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.

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twitter: @BenediktBoesel

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

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FORCES OF NATURE

for 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: 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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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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