Food Ink 5

A New Essay, Exploding Topics, Regenerative Explainer, Tyson Error, Fantastic Film...

Hello friends and farmers,

It's been a busy couple weeks since the last update. With continued lockdown measures and the closures of several processing plants, the farm's online store added even more new customers last month than in March. It's a strange feeling to do better as a business during a crisis, but it feels good to be part of such a vital service. We have our work cut out for us, and I'm super grateful to be able to help.

We all have our work cut out for us, and we are on the precipice of revolutionary change on a few fronts, including food. Where that leads is completely up to us, and the little things we do now can have an outsized impact. On that topic, I wrote a new essay: How to Shop During Coronavirus to Build a Better Food Future. It's a response to the current state of our food supply chain, and what we can be doing now to contribute to a more resilient food system - all it takes is spending your food dollars at the right place. At the bottom of the essay is a list of farms that I can personally vouch for on their practices. It's a working list and I'll be adding several more, but those are the ones I've visited so far.


📈 The term "regenerative agriculture" is an Exploding Topic, according to a new site that tracks keyword trends over time and identifies topics that are about to take off. Being steeped in the regenerative ag community for almost a year now, I sometimes forget that regenerative is still a long, long way from mainstream. Seeing it featured on Exploding Topics is promising though. Here's their description: "Approach to agriculture that doesn't simply aim to limit the negative impact to the environment, but to actually improve it."

🤓 For a good overview on what regenerative agriculture is, here's a 4-minute animation that does a good job explaining it. If after watching it, you realize "well, duh," that's because it's intuitive. These ideas exist in nature; all we're doing is trying to mimic and work with them, whereas the industrial ag model tries to overpower or work around them.

🚨 In case you missed it, the chairman of Tyson Foods warned that "the food supply chain is breaking." If you're at all in tune with or read up on our food system, you know that the truth is actually that the food supply chain was already broken, thanks to Tyson Foods, et al. We as consumers are also responsible, demanding ever cheaper, more abundant, more diverse foods. This is partly what motivated my newest essay on how to spend our food dollars now for a better, more resilient food system tomorrow.

🎥 And this edition's movie recommendation is: Captain Fantastic. It immediately became one of my favorite movies of all time. Once you watch it, you'll see why. It's about a man, played by Viggo Mortensen, eschewing the trappings of conventional life and raising his family in the wilderness. He teaches his kids fundamental survival skills, like hunting, hand-to-hand combat, suturing wounds, and how to live off the land as well as philosophy, music, literature, and more. Homeschooling is generally stigmatized, and despite this being a fictional movie, I think it can produce better educated humans and (major key alert) more independent thinkers than our conventional schooling system. There's a great family that moved to the farm when I did, and they homeschool their kids who are super bright, confident, and charming. One of my favorite scenes from the movie is when the wilderness family is staying at their in-laws who live a very "normal" suburban life, and the youngest wilderness child knows more about the middle-school curriculum of her older, suburban cousins who initially make fun of her for not knowing what Xbox is. There are so many great scenes like this one contrasting the two extremes of iconoclasm and convention. It's a great story, and the ending they land on is probably more of a happy medium I could see for myself. It's on Hulu if you have that, or rent on Amazon Prime.

Happy Saturday!