Ep. 97: Rebecca Henderson – Harvard Business School Professor & Author ||

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For episode 97 we welcome Professor and author Rebecca Henderson. Henderson is the John & Natty McArthur University Professor at Harvard University, where she has a joint appointment at the Harvard Business School in the General Management and Strategy units.   Professor Henderson is also a research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. She spent the first 21 years of her career at MIT, much of it as the Eastman Kodak Professor of Management. Additionally, she teaches ‘Reimagining Capitalism’ in the HBS MBA Program and sits on the boards of Amgen and of IDEXX Labs.
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For today’s show we focus the discussion on the engine of environmental change – the economy.  Professor Henderson has recently released the book “Reimagining Capitalism – In a World on Fire” – which borrows from the name of a course she teaches at Harvard Business School.   As she explains, “I am convinced that we have a secret weapon. I spent twenty years of my life working with firms that were trying to transform themselves. I learned that having the right strategy was important, and that redesigning the organization was also critical. But mostly I learned that these were necessary but not sufficient conditions. The firms that mastered change were those that had a reason to do so: the ones that had a purpose greater than simply maximizing profits. People who believe that their work has a meaning beyond themselves can accomplish amazing things, and we have the opportunity to mobilize shared purpose at a global scale.”
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In our 45 minute discussion we cover stakeholder value vs. shareholder value.  We learn about the role that companies and executives will have in environmental action and social responsibility in the near future.  Additionally, we discuss food systems, regenerative natural resource management and how politics gets woven into this recipe of change. For those fans of water and environmental service marketplaces out there, hear Professor Henderson’s recommendation for sending a new price signal through the novel notion of ’embodied water’, and gain a deeper understanding for how markets will evolve to integrate more of these values into buy decisions.
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Joining as co-host for the conversation is Dutch-American Agricultural Economist, Renée Vassilos.  Vassilos has spent over fifteen years in the production agriculture space.  Her work experience includes time spent with the USDA, she’s started her own consultancy to help investors and Agtech companies, and she spent nearly a decade with John Deere; with much of that time in Beijing.  Last year, Renée joined The Nature Conservancy as their Agriculture Innovation Director.  She manages TNC’s investments in early stage agtech companies that will support regenerative agriculture production at scale.
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We all seek new mechanisms to coax values through the supply chain of food and its production. Tune in to ep. 97 to hear from an expert about engaging with diverse stakeholders to partake in a new economic system; a reimagined economic system that takes into account a true cost of production by reaping the benefits for product differentiation and decommoditization of these values.

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@RebeccaReCap

 

 

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Ep. 96: Margaret O’Gorman – President of Wildlife Habitat Council ||


For episode 96 we welcome the President of the Wildlife Habitat Foundation, Margaret O’Gorman.  O’Gorman operates at the intersection of business and nature. As President of the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC), she helps companies find value in natural resources conservation and mainstream biodiversity across operations.   She has worked with Toyota, Owens Corning, Exelon, CRH Americas, General Motors and many more, and led the design of WHC’s signature Conservation Certification(R) recognition, a voluntary sustainability standard which defines corporate conservation worldwide.
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For 30 years The Wildlife Habitat Council has been promoting and certifying habitat conservation and management on working lands through partnerships and education.  As the only international conservation NGO focused exclusively on the private sector, WHC provides a framework for voluntary conservation action on a wide variety of corporate lands.  Wildlife Habitat Council corporate members represent some of the leading national and multinational corporations seeking to support sustainable ecosystems and the communities that surround them. These efforts have resulted in more than 1,000 certified programs across 48 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and 29 countries.
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In our 45 minute discussion we learn more about the work of Margaret and her WHC team.  We hear about successful projects already completed, and the vast opportunities that business has for stabilizing the planet through a deeper commitment to mitigating climate and investing in biodiversity.  
Margaret explains the difference between a ‘Shareholder’ & ‘Stakeholder’ value creation; and what that means for the future of investing-in, and operating the businesses providing our goods and services.  We also learn how O’Gorman’s recently released book – Strategic Corporate Conservation PlanningA Guide to Meaningful Engagement  – has been received by her peers and followers.

