversations on the show – that’s the take away from this latest episode. If you want to get a bit under the hood, to learn more about what’s really going on thanks to the many shortcuts used in raising animals in our modern food system – this will be an enlightening conversation for many to hear.

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@livablefuture



co-host:

Ken Kaplan

  • A systems engineer trained as an architect
  • co-authored transformative Child Obesity study 
  • The designer who reengineered the modern operating room 
  • Has been working on health care systems at MIT for the past dozen years

Ep. 36: Shauna Sadowski – Head of Sustainability, Natural & Organic Operating Unit at General Mills ||

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On episode 36 we welcome Shauna Sadowski – Head of Sustainability, Natural & Organic Operating Unit at General Mills. “The way we manage agricultural lands is driving many environmental and social challenges and I seek to create solutions that account for a more balanced, triple-bottom line (people, planet and profits) outcome. I care deeply about the food that ends up on your plate and work to create a healthy and balanced system for people and the planet” explains Sadowski about our role in properly managing natural resources to feed ourselves moving forward.

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Throughout the 45 minute conversation Shauna shares some interesting anecdotes of situations that have arisen in her time at as VP at Annie’s, and most recently while managing the organic allotment of General Mills’ vast arsenal of products.

“I believe that food companies have an opportunity and a responsibility to play a significant and positive role in creating a more sustainable food system. I work cross-functionally and throughout the industry to create programs that enable transparency to the farm and a deeper understanding of how our agricultural and farming systems connect to the foods we eat.”  

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Earlier this year Annie’s and General Mills launched a wireframe for their regenerative scorecard.  The objective of the scorecard tool is to encourage producer commitment and consumer awareness to soil health.  It seems a shared language would be a big win for food values.  Now, heading up Sustainability and Organic brands for a fortune 500 company with 38,000 employees – Shauna continues to demonstrate her commitment to moving the industry more regenerative through creatives approaches that bridge a production divide.    It’s interesting stuff – have a listen:

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@SJSadowski

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Ep. 33: Ridge Shinn – CEO of Big Picture Beef ||

On episode 33 we welcome Ridge Shinn, CEO of Big Picture Beef – a businessman making us all a little more regenerative through a smarter regional production approach.  In 2010, Time Magazine cast Ridge as the original  Carbon Cowboy.  He lives with that mantra everyday.

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It’s as fundamental as investing in animal well-being for the betterment of our planet’s wellbeing and your health.  As the financial landscape in production continues to evolve, Shinn sees a sustainable business model for future food being of more regional production – an approach that he believes others will soon follow. Founded in 2015 – Based out of Hardwick, MA – Big Picture Beef’s mission is to establish an environmentally sustainable and economically viable model of producing beef through managed grazing—no feedlots and no grain, ever. Shine & Big Picture envision a system that produces healthy animals, healthy food, healthy soils, and fair wages for farmers.

 

“We work with numerous farms in the region that produce young stock according to our standards. Then we aggregate these cattle for fattening on several large finishing farms, also in the region, that are staffed by skilled graziers. A variety of regenerative farming techniques, notably rotational grazing to foster soil health and fertility, are key to our success. We harvest the finished cattle and sell 100% grass-fed and grass-finished beef and beef products to wholesale customers.” – Ridge Shinn

 

In our 40 minute conversation we discuss topics ranging from bioregions; consumer’s role as change agents; drawdown; and one-health of animal, planet & consumer.   Ridge offers insights into an operating model that seeks to be benefit diverse stakeholders interested in preserving a regional provenance, and commitment to a production approach.  Decades of experience offers Shinn assurance that all of that hard work developing protocols in the fields are now queueing market interest.  It’ll be fascinating for all, but if you live in the Northeast – you should give it a listen.

