Ep. 75: Teresa Ish, Program Officer of the Environment @ The Walton Family Foundation ||

On Sourcing Matters episode 75 we welcome Teresa Ish – Oceans Initiative Program Officer at The Walton Family Foundation.  Ish manages grants in the Environment Program that leverage the power of the supply chain to advocate for more sustainable fisheries.

Weeks prior to recording I had the opportunity to meet with Ish at the Seafood Expo North America (SENA) in Boston.  Teresa provided a walking tour of the SENA floor – introducing us to three change agents in the future of fisheries:

  1. Casey Marion – the Director of Sustainability Initiatives for Quality Management for Florida based Sea Best.  Casey shared with us some of the systems they’ve introduced to better understand sophisticated supply chains in global fisheries.
  2. Mauricio Orellana – a leader in the Octopus fishery on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico.  We learn first hand about this unique example of a future responsible fishery built to service its community of fisherman through first appreciating its resources.   – We also learn a bit more about the soul of an Octopus.
  3. Our final stop was in my native New England waters.  We learn from Richard Stavis – of the iconic brand, Stavis SeafoodLuke Holden – founder of Luke’s LobsterDick Jones of Ocean Outcomes, and Sean Murphy of Sustainable Fisheries Partnership. This gathering was focused on trends in fisheries and seafood sourcing – on advancements which are better meshing with modern consumer interests.
.
Our 40 minute discussion follows this walking tour of SENA.  We discuss each stop along the way, as well as the Walton Family Foundation’s 2020 Environment Strategic Plan.  We chat about education, and the potential of integrating outreach, education and investment into stable ecosystems – which begins & ends with healthy oceans.
.

TuneIn to hear what a leading foundation

is doing to protect our seas; our future!

.
– – –
.
BIO: Before joining the foundation, Teresa Ish was the seafood project manager for the Corporate Partnerships Program at Environmental Defense Fund, where she worked with leading seafood buyers to develop and implement sustainable seafood purchasing policies. During her tenure at EDF, she played an instrumental role in merging the organization’s seafood buyer work and its extensive experience in the fishery policy arena. Prior to joining EDF, she co- founded FishWise and served as its director of science.
.



Ep. 69:  Larry Feinberg – CEO & co-founder of KnipBio  ||

.

On episode 69 of Sourcing Matters we welcome  Larry Feinberg – CEO & Co-founder of KnipBio.   A Boston-Based technology company pioneering advanced nutritional solutions for animal feeds since 2013, KnipBio offers a range of single cell protein products that come from non-food feedstocks.  It’s their mission to secure the quality and safety of food globally, in a sustainable, cost-effective way.  KnipBio has just recently eared a GRAS Green Light from FDA for Novel Aquafeed Protein.  The sky is now the limit for these social innovators set on using financial return to do more good.
.
Accounting for over 50% of total seafood sourced, aquaculture has developed some scale issues..  It’s not as simple as saying that we’ll continue to move in the direction of farming more fish. It’s not just about the higher trophic level fish we consume.  The issue is that much of the aquaculture infrastructure is reliant on pulling from the smaller fish in the sea – to feed the larger fish we consume.   The alternative feedstuff for our aquaculture fish can also often soy, or other crops grown on land using input-based conventional practice leading to an unsustainable perpetual cycle of robbing Peter to pay Paul.
.
Prior to launching this revolutionary company, Larry Feinberg, PhD. completed his doctoral studies at the University of Massachusetts where he focused on biogeochemistry, physiology and genetics of hyperthermophilic microbes. He has deep expertise in early-stage technology ventures and bio-product discovery.  At Mascoma Corporation, he led the Organism Discovery group and New Business Opportunities team.
.
Tune to hear more about the state of the oceans, our fisheries and the future of aquaculture.  In our 40 minute conversation we learn about how Larry and his team at KnipBio are set on developing a more sustainable model for producing enough seafood to feed half the world by looking at from a microscopic POV.

.

KnipBio

 



Ep. 64: Thor Sigfusson – Founder and Chairman of the Iceland Ocean Cluster ||

.

On episode 64 of Sourcing Matters we welcome Icelandic entrepreneur, author and speaker Thor Sigfusson to the show.  Thor is the founder & chairman of Iceland Ocean Cluster.   It’s the mission of the Iceland Ocean Cluster (IOC) to create value in the seafood industry and for the planet by connecting together entrepreneurs, businesses and knowledge for future marine industries.  To serve this mission, Thor and his team have established a new type of working forum that will incubate and propagate new ideas for our future fisheries.