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Tune-In to hear about what business can do for you, and the planet in the near future.
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Margaret O’Gorman’s book:  STRATEGIC CORPORATE CONSERVATION PLANNING

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@WildLifeHC

 

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Ep. 95: Paul Hawken – environmentalist, entrepreneur, author, and activist ||

For episode 95 of Sourcing Matters we welcome environmentalist, entrepreneur, author and activist Paul Hawken to the show. Paul has dedicated his life to environmental sustainability and changing the relationship between business and the environment.  Hawken is a leading voice in the environmental movement, and a pioneering architect of corporate reform with respect to ecological practices.  Paul authors articles, op-eds, and peer-reviewed papers, and has written eight books including five national bestsellers. He has appeared in diverse media outlets including the Today Show, Bill Maher, Talk of the Nation, Charlie Rose, and has been profiled or featured in hundreds of articles including the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, The Washington Post, Business Week, Esquire, and US News & World Report. Paul is a dynamic public speaker, and he has served on the board of many environmental organizations.
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Paul Hawken is founder of Project Drawdown, a non-profit dedicated to researching when and how global warming can be reversed. The organization maps and models the scaling of one hundred substantive technological, social, and ecological solutions to global warming.  The book, which Paul helped write and edited, describes 100 solutions of change, 80 of which are currently in practice.  To clarify – ‘Drawdown’ is the point at which the concentration of greenhouse gases begins to decline. The solutions in the book are ranked by the number of gigatons of CO2, or the equivalent, that they would avoid or sequester between the years 2020 and 2050. They range from big difference-makers such as refrigerant management, wind turbines, and food waste to those that are important but not as impactful, including methane digesters, green roofs, and microgrids.
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In our 45 minute discussion we learn from Paul that our only future is regenerative. In fact, our quickest and most pragmatic approach get to the goals of Project Drawdown is to evolve our land management practices in the way we produce our food. Paul explains, that now tooled with modern data analysis and peer-reviewed science supporting regenerative agriculture – investing in soil health is the #1 way to reverse climate change – “by a factor of four or five – SOIL is the largest solution.”
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We learn of Paul’s current work “Regeneration – ending the climate crisis in one generation” – expected release in 2021. We also learn about some of Paul’s business ventures.  Food, garden and energy – all within his sweet spot. We hear a bit about Erewhon, one of the first natural food companies in the U.S. that relied solely on sustainable agricultural methods. Additionally, Hawken co-founded Smith & Hawken, the retail and catalog garden company. In 2009 Paul founded OneSun, an energy company focused on ultra low-cost solar based on green chemistry and biomimicry that is now known as Energy Everywhere.
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Joining as cohost is Dutch-American Agricultural Economist- Renée Vassilos. Renée recently joined The Nature Conservancy as their Agriculture Innovation Director.  She manages TNC’s investments in early stage agtech companies that will support regenerative agriculture production – at scale.  Vassilos spent over fifteen years in the production agriculture space.  Her work experience includes time spent with the USDA, she’s started her own consultancy to help investors and Agtech companies, and she spent nearly a decade with John Deere; much of that time in Beijing.
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Tune-in to hear what this soothsayer has to say about what’s next for us and the planet. 

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@ProjectDrawdown

 

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co-host:

Renée Vassilos

  • Agricultural Economist
  • The Nature Conservancy  Ag Innovation Director
  • past portfolio manager: Deere China
  • Bilingual Dutch / American citizen 

Full bio: 

Renée Vassilos is a Dutch-American Agricultural Economist who has spent over fifteen years in the production agriculture space.  Her work experience includes time spent with the USDA, she has started her own consultancy to help investors and Agtech companies, she spent  nearly a decade with John Deere; much of that in Beijing.  

Renée has recently joined The Nature Conservancy as their Agriculture Innovation Director.  She will manage TNC’s investments in early stage agtech companies that will support regenerative agriculture production – at scale.

Ep. 94: Han de Groot – CEO, Rainforest Alliance,  -ft. cohost: Mike Bellamente – fmr. Executive Direstor of Climate Counts  ||

