Want some good news about the impact of the Pandemic? - Episode 34

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In this week's episode...

In this episode Jeffrey interviews Ken Roseboro who is the editor of The Organic & Non-GMO Report.  Ken Roseboro has been called “the nation’s reporter on all issues surrounding genetically modified foods” by Acres USA magazine. He has written extensively about GM foods and the non-GMO trends since 1999.  In this talk Jeffrey and Ken explore some of the extraordinary trends happening the in Organic and non-GMO food industry.  Lots of GREAT news!

Notes for this week's Podcast
This week's Transcript

The transcripts and show notes for the podcast have been delayed as our staff recovers from Covid-19.  In the meantime we have provided the rough transcript below.  If you would like to volunteer to clean up the transcript please contact us at: info@responsibletechnology.org

Speaker 2: (00:08)
Hello Jeffrey. Hello from Iowa. All right, well I'm going to show you something that, if you've ever seen this, I just picked this up, the organic and non GMO report. This I found in my wonderful natural product store, go to earth and Fairfax, California. And who, who is the publisher? Who's the writer, who's the, who's the, who's the brains behind it. But the man on my right or left depending on if your mother left Canberra was bro. Uh, I I loved interviewing you last time cause you gave him so much good news about the growth of organic and non GMO and now we're in the middle of blossoming in place.

Speaker 2: (00:54)
Right. So I'm wondering, um, I'm wondering what the good news that you have to share is of the influence of the pandemic on the food and agriculture and what are the lessons about food and agriculture from the pandemic? So, uh, you, you're like, so in the trenches interviewing people on all levels of the supply chain, it's always great to get your perspective because no one has your perspective in the entire world, which is why people subscribe to your organic and non GMO report, both consumers and people in business because you ha you bring those voices together. So I want to, I'm going to have a pitch here. Um, we'll post the link to the organic and non GMO report. Please subscribe, uh, support Ken's work and get educated. Okay. Take it away Ken. Roseboro

Speaker 3: (01:50)
all right. Thanks Jeffrey. Yeah, it's great to be here. Um, yeah, the pandemic has, um, caused major disruptions in all areas of our lives, uh, and especially and also in the food industry. But it's interesting in the organic, um, industry or organic movement in the grain industry and produce, um, both of those areas are doing really well. It's, it's very interesting, right? I just interviewed a lot of, um, grain suppliers, organic grain suppliers. These are people that buy and sell organic grains and they're all reporting really strong sales. One supplier said that his sales are up 30%. Another rent. Dave Vetter, who, you know, I do know Dave grain place foods told me that he sold 90% of his expected sales for the entire year in March, just March. Wow. And um, and this was common among grant suppliers all over the country. And I also talked to a company that's a pretty large company that's selling organic flour and they're also reporting really strong demand.

Speaker 3: (03:13)
So it's, it's very interesting to see this happening at the grain level. Also organic rice. I spoke to a organic rice supplier in Missouri who said that his sales are really strong, um, because rice is something that people can stock up on and keep it for a while. And in fact, a couple, another grain supplier said that maybe that's what some people are doing there. They're stocking up on some organic rains and beans. Um, because of the pandemic and concerns about any possible food shortages. But with organic, it doesn't seem to be the case. Um,

Speaker 2: (03:53)
why do you say that? Because obviously that is a theory, but why would you say that? It's not just a stocking up.

Speaker 3: (04:00)
Um, well it, it's, well, it's hard to say. It could be. It could be a stocking up and um, but it just could be that just, that's more people are buying organic because they see it as healthier that it's helps build immunity. Um, and I, I think that may be part of it as well. Um, it definitely, with the organic organic produce sales are up 22%.

Speaker 2: (04:26)
People aren't stocking produce that. Alright, right there. 22%. Now we know if, if, if the guys selling more grain by 30%, let's just pretend that we can talk about those numbers next to each other. Let's just protect. And then if there's increase in organic produce by 22%, and there's an increase in organic grain by 20 by 30%, let's just pretend that the 22% is the increase in the demand for organic. And the 8% that's leftover is the storing. You know, there's all of a sudden everyone's focused on organic. And if people are focusing on organic and buying the same portfolio of products between, between, um, produce and grains for their current consumption, then we would expect something around the same, around 22% increase. So let's just pretend that those numbers can be used. But I think that that's actually the case cause I'm looking at my own habits, you know, like, well I'm above, I'm increasing my purchase of stuff that I'm saying I'm keeping, but actually I've always been organic so it's not really looking at me.