.

Beginning with the Ocean Cluster House in Reykjavik harbor – The Iceland Ocean Cluster is now pooling together satellite locations in coastal cities of the US, and eventually the World – in effort to work in unison in tackling many of the biggest problems facing our shrinking planet.  Each cluster site will be filled with like minded entrepreneurs and a business ecosystem to support and invest in a replicable model for a modern marine innovation economy.  During our 40 minute conversation we learn that fishing communities around the globe have many similar fish-to-fry.  We learn that there are fundamental problems with an antiquated seafood industry, and in dealing with our warming Oceans which need new perspective – now!

.

Previous to spawning the IOC, Sigfusson co-founded Codland.  He’s also launched a few food halls in Iceland, and he’s responsible for the creation of the Ocean House.  Additionally, he’s written five books on topics of international business, knowledge networks and salmon.  Schooled in the US, and most recently spending a good amount of time in New England and the Northwest – we ask Thor for his perspective on the current state of affairs of US fisheries.    TuneIn to hear his surprising response.

.

The need for action on these big problems we face together is real and it’s immediate.  Sigfusson has been busy curating a fresh crop of smart and passionate folks set on doing well by doing great good through defining solutions of change.  It’s Sigfusson’s goal to leverage his overworked coffee machine and the engaging interactions that it’s brewed to steer a new blue food economy for the betterment of Iceland; for the betterment of the world.

.

@OceanCluster

 



Ep. 60: John Bullard – Former Regional Administrator, Great Atlantic Regions NOAA Fisheries & past Mayor of New Bedford, MA  ||

.

 

As Regional Administrator of the Greater Atlantic Region for NOAA fisheries – John Bullard helped manage 44 fish stocks, including scallop and lobster, which – according to NOAA are worth $500 million each.  During his tenure, Bullard oversaw efforts to reduce entanglements for marine life in the Atlantic Ocean and helped develop strategies to repopulate rivers in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts. In 2016, John approved the Mid-Atlantic Council’s deep-sea coral amendment, which protected 15 deep-sea canyons totaling 24 million acres.  Additionally, and probably what many of our listeners will be familiar with is your work investigating notorious fisheries mob-boss Carlos Rafael.

.
In episode 60 of Sourcing Matters John Bullard also shares some interesting stories about his roles prior to the Greater Atlantic Region at NOAA Fisheries. John Bullard (1) was past mayor of New Bedford, (2) he had a lead role at NOAA Sustainability within the Clinton administration, (3) he was past president of Sea Education Association, and as younger man he received a BA From Harvard and Masters in Architecture from MIT.  An engaging dude with some interesting stories to tell.  I hope our listening audience that are out on the water everyday listen to this conversation with John.  You’ll be especially interested to hear his POV, and to learn whose corner he’s truly in.   Tune-In

 



Ep. 56: Sylvia Wulf – CEO of AquaBounty -ft. Jay Vilar of Nourish ||

 

On episode 56 we welcome newly appointed CEO of AquaBounty, Sylvia Wulf for an engaging conversation that explores a new frontier of food production.  Wulf is an industry leader who’s directly responsible for coaxing large scale production and distribution to become more sustainable, more responsible and more appreciative of market trends of a modern consumer over the last 25 years.
.
Prior to AquaBounty, Sylvia was President of StockYards, SVP of Merchandising, and President of the Manufacturing Division for US Foods.  A $23 billion broad line foodservice distributor, US Foods is the the 2nd largest foodservice distributor in the US.  Wulf was responsible for the P&L of the $10 billion protein and produce categories and the $1 billion Manufacturing Division of U.S. Foods Meat, Seafood and Produce operations. While leading this anchor division, Wulf developed a source to sale strategic approach that not only improved profitability but drove growth in market share at 3X the industry average. In her numerous roles responsibilities included the P&L of Perishables categories, centralized sourcing/replenishment, 15 manufacturing facilities for Meat and produce.
.
As of January 2019 Sylvia Wulf has taken the reins at known salmon producer and seafood innovator – AquaBounty.  For the past 20 years AquaBounty has sought federal approval for their transgenic engineered fish which sets to localize domestic production while reducing the use of synthetics and antibiotics in their approach of farm raising fish.  It’s not the molecular scalpel used in tweaking RNA expressions as we’ve learned about with CRISPR, it’s DNA manipulation. But, it’s done for a different purpose and with different intent than we’ve seen with past GE or GMO crops so prevalent in seed production. The IP AquaBounty is interested in moving is a methodology for producing fish, cleaner and healthier fish they say.  It’s surely not designed to move more harmful proprietary chemicals sterilizing soils and the planet. And, BTW – the fish they produce are sterile, so there’s no concern with cross-pollination with natural stock.
.
It’s fascinating to explore this from a few different angles.  No doubt it’s a pressing and timely subject with a stigma.  We must all appreciate that this is being rolled out, now – through-out the US.  AquaBounty has FDA approval and will soon be part of our current food production system. What needs to be determined is how it’s labeled.  They’ve instituted numerous fail safes and they have a compelling message to why they believe the time is now to use their technology to clean-up many of the approaches used in farming fish.  So, how do we all find commonality?  How do we evaluate all the biological, ethical, social and environmental issues reaching our plate?  Tune-In to hear more.

