Hello friends and farmers,
Since the last newsletter, I've moved off farm and back to the NY area. I'm still working with the farm remotely on marketing and ecommerce, and currently living with my girlfriend at a lake house in Putnam County.
Another change to note is that I'm adjusting my writing approach a bit here. For one, I'll be sharing more noteworthy articles, videos, podcasts, etc from beyond just food and agriculture because ultimately, I'm beginning to see, it is all connected and interdependent. I'm also going to take more of a "thinking in public" approach, sharing thoughts or opinions that are still in early stages to invite feedback and other viewpoints from the intelligent folks on this list.
The latter is part of a new resolution to stop feeling like I need to have all the answers before sharing an opinion, and a way to hopefully accelerate my learning further.
Final change to note: starting today, inspired by this episode of This American Life, I am going to share something that brought me delight at the end of each email. With all I've been learning and exploring about food, agriculture, racial injustice, our democracy, and more, it's hard not to occasionally spiral into episodes of nihilistic despair. So to remind myself to take joy in the simple delights of life, and to ensure this newsletter always has a positive element to it, I'm making it a point to include one delight in every installment.
See you at the bottom for the first...
🌊 GreenWave, a non-profit that trains and supports regenerative ocean farmers, is hiring for a product manager. Feel free to share with anyone you know that might be interested.
🐄 Harry Metcalfe, of Evo magazine fame and who also owns a farm, gives a nice and easy explanation about the environmental impact of cattle farming in this video. It's on the longer side (about 20 minutes), so here are some highlights...
I like the boat analogy at 9:28 to demonstrate how the term farming is too broad and doesn’t indicate the breadth of nuance in the various farming methods that exist.
At 11:30, he goes on to talk about the land used for grazing on his farm and many others in the UK: north-facing land with steep inclines that can’t be used for much else. This is a nuance often ignored in the "feed the world" argument and a strong case for why we need both plants and meat if we're really to feed a growing population sustainably.
At 14:55, he calls out the shortcomings of the methane argument, which does not consider the carbon absorbed by grasses in a pasture-based system and in fact ignores the carbon cycle altogether. This is an important point to remember: large ruminants have roamed the earth and numbered in the hundreds of millions for far longer than livestock agriculture has been around.
Beautiful shot at 18:52 of the cows walking along a pasture of rich grasses and wildflowers.
🆘 Take action! If you can spare 30 seconds, please join me in signing this petition to prevent the sale of an ecologically important tract of Georgia land to a buyer that will likely convert it into landfill. You can minimally sign with just your first name, email, street address and zip code. Sign the petition here.
🎤 As Trump's reign finally comes to a close, it is depressingly hilarious to see all of The Daily Show segments with Jordan Klepper talking to Trump supporters in this compilation. He was also at the Capitol building during the insurrection and shared some hot takes. It's wild to see how deeply misinformation is able to permeate and take hold across such a wide swath of our population, and frightening to see it all manifest in an event like the storming of the Capitol.
📉 As we move into a new administration, I'm anxious and nervous about how we move forward as a nation, given the heightened mistrust overall. According to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, trust in information sources is at all-time lows.
In this environment of fear and suspicion, people’s trust in business, of all institutions, is highest. It's fascinating to me that we are able to trust in business and its leaders given the incentives at play, profit-centered motives, and the extractive and exploitative models that dominate the business landscape despite all the greenwashing and lip service. The very crises that we're faced with today - climate change, the pandemic, massive inequity and a growing wealth gap, an ongoing health epidemic, and social and racial injustice - are fueled by if not the direct result of business and the way we conduct it. Yet somehow, rather than blame business for its collective share in creating these messes, we look to them and their leaders as the last stalwarts of truth? I guess to do otherwise would require us to question the basic tenets of capitalism, the very foundation of our collective worldview, and stop presuming its virtue - something we are very clearly not ready to do.
🐑 One of the cooler organizations I've come across lately is called Blacksheep. They are based in Costa Rica and formed to "regenerate and protect the earth, prioritize the welfare of local people and perpetuate broad ownership of land." They are fighting against extractive industries that decimate local economies and communities, and one of the ways they are accomplishing that is through regenerative agroforestry. They just launched Rewild Organics to sell their first products, a turmeric essential oil and a turmeric and black pepper tincture. Check them out and support if you can.
😊 Delight No. 1: This week, my girlfriend and I are in Vermont staying with her aunt. We went on a hike in the snow, and towards the end of the hike, I found the perfect spot: I could hear the trees creaking in the wind, I could hear the babbling brook beside me, and looking straight up, I could see the treetops swaying and some wayward snowflakes drifting downward through the gaps in the canopy. I stood there for a full few minutes to take it all in. It's been a while since I've seen snow.
If you like this email and know someone else who might, I'd love if you shared it. Send your friends here to sign up. I try to keep these short but informative and hope they're adding value to your week.
Betting the farm,