Speaker 2: (05:37)
It's not going to help you at all. Forget that. So, um, I, um, I do think that this link between organic food and health and immunity is critical. It's like so many people learn about it, but there's good excuses in their mind not to eat organic. Well, it's too expensive. Well, I'll get it from my, forget it. I'll get the stuff that my kids eat that are organic and I'll be willing to eat the stuff myself. That's not of an idiot all my life. So, but now that it's like, Oh, I got to pay attention to my health and my immunity, there is a logical consequence. Now I've imagined that in the 22% you have a combination of people who are already organic but increasing their percentage and you probably have people that are not organic at all but are like getting into it now because, yeah. Because they, they the health issue.

Speaker 3: (06:38)
Right, right, exactly. Yeah. It's um, it's, it's interesting to see. It's, I think it'll be interesting to see how this plays out over several months. Um, particularly as you know, the economy is taking a major hit to see if people will continue to buy organic. I mean, that's one of the concerns that has been raised that uh, organic is considered to be, you know, a premium item. Um, that costs a little more. So we'll, if the economy is going down, will people continue to buy organic?

Speaker 2: (07:18)
I got an idea. You gave me an idea. Yeah. Managing and I don't have any idea if anyone can pull this off, but maybe we can talk about it later after the broadcast. If we could get someone to do research on the incidents of serious pandemic responses by what percentage of, of what someone's diet is for organic or not more like I was talking to Dietrich Klinghardt, I was interviewing him for our healing from GMOs and Roundup online conference and uh, it's basically what do you do to, in addition to changing your diet to clean up detox, rebuild, repair. And he said he has about 50,000 patients that he's worked with. Wow. And met so many in Germany and also in the United States and before GMOs winter and were introduced, he was always promoting organic and so now and so then when GMOs came onto the scene, he was promoting non-GMO and organic and so he said he could tell the quality of the impact of that food by looking at the quality of the people that have grown up and they have kids and all and jobs and everything. You said it's like night and day. The people who have been following the organic lifestyle for sometimes for decades, it's like their mind is clear. Their level of success, their income, their responsibilities are much higher. If we could point out whether it's specifically from [inaudible], um, a retroactive review where we correlate percentage of organic with either infectious rates or severity of symptoms and demonstrate that organic was better in either or both of those cases that might reinforce continued organic eating.

Speaker 3: (09:15)
Yeah. Yeah. Well I wouldn't be surprised if it, if it did show that, um, people who ate organic, you know, had there were lower rates of the virus or that somehow had to help them, um, with their immunity that they were able to, uh, prevent getting sick, but they, they were able to stay healthy in the midst of the pandemic. I wouldn't be surprised.

Speaker 2: (09:41)
You know, I'm, I'm looking at some of the comments. Um, Carol from Las Vegas says it's getting harder to exit, to buy as much organic as possible because of the cost supply and availability in that city. Jen says says, I've been organic since 2012 I do have a problem getting much where I live. I'm wondering if there is a shortage.

Speaker 3: (10:08)
Yeah, there are. I've been hearing, particularly with organic poultry, that it's getting harder to get, um, for some reason, um, there's not enough feed or something or the, um, but I've been hearing about that. Um, with other things, with the produce, I haven't heard much about, uh, the grains. I know some organic, uh, organic rice comes from India, uh, BAS Mati rice. And right now India has a lockdown, so they're not exporting anything. So it can be hard to get, um, organic rice from India. So there may be some items where there are shortages of, um, but I haven't, um, uh, done a deep dive in to see which ones they are. And just looking at the general trends as far as organic grains and organic produce goes and seeing the strong demand for both. Right now, one of the largest, um, produce organic produce, uh, grower in the United States in California said his sales are up 25%. So it may be that the demand is, um, I mean one of the ongoing problems that organic has is that the demand as outstrip the supply that um, and it may be that people are having not being able to get things because um, they're being bought out and there's, there's not enough supply to, to replenish what's being sold in the stores.

Speaker 2: (11:43)
I want to tell you I was, I was touring California in 2012 when there was the ballot initiative for prop 37 to label and I was touring, touring with Tom knew Mark Tom has become the chairman of Greenpeace USA. He was involved with new chapter and he's got an organic farm in Costa Rica. Herb farm. He and I were giving talks together and he made a point several times to different groups, which I thought was brilliant. He, he had a conversation with the largest produce supplier, I don't know if it's the largest organic produce supplier or larger largest produce supplier for certain produce in the country. And he said, why are you organic? And he said, because it makes, because it produces more, it actually has less cost of inputs. It's a smarter decision. And it was not based on the environment or health or anything. It was just based on, on good economics and, and it was better for produce. So it's interesting you're saying that there's, the demand is outstripping the supply. Maybe we got to get in there and teach the supply chain what this guy knows cause he's one of the most successful in the country.

