– 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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a UN Food System Summit & Sourcing Matters miniseries

Together, the UN Food Systems Summit and Sourcing Matters launch their new and thought-provoking podcast series, Laying Down Tracks.

This inspiring 8-part miniseries, led by Aaron Niederhelman, will feature world experts on issues related to world hunger, malnutrition, climate change, and much more. Focused on the real experiences of rolling out the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, each episode will bring forward solutions through motivating discussions.

We are laying down tracks to head into a new world where our food systems mean prosperity for people and the planet.  Listen now to Laying Down Tracks (LDTs) to learn how you, too, can help save our planet.


EPISODE SEVEN:


Good Food For All

Host: Aaron Niederhelman, Sourcing Matters podcast
Guest: Paul Polman, Co-founder & Chair at IMAGINE
Guest: Chantelle Nicholson, chef owner at Tredwells and All’s Well

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‘Laying Down Tracks’ ep.7:

“If you work in silos you will never get these changes implemented because the farmer can’t afford it, but if big corporations come to work together across the value chain; you create value at a different level,” says influencer, businessman and campaigner, Paul Polman (IMAGINE & Unilever). This latest episode is all about how to build a food system that’s dedicated to nutrition and health of people and the planet.

Joining in this conversation  is Chef, writer, and regenerative food system advocate, Chantelle Nicholson, who talks about  the importance of consciousness as the first step and asking questions on where do you buy your food and how many plants are you eating a week, as something we can all do to bring in more good food for all.

Listen to this conversation with Paul, Chantelle, and Aaron as they discuss how we can achieve good for the people and planet, as we continue to Lay Down Tracks to the UN Food Systems Summit.

https://www.un.org/en/food-systems-summit/laying-down-tracks



credits: 


 

a UN Food System Summit & Sourcing Matters miniseries

Together, the UN Food Systems Summit and Sourcing Matters launch their new and thought-provoking podcast series, Laying Down Tracks.

This inspiring 8-part miniseries, led by Aaron Niederhelman, will feature world experts on issues related to world hunger, malnutrition, climate change, and much more. Focused on the real experiences of rolling out the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, each episode will bring forward solutions through motivating discussions.

We are laying down tracks to head into a new world where our food systems mean prosperity for people and the planet.  Listen now to Laying Down Tracks (LDTs) to learn how you, too, can help save our planet.


EPISODE SIX:


Food for All Corners

Host: Aaron Niederhelman, Sourcing Matters podcast
Co-host: Ruth Richardson, Executive Director for the Global Alliance for the Future of Food and Chair of Food Systems Champions Network
Guest: Helianti Hilman, Founder and Executive Chairperson at Javara, and a Food Systems Champion

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‘Laying Down Tracks’ ep.6:

Hope and true collaboration will help drive food system change and stabilize our planet. “Different people have different ways of thinking of food systems and that’s why I am such an advocate on building these systems on values and principles. This is what is going to lead us to a much more hopeful future,” says the Co-host and Executive Director for the Global Alliance for the Future of Food and Chair of Food Systems Champions Network, Ruth Richardson. This latest episode is all about diverse interests coming together to produce food for all corners of the planet. Food system transformation requires a true multi-stakeholder initiative to really make it work.

Joining in this conversation as guest is the Founder and Executive Chairperson at Javara, and a Food Systems Champion, Helianti Hilman who talks about the importance of building the whole supply chain on true collaboration, diversity, inclusion, and respectful relationships with farmers and producers to create true system change.

Listen to this conversation with Ruth, Helianti and host Aaron Niederhelman as they discuss how food systems connect us all and must be built on values to lead us all to a much more hopeful future, as we continue to Lay Down Tracks to the UN Food Systems Summit.

https://www.un.org/en/food-systems-summit/laying-down-tracks



credits: 


 

a UN Food System Summit & Sourcing Matters miniseries

Together, the UN Food Systems Summit and Sourcing Matters launch their new and thought-provoking podcast series, Laying Down Tracks.

This inspiring 8-part miniseries, led by Aaron Niederhelman, will feature world experts on issues related to world hunger, malnutrition, climate change, and much more. Focused on the real experiences of rolling out the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, each episode will bring forward solutions through motivating discussions.