.

‘Nutritionist to The Hill‘ Jay Vilar joins me as a first-time co-host.  Vilar is the 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.  Jay has always been on the forefront of using optimal health techniques, and bio-hacking his nutrition to achieve remarkable results in his career. Jay now spends his time teaching people how to use food to heal their body and speaks to businesses on how to optimize focus & productivity using nutritional and behavioral science.  Jay recently completed a Fellowship at the Rodale Institute, and just relocated from DC to join our crew in Boston.
.
Sylvia Wulf knows large-scale production and food distribution.  Throughout her career she’s worked diligently to elevate standards and improve the experience for a broad swath of consumers and food animals.  Tune-In to hear what she’s up to in her latest venture – for many reasons I know our audience will find intrigue in this 45 minute conversation.

.

@SWulf

 

 



co-host:

Jay Vilar

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

@twitter

Ep. 55: Gray Harris – Senior Vice President of Food Systems @ Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI)  ||

.

On episode 55 we welcome Gray Harris, Senior Vice President of food systems at Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) in Brunswick Maine.  Harris is responsible for the strategy, development and implementation of action-oriented business initiatives in the agriculture, food systems, and aquaculture and fisheries sectors. In her role, Gray assesses sector needs and identifies sources of specialized technical assistance and financing for start-up and expanding food businesses; this includes spearheading the development of funds for sector-specific lending and investing at CEI.
.
In our 45 minute conversation we discuss the ins and outs of investing in regional and sustainable food systems of the Northeast and beyond.  CEI is a mission-driven lender and investor specializing in rural business development and financing. In Maine, and throughout the U.S., CEI helps to create economically and environmentally healthy communities in which all people, especially those with low incomes, can reach their full potential.  CEI is unique with its dossier of offerings which include business loans, micro-loans, new market tax credits, sub-debt loans, SBA 504 loans, business plans, marketing plans, business advising, financial advising, and public policy leadership.
.
Gray Harris  is a former director of the Maine Farms for the Future program, a statewide business planning and grants program for Maine farmers. She participates in numerous action-oriented initiatives statewide, including the boards of Wolfe’s Neck Farm and the Maine Harvest Credit Union,  the Tech Board of the Maine Technology Institute, and she’s a marathon runner!  This all comes in handy with her role of conducting Maine’s Value chain.

.

Dutch-American agricultural economist Renée Vassilos joins again as our co-host.  Stemming from fifteen years of agriculture industry know-how with John Deere and the USDA, Vassilos leverages her global cross-functional experience to support the growth of sustainability-focused agriculture business.  We’re lucky to have her wealth of knowledge in the co-pilot seat for these types of conversations.
.
Tune-In to hear more from our conversation which ranged from place-based investment, circular economies, Maine fisheries and we profile the vertical integration of some of the best beer you’ll ever get to experience with Lunch!

.

@CEIMaine

 .


co-host:

Renee Vassilos

  • Agricultural Economist
  • Regenerative & Big Ag intermediary
  • past portfolio manager: Deere China
  • Bilingual Dutch / American citizen 

Full bio: Renée Vassilos is a Dutch-American Agricultural Economist with over fifteen years of agriculture industry experience. Her expertise ranges from strategic market analysis and product development to sales, marketing and distribution strategy. She has lived and worked abroad- three years in Amsterdam and six years in Beijing- contributing to her robust global experience, cultural competence, and network. 

Today, Vassilos is sharing her expertise through her consulting business. She utilizes her global cross-functional experience from working for the USDA and John Deere to support the growth of sustainability-focused agriculture businesses. She has a BS and MS in Agricultural Economics from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana and University of California, Davis, respectively.