Speaker 3: (13:01)
Yeah. Yeah. Well there are initiatives to get more farmers to transition to organic. Um, I mean even major companies like general mills are doing that. Um, ardent mills is another one. And how's their Bush with their, um, Michelob ultra gold fields?

Speaker 2: (13:19)
Hi Nick advertiser. Oh my God.

Speaker 3: (13:23)
And they're, they're trying to get more, get more farmers to grow organic barley. So there's, you know, the, the, the supply shortage has been well recognized for many years. So there's efforts to, to get more farmers to grow organic. And there's definitely incentives because farmers can make more money. And particularly with grain, the uh, the situation with conventional grain prices, which are really low right now, um, farmers in the Midwest and that are growing grains can see that you can make more money growing organic. So I think we'll see, uh, in fact we saw last year there was, uh, quite a few more farmers that transitioned to organic. So I think that that will be a growing trend.

Speaker 2: (14:09)
What I noticed when I, when I lived full time in Iowa, um, and talk to farmers there is that like when there was a huge difference between organic and conventional than some conventional people would, would take a certain portion of their farm and switch it to organic and it takes three years to transition. The amount of it went for them. It was the, uh, dollars per bushel for story versus not are gonna excite. And when that became a smaller, uh, difference, then there was less incentive to bring new products in the area. Now I asked, I said that I wanted to ask you to tell me what pandemic is, was revealing what is exposing about let's say our con, our conventional food system. Uh, the weaknesses in that, cause you're also looking very closely at the comparison.

Speaker 3: (15:02)
Yeah. Well you could see it in the area of food service and restaurants that farmers that are supplying food service and restaurants with say milk or produce, they're don't, the farmers are dumping milk. They're just, you know, dumping it into the ground and their other produce, they're composting the produce because they can't sell it to the restaurants. And meanwhile, food banks are having shortages of food. They don't have enough food to give people. Um, so there's initiatives like a Publix market in the South recently announced they were going to buy a lot of this produce and milk from farmers who are dumping it and they're going to donate it to food banks. Yeah. Which is great. But

Speaker 2: (15:51)
Justin has some good, good ideas there.

Speaker 3: (15:54)
Yeah. They need to get Kroger's behind this and other retailers. But it just shows the how inflexible that the food system is for the restaurants and food service. If, if they're, you know, if they can't sell it, they get, they dump it, you know, they can't, like, they're not flexible enough to package it and put it at the grocery stores.

Speaker 2: (16:16)
So what's happening with them? With the livestock in the conventional system.

Speaker 3: (16:19)
Yeah. And the livestock situation, these meat packing plants have closed because the workers, the workers, they work so closely together that they get the virus. And so some of the meat packing plants have shut down. So the farmers in Iowa are raising hogs to supply to these meat packing plants. They're killing their Hawks. They're killing thousands of hogs and chickens because they can't supply, they can't supply it to the meat packing plants. Wow. So it just shows how inflexible the current system is and that we really need regional, local, and regional food systems. When we depend on national, you know, multinational companies for food to produce to supply food like these giant, uh, pork producers like Tyson and Smithfield farms, that disruptions happen in supply chain. There's going to be, there's going to be meat shortages in the supermarkets because of this.

Speaker 2: (17:23)
So if it were, if it were regional, let's say, and we'll talk about regenerative in a minute because we don't want to just have regional, um, factory farms, right. Let's make everywhere in the country as ridiculously odorous as parts of Iowa, Illinois and the Southeast. Um, it's a disaster living near a, uh, a KFO but during a factory farm. But, um, so let's say we have a regional food supply, um, and there is a shutdown like this, you think that it would be easier for a regional food hub to redistribute or find places for the hogs or the poultry or the milk that is, that isn't tied to a long supply chain that it could find its way to food banks more easily?

Speaker 3: (18:14)
Yeah, I think it would be, it would be more flexible. Um, yeah, they wouldn't have to search nationwide for outlets. They could go, um, you know, to different parts of the region to see what they could do. If they could, if there was food banks in their region, they could, um, you know, supply more easily to those food banks and it's transportation would be gone to, what's that?

Speaker 2: (18:38)
Transportation costs would be much lower. Um, some places could do like, you know, like, like you to open the trunk and sell the stuff, like come to our farm and, and pick up is that you can, they can turn their, their farms into food banks for the poor and then they get, eliminate the transportation costs if possible. So I can certainly see how a local producer can connect directly within the consumers, uh, if it was right there.

