– guest: Dan Barber

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

Dan Barber

BLUE HILL RESTAURANT & FARM


Collective Consciousness


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CORE SYSTEMS CHANGE: the 6-part miniseries >>


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ep. 109: Dan Barber of Blue Hill

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Q: Can our hedonistic self ignite a collective good?


BUILDING A COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUSNESS

w/ host: Aaron Niederhelman


In a far-reaching 40 minute conversation, chef, advocate, writer and businessman Dan Barber joins host Aaron Niederhelman to discuss the future of food and production.  From alternative proteins, the environmental brass-tacks of regenerative, how seeds rule the way we use the world, the mission of a well suited regional food system and the potential to stabilize the planet by tapping into our hedonistic self – it all gets airtime.

So, tune-in and be empowered to partake in a global movement that only asks of you to feed your pleasures, vanity and soul some super-delicious, healthy and responsible real foods. That’s how we save the planet and each other!

“What we need is a food system that is an engine for the improvement of ecological systems and the environment. Having to sacrifice the health of the environment for food production is a false choice.” – ep. 109 guest, Dan Barber

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Hear Dan’s 2-minute take on alternative meats

Smooth like Butter Margarine

The dialogue begins by evaluating the current state of alternative meats. You see, sales of alternative proteins reached $7 billion last year. The market value is predicted to hit $25 bl. by 2030. The cultured and lab-grown arena is obviously big business with a lot of capital behind it, but come on! Are these growth expectations realistic? Are new folks really buying it?! Based on what we know now, can the trend be sustained? And, should it?!

Comparing it to the adoption of the butter-alternative margarine by cutting-edge families of the 1970s, Barber says that current day consumers of animal protein alternatives have been given equal parts false hope, and false advertising. He explains, “It’s a technology that supposedly does it better than how nature does it!”

Hedonism Spawns Greater Consciousness

tapping into the

PLEASURE

PRINCIPLE

When asked what it’ll take to create real change in food, Dan says that it’s all about deliciousness.

“The practices that produce the best environmental conditions – are the same practices that produce the most delicious, hedonistic food experiences,” explains Barber.

The more you look into food systems – the more layers, reasons and rationale for change that you’ll find. For some of you eco-warriors who are just tuning in – check this out – the environmental food movement isn’t just for vegetarians and vegans anymore. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Pastured ruminants (hoofed herbivores) are the most elegant approach on the board to balance complex energy, nutrient and carbon cycles found in food production. Hey, even anti-meat agencies & NGOs are now stating that, “it’s not the cow, it’s the how.”

Barber continues: “We will have to make sure that whatever we put in our mouth is an agricultural product that won’t degrade the environment, but instead improve it! Part of that is eating meat. If you are eating grass-fed meat from a cow that was truly raised on pasture, than you’re erasing the carbon footprint of the animal. You are eating net-positive. You’re not just doing less bad to the earth, you’re improving the environmental function of pastureland and the ecosystem.”

Row 7 Seed – honeynut squash – photo credit: Johnny Autry

Seeds Determine How the World is Used

Conventional agriculture has long-since used breeding and genetic modifications to optimize seeds for intervention. Effectively, these are seeds that marry with treatments to address problems which arise only when managing large plots of monoculture crops. The impact and environmental degradation of this conventional seed playbook is well past an unsustainable threshold. And, the proliferation this approach has been so successful that we’ve reached a point in which how we grow food from these conventional seeds determines how the planet is being used.

Today, the molecular scalpel of modern seed science can eliminate many of the environmental & human health externalities tied to this conventional production. Consumers seem interested in the change, the industry is evolving to a biological toolkit to adapt, and the appetite of big food has been whet. Is it progress?! Well, maybe?!

Barber thinks that we need to look at it all differently. Tapping into that pleasure principle found in us all, he says that once again change will come down to deliciousness of food. As an example of how to leverage this hedonism and drive change through focus on taste over treatment or shelf-life, Dan shares the development story of the Row 7 honeynut squash. If that’s the future of organic & non-GMO – sign us up!