Ep. 51: Sonia Faruqi – author of ‘The Oyster Thief’  &  ‘Project Animal Farm’ ||

For episode 51 we welcome critically acclaimed author Sonia Faruqi to the show.  In our 40 minute discussion Faruqi goes deep into her recent work ‘The Oyster Thief’ which blends fantasy and environmental activism.  It’s a Sci-Fi novel which depicts an underwater civilization of mer-people themed amongst true ocean science, and acts of conservation living out in a deep-sea community.   Tune-In and hear her out…
.
Think of if this way:  Many folks have found their calling in STEM through an interest in Science Fiction – which was introduced to them at a young age.   Our interests in space travel & Super Heroes have changed our society (and some’s belief structure) within a generation.  Sonia believes that the genre of Sci-Fi sparks interest and passion in young folks – and, this has incubated broader interest in more sciences & maths.  Getting them interested in this stuff at a you age makes them inquisitive, and more adoptive of science through-out their life.  That’s a theory which has a great deal of merit.
.
Faruqi’s previous work ‘Project Animal Farm’ was released in 2015.  This non-fiction work looked at the world’s food system through chronicling a journey to 60 animal farms in 8 countries.  Faruqi combines her hands-on immersive learning with analysis on modern global agricultural models.  The well researched book comes in tow with recommendations, and food sustainability solutions for many of these international issues.  She has some heavy hitters in food, agriculture and ocean health singing her praises.
.
So, If we’re going to address the many issues facing our shrinking planet – our oceans – we’ll need more great minds interested in planetary sciences. That’s a fact.  Environmental Sci-Fi seems to be an interesting strike-point to trigger more interest within the right groups, at the right time, for all the right reasons.  Sonia Faruqi has me convinced!

.



Ep. 45: Bill Mook, CEO and Founder of Mook Sea Farm -ft. cohost: Scott Soares, past Mass Ag Commish & shellfish farming leader  ||

.

On episode 45 we welcome Bill Mook, founder and CEO of Mook Sea farm. Mook Sea Farm is an oyster farm founded in 1985 on the Damariscotta River in Midcoast Maine. They rear the American oyster from egg to adult size. Currently, the hatchery produces 120 million juvenile oysters (seed) annually for sale to other oyster growers throughout the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast, and for our own cultivation of Wiley Point and Pemaquid Point oysters for the half-shell market.

.

They’re surely good eating, but oysters represent so much good to their surrounds, the shared environments, and the communities they support. You see, each adult oyster filters 50 gallons of water daily, they restore keystone marine ecosystems, and they build protective reefs around susceptible coastal communities – protecting us from storm surge and severe weather events. In this 45 minute discussion Bill Mook goes into details describing why Oysters are so important to the stability of seas, and to our planet.  As you’ll hear, Mook has implemented bleeding-edge R&D in his hatchery that is second to none. Innovations include development of methods for overwintering seed out of the water; a tidal powered nursery system; a vessel and gear for mechanizing the use of OysterGro™ cages; and a unique, energy efficient, and highly productive system for growing the micro-algae we use for food in the hatchery.  Effectively his approach to “brew” feed for Oysters, or for other animals for that matter, sets to be revolutionary.

.

Joining the conversation as a first time co-host is Scott Soares.  Soares is former commissioner of Massachusetts Agriculture, 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.

.

If you care about the health of the Oceans, the solidarity of working waterfronts & local economies, the sanctity of place, or if you just like to eat great seafood – have a listen to what this agent of change is doing in the clean cold waters of Maine.

..

@MookSeaFarm



co-host:

Scott Soares

  • Past 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. 40: Live recorded at Harvard’s Let’s Talk About Food festival – we host a discussion about “Ocean Farming” with CEO of Ocean Approved Bri Warner, and Perry Raso, founder of Matunuck Oyster farm & bar ||

