A conversation with Zach Ben, cofounder, along with his wife Mary, of Bidii Baby Foods, an indigenous baby food line created by farmers and new parents to increase access to traditional foods in early childhood. We talk about the role of farming and stewarding the land in Navajo Nation and the role of nutrition and health with newborns.
LISTEN TO THE CONVERSATION ON:
After centuries of oppression, violence, and genocide, could some healing and regeneration come from a baby food company? We explore that impossible question with Zach in a fascinating conversation also about the potential of healing centuries of horror one step at the time.
This episode is part of the Nutrient Density in Food series!
This series is supported by The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of The Environment, which is a private foundation with a mission to protect and conserve the natural environment. The Grantham Foundation raises awareness of urgent environmental issues and supports organizations working to find solutions. Over the last few years, the Grantham Foundation has funded an extensive portfolio of projects focused on reducing emissions and removing carbon directly from the atmosphere.
WHY IS BABY FOOD A LOGICAL START POINT FOR REGENERATION AND HEALING?
Zach and Mary did their research into all the available traditional foods related to early childhood development and nutrition, and they were surprised.
”That was also a major motivation to increase that market access, and that was through our own farm. That was something that we felt was needed and is going to be needed for not only our children but for many more children to come. More children that are being created every day, and born every day. And those are things that we felt: ‘Wow, let’s start this company in order to provide for our children and grow this love and provide that, because we’re going to need that for healing after the pandemic and being able to move in a direction that we can use this food to heal our communities, as we have done within our ceremonies.” – Zach Ben
INDIGENOUS PRACTICES ARE DEEPLY REGENERATIVE
Part of their mission is to be able to relate the health of the soil to the health of the food they provide to their community, something they do through their traditional practices.
”Regenerative agriculture is a sexy term that’s being passed around nowadays, but that’s something that as indigenous people we have been doing since time immemorial, by having that relationship to the soil, by having that connection to the water, to the seeds, and being able to steward and nurture these elements and being able to provide food by being able to understand your soil health, and those are things that we as indigenous people have been doing for a very long time, and that was something that was taught to me at a very young age and those values of not ever having to rely on synthetic fertilizer or synthetic methods and providing that to your people to eat.” – Zach Ben
‘Those are things that we forget; even in modern-day regenerative practices, we’re so busy looking at the data and the scientific aspects of nutrient density and soil density that we’re forgetting about the spiritual components that make up those scientific conclusions and data.” – Zach Ben
WE NEED TO PAY MORE ATTENTION TO THE LAND
Zach sees an opportunity to convey the principles of land connection. This is where he finds the potential for growth and progress.
”We need more listeners, like you said, to be able to completely understand and listen to not only each other but the land, and what it can provide for us and the opportunity that it may give if you work with it; if you don’t work with it, it will not give those opportunities to you.” – Zach Ben
”The land is your connection to ceremony, your connection to your inner self, and with that, we will continue to heal yourself and the community and ultimately teach these values and continue on. And that’s where I see opportunity.” – Zach Ben
OTHER POINTS DISCUSSED
Koen and Zach also talked about:
- Indigenous knowledge and regenerative agriculture
- Indigenous wealth creation and community development
- Sustainable agriculture and community development
- Bidii Baby Foods
- Bidii Baby Foods on Instagram
- The Navajo farmer taking a traditional approach to making baby food
- Navajo Nation
- Dust Bowl
- Liz Carlisle – Let’s get real, regeneration is nothing new, so let’s honour the indigenous history
- Jaclyn Schnau, the success and health of our society starts in the pregnant belly
- Soil Builders, checking in with Zach Weiss on water cycles and a biodynamic baby food startup
Feedback, comments, suggestions? Reach me via Twitter @KoenvanSeijen, in the comments below or through Get in Touch on this website.
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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.