Ep. 93: Congressman Jim McGovern, US Rep. Massachusetts 2nd  -ft. cohost: Scott Soares, former Mass Ag Commish & shellfish leader  ||

For episode 93 we welcome US Congressman from the Massachusetts 2nd district, Jim McGovern.  Representative McGovern’s district ranges from Worcester to the Pioneer Valley, and includes a good portion of the Connecticut River – the lifeblood for much of the state’s remaining dairy & orchard infrastructure. McGovern’s district also includes the Quabbin Reservoir – the largest inland body of water in the State – which also happens to supply Boston and much of the metro area with crystal clear, world class drinking water.
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On the Hill, Congressman McGovern is the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Nutrition, and House Committee on Agriculture.   Rep. McGovern is also a member of the national dairy and cranberry caucuses.  Jim is an evangelist for food access and nutrition. He’s a leading voice for farmland, and natural land preservation – and not just for the Commonwealth, but through large federal programs that impact the entire country.
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Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) is also a co-sponsor of ‘The Green New Deal’ with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA).  Through-out the conversation we hear about Representative McGovern’s view on the future of federal policies to support a stable country and planet.  Could sequestering carbon into farmland be our saving grace?  Could the USDA and the US Government lead the way?

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In our 45 minute discussion we look at the future of food and its production through a federal lens, as well as for the 1800 farms in his home district in Massachusetts.  We discuss both the positive steps forward in the latest version of the farm bill, as well as some of the intrinsic problems of this huge and glacial policy bucket. We look at the discrepancies in supporting big vs. small farms.  It was recently announced that US Farm income hit $88 Billion – the highest since 2014.  But, nearly 40% of that 2019 farm income income will come from federal aid.  Much of that has been tied to disaster assistance, and aid for the current trade war.  But, Chapter 12 farm bankruptcies are up 24% over the last year, at their highest levels since 2011.  That’s the crux of the issue – big farms are getting paid, and small farms are going out of business. Hear how this can change!


Joining in as cohost is Scott Soares.  Soares is former commissioner of Agriculture in Massachusetts, and served as the Director of USDA Rural Development for Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island for the Obama administration.  Scott has 15 years of fishery and aquaculture experience prior to that – including early in his career serving as the 1st Massachusetts coordinator of aquaculture for nearly a decade. Soares has recently returned to these roots by taking on the role of the Mass Shellfish Initiative coordinator.

It become evident quickly that Soares and Congressman McGovern are good friends. We keep the conversation lively and upbeat, while still evaluating important subject matter.

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So, if you want to hear how systems thinking connects food, health and stability.  Or, if you want to know more about how farm raised fish in land based RAS systems could regulated and propagated by the USDA. Or, if you want to learn more about the perils of New England dairy, and what can be done about it. Or, how hemp is an agricultural product for medication, fiber and material sciences to replace plastics – tune-in to learn more about what’s going on in Massachusetts’s 2nd, and on the Hill.

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@RepMcGovern



co-host:

Scott Soares

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

@SjSoares65

 

Ep. 92: Bill Taylor – President & CEO of the Atlantic Salmon Federation ||

We welcome Bill Taylor – President & CEO of the world renowned conservation organization – Atlantic Salmon Federation.  
Est. in 1948 – the Federation is dedicated to the conservation, protection and restoration of wild Atlantic salmon and the ecosystems on which their well being and survival depend.
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In 2011, the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) commissioned a report to calculate the economic impact for Atlantic Salmon in eastern Canada.  The results presented $255 million annually – and supported 4000 jobs. Relating to the success of project one article explained “in our political climate, money talks, and government tends to invest in industries that provide economic benefits and jobs to communities.”

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Just last year Bill and his international team brokered a very important deal to preserve the sanctity of salmon in the wild. A landmark, 12-year agreement with Greenland Fisherman to suspend the commercial harvest of Salmon, and limit the quota to 20 ton subsistence quota.  This deal saves thousands of virile adult salmon every year.
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In our 45 minute discussion we cover many areas of interest for fishermen, eaters and environmentalists.   You’ll hear how ASF is a world-leading science and advocacy organization that has long-since been dedicated to conserving and restoring wild Atlantic salmon. You’ll learn how the ASF seeks to expand upon current programs, and explore improving farming practices of salmon to benefit diverse stakeholders

– including open run fish.


Co-hosting the episode is Aaron’s father, Byron Niederhelman. With an undergrad in biology, and a Masters from Northeastern University – Byron taught Biology and Earth Science for 19 years. For 13 year more he was the Principal of ConVal High School in Peterborough, NH.  Byron is an avid sportsman who for the past 25 years has been a busy traveler in search of the world’s best fishing spots.