Speaker 3: (19:06)
Right, exactly. Yeah. And the farmers would be closer to the processing facilities, so the cost would be less for them as well. Um, there's a whole trend right now, um, in another area, um, local grain production and milling that these, um, local, regional, um, farmers are supplying, they're growing grains and they're supplying them to local mills that are, that are milling the grains into flour. And the, and the mills are selling the flour at farmer's markets or online. And, and it's, it's interesting to see this happening all over the U S it's kind of a, a whole new, um, food sector that's emerging local, local grain production and local milling of those grains.

Speaker 2: (19:55)
All right, so I want to insert a recommendation and I'm going to get to some of the points that people are making on the chat as well. So if you have any points that you're thinking about making, now's a good time to put it in here. Um, so I want to strongly recommend that people buy local. And it's interesting in your organic and non GMO report for this past month, it says start, uh, sourcing ingredients via small brands is the first step in building a regenerative supply chain. There's small and then there's also regional. But I want to emphasize, I remember Fred Kirschman who a giant inorganic agriculture, uh, was giving a talk in Iowa and I was attending, maybe you were too. Um, and he showed some surveys and he showed some results of surveys where there was a higher percentage of interest in buying local than there was in buying organic.

Speaker 2: (20:54)
I want to make a very strong pitch that local poison is still poisoned and it's better to buy national organic or even internationally resourced organic rather than local poison. Yeah, you're spraying stuff on, you're fine. It's, you're buying local, it's next door. You may know the farmer, but if it's sprayed with poison, it's not food. It's a food shaped object. It should not be consumed. Yeah, I agree. I agree. We're going to talk about some also in your, in your afforded talks about regenerative agriculture, regenerative supply chain, leaving the legacy of the soil. There's a lot going on about regenerative and we're hearing about it and people may not know some of the good news and some of the details that you can pick up. Let me respond to some of these comments here. Uh, so [inaudible] says that slaughterhouses are closing slaughterhouses workers are getting sick and that's a good thing.

Speaker 2: (21:53)
These places are good for nobody. There is so much evidence that the slaughter house conditions are a disaster out even without the pandemic. And then similarly, factory farms, there's a, there's laws. You can't go in and take photos and take constitutional, but it's still happening. Right. Um, so, uh, Carol asks, what about chem trails on organic? So I'm not a Kim JL person. In other words, I'm not, I don't talk about it. I don't, I did speak at a Shaw conference once, but about GMOs and uh, it was years ago. Um, so what's your, what I'm going to ask, I'm going to raise it into a bigger way. There are environmental toxins that will land on organic agriculture. First case in point is glyphosate in the rainwater, right up in Montana, they use Roundup or glyphosate based herbicides, like Roundup to what's called chem fallow.

Speaker 2: (22:58)
At the end of this, can you tell what chem fallowing means? Or should I desiccation? No, no, this is, this is basically they're leaving their land free empty first for a season. So they spray the heck out of dirt. The whole bare land with rounding, they only have enough in certain areas of Montana, they only have the nutrients rain or whatever to to grow every other season. So the season that's, that's off. They don't just grow cover crops. They'll leave it dirt, but they'll spray it down with Roundup. Now your Mount of Roundup that's sprayed in these areas is sufficient to volatilize to some extent evaporate the Roundup into the air. And it's in the, it's in 60 to a hundred percent of all air samples and rain samples. And in sippy it was 75%. So now when it rains, it's going to end up on organic. And there's nothing we can do about it on an individual level, we can do collectively, which we're working on. And there's also possibility of drift from farmers with Dicamba. What a share, what's happening with Dicamba?

Speaker 3: (24:12)
I can, but it's even worse. Well, weeds have become resistant to Roundup because it's so much. Roundup is used 300 million pounds, so nature adapts. So we've become resistant to Roundup. So biotech industry, Monsanto in particular decided to, um, use another herbicide, which is Dicamba, which is even nastier than, than Roundup. And it's known to volatize turn from a liquid into a gas and travel for miles and, and harm other crops, other farms, gardens, people's gardens, uh, ornamental trees. Uh, there was, uh, the largest peach peach producer in Missouri Bader farms, bill Bader. Um, he recently sued Monsanto because of drift from Dicamba. Some farmers in his area were growing, um, GMO soybeans and they were using Dicamba and the Dicamba drifted onto his peach trees and essentially killed 30,000 peach trees. Um, so he sued Monsanto and went to court. And just a couple of months ago, the court ruled in favor of Bader farms and awarded him $265 million, um, that, um, so Monsanto and BA BA SF both have to pay. So now there's some 2000 farmers lined up to stew over this Dicamba drift problem also. So it's another major, a major headache for bear.