“Seeds have been bred for yield; bred for shelf-life; and they’ve been bred for long-distance travel – because our food travels thousands of miles. Flavor was not one of the criteria used for picking when to propagate a seed.”

Dan Barber

A Hope & Potential for Generations Next

“I’m pretty much a cynic through & through, but I tend to be an optimist when it comes to genZ & millennials. They know their stuff, and the bullshit quotient is very high,” Barber describing his lens on the future of the food & environmental movement.

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feeding the planet ✔️

employing communities ✔️

stabilizing the climate ✔️

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Regional Food Will Again Have Its Day

“I do think that in light of COVID, and in light of some of the distribution challenges faced over the past couple years, that a regional food system is going to become more and more prevalent. To me, it’s deliciousness, it’s healthcare and it’s more responsible to the environment,” says chef, activist, author and businessman Dan Barber.

Tune-in for more with this icon of the good food movement.

Kingfish: Dan Barber

Dan Barber is the chef and co-owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and the author of The Third Plate (2014). He opened Blue Hill restaurant with family members David and Laureen Barber in May of 2000 and two years later he was named one of the country’s “Best New Chefs” by Food and Wine magazine. Since, he has been addressing food issues through op-eds in The New York Times and articles in Gourmet, Saveur, and Food and Wine. Dan has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, The New Yorker and Martha Stewart Living. 

Appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, Dan continues the work that he began as a member of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture’s board of directors: to blur the line between the dining experience and the educational, bringing the principles of good farming directly to the table. Barber has received multiple James Beard awards including Best Chef: New York City (2006) and the country’s Outstanding Chef (2009). In 2009 he was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world.

@DanBarber

@BlueHilllFarm

Collective Consciousness


DAN BARBER

BLUE HILL & STONE BARNS

As part of the Core Food Systems Change series, in this episode you’ll hear that when we’re empowered as eaters to become the solution – good things will happen.

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now available: tune-in to the full conversation with Dan and Aaron


photo credit:  Melissa DiPalma || EATER || Blue Hill || Johnny Autry


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the rich & lasting benefits of:

CORE SYSTEMS CHANGE – content series

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

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for complete series catalog CLICK >>

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– guest: Todd Barker

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.


Subsidies with Favorable Outcomes



-ft. TODD BARKER

CEO of Meridian Institute

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CORE SYSTEMS CHANGE: the 6-part miniseries >>


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ep. 108: Todd Barker – Chief Executive of Meridian Institute

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ep.108: ‘Repurposing Subsidies for Favorable Outcomes’

Host: Aaron Niederhelman
Guest: Todd Barker of Meridian Institute


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Favorable Outcomes

In this episode you’ll hear that when subsidies are dolled out based on positive outcomes instead of crop type – good things happen. 

You see, according to a Sept 2021 UN FAO briefing, agriculture contributes a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions, 70% of biodiversity loss and 80% of deforestation across the globe. And, it’s also true that nearly 90% of the $540bn in global subsidies given to farmers every year are “harmful.” It’s true that the majority of well-intentioned agricultural support now damages human health, exacerbates the climate crisis, dwindles nature and drives inequality by excluding smallholder farmers. For real food systems change – support needs to be better aligned with favorable outcomes.

To learn more about this whole ball of wax we connected with Meridian Institute CEO Todd Barker on the myriad ways that the organization is bringing together stakeholders in the U.S. and around the world to take action.

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Incentivizing Collaborative Efforts

multi-

STAKEHOLDER

CHANGE

“Interest in food systems has never been greater. As challenging and controversial as the problems are, we at Meridian are seeing that while issues about partisanship, polarization, and conflict are capturing media headlines – the hunger for collaborative solutions to these problems has never been higher,” explains episode 108 guest Todd Barker.

A Novel Angle at US Crop Insurance

The AGree Economic and Environmental Risk Coalition (AGree E2 Coalition) advocates for federal policy improvements to drive broader adoption of conservation practices on working lands. Conservation practices such as cover crops, no-till, and other recognized good farming practices can reduce farm risk to extreme weather events while improving environmental outcomes and soil health. Meridian Institute launched the AGree Initiative more than 10 years ago after more than two years of collaboration with a diverse group of food and agriculture stakeholders.