  1. Are salmon truly the canary-in-the-coalmine?
  2. Is their demise an accurate reflection of the health of our waterways and marine environments?
  3. If we want to preserve the natural migratory paths of animals – why not start with this iconic keystone species?
  4. Could cleaning up farming practices of salmon establish cash-flow to invest back into the natural environment for their natural cousins?

 

We answer these questions and more – on episode 92 of Sourcing Matters.

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@AtlanticSalmonFed

 

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co-host:

Byron Niederhelman

  • Background in Biology
  • Former Educator & Principal
  • Avid Traveler & Fisherman

Full bio: 

With an undergrad in Biology, a Masters from Northeastern University, Byron Niederhelman taught Biology and Earth Science for 19 years, and was for 13 years the Principal of the ConVal High School in Peterborough, NH. Byron is an avid sportsman who for the last 25 yrs. has been a busy traveler in search of the world’s best fishing spots.

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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Ep. 88: Erin Baumgartner, CEO & co-founder of Family Dinner ||

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On show #88 we welcome the CEO & co-founder of Family Dinner – Erin Baumgartner.  Family Dinner is a farmer’s market delivery service that uses data to improve the food supply chain.  It’s an innovative approach to the standard CSA model working directly with a network of farms to broaden their markets through software applications. Baumgartner is the former Assistant Director of the MIT Senseable City Lab in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, a lab that used data to understand complex systems.


Tune in to our 45 minute discussion to hear how Erin’s background in data science is now impacting regional food sourcing, and production.  In codifying a smarter supply chain and being more in-tune with the interests of a modern consumer – Family Dinner is developing scalable tech which would allow anyone to take advantage of regional assets – for anywhere.  But, as we learn from Erin – you can’t fake the hard stuff.  You need to get your hands dirty and develop the relationships with producers and buyers who are interested in maintaining integrity in their approaches.
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From the home office in Somerville, MA – Erin and her menu curation team act as bespoke master chefs for your household.  By knowing a good amount about each of their consumer’s interests and avoidances – Family Dinner sculpts a pretty amazing week of meals which will celebrate and amplify what’s in season and prime to eat.   Culinary plans like paleo, vegetarian and allergy sensitive programs fit nicely into their data driven model for weekly regional offerings.
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Every week they’ll deliver you and your family chef’s quality food from within shouting distance of harvest and home. That’s a pretty good service!
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Ep. 87: Sara Eckhouse – Executive Director, FoodShot Global ||

On episode 87 of Sourcing Matters we welcome the Executive Director of FoodShot Global – Sara Eckhouse. Launched in Fall of 2018, FoodShot Global is an investment platform aimed at accelerating food system transformation through an annual challenge – a call for “Moonshots for Better Food” that will create a healthier, more sustainable, and more equitable food system worldwide. FoodShot is a global consortium of world-class partners, including mission-aligned venture funds, banks, corporations, universities, and foundations. Together FoodShot will award up to $10 million in equity and up to $20 million in debt funding to innovative businesses.
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As Senior Advisor to Secretary Tom Vilsack at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Sara Eckhouse focused on local and regional food systems, organic agriculture, and healthy food access. Sara launched and managed programs to support sustainable agriculture, and she has firsthand knowledge of the opportunities and challenges of combining sustainability with profitability in food value chains.
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During our 45 minute discussion we review the goals and objectives of this innovative financing forum. We learn of some of the recipients of funding, and of the Foodshot Groundbreaker award – a prize-pool of $500,000 in philanthropic capital awarded to researchers, social entrepreneurs and advocates in the regenerative food space. We hear why Sara decided to take on this role at Foodshot Global after being an Obama Administration political appointee who for five years influenced US product differentiation.
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Joining as cohost is Jay Vilar – founder, and a practitioner at ‘Nourish’ – a bespoke consulting company with a mission to educate, teach, and train people on the benefits of using food to heal your body and optimize your health.  Located in Boston and Washington, DC – Jay has always been on the forefront of using optimal health techniques, and bio-hacking his nutrition to achieve remarkable results in his career.
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Tunein to hear what it takes to make food and its production the next moonshot to save the planet.

 

 



co-host:

Jay Vilar

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

@twitter


Ep. 84: CEO – Cheryl Cronin and Director of Community Engagement – Carrie DeWitt of Boston Public Market Association.   -ft. cohost: Lisa Sebesta, founder of Sitari Capital and co-founder of Fresh Source Capital ||

