– 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: Øistein Thorsen 

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


Scaling-up Meat Production Knowhow



-ft. ØISTEIN THORSEN

CEO of FAI Farms

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CORE SYSTEMS CHANGE: the 6-part miniseries >>


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ep. 107: Øistein Thorsen – CEO, FAI Farms

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

Host: Aaron Niederhelman
Guest: Øistein Thorsen of FAI Farms


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

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

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Getting us to Animal Centric Meat Production

holistic

ANIMAL

AGRICULTURE

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

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

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

ep. 107: AUDIOGRAM – 90 sec. video short

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

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

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

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

Øistein Thorsen CEO of FAI Farms

A Holistic Approach to Producing Good Meat

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

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The Growing Footprint of Animal Centric

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

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feeding the planet ✔️

employing communities ✔️

stabilizing the climate ✔️

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a next generation pioneer in food animal production: Øistein Thorsen

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

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

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

Øistein lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children.

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

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

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

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@FAIFarms

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social media tile

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

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photo credit:  Melissa DiPalma & FAI Farms


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the rich & lasting benefits of:

CORE SYSTEMS CHANGE – content series

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

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for complete series catalog CLICK >>

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Ep. 91: Benedikt Bösel – Managing Director & Proprietor of Schlossgut Alt Madlitz – Germany ||

For episode 91 of Sourcing Matters we welcome Benedikt Bösel, the Managing Director and Proprietor of Schlossgut Alt Madlitz in Brandenburg, Germany.
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Through regenerative food production and forestry management; through hunting excursions and land stewardship initiatives; through a royal bed & breakfast and restaurant – Bösel offers patrons a unique experience dedicated to capturing and sharing the vitality found in nature’s systems.  Since Benedikt has taken the reins of this 7500 acre estate located 1 hour east of Berlin – it’s become an Agtech innovation hot-bed, and an epicenter for testing / implementing Regenerative Natural Resource Management at scale.
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What we learn in this 45 minute discussion is that Benedikt Bösel is diversifying and innovating on his family’s iconic German estate through investing in the future.  A regenerative future which marries and harmonizes with natural systems for maximum benefit to us, to the planet and to all of its co-inhabitants.
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Joining in on the conversation is good friend of the show Renée Vassilos, a Dutch-American Agricultural Economist who has spent over fifteen years in the production agriculture space.  Her work experience includes time spent with the USDA, she has started her own consultancy to help investors and Agtech companies, she spent  nearly a decade with John Deere; much of that time in Beijing.   Renée has recently joined The Nature Conservancy as their Agriculture Innovation Director.  She’ll manage TNC’s investments in early stage agtech companies that will support regenerative agriculture production – at scale.
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TuneIn to hear more about what regenerative really looks like. Both the opportunities and the challenges. Hear how when empowered to be better stewards of the land, we can tackle many of the biggest problems facing us in generations to come. Benedikt and Renée are our future, TuneIn to hear their positive POV on what’s in store.

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@AltMadlitz

 

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co-host:

Renée Vassilos

  • Agricultural Economist
  • The Nature Conservancy  Ag Innovation Director
  • past portfolio manager: Deere China
  • Bilingual Dutch / American citizen 

Full bio: 

Renée Vassilos is a Dutch-American Agricultural Economist who has spent over fifteen years in the production agriculture space.  Her work experience includes time spent with the USDA, she has started her own consultancy to help investors and Agtech companies, she spent  nearly a decade with John Deere; much of that in Beijing.  

Renée has recently joined The Nature Conservancy as their Agriculture Innovation Director.  She will manage TNC’s investments in early stage agtech companies that will support regenerative agriculture production – at scale.

Ep. 90: Daisy Freund, Senior Director of Farm Animal Welfare @ ASPCA ||

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76% of consumers are concerned about the welfare of animals raised for food. For episode 90 we welcome Daisy Freund – Sr. Director of Food Animal Welfare at ASPCA – to discuss her work set on improving the health, treatment and living conditions of farm animals.

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Earlier this year the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal) launched the ‘Shop with your Heart‘ platform – a service designed for consumers to created a more humane world for farm animals.  Just recently, Daisy and her team delivered another tech tool that will continue to empower consumer choice as a change agent in food and ethical behavior.  The ASPCA ‘ShopKind Helpline‘ is a text-based service to ask questions about farm animal welfare and food labels.   You actually get a text response with answers from an expert re: what to buy and where: www.ASPCA.org/ShopWithYourHeart

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As you’ll hear, Daisy is on a mission to harmonize the interests of consumers, advocates and business through her programs.  In our 40 minute conversation we learn more about how these new consumer facing platforms can be used in your day-to-day.  We discover what drove the ASPCA to include farm animals in their focus – along with companion animals.  We hear about Daisy’s background and influences which has lead her to tackle these big problems facing our society today.  We also learn how we can take these concerns mainstream – and with what partners. And, we hear how this effort to drive change through empowerment may just be our best path forward in finding shared solutions for diverse stakeholders in food.
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If you’re an eater; if you’re a lover of animals; if you’re a concerned citizen or community member – TuneIn to hear about some exciting advancements in the world of food production.

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follow: 

@DaisyFreund

@ASPCA

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