Speaker 2: (25:51)
You know, I have to say, I'm glad you brought that up. Um, my, my listeners and soon the people on this Facebook page of the Institute for responsible technology, um, are going to here going to see a two minute video that we've produced for the bear, uh, annual general meeting. The shareholders meeting just held, uh, I would recommend you take a look at it. Uh, the latest news@theinstituteforresponsibletechnologyishomepageatresponsibletechnology.org. Probably will share that link here. Um, and th the, the video is called corporate karma. And I described, uh, I had predicted problems if for bear, if they bought out two in 2016, I wrote an open letter, eight reasons why 17 pages of endnotes was picked up by the Huffington post financial page. It was ignored by there and they are now regretting that they bought Monsanto and listened to me and others. So we, we, you know, you and I, we've been looking deeply into down the throat and into the guts of the dark side of Monsanto.

Speaker 2: (26:58)
And we knew what was coming and we knew the momentum against them and we knew that their whole core business was collapsing because it was based on Roundup and Roundup ready crops and roundtables was declared a probable human carcinogen and Roundup was failing in the field and round. It turns out to be housing, lower productivity and lower profits in animals that are, that are fed round. They're pretty crops. And that's not a, that's a lawsuit, a series that hasn't happened yet. So I laid out a lot of these things and I explained to bear in this two minutes and then I had many, I had press releases and I had online presentations and I submitted questions to them, um, that in order to protect themselves because you know, they're faced to $12 billion up to $12,000 in settlements for the non Hodgkin's lymphoma lawsuits. That the main reason why they're shaking in their boots is because of the punitive damages, the, uh, that the juries are rewarding.

Speaker 2: (27:54)
They're reading these documents and realizing Monsanto has been committing fraud, been rigging their research, attacking scientists, writing, tagging me. I was involved in my, there was a, there was a memo about me in one of the trials and so I said, you need to come clean. You need to distance yourself there from Monsanto's dark side. I'm making all of that public. Otherwise they'll blame you and you need to do real research, independent research. Don't do it. Fund independent research because they're looking at your research that's been done by Monsanto. It's all fraudulent or corporate. I'll check book research. So, um, they ignored it. But your point about the Bader farms is another set of lawsuits that followed the same principle that when the jurors looked at the documents that were made public because of the lawsuit, they realized that Monsanto and VASF were predicting thousands of farmer complaints because of the drift. There had been maybe 40 complaints in a previous year and they're eating up to 2000 accurately predicting they were knowing it was going to cause the drift and that not only that, but they also knew that farmers who were planting soybeans or cotton, they were getting the drift would be forced to buy Monsanto's number resistant seeds in order to protect from the drift. So it was, it was a, it was a chemical, uh, sales play or marketing,

Speaker 3: (29:27)
right as one, as one farmer described it, the defensive planning was tantamount to extortion.

Speaker 2: (29:36)
And the thing is the two 65 where I was going with this back fi two minutes ago, was that Bader was asking for about 25 million for compensatory damages. And he got 15. So jury listening to the Monsanto bear VASF attorneys were, did not believe Bader that he lost $25 million worth of of of business. So they reduced what he asked for from 25 to 15 but the, but the punitive damage was 250 wanting to pay her $250 million. I remember sitting in the, in the, in the trial, you know, in in San Francisco and also reading the instructions to the jury, you know, were punitive damage is if you believe that the corporation acted with malice and that it is designed to punish and the, the, the criteria in at least in the non-Hodgkin's and former trials was higher for punitive damages. So for compensatory damages, all you had to say was it contributed.

Speaker 2: (30:57)
It didn't necessarily cause everyone's non-Hodgkin's the farmer, but it was likely to have been a contributor. So that was easy. Right. A weight of the evidence though for punitive damages was like you had to really demonstrate that this company was acting maliciously. And it was so easy because you look at Monsanto's documents and it was like, Oh my God, this is like the worst corporate behavior you've ever heard about in our lives. Right. And so it's, it's reinforcing the need for bear who says we're a responsible corporate citizen. We're not like Monsanto. Yeah. Prove it. Right. So do you want to add something while I, while I peruse some of these other points that could have been made?