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On episode 84 we’re live recording on-site from The Boston Public Market on Hanover St. in downtown Boston, Massachusetts.  The Boston Public Market is an innovative four season model set to evolve how we source and consume local food.  Today we’re welcomed by the CEO of The Boston Public Market Association Cheryl Cronin, and the Director of Community Engagement – Carrie Dewitt.
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The Boston Public Market launched in 2015 as a year-round indoor market with the mission of bringing seasonal and local food to Boston’s downtown crowd. Everything sold at the market initially comes from somewhere in New England. This includes everything from seafood to ice cream and fresh produce. It is operated by the Boston Public Market Association, a nonprofit organization born from the collaboration between the city of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
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Cheryl Cronin is CEO of the Boston Public Market Association since January, 2016. Prior to her current work, she was an attorney for over 30 years. She served as the General Counsel for the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Boston Public Library and on the Board of Sail Boston. Additionally,  Cheryl received the Eleanor Roosevelt award from the Massachusetts Democratic Party and the Abigail Adams award from the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus. She has been on Boston Magazine’s list of the 50 most powerful women.
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Carrie DeWitt is the Director of Community Engagement at the Boston Public Market Association. Carrie plans and implements a calendar of public and private programming and events that support the Market’s public impact and reach. Prior to her work at the Boston Public Market, Carrie worked as the Assistant Director of the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, a 100 year-old outdoor Market featuring over 140 growers and producers. Carrie is a graduate of the Agriculture, Food and the Environment masters program at the Friedman School at Tufts University.
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Joining as co-host of our 40 minute conversation is Lisa Sebesta, founder of Sitari Capital.  Sebesta works with investors to evaluate and manage impactful, direct investments in private companies that align with their values.   She is also a Managing Partner at Fresh Source Capital – a General Partner investment fund focused on the sustainable food and agriculture sector.  Previously, Lisa served as a consultant to the Fair Food Fund, and spent 15 years as an equity analyst and portfolio manager for investment firms Batterymarch Financial Management & Boston Advisors.

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Want to know what’s going on with the local food movement in the northeast – TuneIn.

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@BosPublicMarket

 



co-host:

Lisa Sebesta

  • Founder of Satari Capital
  • Managing Partner @ Fresh Source Capital
  • 15 years as an equity analyst and portfolio manager
  • Participates on numerous boards throughout New England Food

@LisaSebesta

 

 

Ep. 80: Dr. Lawrence Haddad, Executive Director of Global  Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) – Geneva Switzerland ||

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For Sourcing Matters episode 80 we welcome Dr. Lawrence Haddad – Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) was launched at the UN in 2002 to tackle the human suffering caused by malnutrition. Working with diverse global partners, GAIN aims at making healthier food choices more affordable, more available, and more desirable.
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Dr. Lawrence Haddad became the Executive Director of GAIN in October 2016. Prior to this Lawrence was the founding co-chair and lead author of the Global Nutrition Report from 2014 to 2016. From 2004-2014 Lawrence was the Director of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), the world’s leading development studies institute. Before joining IDS in 2004, he was Director of the Food Consumption and Nutrition Division at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) from 1994 to 2004. An economist, Lawrence has a PhD in Food Research from Stanford University.  Most recently, in June of 2018 – the World Food Prize Foundation awarded Dr. Haddad the 2018 World Food Prize.
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THE FACTS: According to Global Nutrition Report, about 88% of countries suffer from two or three forms of malnutrition. Every day, 815 million people are going to bed hungry, up from 777mm in 2015. 1 in 3 people lack key micronutrients, like iron and vitamin A, needed to grow properly, live active lives, and raise a healthy family. At the same time, 2 billion adults are overweight or obese and 41 million children are overweight.  Malnutrition now undermines billions of people’s health and leaves 155mm children stunted every year.  In speaking to the outcomes that come to stunted children “without proper nutrition – children’s hardware and software is not  developing properly” – explains Haddad.
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GAIN has its sights set on addressing these far reaching concerns with both an air and ground attack.  Led by Haddad and his impressive teams across the world – GAIN uses boots on the ground and strategic influence to introduce nutrition as a framework of change to more.  TuneIn to our 50 minute conversation to hear about how this agent of change is tackling malnutrition throughout global societies being underfed, and overfed.

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Ep. 79: Shannon Algiere – farmer liaison manager, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture  – ft. co-host Jennifer Hashley, founder of New Market Farming project ||

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On episode 79 we welcome Shannon Algiere – farmer liaison manager at Stone Barns Center. Shannon has taught at Nature Centers, volunteered as a ranger for the Costa Rica National Park Service, managed a biodynamic greenhouse operation and helped develop a 60-member market farm in Connecticut.  Shannon first came to the Stone Barns Center in 2003 with her husband, Jack, and has played many roles on the farm, most recently flower and herb manager. Shannon now employs her extensive farming and mentorship experience to facilitate educational engagement, assisting in the design of a dynamic and impactful farm connection for visitors, aspiring farmers and students.

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Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture was developed by David Rockefeller and dedicated to the memory of his wife, Peggy Rockefeller. The Stone Barns Center’s mission is to demonstrate, teach and promote sustainable, community-based food production. Open to visitors of all ages but with an emphasis on K-12 education, the Center offers a unique experience: a chance to learn about farming firsthand on a real working farm within a 30-minute drive of New York City. Livestock, chickens, vegetables, gardens, greenhouses a learning facility and cultural center demonstrate to the public the advantages of local, community-based farming and environmentally sensitive agricultural practices.  The Center is also home to Blue Hill at Stone Barns, a four star restaurant that offers guests a taste of the farm and of the Hudson Valley.