“The risk reduction benefits of agricultural conservation practices were not being adequately represented in the federal crop insurance programs. We wanted to focus on the crop insurance program. Our objective was to find ways for farmers to be supported not by crop, but instead for outcome measures like improved soil health, enhanced biodiversity, and climate mitigation.”

Todd Barker, CEO Meridian Institute

ep. 108: AUDIOGRAM – 90 sec. video short

Multi-Stakeholder Initiative (MSI) Juggernaut

Meridian is a mission-driven, nonprofit consultancy that has helped clients and partners develop and implement solutions to complicated, often controversial problems—big and small, global and local—for over two decades. They do it with an innovative approach that brings together a deep understanding of the issues at hand, as well as the people, politics, and power dynamics that surround them. Meridian not only shapes meaningful consensus and action in the near term, but also builds partners’ capacity for cooperation that often continues for years, even decades.

“We bring our skills to bear on a diverse range of issues, including environment & natural resources, climate change, agriculture & food systems, forests, health, oceans & coasts, resilience, science & technology, and water. Across issues, boundaries, and systems, our work is a catalyst for powerful impact.”

Todd Barker – CEO of Meridian Institute

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Finding Common Goals to Drive Change

The Meridian Institute offers five key services: collaboration, implementation, strategy, research, and philanthropic support. Meridian has a dedicated team of 80 experts and an ability to foster constructive discussions, manage decisions, and support actions that shape the world for the better.

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feeding the planet ✔️

employing communities ✔️

stabilizing the climate ✔️

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“There’s growing interest in a global treaty for Ocean plastics pollution. Think about it as the Paris Agreement for plastics. We have now brought together over 500 stockholders in six countries to get a jump start on developing national action plans,” Barker describes Meridian’s role in fighting against ocean plastic pollution.

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facilitating change: Todd Barker

Todd Barker is CEO of Meridian. He currently leads projects that focus on agriculture, food systems, water, climate, big data, and clean energy. A highlight of his over 20 year tenure at Meridian has been the AGree Initiative, which successfully advocated and lobbied for changes in the 2018 farm bill that support soil health. He also has extensive international experience, including current work with the Global Alliance for the Future of Food.

Todd cut his teeth as a mediator, facilitator, and strategist over 20 years ago, working on the cleanup of Rocky Flats nuclear weapons facility. He is a trusted advisor to foundations and funder collaboratives working on agriculture and food systems. He serves on the board of the DendriFund and chairs the board for the Clean Energy Group.

@MeridOrg

@TFBarker

Subsidies with Favorable Outcomes


TODD BARKER

Meridian Institute

As part of the Core Food Systems Change series, in this episode you’ll hear that when subsidies are dolled out based on positive outcomes instead of crop type – good things will happen. We all have more resources to fuel a movement.

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Listen-in to the full conversation with Todd and Aaron as they discuss ag. subsidies.

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photo credit:  Melissa DiPalma || Meridian Institute || Bryan Liscinsky


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the rich & lasting benefits of:

CORE SYSTEMS CHANGE – content series

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

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for complete series catalog CLICK >>

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– guest: Øistein Thorsen 

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


Scaling-up Meat Production Knowhow



-ft. ØISTEIN THORSEN

CEO of FAI Farms

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CORE SYSTEMS CHANGE: the 6-part miniseries >>


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ep. 107: Øistein Thorsen – CEO, FAI Farms

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

Host: Aaron Niederhelman
Guest: Øistein Thorsen of FAI Farms


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

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

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Getting us to Animal Centric Meat Production

holistic

ANIMAL

AGRICULTURE

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

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

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

ep. 107: AUDIOGRAM – 90 sec. video short

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

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

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

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

Øistein Thorsen CEO of FAI Farms

A Holistic Approach to Producing Good Meat

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

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The Growing Footprint of Animal Centric

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

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feeding the planet ✔️

employing communities ✔️

stabilizing the climate ✔️

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a next generation pioneer in food animal production: Øistein Thorsen

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

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

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

Øistein lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children.

