Ep. 81: John Piotti, CEO & President of American Farmland Trust, Washington D.C. ||

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On episode 81 of Sourcing Matters we welcome John Piotti of American Farmland Trust.  American Farmland Trust (AFT) is an organization that works to protect and conserve farmland throughout the United States. Headquartered in Washington, D.C, – AFT is staffed and governed by farmers, policy experts, researchers and scientists.  With the call to action of “Join the Movement”, “Save a Family Farm”, and “Stay Informed” – American Farmland Trust seeks to engage diverse stakeholders in evaluating: What will happen to the nation’s food supply if we continue to wastefully develop our best farm & ranch land?
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By the late 1970s, Peggy Rockefeller, a passionate farmer and active philanthropist, had become frustrated that none of the major environmental or agricultural organizations were effectively applying the emerging tools of land conservation to agriculture. She pulled together a brain trust to explore what could be done. This first-of-its-kind analysis of how and why America was losing farmland had recently been completed by USDA and the President’s Council on Environmental Quality. The group recognized the serious threat posed by farmland loss and concluded that our nation needed a new kind of organization, one that stood at the intersection of agriculture and the environment. It would take a unique and highly innovative organization to operate effectively in this previously unexplored realm. But there was clearly a void that needed to be filled. They formally chartered American Farmland Trust in 1980.
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John Piotti joined American Farmland Trust as president and CEO in July 2016, bringing more than 25 years of executive management and public policy experience to the organization.  Prior, John served as president and CEO of Maine Farmland Trust for 10 years. Under his leadership, Maine Farmland Trust became an award-winning statewide nonprofit organization, helping over 500 Maine farms remain viable. Piotti has earned a reputation as a nonpartisan problem-solver; as a Statesman, an Eisenhower Fellow – and – as a leader in future food that has helped stabilize a regional dairy industry, and procure funding to protect working waterfronts & our natural lands. John holds three degrees from the MIT, in engineering, public policy, and management.
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TuneIn to our 50 minute conversation to hear more about how the practice of American Farmland Trust has now cast over 6,500,000 acres of farmland in the United States into perpetual conservation.  With John’s focus on conservation (regenerative) agriculture practice of these lands, and more  – AFT will remain a pillar in American farmland access, and its management for the foreseeable future.

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@FARMLAND

 

 

 



 

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

Ep. 77: John Roulac, founder & Chief Hemp Officer at RE Botanicals.  Roulac is founder & former CEO of superfood and hemp industry leader – Nutiva  ||

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On episode 77 we welcome John Roulac – founder & Chief Hemp officers at RE Botanicals.  For the production of Fiber and CBD, the potential reach and Hemp’s total production footprint is vast.  So, is this the perfect opportunity to prove out the many values of regenerative agriculture for diverse stakeholders in broader markets?  John Roulac thinks so, and we sit down for a few to learn more about it.

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John Roulac started natural and superfoods brand Nutiva in 1999 because of his deeply held belief that it is his purpose to challenge the industrial food model and create a better food system to nourish people, communities, and our planet. Through his leadership, Nutiva has become one of the fastest-growing superfoods company in the world. Nutiva has been named one of Inc. Magazine’s fastest-growing private companies in America for seven years in a row – with sales topping $100mm in 2015.
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As you’ll hear in our 45 conversation the vast majority of USA grown hemp uses harsh chemical fertilizers, rotated with industrial GMO corn and soy and contributes to climate change and ocean die off. As John tells us – RE Botanicals is commitment to the highest quality, and insures you that the product you consume is pure and organic. They source differentiated products in a new world of Hemp production.  For your future CBD needs – might want to look under the hood a bit and determine for yourself why Sourcing Matters.

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TuneIn to hear what’s going on with the future production of hemp, and regenerative agriculture in the United States.

JohnRoulac

 

 



Ep. 74: Live recorded from Treefort music festival in Boise, Idaho – Chef & food system advocate Kris Komori, and farmer & seed propagator Beth Rasgorshek  ||

For Sourcing Matters episode 74 we join chef & food system advocate Kris Komori, and farmer and seed propagation Beth Rasgorshek for a conversation @ The Treefort music festival in Boise, ID – recorded in-front of a live audience.
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With three consecutive James Beard nods, Kris Komori is the rock star of Idaho’s chef world. A graduate of the College of Idaho, he sharpened his kitchen skills in Portland before moving to the Gem State. Komori’s creative, constantly changing menus drew fast admiration when State & Lemp opened in 2013. Most recently, he and his team have been developing a new concept and restaurant that will launch in downtown Boise soon.
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Beth Rasgorshek has worn many hats: journalist, pioneering CSA farmer, flour producer and now seed farmer. Today, Rasgorshek grows certified organic vegetable seeds on seven tillable acres at Canyon Bounty Farm in Mampa. She now raises and sells both small-seeded and big-seeded crops like green beans, dry beans, edamame, various flower seeds, watermelon, muskmelon, peppers, wheat, leeks and onion.