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TuneIn to our 40 minute conversation to hear about the future of farming, its workforce, our connection with food and how we can all be a part moving forward.

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@StoneBarns

 



co-host:

Jennifer Hashley

  • Founder of Tufts New Entry Sustainable farming project 
  • Owner of Pete & Jen’s backyard birds
  • Evangelist | Activist| Innovator
  • Eisenhower Fellow 2016

@JHashley

Ep. 78: Paul Rice – founder, President & CEO of Fair Trade, USA. – ft. co-host Jennifer Hashley, founder of New Market Farming project  ||

What about the folks producing our food? Tune in to episode 78 to hear from Paul Rice, founder, President & CEO of Fair Trade USA, the social enterprise and leading certifier of Fair Trade products in North America.


On a mission to impact social and environmental good, Fair Trade USA celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2018. Since its launch, Fair Trade USA and its partners have generated almost $500 million in additional income for farmers and workers in more than 70 countries worldwide, allowing them to keep their kids in school, care for the land and steadily improve their livelihoods. Fair Trade USA sets standards that farms, fisheries and factories must be audited against in order to be called Fair Trade Certified. With a beginning in coffee, the organization now certifies over thirty commodities. A timely conversation as the global coffee market price is at a ten year low, Paul shares what Fair Trade is continuing to do to improve farmer livelihoods and enact long term sustainable development. He’ll talk about what Fair Trade for all means to him and the organization and the power of collective bargaining. The Fair Trade USA seafood program just celebrated it’s 5th anniversary and he will share how it came to be and the importance of contributing to the seafood sustainability space. Lastly will check in on the vision for the future and how Fair Trade aligns with the conscious consumer of today.

BIO: He launched the award-winning nonprofit organization in 1998 after spending 11 years organizing farmers in the highlands of Nicaragua. There he founded and led the country’s first Fair Trade coffee export cooperative, which introduced him to the transformative power of market-based approaches to sustainable development. Paul Rice then returned to the United States to obtain his MBA from Berkeley Haas with the dream of bringing Fair Trade to consumers, businesses and farmers worldwide.

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PAUL RICE –  ep. 78:  FAIR TRADE FOR ALL
People called him crazy in the beginning, but Paul had a bold vision for Fair Trade: from his years in Nicaragua, he knew that farmers and workers could learn to navigate the global market and empower themselves on a journey out of poverty. He believed that business could become a major force for social and environmental change, creating “shared value” and sustainability with profitability. He envisioned a consumer awakening and recognition that everyday purchases can impact the world for the better. In short, Paul believed deeply that the Fair Trade movement would have a major impact on the world and also help propel a much larger, lasting shift toward Conscious Capitalism.
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Twenty years later, Fair Trade has grown into a widely-known and increasingly mainstream consumer trend that is rapidly approaching an inflection point. In 2016, consumer recognition of the Fair Trade Certified label reached 67% and U.S. retail sales of Fair Trade products grew to an estimated $6 billion.  Paul and his team have enlisted the support of over 1,300 companies, including market leaders like Green Mountain, Starbucks, Nespresso, General Mills, PepsiCo, Whole Foods, Costco, Target and Walmart. Fair Trade USA now certifies coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar, coconut, fresh fruits and vegetables. Most recently, through groundbreaking partnerships with Patagonia, West Elm and Gap Inc., Fair Trade has begun certifying apparel and home furnishings to improve working conditions and incomes for factory workers.
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Paul’s rich, first-hand experience over the last 30 years in the areas of sustainable agriculture, grassroots economic development, global supply chain transparency and consumer activation is unique in the certification world. He is now a leading advocate of “impact sourcing” as a core strategy for both poverty alleviation and sustainable business.
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Paul has been honored for his pioneering work by Ashoka, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, Fast Company Magazine’s Social Capitalist of the Year award (four-time winner), Ethisphere’s 100 Most Influential in Business Ethics, Entrepreneur magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year (2012 Finalist) and the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. The Texas-native holds an Economics and Political Science degree from Yale University and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, where he is now an Executive Fellow. Paul has spoken at the World Economic Forum, Clinton Global Initiative, Skoll World Forum, TEDx and universities & conferences around the world.

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summary by:
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Mel Bandler
Retail Partnerships
@ FairTrade USA

 

@FairTradeCert

 



co-host:

Jennifer Hashley

  • Founder of Tufts New Entry Sustainable farming project 
  • Owner of Pete & Jen’s backyard birds
  • Evangelist | Activist| Innovator
  • Eisenhower Fellow 2016

@JHashley