We are laying down tracks to head into a new world where our food systems mean prosperity for people and the planet.  Listen now to Laying Down Tracks (LDTs) to learn how you, too, can help save our planet.


EPISODE FIVE:


System Resilience

Host: Aaron Niederhelman, Sourcing Matters podcast
Guest: Nate Mook, CEO of World Central Kitchen

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‘Laying Down Tracks’ ep.5:

What better way to celebrate Sustainable Gastronomy Day than to listen to the latest episode of Laying Down Tracks? This episode touches on the importance of bringing resilience into food systems transformation as one of the most vital things to enable communities to bounce back from a crises and environmental shock.

“Food too often is seen as a commodity, as an object. It is often seen as a logistical problem. But it is about sharing a fresh nourishing plate to uplift spirits and make people feel like things will get better,” says CEO for World Central Kitchen, Nate Mook, who discusses with host Aaron the importance of shifting how we respond to crisis.

Listen to this conversation on the importance of building resilience to vulnerabilities and creating long term food security, as we continue to Lay Down Tracks to the UN Food Systems Summit.

https://www.un.org/en/food-systems-summit/laying-down-tracks



credits: 


 

a UN Food System Summit & Sourcing Matters miniseries

Together, the UN Food Systems Summit and Sourcing Matters launch their new and thought-provoking podcast series, Laying Down Tracks.

This inspiring 8-part miniseries, led by Aaron Niederhelman, will feature world experts on issues related to world hunger, malnutrition, climate change, and much more. Focused on the real experiences of rolling out the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, each episode will bring forward solutions through motivating discussions.

We are laying down tracks to head into a new world where our food systems mean prosperity for people and the planet.  Listen now to Laying Down Tracks (LDTs) to learn how you, too, can help save our planet.


EPISODE THREE:


Nature-Based Production

Host: Aaron Niederhelman, Sourcing Matters podcast
Co-host: Joao Campari, Global Leader of the WWF’s Food Practice and Chair of the UN Food Systems Summit Action Track 3
Guest: Peter Thomson, UN Special Envoy for the Ocean

‘Laying Down Tracks’ ep.3:

The oceans and their coastal areas are an essential component of the Earth’s ecosystem hosting between 500,000 and 10 million species that provide a wide range of ecosystem services. “We cannot have a healthy planet without healthy oceans, and in any global discussion on biodiversity the ocean must be front-and-centre,” explains Peter Thomson, UN Special Envoy for the Ocean, who is a guest on this episode, co-hosted by Joao Campari, Global Leader of the WWF’s Food Practice and Chair of the UN Food Systems Summit Action Track 3.

Approximately 3 billion people in the world rely on wild-caught and farmed seafood as a primary source of protein, while at the same time agriculture uses up 38 percent of the global land surface. Whether on land or at sea, we are using up our precious resources and destroying others that can help us recover like biodiversity. With only nine more harvests remaining on a promise to meet the SDGs by 2030, it is important we find the right balance both for the health of our planet but also for the health of people everywhere.

Listen to this conversation on nature-based solutions and the blue economy as we continue to Lay Down Tracks to the UN Food Systems Summit.



credits: 


 

a UN Food System Summit & Sourcing Matters miniseries

Together, the UN Food Systems Summit and Sourcing Matters launch their new and thought-provoking podcast series, Laying Down Tracks.

This inspiring 8-part miniseries, led by Aaron Niederhelman, will feature world experts on issues related to world hunger, malnutrition, climate change, and much more. Focused on the real experiences of rolling out the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, each episode will bring forward solutions through motivating discussions.

We are laying down tracks to head into a new world where our food systems mean prosperity for people and the planet.  Listen now to Laying Down Tracks (LDTs) to learn how you, too, can help save our planet.


EPISODE TWO:


Sustainable Consumption

Host: Aaron Niederhelman, Sourcing Matters podcast
Co-host: Tristram Stuart, co-founder of Feedback and founder of Toast Ale
Guest: Lana Weidgenant, Deputy Director of Zero Hour International and UN Food Systems Summit Vice-Chair for Action Track 2
Guest: Webster Makombe, law student and youth activist from Scaling Up Nutrition Movement

‘Laying Down Tracks’ ep.2:

If food waste was a country, it’d be the third biggest global greenhouse gas emitter. “We waste at least a third of the world’s food sources. So, a third of all that environmental impact is happening for no good reason, just for food to be left to rot,” said author and activist Tristram Stuart as he joins Aaron Niederhelman as co-host for this second episode. Stuart is known for his craft beer line Toast Ale, which turns a potential food waste magically into beer. That is something we can all cheers to.