@RidgeShinn

photo credit: Jason Grow
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Ep. 32: Usman Javaid – CEO & co-founder of Ricult ||

On episode 32 we welcome Usman Javaid – CEO of Ricult. This startup spawned out of MIT sets to change the paradigm in global agriculture by rejiggering how folks who grow our food in all corners of the world can access resources, and sell their resulting crops to benefit themselves and their consumers.  Ricult is unique as they aim to fix the agriculture value chain through simple mobile tools that can be overlaid on modern technology platforms. By improving the value chain, Ricult is enabling farmers to pull themselves out of poverty while tapping a multi-billion dollar market.
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“We are not a charity; we are an empowering community transformation. This is the basis for a brighter future, built on hand-ups, not handouts” describes Javaid, an entrepreneur with 15 years of experience in Telecom, Mobile Banking, Mobile Agriculture in Pakistan/Bangladesh – who is now equipped with an MBA from MIT Sloan.  Usman leveraged his past experience selling petrochemical fertilizers at Exxon, and time spent with Pakistani dairymen while at Nestle to better understand and appreciate the perils of small stakeholder farmers around the world.  While at Sloan school he helped organize a team of global thought-leaders equally interested in changing global agriculture through defining a new paradigm focused on the farmer first.  And, that’s what they’ve done.

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Their Bill and Melinda Gates foundation backed company has now architected and framed a system which alleviates many of the issues within current supply chains for small farmers.  Supply chains for the billion small stakeholder farmers throughout the globe are often controlled by their investors, who maybe be better described as loan-sharks and present limited interest in feeding a shrinking planet nor looking out for the best interests of their debtors.  From Clearinghouse -to- Financier -to- Marketplace preserving production qualities – it’s RIcult that has stepped in to re-introduce potential for small stakeholder farmers to make a fair living through growing our food.

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The solutions they seek set to address vast global problems like food shortage, malnourishment, poverty, and rural unemployment.  Javaid and his leadership team at Ricult have decided this must begin by investing in the smallholder farmer. Their promise is to give these farmers the tools they need to be better informed, and to empower economic actors which will help more farmers work their way out of debt & poverty. As Usman states – “The world is ready for farming to be revolutionized and become more inclusive by liberating the very people who form the backbone of this industry.”
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No matter where you’re from. where live, or what you’ve done – have a listen to our 40 minute conversation. This discussions impacts us all.
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@contact_Ricult

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Ep. 31: Ryland Engelhart, co-founder  & Jesse Smith, Farmland Program Director – Kiss The Ground ||

 

On episode 31 of Sourcing Matters we welcome Ryland Engelhart and Jesse Smith of Kiss The Ground.  Well known for the critically acclaimed book and forthcoming movie, both sharing the same namesake as their organization, non-profit Kiss The Ground is telling a new story about our ability to regenerate land, reverse climate change and reconnect to nature by building back healthy soil.  Through programs focused on storytelling, education, business, community gardens and the farmland – Kiss The Ground empowers people to restore soil and help accelerate the adoption of regenerative agriculture.  Seamlessly complementing each other throughout the 45 minute conversation, both guests brought unique insight to our discussion which connected soil, human, and planetary health.

 

Ryland Engelhart currently serves as the Mission Fulfillment Officer and co-owner of Cafe Gratitude and Gracias Madre. Engelhart co-founder of Kiss The Ground, and now works tirelessly to educate and advocate about the movement.  As a storyteller, Ryland co-created the award-winning, transformational documentary film, “May I Be Frank.” Also, he’s an entrepreneur and activist, using his restaurants as a platform to inspire more “gratitude” into our culture.   Running the Kiss The Ground Farmland program, Jesse Smith adds unique acumen from the perspective of a producer and philosopher.  Smith is a farmer, designer and consultant focused on the intersection of regenerative supply and enterprise. His passion for agriculture and food systems is rooted in his love of California’s diverse ecosystems, and influenced by his work and travels through Africa, Europe and the western United States. Jessie’s family, friends and community are what inspire him to develop a network of farmers, restaurants and consumers to benefit our soil, water & air.
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In this episode we go deep into the problems, and potential solutions for a shrinking planet.  Ryland describes the impetus for formulating this unique arena of Kiss The Ground which seems set on democratizing complex subjects that will prove increasingly essential for stabilizing all corners of the world.  Engaging consumers and citizens as the agents of change, it was consensus amongst all of us that it has to be the grass-roots to lead us forward through this tumultuous and concerning time for the future health of our planet.  The people will lead, and the policy will (eventually) follow.