Speaker 3: (31:43)
Yeah. Bear should, uh, try to distance themselves from Monsanto, but I guess it's kind of, it's hard to do when they've got all their products and still trying to sell them,

Speaker 2: (31:54)
um, soon. As soon as he's asking Ken [inaudible] and other pathogens, these spread from CAFOs. So I have heard over and over again that the covert virus is not a very S, um, it doesn't last as long. Uh, outside host as other viruses. It's doesn't last long and heat. It doesn't, I mean, I'm not an expert at it and I don't know. I don't, I've been hearing, so I'm not an expert in, I'm not saying that this is true. I've been hearing that it's not something that comes from food. You eat.

Speaker 3: (32:29)
Right, right. Yeah, I've heard that too. Yeah.

Speaker 2: (32:32)
So because we're not experts, I can't guarantee everything I just said, but I can speak and you can speak. What about pathogens from CAFOs throwing you off, lobbing you a slow pitch for you to hit out the park associated with pathogens?

Speaker 3: (32:51)
Well, legs are so close together, um, in those K foes that it's just a breeding ground for disease. So they have to give them so many Ana, you know, so many different antibiotics do to prevent diseases from spreading. So, um, it's not surprising that something, you know, some pathogens can be generated in these, in these cave of buildings.

Speaker 2: (33:14)
So there's, there's a couple of things for, well, there's, there's three things that go on because there's all these animals together. There's a greater possibility of having disease and that can spread because of the overuse of the antibiotics. Then what happens is the, all the back, the bacteria get together in these bacterial conventions. And they're there. They're sheltering in place right now, but they're doing it by zoom. And so the bacteria get together to say, what are we going to do about these antibiotics? It says, I got an idea. You have a piece of antibiotic resistance on you. I need it over here. And they start swapping genetic material and then all of a sudden then they go, Oh, I better yet, let's also mutate. So they'll mutate, they'll swap, they'll change to become antibiotic resistance. And the more antibiotics are used, the more likely that the whole new population of, of new improved bacterial pathogens comes out in the presence of these antibiotics. So that's another reason for a disease. And then on top of that, there's really dirty conditions. And so things get into the milk and into the meat through the entire, the entire slaughterhouse process and dairy process. And then you have the, what do you do with the manure? You have these big, these big, uh, link front property, but it's not Lake folks. It's not something you want to live near. And that becomes a breeding ground for a disastrous health and environmental impacts.

Speaker 3: (34:38)
Yeah, I mean, the whole four system is the most unsustainable agricultural system you can come up with. I mean, it's damaging. It's cruel to the animals. It's damaging to human health and the environment. You know, it's ruined the environment and, and people's quality of life. I mean, people that live near CAFOs have to keep their windows closed because the stench from those is just horrific. And people also get diseases. They get, uh, respiratory diseases, um, people that live near these CAFOs. So it's not, it's not surprising to see during this pandemic that this system of agriculture is having problems because it's, it's totally unsustainable.

Speaker 2: (35:25)
So I want to leave on some good news. Uh, no, we'll just leave it there. [inaudible] factory farms, death, disease, destruction. Goodbye. Who need more of this during the Cove? No, you don't. So, so there, um, you've been writing about this for quite a while. One of the pioneers in reporting on what's now called regenerative agriculture. Um, there's a new regenerative agriculture or regenerative organic certification or gender certification. Um, my friends at nature's path have become the largest grain company to have regenerative organic certification. Um, Bronner's is involved, others are involved. Um, what the heck is going on? Tell people who don't know what regenerative is and give people a reason to have hope, rich and where worried about,

Speaker 3: (36:16)
yeah. Regenerative agriculture is a really, um, positive trend. The whole focus is on soil health. Uh, there's a, um, the Rodale Institute, which is the oldest organic research Institute in the country has a, a sign when you enter, they were their grounds. It says healthy, healthy soil, healthy plants, healthy people. So that's the basic premise. If you have healthy soil, what's going to produce healthy plants and healthy people. And this trend of regenerative agriculture is spreading both in among the organic farmers and the conventional farmers. It's, it's kind of the trend that both organic and conventional farmers are finding common ground on literally common ground. Um, so it, regenerative agriculture, um, involves several practices. One is minimal plowing or tillage, uh, not disturbing the soil. Um, it also growing cover crops, growing something on the ground all year if possible. Um, and also cover crops, add nutrients to the soil and you can use fewer herbicides, reduces the need for herbicides and also diverse crop rotations.