He is joined by Lana Weidgenant, Deputy Director of Zero Hour International and UN Food Systems Summit Vice-Chair for Action Track 2, and Webster Makombe, a law student and youth activist from Scaling Up Nutrition Movement. Sustainable consumption is becoming more of a priority from each generation to the next says Weidgenant, while Makombe shares how local foods are changing consumption habits in Zimbabwe.

Join us to hear all about how you can change your consumption habits – and your beer choice – to create lasting changes in our food systems.



credits: 


 

Ep. 100: Janis Searles Jones – CEO, Ocean Conservancy ||

 

Ocean Conservancy educates and empowers citizens to take action on behalf of the ocean. From the Arctic -to- the Gulf of Mexico -to- the halls of Congress, Ocean Conservancy brings people together to find solutions for our blue planet.  Driving forward progress built on science, policy, advocacy, and citizen engagement, for 48 years, Ocean Conservancy has fought relentlessly to protect the ocean and its wildlife we rely upon.

 

Thanks to these efforts tangible progress has been made on a range of issues including ocean plastic pollution, smart ocean planning, sustainable fisheries, ocean acidification and sea turtle protection. The ocean is the great global commons and the Ocean Conservancy keeps that sentiment front and center for key policymakers in the U.S. and abroad.  This approach allows us, mankind, to become better shepherds of the bounty of the sea and preserve the sanctity of our oceans for generations to come.

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In our 50 minute discussion we learn about the lineage and focus of the Ocean Conservancy.  I ask Janis Searles Jones, CEO of the Ocean Conservancy, about the organization’s strategic priorities and how they have evolved since she has taken the leadership role in 2017.  We learn about their diverse ocean health efforts, and about what has successfully percolated to the domain of public knowledge.  We hear what’s really working and how certain pathways to broader awareness – initiatives focused on the likes of plastic straws & sea turtles – are serving as an impetus to drive real change by empowering end users, consumers and voters.  We discuss the state of biodiversity in our oceans and the capacities for the seas to continue to keep buffering the excess amounts of heat and carbon we’re spewing into the atmosphere.  We learn what Ocean Conservancy is doing to instigate climate action in projects ranging from local clean-up initiatives, all the way up to global policy making in multi stakeholder relationships like the Paris Accord.

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We discuss seafood and the state of our global fisheries.  In our chat we learn how we may or may not be able to continue to feed over 3 billion global citizens reliant on seafood as their main caloric intake – on oceans threatened to be exhausted within a decade.  I ask about Searles Jones’ interest and enthusiasm for Regenerative Ocean Farming.  How this smart and pragmatic management practice of generative natural resources can spawn a sea change in our relationship and management of the oceans.

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BIO: Janis Searles Jones champions the work of the Ocean Conservancy’s fight against the growing threats of oil and gas development, increased maritime shipping, overfishing, contamination and climate change.  As CEO of Ocean Conservancy, Searles Jones helms the efforts of this leading conservation organization’s strategic direction to preserve the health of our oceans  – bringing her passion, logic and commitment to their work throughout global waters.  Searles Jones is a respected expert in the marine conservation field – authoring numerous pieces on the sustainable use and proper management of ocean resources. Janis was a 2017 Pew Marine Fellow, and prior to taking the leadership role at the Ocean Conservancy – she was senior regional counsel and policy advisor for Oceana, and the staff attorney for the Alaska office of Earthjustice.

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We must stop exhausting the health of oceans in our mining of biodiversity and exploitation in using them as our dumping grounds.  Representing 70% of the face of the panet, oceans constitute our best opportunity to balance a planet under threat by enveloping the ideas of systems thinking which will save our own asses through investing in the well being or others. It’s an opportunity to coexist with life on the planet by stepping-up and acting as a steward of the seas.