 

Through the collection of their farms, non-profit initiative and restaurants this west coast collaborative is drafting a new recipe for moving us forward.  A mechanism that vertically integrates the value chain which will benefit the consumer of their food, fiber and fuel, and lead to positive externalities of regenerative results.
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@kissthegroundCA

 

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Ep. 30: Wood Turner – Senior Vice President of Agriculture Capital  ||

On episode 30 of Sourcing Matters we welcome Wood Turner, Sr. Vice President of Agriculture Capital.  Focused on integrating and operationalizing the firm’s cross-platform sustainability strategies into the 4 staple permacrops they invest in, Turner brings unique background and expertise to the changing dynamic of food production.
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It’s Agriculture Capitals mission to grow access to healthy, sustainable food.  “We’ve assembled experienced professionals from finance, farming, processing, marketing, and sustainability to bring innovative thinking to managing successful food enterprises.” described the firm’s website.  Turner has over 20 years of experience in corporate sustainability, environmental management, and consumer engagement. Most recently, he was on the executive team at organic yogurt pioneer Stonyfield Farm as the company’s VP Sustainability Innovation. Prior to that, he was founding executive director of Climate Counts, an international NGO focused on measuring and scoring the world’s largest consumer companies on their concrete, enterprise-level responses to climate change. Wood has consulted to brands, elected officials, and public agencies on mobilizing the public around ideas that improve the environment and build community.
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Agricultural economist Renee Vasillos joins as co-host of our 45 minute conversation which covers subjects that range from the current state of citrus, consumer engagement, “softening the edges” of investing in & production models that support pollinator health, and the all important topic of water. Private equity often gets a bad rap for being too focused on the deal instead of the value creation. Wood Turner and his team at Agriculture Capital seek to restructure how capital can deliver multi-dimensional returns beneficial to many stakeholders and the shared environment.

Agriculture Capital – Impact Report

@doubleUT

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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.

Ep. 29: Gina McCarthy – Director, C-Change at Harvard Chan School of Public Health ||

 

 

On Sourcing Matters episode 29 we welcome Gina McCarthy, Director of C-Change at Harvard’s Chan School of Public Health.  McCarthy has a background fighting for and evolving environmental policy.  A change-agent of positivity, McCarthy has been a leading advocate for common sense strategies to protect the public and the environment for more than 30 years. She served under President Barack Obama as the 13th Administrator of the EPA from 2013–2017. Her tenure as EPA Administrator heralded a paradigm shift in national environmental policy, expressly linking it with global public health. Prior, during her career in Massachusetts, McCarthy advised five governors on environmental affairs, worked at the state and local levels on critical environmental and ecological issues, and helped coordinate policies on economic growth, alternative energy, and modern transportation.

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In our 45 minute conversation we discuss both the need and opportunity to embrace sustainable best practice across the board.  We chat about the current landscape in DC. We discuss Scott Pruitt and his $43K soundproof phone booth, Trump’s perspective on the environment, climate change deniers, future food, agriculture and much more.

McCathy’s take on the political divide, “We need to stop Washington from simply making climate change part of a partisan platform. Frankly, It has nothing to do with being a Republican or Democrat.  Absolutely nothing! If you’re a human being – you need to care about this, and you need to act.” 

To do this we need to motivate, inspire and let people come to their own conclusions that this all matters.  “It’s a strategy that we need to stop scaring people, and start creating the pied piper effect. Play great music, and let people follow you.”