Our seas are under threat.  Floating plastic islands are but icing on the cake of a much bigger problem – how we manage the oceans.  It’s a complex discussion with a simple solution.  You see, we’ve got 92% of global fisheries already stressed, and large population densities are tied to some of these soon to reach exhaustion. The continued contamination from the waste we spew into these channels of our food, and all the supporting natural systems of the oceans will soon reach a ceiling.  And, it’s going to hurt.  With 3 billion reliant on sea-proteins as their main caloric intake for the day, if we have only dirty or no fish we’re all due for a rude awaking no matter where you call home.  We’ve begun farming fish in all reaches of the planet.  In fact, today 50% of fish consumed is farmed raised.  But, most of that farm raised stuff is nearer feedlot beef as compared to the clean and healthy moniker that open caught seafood had long-since enjoyed.  That it’s all changing is an understatement.
.
Sourcing Matters ep. 40: “Regenerative Ocean Farming”- live recorded at the “Let’s talk about Food” festival @ Harvard University – Host Aaron Niederhelman speaks with two dynamic New England leaders in shellfish and seagreen production to learn what it takes to farm our waters.   Similar to a terrestrial grass-fed beef brethren – there’s been increased interest in regenerative ocean farming.  Regenerative effectively means everything is renewed in the process of using it. It’s ecology down to trophic level, and up-throughout the interchange of vast systems which do include food animals, mollusks and ourselves.  For those who do tend to the farmed fresh food from the ocean, alot of the hope for the future is being spawned in our clean cold waters of the Northeast. These local (ocean) farmers have developed models that give back to their natural environment to reap the benefit of a better crop.  It just makes sense.  By (i) addressing sea level rise and storm surge, (ii) alleviating hunger in impoverished areas, (iii) creating local jobs near highly populated areas, (iv) sourcing clean seafood as preventative human health care, (v) stabling natural environments in keystone areas (vi) motivated champions to fight for a cleaner environment – Regenerative Ocean Farming has vast potential for all coastal communities everywhere in the world.

..

@OceanApproved

@MatunuckOyster

@Lets Talk About Food

 

 



Ep. 25: Congressman Seth Moulton – Massachusetts Sixth District ||

 

On episode 25 we welcome Congressman Seth Moulton of Massachusetts 6th District.  Since taking office in 2015, Rep. Moulton has been introducing innovative policy and ideas to benefit those he represents, and the region he’s from.  Probably best known on a national level for his voice of resource in addressing gun violence and just ownership laws, to many of his constituents North of Boston – he’s well known as a jobs creator and champion of a modern fishery.

.

 

I first connected with Moulton’s team a few years back when they hosted Monica Jain and the Fish2.0 Northeast Hub near their offices in Salem, MA. Since then, Seth Moulton has taken his commitment to responsible fisheries and regenerative ocean farming back to DC with the introduction of the 2017 “The Young Fisherman’s Development Act”.  This bi-partisan bill co-authored with Republican Don Young of Alaska looks to empower those working on waterfronts and oceans of tomorrow. You see, too often folks look at US fisheries, especially in the Northeast, as an oppressed and declining industry.  Congressman Moulton and his team have a different perspective.

One that views a modern responsible fishery and the entire seafood industry as an innovation economy with potential for persistent jobs creation for the region he represents.  Moulton seeks to find common-ground (water)  amongst necessary regulation/quota restriction, and an industry with linage older than our independence.  On a shrinking planet with increasingly depleted and contaminated Oceans the approach we’ve instituted in the Northeast United States, one now being bolstered by representative Moulton, has unique potential to cast a long shadow as intellectual property which can be scaled to teach more of 3 billion reliant of sea protein how to properly manage the bounty of the sea for generations to come.

 

In our 30 minute conversation we evaluate the capacity of including fisherman and ocean farmers in future US Farm bills.  For clarity, 80% of the resources of the proposed 2018 Farm bill will be allocated to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) aka. food stamps. This national program of a 1/2 of trillion dollars which arises every five years is in fact our shared domestic food plan, and it drastically under represents our population densities in coastal cities. The inclusion of fisheries & seafood not only adds a voice to the food plan for our largest populations, and guarantees more high-quality food for more in need of SNAP, but it gives our fisherman the same war chest to deal with impending environmental change as we currently employ with many terrestrial food producers. Effectively,  we discuss how this pragmatic approach to introduce multiple returns to diverse stakeholders seems realistic under new and future leadership.

.

The Clean Cold Waters of the protected North Atlantic provides some of the best and healthiest food in the world. Our well regarded fisherman and ocean farmers who manage these waters deserve to be celebrated for their craft and unique stewardship of these natural resources. With these natural gifts bestowed upon us, and our approach in managing our Marine Ecosystem over the last 50 years – we provide diverse offerings, and the knowledge of how to interject an innovation economy into a longstanding but stagnant industry to meet a changing environmental and consumer landscape.

.

@SethMoulton

 

 

 

 .
photo source: Politico (header)