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

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

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

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@FAIFarms

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

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photo credit:  Melissa DiPalma & FAI Farms


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the rich & lasting benefits of:

CORE SYSTEMS CHANGE – content series

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

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for complete series catalog CLICK >>

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– guests: Bri Warner & Chris Sherman 

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.

REGENERATIVE OCEAN FARMING


BRI WARNER


CHRIS SHERMAN

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CORE SYSTEMS CHANGE: the 6-part miniseries >>


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ep. 105: Bri Warner & Chris Sherman – Regenerative Ocean Farming

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EPISODE 105: ‘Regenerative Ocean Farming’

Host: Aaron Niederhelman
Guest: Bri Warner, CEO & Pres. @ Atlantic Sea Farms
Guest: Chris Sherman, CEO @ Island Creek Oysters

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This latest episode is about how to re-build a food system that creates quality sustenance for people, new jobs on working waterfronts and healthier oceans through the adoption of smarter management practices on regenerative ocean farms. Regenerative ocean farming is an aquatic farming system that grows seaweed and shellfish on no inputs. As is the case with terrestrial production, aquatic regen farming is all about investing in the ecological health of an ecosystem to create good food.

ep. 105: AUDIOGRAM – 90 sec. short – Bri Warner

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Regenerative Ocean Aquaculture

US seaweed pioneer Bri Warner shares in her experience of having to make a compelling business case for kelp production in coastal communities in Maine. Ahead of the curve, Warner has leveraged some creative methods and core business fundamentals to establish a whole new kind of values-based food production company. We discover that what she’s producing actually has a pretty unfair advantage in catching the eye of contemporary consumers over almost everything else in the food value chain.

“The three best foods that you can eat on the planet are (regenerative) aquaculture mussels, oysters and kelp. We’re all removing carbon from the water. We’re all doing this with zero arable land. Zero freshwater. Zero pesticides. The fact is, these three products grow more efficiently than any terrestrial food, especially any terrestrial food animal protein out there. What we can honestly say about these aquaculture products is that they’re actually making the planet better,” explains Warner – CEO & President of Atlantic Sea Farms.

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feeding neighbors ✔️

employing communities ✔️

stabilizing the planet ✔️

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CHRIS SHERMAN

Island Creek Oysters (ICO) is a vertically integrated Regenerative Ocean Farming success story. They grow out their own oyster seed; they produce feedstuff algae to raise oysters; they sell that seed to other growers; they operate their own farms that grow-out seeds from adolescence -to- maturity; they aggregate & distribute mature oysters to diverse retailers and food service relationships – including their own restaurants; they invest in preserving and improving the marine ecological systems that grow their crops; they offer an experience for anyone to share-in the stories of their food with the community that produced it.

“Through its benefit for the economy. The social, cultural and gastronomic benefits that we all get, and all of the nutritional values this seafood offers. And, the environmental gain – which gets at the concept of adding value back into the ecosystem from which we depend on to produce good food. This all culminates in us supporting the concept of ‘coastal communities’, which is core to our mission and values at Island Creek Oysters,” says Chris Sherman – ICO CEO and Eisenhower Fellow.

ep. 105: AUDIOGRAM – 90 sec. short – Chris Sherman

“We’ve built incredible demand for kelp, but we’re doing something completely new here for US markets.”

BRI WARNER, CEO & PRESIDENT @ ATLANTIC SEA FARMS

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How Regen Business Backs The Planet

As for environmental restoration, oysters grown not for consumption have become part of the equation for producers like ICO. Each mollusk can filter up-to 50 gallons of seawater a day, oysters bond together to create natural reefs that protect shorelines and cities, and these shellfish act as great neighbors in estuaries to keep oceans thriving with other keystone species and biodiversity. Sherman explains how they support NGO-backed restoration projects through a few different channels. But always interested in pushing the envelope, Sherman is evaluating how the farms can work in lockstep with restoration projects to instigate more environmental action for the industry.

