Tag: agriculture

Koen van Seijen interviewed by Naeem Lakhani and Antony Yousefian on his journey in regenerative food and agriculture and the introduction of Generation-Re investment syndicate

Koen van Seijen settles into the guest chair for a special 300th episode celebration and is interviewed by Naeem Lakhani and Antony Yousefian. Starting from a coffee with Tony Lovell of SLM Partners, we recall moments and conversations that pivoted our path from a general interest in food to a passionate advocate for regenerative agricultural practices and the untapped investment opportunities beneath our feet.

We share how the podcast has served and serves as a bridge, connecting people and ideas and how embracing the role of an investor has deepened our commitment while putting “skin in the game”.

The journey has led recently to the launch of the investment syndicate Generation-Re (https://www.gen-re.land) and the thrill of shared investment. Of course, turning tables and mics, you will find as well Koen’s answer to the 1 billion dollar question.

Cameron Frayling – Forget biodiversity credits (for now). Regen ag farm land funds and regulation are driving the biodiversity sector

A check in conversation with Cameron Frayling, CEO of Pivotal Earth, about biodiversity, one of the most important sets of things we should track and measure, and yet it is super difficult and mostly hasn’t been done until now at scale at all. The data is simply not there, so what do we do? With Cameron we check in with one of the leading companies trying to bring technology to this space and make biodiversity measured at scale and cost-effective.

We learn a lot about the current tracking devices and new hardware Cameron would love to see developed, how little most biodiversity experts actually know and not many are able to identify the right insects, etc. What data to trust and how to build trustworthy data, plus the most active customer of the company, not biodiversity credit developers, but regen farm land forestry developers that want to report to their investors about biodiversity gains because the investors are asking for it or regulation is forcing them.

Dan Kittredge – Local, regenerative and organic have no connection to nutrient density, soil health does

A long-overdue check-in interview with Dan Kittredge, founder of the Bionutrient Food Association. We discuss their involvement in the revolutionary beef study, all the research they have been doing and where they have been showing absolutely no connection between the labels, local, organic, regenerative, farmer’s market, etc., and nutrient density.

What has been shown is a correlation between soil health and nutrient density. All the claims about regenerative agriculture that leads to more nutrient-dense food, they are only true if it leads to healthier soil, and in some or many cases, it actually doesn’t. It all starts with the soil. Plus, very interestingly, the potential of nutrient density: most of the crops they researched scored very very poor compared to what they could have scored. The pessimist would say: look at the empty crops we are eating depleted of nutrients, the realist would say look at the amazing potential. Crops could be (on certain aspects) 10x or 20x more nutrient dense. Let’s get to work!

Chris Henggeler – Standing on the shoulders of giants (Savory, Ingham, Provenza) and managing over 77000 hectares in remote Australia

A conversation with Chris Henggeler, a second-generation high-density, low-duration herder using herds for land management. From one of the most remote places in Australia, we explore big myths like many animals damage the land, to a huge question: can we actually put the new megafauna to work? Farms need to get smaller, and ranches need to get bigger. If you want to retire in security, you have a vested interest in healthy landscapes.

How do we invest as if our grandchildren mattered? How do we ground investing in ecology, and what human activity is restraining nature from building wealth? This and much more in the conversation with Chris.

Jojo Mehta – Making ecocide a crime in less than 5 years and for less than 6 million dollars

A conversation with Jojo Mehta, executive director of Stop Ecocide International, about making ecocide a crime, something you can get arrested for and end up in prison. How do we get it from a discussion in lawyer circles and academic circles into international criminal law? And why is it going much faster over the last 5 years than anyone has expected?

Law: an area we rarely touch but has the potential to shift our food and agriculture system, and many other systems, completely. Making ecocide a crime. Ecocide is broadly understood to mean mass damage and destruction of ecosystems – severe harm to nature which is widespread or long-term. Turning ecocide into a crime, most likely it would also over time change our consciousness and get ecocide into the realm of things you simply don’t do. What is even more fascinating is that large companies actually want this, so it creates a level playing field.