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We’re a lot more alike than different. That’s said about people from areas all over the world.  But, when it comes to farmers and food producers – the similarity and bond is unquestionable.  With the regenerative agriculture revolution we’re discovering that we have friends and like minded brethren on every corner of planet -and- increasingly everywhere in between.  TuneIn to hear about what’s going on in Idaho.  Learn how our problems with a common enemy could ultimately unite our diverse stakeholder for battle.


ABOUT TREEFORT: The Treefort Music Fest is a five-day, indie rock festival which is held at numerous venues throughout downtown Boise, Idaho in late March.  Treefort has been called “the west’s best SXSW alternative” and Boise’s preeminent artistic, cultural and musical happening which has “morphed from quirky music festival to consuming community event. It has also been characterized as a “music lover’s joyous mayhem” which showcases and amplifies the soul of Boise.



Ep. 70: Elizabeth Whitlow – Executive Director of Regenerative Organic Alliance ||

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On Sourcing Matters episode 70 we welcome Elizabeth Whitlow – Executive Director of the Regenerative Organic Alliance (ROA).   In early 2018, the ROA was formed as a non-profit cohort of organizations and businesses led by Rodale Institute, Patagonia, and Dr. Bronner’s.  These vested founders began the process of developing a Regenerative Organic Certification (ROC) – a unique, high-bar agricultural standard that leverages the foundation of USDA certified organic – and elevates it steps further.
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The goal of regenerative organic agriculture is to offer practical solutions to the world’s biggest social and ecological challenges. We’ve learned that we’re beyond the point of sustainability and we need to regenerate the soil and land that supports us, the animals that nourish us, and the farmers and workers that feed us.  This has developed into a call to action of the ROA and defined a path forward where we’re all part of the solution.
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In our 45 minute conversation we discuss the iterative approach that Elizabeth and her supporters are taking in rolling-out the ROC standards.  We learn how the industry can begin to better incentivize on-ramping of more producers and suppliers that will implement elevated production standards to source differentiated food for the benefit of human, animal and planetary health. We assess the roles of the different stakeholders, and how that all comes to fruition through the actions of consumers.  We discuss how these new high-bar standards relate to Soil Health, Animal Welfare & Social Fairness, and what that means for broader audiences of both farmers and eaters.
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Elizabeth Whitlow has dedicated her career in regenerative agriculture to further the impact of high-bar certifications. Prior to taking the helm at the ROA, in her most recent role as EarthClaims’ director of certification she oversaw a team working to provide private, third-party verification services for animal welfare, grass-fed claims, antibiotic-free and customized audits to support specific marketing claims. Prior to EarthClaims, Elizabeth was a fellow at the Leadership for a Sustainable Future. Elizabeth also spent 16 years with California Certified Organic Farmers in roles ranging from reviewer, senior inspector, and livestock specialist to inspection operations manager.

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TuneIn to hear what the future food system can actually turn into;
and who’ll be leading the charge.

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Ep. 61: A.G. Kawamura, Founding Member Orange County Produce -ft. cohost: Scott Soares, former Mass Ag Commish & shellfish farming leader  ||

A.G. Kawamura is third generation fruit and vegetable grower and shipper from Orange County. He is the former Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (2003-2010). As a progressive urban farmer, A.G. has a lifetime of experience working within the shrinking rural and urban boundaries of Southern California. Through his company, Orange County Produce, LLC, he is engaged in building an exciting, interactive 21st century 100 acre agricultural showcase at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, CA.

In our 45 minute conversation we discuss California’s massive impact on our food system. We also discuss climate, water, citrus, berries & produce, the Government, and the system as a whole.

Joining-in as cohost is the talented and knowledgable 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.  TuneIn.

 

 

@twitter



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. 58: David Montgomery – author ‘Growing a Revolution’  &  ‘Hidden Half of Nature’ & ‘Dirt’ ||

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For episode 58 we’re lucky to be joined by David R. Montgomery. A MacArthur Fellow and professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington, Montgomery is an internationally recognized geologist who studies landscape evolution and the effects of geological processes on ecological systems and human societies.  He is the author of numerous scientific papers and has been featured in documentary films, network and cable news, and on a wide variety of TV and radio programs.