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Janis Searles Jones book recommendations:

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photo credit: Ocean Conservancy & Jasmine Ive 


 

Ep. 99: Jennifer Morgan – Executive Director, Greenpeace International ||

Joining for ep. 99 is the Executive Director of Greenpeace International, Jennifer Morgan.  For 50 years, Greenpeace has been fighting for ecological justice.  Now, arguably the pre-eminent non-governmental voice instigating environmental action, Greenpeace has a focused lens on addressing climate change, deforestation, overfishing, commercial whaling, genetic engineering and orchestrating anti-nuclear campaigns.

 

 

In 2019, there were approximately 4000 Greenpeace staff working for Greenpeace International and its offices around the globe, alongside tens-of-thousands more volunteers and passionate activists!  The co-ordinating body of Greenpeace International represents the collective actions of 27 independent national and regional organizations in over 55 countries and regions across Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific. In our 45 minute discussion we cover how Jennifer and her global team makes sense of all of the moving parts.  We learn how the preservation of biodiversity is the lifeblood of Greenpeace’s activism. 

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We hear more about the lineage of the organization, and how Jennifer came to lead efforts with this world renowned ecologically focused juggernaut set on “ensuring the ability of the Earth to nurture life in all its diversity”.  We discuss where Greenpeace plays in the Paris accord, and how the United States should not just be re-entering the agreement, but lead in future efforts to define substitutive and quantifiable climate actions.

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A focus area of our conversation is the utilization and shepherding of regenerative natural resources. Specifically, with the production of food.  What humans eat from land and sea has a vast impact on the planet and its inhabitants.  In our conversation we explore how food values may materialize as a unique angle to drive environmental awareness with broader audiences.  How much of the global population can choose these food values as a way to take environmental action, 3-times daily.  We also explore concerns of food insecurity, for those who don’t have access to enough food or nutriment in the developing world and within some of the richest countries on the planet.  Food insecurity is real, and we learn what Greenpeace is doing to address impending problems throughout these diverse corners for often marginalized communities.   One thing is for sure, we can’t keep exhausting regenerative natural resources just to generate more calories that may never reach the target audience. It’s ecological suicide.  

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Jennifer Morgan became Executive Director of Greenpeace International in 2016. Formerly, Morgan was ‘Global Director for the Climate Program’ at the World Resources Institute.  Additionally, she was ‘Global Climate Change Director’ at Third Generation Environmentalism (E3G) and she led the ‘Global Climate Change Program’ at the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).  She is passionate about helping countries, governments and individuals take positive action to achieve a zero-carbon future, and is a strong proponent of the need of companies to “go green” and invest in sustainable technologies.

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Tune in to hear Jennifer’s thoughts on how antagonizing and instigating change has  set forth numerous efforts by Greenpeace to realize lasting impact on a shrinking planet.

 


photo credit: Greenpeace International & Roland Berger


 

