Tag: food

Kat Bruce – Going from putting insects in a food processor to raising $27M in 10 years and building the biggest eDNA biodiversity monitoring company

A conversation with Kat Bruce, founder of Nature Metrics , going from scooping insects with a small net and putting them in a food processor, to analysing the goo with an eDNA machine, to working with lots of large food corporations on measuring their biodiversity, food footprint, and impact.

How do you look back at raising 27 million dollars and spending 10 years building the biggest biodiversity measurement company using eDNA in a time where very few people care at all about biodiversity, let alone invest in measuring it. How do we analyse water at a catchment area to see what lives in that area? How about soil measurements for DNA at scale, and what about air sniffing and analysing? And why are the corporations only coming in in the last few years? Where are people moving, and what is still missing?

Fernando Russo – From selling Playboy’s to growing coffee, cacao, credit and lots of cows

A deep dive conversation with Fernando Russo about the reasons why he is going deep into coffee and cacao without being a coffee drinker and how he turned from being a Playboy’s salesman and a travel entrepreneur to an impact investor in the regenerative agriculture and food. We also talk about fashion and heights, the Amazon, deforestation, reforestation, the role of cattle—the good, the bad, and the ugly—and, of course, the potential and why he is in the water camp, not the carbon camp.

What is driving one of the most active impacts investors in the regenerative space? What Fernando tells fellow impact investors when they ask him about this regen thing?
Getting credit and other finance into the hands of farmers and land stewards who want and can change is way more important. Let’s get to work.

Scott Poynton – Crises drive change: stories from within the transformation of Nestlé’s palm oil value chain

A conversation with Scott Poynton, founder of the Forest Trust, now known as the Earthworm Foundation, about supply chains, environmental regeneration and addressing environmental scandals from the forests of rural Australia to his groundbreaking work with major corporations like Nestlé on no-deforestation commitments. Scott’s experiences in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, Tasmania, and reforestation projects reveal the intricate balance between economic growth and environmental conservation.

Do you remember a few years ago Greenpeace released a video with a kitkat chocolate with an orangutan’ finger in it, which very clearly made the statement that much of the palm oil the Nestlé owned company were coming from deforested plots in Indonesia which were home to the orangutans? And before that, the scandal on teak garden furniture, which in the nineties suddenly a lot of European household had teak garden furniture on their balconies or on their terraces? A lot of that wood came from illegal logging in Cambodja smuggled over the borders by members of the Red Khmer and sold to furniture companies in Vietnam.

What do you do as a company when you are hit by a supply chain scandal like this? In both of these cases, the companies called Scott to help fix it. Not their public image, but the actual supply chain. Get traceability in, no deforestation rules and monitoring, social programmes, etc. Learn from the fascinating journey of this forester born in Australia who founded the Forest Trust. It’s regeneration, both socially, economically, and environmentally at scale, and learn why he is so excited about biochar.

Henry Dimbleby – From designing the National Food Strategy for England to starting a £50M fund focussed on food transition

A wide range conversation of almost two hours with Henry Dimbleby, founder of Bramble Partners, a venture capital firm, that invests in businesses seeking to improve food security. Before Bramble Partners, Henry co-founded Leon Restaurants and the Sustainable Restaurant Association and also served deep in the heart of the UK government as he was appointed lead non-executive board member of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

In this exchange we discuss everything from Donella Meadows in complex systems to what that means for all of us trying to influence these systems and policies and how you actually change policy. How it was to manage the COVID crisis from within the UK government, keeping food on the shelves of the supermarkets and local shops, and trying to drastically improve school meals and their accessibility for children living in poverty in the UK. Plus, a deep dive into the junk food cycle, the differences between ultra-processed food and junk food, and the crazy ultra-processed food addiction we all, or mostly, have fallen victim to. And finally, how eating lentils can change everything.

Jonas Steinfeld – The many shades of green of agroforestry systems

A conversation with Jonas Steinfeld, a researcher and consultant based in Brazil specialising in agroforestry systems, about the many different levels of complexity in agroforestry. Does complexity lead to more or less work? Does complexity lead to more or less carbon storage, and why? And are complex agroforestry systems more profitable? The scientific world has been quite clear up until now that adding more complexity to agriculture, especially with perennials like trees, almost always makes massive environmental differences. So what is holding us back? Why aren’t we planting trees everywhere?

Yasmine Cathell on nutrient quality bio stimulants, microalgae and other random but world changing regen trivia

A check-in conversation with Yasmine Cathell in which we discuss everything from why we should focus on solutions that work for all farmers, not just regen organic, to the reduction of bio stimulants on farm or off farm, microalgae, nutrient density, and quality. Why does it all start in the soil? And we finish up with a masterclass on smelling soil and other random but world-changing regen trivia.

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.