“We harness the power of private industry and profit to scale environmental impact. One of the things that we focus on is validating some of the claims that we make as an industry about the positive impacts of commercial farms. The questions that we’re trying to answer include: How do farms stack up to natural oyster reefs? How do farms compare to synthetic reefs brought online in restoration projects? How do we optimize nitrogen removal, and deliver habitat creation? Through scientific methods, we’re on a path to quantify the ecosystem value of commercial shellfish farms,” explains Sherman.

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An Innovation Economy Supporting Community

BRI WARNER

Warner has built a creative business model that employs Maine lobsterman as her production team of this line-grown kelp coming from the clean, cold waters of the North Atlantic. With over 4000 boats working in the Maine lobster industry, Bri sees kelp production as a mutually beneficial relationship that offers existing boat owners a new revenue stream without requiring additional equipment or extensive operating expenses.

The approach has been so successful that when Warner first took over as CEO of Atlantic Sea farms in 2018 the company was sourcing 30,000 lbs. of seaweed a year. Now, after building-out the required processing infrastructure, finding new markets ripe for this next super-food, and via that creative approach to employ a lobstermen workforce in their off-season – Atlantic Sea Farms will harvest 1.2 Million lbs. of human-grade kelp this year alone. With plenty of capacity to grow. As we’ve seen in our stories before, there are many creative ideas generating on the innovation economies of Regen farms.

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hear how Regen Ocean Farming shapes collective consciousness

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Listen-in to the full conversation with Bri, Chris, and Aaron as they discuss how we can achieve good for the people and planet through smarter ocean management on regenerative ocean farms.

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@IslandCreek

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photo credit:  Island Creek Oysters & Atlantic Sea Farms


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the rich & lasting benefits of:

CORE SYSTEMS CHANGE – content series

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

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COMPLETE SERIES >> CLICK

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– guest: Jonathan Lundgren

In this mini-series I speak to leaders with LAND USE ADAPTATIONS to fight against climate change, biodiversity loss, malnutrition and hunger. Tune-in for a dose of optimism.

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JONATHAN LUNDGREN

The 1000 Regen Farm Initiative

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LAND USE ADAPTATION: the 6-part miniseries >>


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The planet needs a paradigm shift in our food.  Nature has been shouldering the externalities from our input-based and extractive models of food production.  In the contemporary world, that’s just not going to cut it anymore.  Demand for differentiated value-based food product is skyrocketing, while conventional commodities have begun to melt under new pressures & economic strain.  

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We’re bumping-up against planetary boundaries. That’s a pressure-point which will change food and how we’ll manage regenerative natural resources.  So, it’s time for a change, but what gets us there the quickest? Our guest today says that what’s missing is modern science. That this science must become a pillar in every regenerative effort, and with all thinking in order to gain broader adoption.  

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ep. 103: Jonathan Lundgren || On-farm Scientific Analysis to Fuel the Regenerative Movement 

Joining for ep.103 is Ecdysis Foundation founder, Jonathan Lundgren. What’s really needed to frame-out mainstream adoption of regenerative – “it’s good data,” describes Dr. Lundgren.  Good and accurate data coming from bleeding-edge scientific study. So, in January 2022, Ecdysis Foundation launched their 1000 (Regen) farm initiative as the most ambitious agroecology experiment ever conducted.  

Scientific analysis on the oodles of rich data being pulled from all kinds of different farms within diverse regions, sizes and crop types is needed to instigate regenerative from a slow evolution – to the revolution. The millions of data-points-of-light coming from the 1000 farms will be used to measure outcomes inline with best regenerative food production principles.  Jonathan explaines that a simple scoring matrix can make some in-tune predictions. What they seen already is that the more regenerative farms have higher values in this desired Regen outcome matrix.

“The 1000 farm study is to establish the scientific spine to support a transition of food systems more regenerative.”

Dr. Jonathan Lundgren

On all studies at the Ecdysis Foundation each scientist must also be a farmer.  Dr. Lundgren believes the scientific community should rethink what applied science really looks like in their space.  That scientists must connect with the problem that are trying to solve. Can an agricultural scientist truly make revolutionary discoveries in food production when only stuck in a lab, or behind a computer?    