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Gina explains that the EPA isn’t a birds & bunnies agency.  But, instead one focused on public health and national security. “People need to realize, climate isn’t about polar bears, it’s about their kids.”   McCarthy gets to the brass tacks of the movement, “The most important thing we can do is to realize the future is in our hands. We need to grab opportunities where they come, and be positive about it.”  She continues “We need to put science to work, and explain it in terms that everyone can understand.”  McCarthy recently completed a few fellowships at Harvard. “I found the students to be incredibly exciting and engaging. They had a sense of social justice and equity that was just palpable. They just didn’t want to tolerate moving forward in a world that doesn’t recognize that science is real, that climate change is happening, that manmade emissions are causing it; and that we have to do something – not least of which is to more women into office!”

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After her work in DC and finalizing the fellowship programs, Harvard’s Chan school of Public Health became the ideal venue to continue her transformative work in materializing the impacts of climate change and environmental pollution on public & personal health. The goal of the new C-Change center is to make sure science is driving actions continuously. She explains “The Dean wanted the science to be done not just well, but to be communicated well. To actually get into the hands of decision makers, and we can actually make a difference based on real facts on the ground.”
“The greatest opportunity we have to improve health in this century is embrace climate change as a public health issue. Climate change is opening our eyes to what we need to do to live sustainably. And, a low carbon future is something we should be running towards; investing in; talking about; getting exciting about!  I want people to know that climate change is perhaps the most direct threat they have today for their kid’s tomorrow. Taking action against climate change now is the greatest opportunity we have to chart a future that is sustainable.”

Gina McCarthy, Sourcing Matters Aug’18.

What we’re learning is: we do have great leaders, from all over, with diverse backgrounds who are ready for their time up at bat.  This has melded with a confluence of a citizen awakening, and what seems to be a zeitgeist of generation next where responsible action can be the permanency to set a proper course moving forward.  Recent defeats from this administration is a gut check; maybe a call to action for us to gain some small wins, together, for greater good and stability.
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So, whether instigating change from our dinner plate, in a lab or research center, via technology & innovation, or from some of the most prestigious institutions in the land – we’ve got this talent.  We need now to mobilize around small victories and milestones from the grass-roots.  It’s our time we get out and make a difference!
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@HarvardCChange

 

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photo source: Politico   


 

Ep. 28: Willem Ferwerda – CEO of Commonland Group ||

 

Today on Sourcing Matters ep. 28 we welcome Willem Ferwerda – CEO of the Commonland Group.  Based out of the Netherlands, Commonland believes that landscape restoration offers tremendous untapped opportunities for sustainable economic development.  To demonstrate this potential, they develop landscape restoration projects that are based on business cases, and proper monitoring of their successes using multi-dimensional returns.  With current projects in Southern Africa, Spain, Western Australia, and the Netherlands – Commonland engages with multidisciplinary teams of investors, companies, and entrepreneurs in long-term restoration partnerships with farmers and land-users. Already, the approach has cast new expectations for what returns represent to each of the different stakeholders.

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The goal of Commonland is to realize large-scale landscape restoration with local farmers, land-users and experts based on sustainable business cases with each impact being assessed through a matrix monitoring diverse returns that connect natural and economic landscape zones through a multi-stakeholder initiative benefiting all parties. Willem founded Commonland with the idea the long-term commitment is important, as it takes approximately 20 years – or one generation – to restore a landscape.  Their holistic restoration approach focuses on the 4 key returns of Inspiration, Social, Natural, Financial.  Those returns combine to define a baseline for their long-horizon mission – which is to contribute to a large-scale landscape restoration industry, aligned with international policies and guidelines throughout a shrinking planet.

 

Maybe Teddy said it best: “I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land; but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us. I ask nothing of the nation except that it so behaves as each farmer here behaves with reference to his own children. That farmer is a poor creature who skins the land and leaves it worthless to his children. The farmer is a good farmer who, having enabled the land to support himself and to provide for the education of his children, leaves it to them a little better than he found it himself. I believe the same thing of a nation.”

– Theodore Roosevelt: The 1910 New Nationalism Speech

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@Commonland

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related links:
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