Speaker 3: (37:33)
So a lot of farmers in Midwest growers is corn and soybeans. So adding more, uh, more crops. The rotation, like a small grain, like oats also has benefits to soil, um, and as nutrients to the soil. So it's a really positive trend, um, in both conventional and organic agriculture. And you see, it's, it's very encouraging because you see conventional farmers adopting these practices and in some cases they're, they're, they're reducing, well in many cases they're reducing the need for herbicides, pesticides, any insecticides. So it's like they're moving towards organic, um, without really intending to, and in some cases they actually do transition to organic. Um, there's a conventional farmer in Indiana, Rick Clark, who's, um, has 7,000 acres. He grows non GMO corn for Dannon's non-GMO yogurt program and he's all in on, on, uh, regenerative agriculture. Uh, he's growing diverse crop rotations, uh, cover crops and he's in demand.

Speaker 3: (38:43)
He's speaking at conferences all over the country and, uh, farmers are, you know, wanting to hear what he's doing. So this is a way for farmers to get stop, you know, wean themselves off the, uh, the pesticides and to build soil health, which also has been known to sequester carbon, to take carbon out of the atmosphere and sequester it to mitigate climate change. That's one of the big benefits of regenerative practices that it can help to mitigate climate change. But there's other, the other benefits, it's producing more nutritious foods, um, and it's also helping the farmers. They can earn more money doing that. It takes a while to build up the soil to do that, but all around it's a very positive practice. So it's something that, um, it's good, it's good, very good trend. And, um, and I think it's the future basically. Um, and, and organic farmers have already been doing a lot of these practices, so they're there. They've already been moving in this direction, focusing on soil health and, and sequestering carbon. So it's something that all of agriculture is agreeing on, which is, which is something that's not very common at all

Speaker 2: (40:04)
except agribusiness except agribusiness. I, when I was, um, on, on Sunday, April 26th, two days before the annual meeting for bear, I was part of an online panel hosted by a group in Germany. They have everybody that they were going to bring me out to Germany to speak at the conference, but it was all virtual this year. So we produced a video and I was online with their groups a couple of times. And as far I was on a panel with a member of the European parliament than some activists. And we were asked a question about the relationship between industrial agriculture and agribusiness and, and regenerate and sustainable agriculture and all that. And I pointed out, we're talking about bear, and I said, we all know from a, from a, and you can, you can listen to the presentation, the answers to the questions on that same page that's already listed, a link to the corporate karma page.

Speaker 2: (41:01)
Um, I said, you know, we, we understand from a pharmaceutical standpoint, there's a pharmaceutic pharmaceutical company that healthy eye, healthy population is not good for business. That if your population is really healthy, you have less sales. And so it doesn't work as part of your business model. People don't realize that's the same thing with farms. If a farm is a healthy ecosystem, you don't need the chemical inputs, fertilizers, you don't need the insecticides. There's there, I've, I heard, um, years ago, 20 years ago in Iowa, um, someone came and talked about how the insects will only be able to, to get nutrients from sick plants. Nature of the protein is broken down. So to a way that they can absorb it. But if it's a healthy plant, you don't see an insect infestation because they can't even digest the program. Also that there's, like, I was visiting Vonda Sheeva's farm enough, Donna in India, she goes, we don't need chemicals.

Speaker 2: (42:05)
We have diversity. They're there. The diversity eliminates the need for the pesticides, the herbicides, the fertilizer. And then of course the crop rotations and composting and in some cases, integration of animal agriculture. Um, the, these are things that make a healthy ecosystem but don't. And like some, a friend of mine, Kathleen LL was pioneer at getting, um, Irvine, California to stop using Roundup. We program, they started using proper soil, building up the soil. And now I've seen before and after pictures it looks far better than the chemical use of, uh, and it's also requires 30% less or 40% less water input because the soil holds the water and they spend less. So, um, and it's interesting that organic started out as stewarding the soil and when they were creating the organic standards, Fred Gershman told me he was on the standards committee when it was being created.

Speaker 2: (43:09)
He and another person wanted it to be level. So you like to have organic is the base, but then you'd have higher levels showing more stewarding, more higher quality of food and agriculture. They got overruled. So what happened was organic got defined by what it isn't. You can end up with organic agriculture that doesn't have GMOs and it doesn't have round up, but it may not have nutritious soil. Right now, the regenerative agriculture, the word regenerative is what the original organic pioneers were talking about at the beginning. But it's not something that's consistent throughout the organic industry. It's those that have been appropriately organic and now there's more science in it. So we're taking from what the pioneers of organic did and making it richer both in the soil and in the knowledge. And then that becomes useful for all levels of agriculture, not just organic. So my take on it,

Speaker 3: (44:04)
yeah. And regenerative. Organic has those different levels, um, that farmers can try to achieve and it's, and it's focused, it's big focuses on soil health and you know, so farmers can achieve these, I think they have like a silver level gold level, um, for different practices. So it allows for continuous improvement. So it's a great program.

