A conversation with Christian Jochnick, founder of Juntos Ibiza, a project designed around a circular, regenerative model of food, farming and community, about why Tesla is such a good model to follow for regenerative agriculture, why should we focus on the affluent market first and more.
LISTEN TO THE CONVERSATION ON:
Listen today to an interview which covers a wide range of topics, from plant medicine to the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and why we should subsidise farm workers instead of hectares under management.
IBIZA IS THE PERFECT PLACE TO LAUNCH THE REGENERATIVE RENAISSANCE
According to Christian, in Ibiza is possibile to put culture back into agriculture, creating an idea of what a farm can be, coming together and creating culture together.
“What’s wonderful with Ibiza is that you have this rural community, but really with a cosmopolitan lifestyle […] We have so many creative people, we have so many artists, we have so many musicians, we have so many people that love what they’re doing, from chefs to bartenders, to people making small-batch artisanal products.” – Christian Jochnick
“We are very fortunate to have a very long season and a very strong tourist population. And at the top of this pyramid, we have a very affluent tourist population that is trying to make better choices. And what you see in Ibiza is that people are willing to pay for quality. And so we can fund these activities, we can fund these infrastructure investments through the tourist demand, from the tourist population, but this infrastructure can also benefit greatly the local community, especially in the winter season.” – Christian Jochnick
ESSENTIAL OILS AND ALMONDS ARE VERY INTERESTING
At Juntos, they are primarily focusing on essential oils and nuts. Essential oils, aromatics and nuts are great places to start, as these thrive in arid soils, and can deal with very tough conditions.
“The tougher the conditions, the stronger the potency of the aromatics. So I think, aromatics and essential oils and any derivatives from that is a great way to start the engine somehow.” – Christian Jochnick
“Almond is a great crop. Over the last 5 to 10 years there’s been an incredible amount of plantation of regenerative almonds in this region. So we are working with almond producers, and pistacchio walnuts and they were looking at very simple ways to transform those. What we see here on the retail side is that you get more or less a 10x uplift in retail value, if you activate and dehydrate your almonds. And so, a pack of activated dehydrated almonds, you can sell for 10 times more than just a retail pack of normal almonds.” – Christian Jochnick
TESLA’S MODEL IN A CAPEX HEAVY LOW-MARGIN BUSINESS MAKES A LOT OF SENSE. AFFLUENT CONSUMERS SHOULD COME FIRST.
According to Christian, increasingly more and more people see value in incredibly delicious products and are willing to pay a premium for them. ‘We need to look at how can we target the premium market.’ The fundamental problem is that we have a subsidy regime that is not aligned with the financial needs of regenerative agriculture or small-scale, diversified farming.
“Tesla showed this better than any other company… how do you launch a new concept in a CapEx heavy low-margin industry. And what they did was, not start with the model 3 for $40,000 to a mass market audience, you start with the Tesla Roadster, which is a sports car, for $125,000. Because there you have the highest margins, and then you start to generate cash flow. And then you use that to invest in your infrastructure, to increase your production capacity, to bring down your unit cost. And then you can come out with the Model S for $90,000. And then you keep investing in your value chain, keep investing in your infrastructure, and bring your unit cost down even further. And then you can come out with model X for $70,000. And then you keep investing and then eventually you have a mass market product of $40,000.” – Christian Jochnick
“We are competing in a rigged market, basically we are competing against a subsidized alternative. And before the government subsidies fall into place, which they will eventually, how can we subsidize it? We can subsidize it by private consumers that can afford to pay a premium for what they perceive to be quality.” – Christian Jochnick
INVEST ALL ACROSS THE VALUE CHAIN
This is not a small thing, but a huge thing, and it’s going to be profitable eventually. We need to be bold, brave and patient, think long-term and invest across the entire value chain.
“This is the type of mindset we have to have, we need to invest like our existence depends on it. And we need to forget about short-term profitability, we need to take big bold bets on the future here. And we need to invest all across the value chain because if we create supply but don’t create demand, the return on the investment on the supply side is going to be very low, and if we invest on the demand side, but we don’t have the supply, then we’re not going to be able to recover those investments as well.” – Christian Jochnick
“We need big bold investments across the value chain, […] invest into a cultural movement. And then we need to invest in retail, we need to invest in distribution, we need to invest into online marketplaces, we need to invest into the infrastructure that is powering this industry. And we need to invest in farming which is ultimately the heart of this movement.” – Christian Jochnick
OTHER POINTS DISCUSSED:
Koen and Christian also talked about
- How do you combine enterprise stacking with accessibility
- Becoming aware of the impact of our collective actions
- What would Christian do if he had a magic wand
- Yanniek Schoonhoven – Training the next generation of farmers with an academy and regenerative farm of 1100HA
- Tobias Joos on how to sell the full rotation of diversified regenerative farms to 10000 customers
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The above references an opinion and is for information and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.