 

 

In his book ‘Growing a Revolution’, Montgomery introduces us to farmers around the world at the heart of a brewing soil health revolution that could bring humanity’s ailing fertile grounds back to life remarkably fast. Montgomery assessed different approaches being used to instigate health into the living systems making up our food. It’s called Regenerative, and with it agriculture can help cure what ails us, and the planet.  Cutting through standard debates about conventional and organic farming, Montgomery explores why practices based on the principles of conservation agriculture help restore soil health and fertility. Drawing on visits to farms in the industrialized and developing worlds he finds that the combination of no-till planting, cover crops, and diverse crop rotations provides a profitable recipe to rebuild soil organic matter. Farmers using these unconventional practices cultivate beneficial soil life, smother weeds, and suppress pests while spending far less on diesel, fertilizer and pesticides. It’s revolutionary stuff.

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With his wife Anne Biklé, David is currently framing out his fourth book. We learned that with “What your food eats” – working title of this latest deep dive – this husband & wife writing duo seek to connect soil fertility to human health. Anne and David have also worked together to pen the book ‘Dirt’ —about the plight of soil and what we’ve done to it since the dawn of agriculture. And, ‘The Hidden Half of Nature’, a revealing exploration of how microbial life underpins the health of soil and, even our own bodies.

.It’s great to speak with David. He’s always a wealth of information. His concise and logical explanations of complex subject matter and interconnected systems is pretty special. That comes across in his books, and it came across in 45 minute conversation.  I listening in pre-production I realized that this may be the guy who may finally stitch soil health -to- human health.  That would be a game changer in establishing broader awareness and appreciation to the fact the Sourcing Matters first.  An investment in food and its production is our silver bullet of change.

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@Dig2Grow

 

 



Ep. 57: Gabe Brown – Innovator, farmer, businessman, author and soil health pioneer  -ft. co-host: Jay Vilar of Nourish ||

On episode 57 we welcome Gabe Brown – farmer, businessman, author and soil health pioneer.   Gabe, along with his wife, Shelly, and son, Paul, own and operate a diversified 5,000-acre farm and ranch near Bismarck, N.D. Their operation focuses on farming and ranching in nature’s image. The Browns holistically integrate their grazing and no-till cropping system, which includes a wide variety of cash crops along with multi-species cover crops and all-natural, grass-fed beef, poultry and sheep. This diversity and integration has regenerated the natural resources on the ranch without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or fungicides. Over 2,000 people visit the Brown’s ranch annually with visitors from all 50 states and 16 foreign countries.

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Brown recently released the book “Dirt to Soil” describes their personal voyage into regenerative agriculture.  This insight gained over a these decades of hard work has established a nimble knowledge-base.  In this his first book – Gabe Brown has distilled all that complexity into five (5) principles of a healthy soil-ecosystem.

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

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Nutritionist Jay Vilar joins again as 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.
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It’s a fascinating 45 minute conversation with a guy who has a unique ability to tell it like it is.  To clarify and simplify some pretty sophisticated subject matter so that we can all better appreciate the broad-reaching values that soil health and regenerative agriculture can bring to our world.

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@twitter



co-host:

Jay Vilar

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

@twitter

Ep. 46: Alex McIntosh – CEO & co-founder of Thrive Natural Care ||

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On episode #46 we welcome Alex McIntosh, CEO & co-founder of Thrive natural care.  Thrive designs and sells high-performance skincare, powered by regenerative plants.   Since 2013, Thrive’s team of American and Costa Rican entrepreneurs, farmers and scientists have produced new-to-market botanicals for the company’s products by means of an inspiring regenerative farming model that helps restore degraded ecosystems and communities. Thrive’s vision and 500% growth over the past year has attracted retail partners such as Whole Foods and Amazon, national media such as Travel+Leisure and Esquire, and investors from Clorox, Nestlé, Unilever, venture capital and the NBA.
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Prior to Thrive, McIntosh was the founding Director of Sustainability & Corporate Citizenship at Nestlé Waters North America, the $4B division of the world’s largest consumer water company. At Nestlé Waters, Alex developed the vision and strategic plan, and provided hands-on leadership to build the corporation’s first sustainability program from the ground up during a time of intense social scrutiny.  Prior to Nestlé, Alex was Director of Philanthropy at The Nature Conservancy, where he helped raise a record $75MM in private capital for two of the largest watershed conservation projects in the organization’s history.
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Male grooming market is booming global.  In fact, from the $15.5 billion in worldwide sales in 2012 – the Male grooming market is estimated to be worth about $29.14 billion U.S. dollars by 2024.  In our 45 minute discussion on Sourcing Matters.show we explore how personal care, especially for men, is a category yet to mesh with modern consumer interest and demands.  The blue goop we shave with will increasingly be a thing of the past.  McIntosh and team see this horizon when this macro trend leaning towards safer and cleaner ingredients will mesh with the growth projections in personal care.   This is a sound business  set on leaving this place better than they found it.

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Looking forward, levering an impressive background which had him participating in those diverse stakeholder seats – Alex McIntosh will continue to build Thrive as an example; better yet, a model for a “regenerative” supply and business across any sector.
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