Ep. 95: Paul Hawken – environmentalist, entrepreneur, author, and activist ||

For episode 95 of Sourcing Matters we welcome environmentalist, entrepreneur, author and activist Paul Hawken to the show. Paul has dedicated his life to environmental sustainability and changing the relationship between business and the environment.  Hawken is a leading voice in the environmental movement, and a pioneering architect of corporate reform with respect to ecological practices.  Paul authors articles, op-eds, and peer-reviewed papers, and has written eight books including five national bestsellers. He has appeared in diverse media outlets including the Today Show, Bill Maher, Talk of the Nation, Charlie Rose, and has been profiled or featured in hundreds of articles including the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, The Washington Post, Business Week, Esquire, and US News & World Report. Paul is a dynamic public speaker, and he has served on the board of many environmental organizations.
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Paul Hawken is founder of Project Drawdown, a non-profit dedicated to researching when and how global warming can be reversed. The organization maps and models the scaling of one hundred substantive technological, social, and ecological solutions to global warming.  The book, which Paul helped write and edited, describes 100 solutions of change, 80 of which are currently in practice.  To clarify – ‘Drawdown’ is the point at which the concentration of greenhouse gases begins to decline. The solutions in the book are ranked by the number of gigatons of CO2, or the equivalent, that they would avoid or sequester between the years 2020 and 2050. They range from big difference-makers such as refrigerant management, wind turbines, and food waste to those that are important but not as impactful, including methane digesters, green roofs, and microgrids.
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In our 45 minute discussion we learn from Paul that our only future is regenerative. In fact, our quickest and most pragmatic approach get to the goals of Project Drawdown is to evolve our land management practices in the way we produce our food. Paul explains, that now tooled with modern data analysis and peer-reviewed science supporting regenerative agriculture – investing in soil health is the #1 way to reverse climate change – “by a factor of four or five – SOIL is the largest solution.”
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We learn of Paul’s current work “Regeneration – ending the climate crisis in one generation” – expected release in 2021. We also learn about some of Paul’s business ventures.  Food, garden and energy – all within his sweet spot. We hear a bit about Erewhon, one of the first natural food companies in the U.S. that relied solely on sustainable agricultural methods. Additionally, Hawken co-founded Smith & Hawken, the retail and catalog garden company. In 2009 Paul founded OneSun, an energy company focused on ultra low-cost solar based on green chemistry and biomimicry that is now known as Energy Everywhere.
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Joining as cohost is Dutch-American Agricultural Economist- Renée Vassilos. Renée recently joined The Nature Conservancy as their Agriculture Innovation Director.  She manages TNC’s investments in early stage agtech companies that will support regenerative agriculture production – at scale.  Vassilos spent over fifteen years in the production agriculture space.  Her work experience includes time spent with the USDA, she’s started her own consultancy to help investors and Agtech companies, and she spent nearly a decade with John Deere; much of that time in Beijing.
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Tune-in to hear what this soothsayer has to say about what’s next for us and the planet. 

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@ProjectDrawdown

 

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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. 94: Han de Groot – CEO, Rainforest Alliance,  -ft. cohost: Mike Bellamente – fmr. Executive Director of Climate Counts  ||

For Sourcing Matter ep. 94 we welcome Han de Groot, CEO of Rainforest Alliance.  The ‘Rainforest Alliance Certified Seal’ is awarded to farms, forests, and businesses that meet rigorous environmental and social standards.  Rainforest Alliance operates in 60 countries all over the globe with focus on certifying in five program areas: 1) Sustainable forestry certification, 2) Sustainable agriculture certification, 3) Crop standards and criteria, 4) Rainforest Alliance Certified Seal, 5) Sustainable tourism.
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In our 45 minute discussion we learn just how consumers can make accurate and just buy decisions in an increasingly noisy world.  Hear Han’s empowerment message to us all: as environmentalists – we use our dollars to vote for the planet through the food we buy.   As more trusted scientific resources explain it’ll much comes down to the agriculture systems we employ to feed ourselves moving forward, being an environmentalist 3-times daily is a strong rallying cry which has yet to be fully exercise in diverse food categories. The time seems now.
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Han has dedicated his career to sustainable development. After studying economics at the University of Wageningen, he worked for more than 12 years at Oxfam Novib, eventually leading the organization’s work in Eastern and Southern Africa. In 1998 Han joined the Dutch government. From 2005 to 2010, he held various positions at the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, including Deputy Director for Nature. Joining as co-host in episode 94 is Mike Bellamente. Mike invested many years helming Gary Hirshberg’s environmental accountability organization.  As former Executive Director at Climate Counts Mike gained traction and the attention of huge brands, and over 20K high-impact followers.  Bellamente lead this third-party certifier of Green/Sustainable corporate practice into the mainstream – via the wallets and ideology of consumers who care.  Mike now uses his developing company ‘Naked Bullfrog’ to empower more consumer engagement throughout their local & regional communities.
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It’s been proven; “Natural Climate Solutions” are our cleanest, most pragmatic, and most cost effective way forward.  Investing in what Jeremy Grantham has coined as “Natural Capital” – the regenerative soils, tree health, clean oceans, and biodiversity through a paradigm shift in land management is where mankind can be a catalyst in climate stability.  Bringing that to the market through something as intimate to us as the food we eat is where Han and team play.   As more of us adopt this power to vote with the dollars we spend, I have great hope for what we can all do through food to invest in healthy body and planet.

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@RnfrstAlliance



co-host:

Mike Bellamente

  • Former Executive Director of Climate Counts
  • Dir. @ Green Alliance, and owner of Naked Bullfrog
  • Ethisphere’s list of 100 most influential people in business ethics

 

Naked Bullfrog – primer Video