Speaker 2: (44:31)
All right,

Speaker 3: (44:32)
so we're going to wrap up here. What we've talked about is there is now a, probably an unprecedented spike in the demand for organic grains and produce, right? The big question is, will that continue, will change. And we've been doing our best at the Institute for responsible technology to encourage people to eat organic. In fact, I understand that there are surveys that talk about how 51% of Americans now believe that, uh, our non GMO is dangerous and non-GMO is the way to go for health. So you and I can Pat each other on the backs for forgetting somebody that information out. So that's very good news. It's true. It's being shown in organic a demand. They're getting demand is shifting supply and even though it takes three years for a producer to become fully organic, it is happening with the, with the increase in it may be happening also as a stepwise function going from conventional to regenerative to regenerative, organic, and even within organic, the demand, both the, the, the improvement in the bottom line for production is causing farmers to move to regenerative.

Speaker 3: (45:43)
My hope is that everyone listening and everyone that we touch will actually start to demand the regenerative so that the, there will be a premium that will grow out of that demand, which will then push all the other organic and conventional suppliers to move to regenerative so that we all are contributing to climate, um, climate chaos reduction through carbon sequestration, which can theoretically take in all of the excess carbon in the atmosphere in the United States alone if we're talking about the Anchorage as possible. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Anything you want to add? Well, it's just um, couple of other things. Uh, the, uh, the number of CSA is community community supported agriculture programs is also growing right now during the pandemic. People won't locally produce foods and fresh foods and seed sales also talk the garden garden seed companies like high mowing seeds and fed co and other ones. They're seeing unprecedented demand for garden seeds.

Speaker 2: (46:52)
I know I went out to Baker Creek heirloom my friends at Baker Creek and they said, we're a week behind. We, we're keeping up with the thing, you know, just talking to relatives. She said, yeah, people are hoarding lettuce these days. It's hard to get lettuce. And by the way, I've always traveling all the time. So I never planted a garden except this year I planted my first actual diverse garden and I was able to look for, for seeds and everything and get what I could. Um,

Speaker 3: (47:22)
yeah. And also, um, I read where organic has thrived actually thrive during crises like this. Like back in the late nineties, there was this LR scare on app. It was a pesticide that increased the demand for organic and it just continued after that and the mad cow disease thing that came up in Europe in the nineties, that increased the demand for organic. And then there were concerns about, um, melamine in baby foods from China that increases the demand for organic. So the thought is

Speaker 2: (48:02)
we want to thank the melanoma melanoma, we want to thank the ILR. We want to thank, um, all of these pesticidal scares for people up. We're sorry for those that didn't get woken up. That's bad news. But the people that did go get woken up and are waking up others, that's very good too, right? I'm being a little facetious, but it's true that it's interesting that when we shake people, we, when when we get shaken pandemics or other things like that, then we go, Oh, what's really important? What's the and what do we need to do to protect yourself? And then there's one other thing I want to leave on and that is this, this is a time of transformation. I don't think anyone who's going to argue that because there's been such dramatic change. We don't know where we're going, where we're going to end up.

Speaker 2: (48:51)
But there's a, there's a, uh, something in chemistry called the titration curve. It can be dropping and dropping and dropping a solution and there's a chain, no change, no change, no change. And all of a sudden it jumps up and then it levels off. And I remember watching a video with a chemistry professor explained that the quality of the drops on the, on the, on the first plateau have no influence on the outcome. The quality of Trop of drops when it's finished don't have much influence, but the quality of the drops during the phase transition determine the height of the stable state at the end during the phase transition that you determine the outcome and this is a phase transition that we're going through. Again, this is a transition in terms of our food, in terms of our life, in terms of everything that we know, so I'm going to ask people to step up in a big way that this is the time.

Speaker 2: (49:48)
It's the quality of the input during the phase transition that determines that the height that you achieve for the stable state of the outcome. It's a principle in physics. It's a principle I think in social transformation and it's a principle that we're now living with today. So now for the sake of the world, we need to be impeccable, impeccable in our emotions, impeccable and our choices impeccable in our purchases, impeccable in our relationships, as much as we can, as much as we can, because this is the time that our influence is going to be far greater. A multiple of what ever is in the past or in the future in shaping a community, a global community and its emotions, choices, purchases, relationships, and and way of living. So yeah. That's great. Yeah. Yeah. I think a lot of positive changes are going to come out of this and we're going to, we're going to see it in the food system. All right. Yeah, I think you can. All right. You're welcome. Say beating. Everyone say feeding everyone.

Speaker 1: (50:53)

Speaker 4: (51:00)
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