Lundgren says that scientists must once again get their hands dirty in any agricultural domain they’re working in.  Could that type of immersive science accelerate large-scale adoption and grow the regenerative movement? Yeah! More good science from talented scientist is a foundation for growth.

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It’s time for a change. The old stuff is broken. We need a new approach, but this systemic change stuff can be really hard!  There’s all kinds of entrenched interests too.  Lundgren teases us with the notion that this movement could be turned into a revolution with an ecological enlightenment of the scientific community.  

tune-in to find out what it’ll take to…

You see, while working at the USDA, Jonathan Lundgren was an award winning superstar scientist bounding his way up the ranks.  Not willing to be silenced for his true and accurate work, Dr. Lundgren kept to his beliefs and stood tall for what’s right.  These types of folks in public roles, those that stick their neck out to fight corruption are often labeled as… a whistleblower. I think you’ll agree that Dr. Jonathan Lundgren would be better described as a guy who just says it like it is.  

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– bring Regen mainstream.

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As for Lundgren’s POV – to instigate a paradigm shift in food and its production, it has to be done on the shoulders of farmers and with the scientific community that are ready to engage in Regenerative. I think he’s got it right. We need this apples-to-apples comparison with conventional. That analysis speaks the proper language to support the large-scale conversion from conventional to Regen. This may very well be the spine for the Regenerative playbook.

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@Ecdysis Foundation

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photo credit:  Ecdysis Foundation


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LAND USE ADAPTATION – content series

Food produced using innovative REGENERATIVE ADAPTATIONS (like the solutions discussed in this miniseries) will instigate a whole new way of thinking. Eating good food shapes our relationship with nature for the better, and sustains the stomachs of those who influence mindsets well beyond agriculture fields. Demand for this food produced using elevated standards has already skyrocketed. In this series we connect with those in the US leading a paradigm shift towards smarter LAND USE with good food production.

for related discussions CLICK >>

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Fred Kirschenmann has been an agent-of-change in agriculture for five decades.  His work at the Leopold Center at Iowa State University has introduced resilient farming practices to diverse stakeholders, and advanced the adoption of regenerative land management through building an awareness for soil health in the US breadbasket.

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LAND USE ADAPTATION: the 6-part miniseries >>


episode 102:  Fred Kirschenmann || Regenerative Soil Health in Food Production

 

As President of the board at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Tarrytown, NY, Fred has worked with leaders from cuisine, food systems and production agriculture to establish a globally recognized epicenter of research and enrichment for food.  As a whole, Fred’s collective efforts to reconnect us with nature through food and its production elevates him to an iconic stature in a time of ecological enlightenment.  Tune in to hear what this true-action-hero icon has to say about the movement in 2022 and beyond.

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A statesman for a just and stable tomorrow.  Every-time I sit down with Fred I learn something new.  He’s a philosopher and master craftsman of storytelling that has inspired many of us in the movement to take next steps in our own journeys.  Despite holding multiple jobs, overseeing hundreds acres of farmland, and shouldering the weight of the world well into his 80s, Fred remains current on advancements and bleeding-edge research.   Leveraging an impressive compendium of readings and on-going discussions with other iconic thought-leaders – Fred is a wealth of knowledge who continues to mold and sway new mindsets. This type of inspiration from action heroes like Fred serves up quality nourishment for the movement, and fuels deeper engagement.

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When I first stewed over the startup idea to coax food values through the supply chain, Fred coached me to think systematically and to adapt my focus to incorporate different stakeholders in the equation.  He challenged me to include soil health, regenerative land management practice and regional food systems into a single frame that would focus on the betterment for all parties involved.  A decade later, we have a long way to go to reach betterment, but after sitting down and chatting with Fred in this latest end-of-2021 chapter, it’s clear that the revolution has begun.  IMO – what Fred has helped kindle over the last half century will reach a fever pitch within this next generation. I’ve seen first hand the inertia and passion of this generation to come. It’s real and it’s going to happen. Considering all of that, I’ve come to appreciate that how we produce our food and manage the living soil will ultimately determine the stability of the planet.