Mateusz Ciasnocha and Maria Virginia Solis Wahnish – From EU Soil Mission to Pope Francis, how to change local and state agriculture and food policies

A conversation with Maria Virginia Solis Wahnish and Mateusz Ciasnocha, both involved with the Farm of Francesco. Maria Virginia is founder of Drink Matera, while Mateusz is CEO of the European Carbon Farmers, and member of the EU Soil Mission board. We discuss why it is so important to connect with policymakers and how to actually do that, the importance of farmers’ education and a very detailed answer to the 1 billion euro question to enable many more people to get involved in farming. And what has Pope Francis to do with all of this?

Emiliano Mroue – Raising $7.5 million to scale from working with 20.000 to 100.000 farmers

A conversation with Emiliano Mroue, founder of WARC, about their recent funding round, being close to the farmers and why he left a corporate job in Germany to start a farmer focussed anti poverty company in Sierra Leone which turned into a company serving today over 20.000 farmers, mostly in Ghana, in the transition to more regenerative practices. What is their secret to be close to the farmers always, not quite often but always?

Smallholder maize farmers at the edge of the Sahara, brutal circumstances in the Sahel mean most farmers are growing to eat and to survive and, with climate change and current farming practices burn and deep tilling, their survival is literally on the line. These soils can be depleted in a decade or less, not like in the global North where we might have 50 to 60 harvests left. So how do you go about behaviour change with farmers that are in poverty, you want to help them to change, but don’t want to risk their fragile livelihood? How do you find the recipes that work in the local context?

In March 2024, the Ghana-based agricultural service provider Warc Africa has successfully closed its Series B round, securing $7.5 million. The fresh capital raised aims to boost Warc Africa’s reach to serve over 100,000 farmers in Ghana, increase their incomes, and protect the soils.

Sonja Stuchtey – Have billions flow into regeneration by having accountants agreeing that it is an investment, not a cost

A conversation with Sonja Stuchtey, co-founder of The Landbanking Group, about innovative financial strategies, accountancy standards and rules, reliable sourcing, better quality and lower prices, investing in the value chain and more.

Let’s say you are an orange juice or chocolate bar producer: your margins are under pressure because the costs of buying raw ingredients have exploded the last few years. What do you do? In any other business you would likely invest in your supply to secure reliable sourcing, better quality and potentially lower prices. Why haven’t we done that in regen (with some exceptions of fully vertically integrated brands)? Now it seems possible for companies to invest in their value chain so to allow orange farmers to make regen changes in the practises to future proof them. 

How? Crucially it comes back to treat it as a long term investment and not as a short term cost which will hurt you margins and, thus, annoy your shareholders. Treating investments (which btw we need billions) in regen as an investment and not a cost sounds so trivial and simple, but it takes a whole lot of technology to measure, report and a lot of talks with the big four accountancy firms to get this done.

Matteo Mazzola – Walking the land of Iside Farm with a regenerative farmer

This is a special episode, the first one ever of the Walking the Land with a Regenerative Farmer, where we walk the land of the farm with a farmer while we talk about regeneration. 

Walking through Iside Farm on the Iseo Lake in Italy, with regenerative farmer Matteo Mazzola, we unlock the secrets of regenerative agriculture as we traverse the innovative landscapes crafted by Matteo, Paola and the Iside crew. We embark on a profound exploration of sustainable farming, showcasing Matteo’s expertise in farm design, water systems, and the integration of olive trees and animals into the land. Learn how access ways are more than just paths across a farm; they’re a vital component in the flow of energy and resources, helping to prevent erosion with concrete strips and alfalfa, and offering additional crop space. Matteo’s wisdom extends to the creative reuse of shipping containers, illustrating a commitment to terraforming that marries functionality with environmental stewardship.

Adrien Pelletier – Why all farmers or most farmers need to become seed breeders again

A conversation with Adrien Pelletier, farmer, breeder, and baker, about wheat, seeds, no till organic farming, why all farmers or most farmers need to become seed breeders again, and why it is really difficult to bake sourdough with traditional organic wheat seeds that are not breed for high productive farms.

Why Adrien want to start changing the world in the most difficult place, at home, which is a large industrial, mostly extractive, commodity wheat-growing region in France? Picture a sea of wheat, large relatively flat fields and no trees. He argues we are in the prehistoric area of organic farming, and there is so much to discover, especially around population wheats. We also learn about no till organic farming is the way to go (and super difficult).