 

“Folks don’t follow new ideas alone. It’s the leaders of these ideas that motivates others to act; it’s people that drive movements.”

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One thing is for sure, to stabilize this planet under threat we need to be do a better job listening to more of our iconic leaders – like Fred.  Folks who’ve lived-it; folks with real chops in delivering “betterment” to more.  For a more just and prosperous tomorrow, we need to listen to folks that know about instituting nature-based solutions.  The folks worth their salt; the ones with unique wisdom worthy of leading they movement are the action heroes who bring real solutions to the table.

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An infomercial for Regenerative Agriculture & Soil Health, after hearing from an icon of food system and ecological change – be inspired to take the next step in your journey.

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Key Take Aways…

 

EPISODE RECAP:

  • LAND USE: regenerative agriculture is proper on-farm natural resource management
  • HUMAN HEALTH: soil health harmonizes with gut health: microflora not too much different than soil
  • CIRCULAR ECONOMY: investing in soil health results in positive human & public health, planetary stability
  • LABOR: the future farming workforce wants to grow food for each other, and not commodities

WHAT GOOD SOIL OFFERS:

Soil is the lifeblood of every successful civilization.  The positive results and impact of good soil health from regenerative land management practices include:

  • Perpetual food production
  • Carbon Banking & Planetary Stability
  • No chemical and synthetic runoffs
  • Cleaner / health living environment for all stakeholders
  • Enhances nature and biodiversity
  • Sweet water Storage and clarity

GABE BROWN’S 5 PRINCIPLES OF REGENERATIVE:

To get us there we need a new operating model to land management.  Especially when it comes to the way we produce our food, we need a new operating model to land management.  Here are the pillars to support change our relationship with nature and each other.

  1. No disturbance (no-till, no-synthetics)
  2. Bolstering Soil’s Natural Defense (the outer-layer protecting all that life)
  3. Bio-diversity (marrying nature’s way keeps the system healthy)
  4. A living root in the ground as long as possible (cover-crops & seasonal diversity)
  5. Animal & Insect integration (nature relies on the entire system working together)

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@StoneBarns

 


Sometimes you get lucky in life and come across truly inspirational people.  Pioneers of a new way of thinking that within their lifetime will impact the world.

I’ve come to realize that the factor that makes these individuals similar and yet so unique is that they’ve been through-it.  That despite what they encounter in their journey they demonstrate a dogged perseverance in their efforts of change.

“A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor an individual perfected without trials.”

Overcoming the pain, the failures, and the self-doubt gained in reaching key waypoints of change is what gives them capacity and the right to don a moniker of being an influencer worth their salt.  After all the hits, every-time they get-up to keep driving change forward.

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When this kind of elbow grease bumps up against something that’s bigger than yourself; when influencers don’t become too salty in their pursuit of a mission to improve the human condition or that of the living planet; when these leaders  instigate a movement – that’s when we see the icons arise.  True Action Heroes that break-down parochial mindsets and evolve behaviors for the betterment of tomorrow actually exist. don’t breathe some kind of rarified air.  Despite being hard to find, these icons of environmental and social change live amongst us – in our times.  Influencers that we should follow, and real action heroes to be idolized.  The Icon series profiles these unique folks who inspire and influence change of mindset and behavior to re-chart more journeys ahead.

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photo credit:  Connie Fualk & Iowa Informer


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LAND USE ADAPTATION – content series

Food produced using innovative REGENERATIVE ADAPTATIONS (like the solutions discussed in this miniseries) will instigate a whole new way of thinking. Eating good food shapes our relationship with nature for the better, and sustains the stomachs of those who influence mindsets well beyond agriculture fields. Demand for this food produced using elevated standards has already skyrocketed. In this series we connect with those in the US leading a paradigm shift towards smarter LAND USE with good food production.

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for related discussions 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 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: 


 

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. 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. 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

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