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For Sourcing Matter ep. 94 we welcome Han de Groot, CEO of Rainforest Alliance.  The ‘Rainforest Alliance Certified Seal’ is awarded to farms, forests, and businesses that meet rigorous environmental and social standards.  Rainforest Alliance operates in 60 countries all over the globe with focus on certifying in five program areas: 1) Sustainable forestry certification, 2) Sustainable agriculture certification, 3) Crop standards and criteria, 4) Rainforest Alliance Certified Seal, 5) Sustainable tourism.
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In our 45 minute discussion we learn just how consumers can make accurate and just buy decisions in an increasingly noisy world.  Hear Han’s empowerment message to us all: as environmentalists – we use our dollars to vote for the planet through the food we buy.   As more trusted scientific resources explain it’ll much comes down to the agriculture systems we employ to feed ourselves moving forward, being an environmentalist 3-times daily is a strong rallying cry which has yet to be fully exercise in diverse food categories. The time seems now.
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Han has dedicated his career to sustainable development. After studying economics at the University of Wageningen, he worked for more than 12 years at Oxfam Novib, eventually leading the organization’s work in Eastern and Southern Africa. In 1998 Han joined the Dutch government. From 2005 to 2010, he held various positions at the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, including Deputy Director for Nature. Joining as co-host in episode 94 is Mike Bellamente. Mike invested many years helming Gary Hirshberg’s environmental accountability organization.  As former Executive Director at Climate Counts Mike gained traction and the attention of huge brands, and over 20K high-impact followers.  Bellamente lead this third-party certifier of Green/Sustainable corporate practice into the mainstream – via the wallets and ideology of consumers who care.  Mike now uses his developing company ‘Naked Bullfrog’ to empower more consumer engagement throughout their local & regional communities.
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It’s been proven; “Natural Climate Solutions” are our cleanest, most pragmatic, and most cost effective way forward.  Investing in what Jeremy Grantham has coined as “Natural Capital” – the regenerative soils, tree health, clean oceans, and biodiversity through a paradigm shift in land management is where mankind can be a catalyst in climate stability.  Bringing that to the market through something as intimate to us as the food we eat is where Han and team play.   As more of us adopt this power to vote with the dollars we spend, I have great hope for what we can all do through food to invest in healthy body and planet.

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@RnfrstAlliance



co-host:

Mike Bellamente

  • Former Executive Director of Climate Counts
  • Dir. @ Green Alliance, and owner of Naked Bullfrog
  • Ethisphere’s list of 100 most influential people in business ethics

 

Naked Bullfrog – primer Video

 

Ep. 93: Congressman Jim McGovern, US Rep. Massachusetts 2nd  -ft. cohost: Scott Soares, former Mass Ag Commish & shellfish leader  ||

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For episode 93 we welcome US Congressman from the Massachusetts 2nd district, Jim McGovern.  Representative McGovern’s district ranges from Worcester to the Pioneer Valley, and includes a good portion of the Connecticut River – the lifeblood for much of the state’s remaining dairy & orchard infrastructure. McGovern’s district also includes the Quabbin Reservoir – the largest inland body of water in the State – which also happens to supply Boston and much of the metro area with crystal clear, world class drinking water.
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On the Hill, Congressman McGovern is the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Nutrition, and House Committee on Agriculture.   Rep. McGovern is also a member of the national dairy and cranberry caucuses.  Jim is an evangelist for food access and nutrition. He’s a leading voice for farmland, and natural land preservation – and not just for the Commonwealth, but through large federal programs that impact the entire country.
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Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) is also a co-sponsor of ‘The Green New Deal’ with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA).  Through-out the conversation we hear about Representative McGovern’s view on the future of federal policies to support a stable country and planet.  Could sequestering carbon into farmland be our saving grace?  Could the USDA and the US Government lead the way?

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In our 45 minute discussion we look at the future of food and its production through a federal lens, as well as for the 1800 farms in his home district in Massachusetts.  We discuss both the positive steps forward in the latest version of the farm bill, as well as some of the intrinsic problems of this huge and glacial policy bucket. We look at the discrepancies in supporting big vs. small farms.  It was recently announced that US Farm income hit $88 Billion – the highest since 2014.  But, nearly 40% of that 2019 farm income income will come from federal aid.  Much of that has been tied to disaster assistance, and aid for the current trade war.  But, Chapter 12 farm bankruptcies are up 24% over the last year, at their highest levels since 2011.  That’s the crux of the issue – big farms are getting paid, and small farms are going out of business. Hear how this can change!


Joining in as cohost is Scott Soares.  Soares is former commissioner of Agriculture in Massachusetts, and served as the Director of USDA Rural Development for Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island for the Obama administration.  Scott has 15 years of fishery and aquaculture experience prior to that – including early in his career serving as the 1st Massachusetts coordinator of aquaculture for nearly a decade. Soares has recently returned to these roots by taking on the role of the Mass Shellfish Initiative coordinator.

It become evident quickly that Soares and Congressman McGovern are good friends. We keep the conversation lively and upbeat, while still evaluating important subject matter.

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So, if you want to hear how systems thinking connects food, health and stability.  Or, if you want to know more about how farm raised fish in land based RAS systems could regulated and propagated by the USDA. Or, if you want to learn more about the perils of New England dairy, and what can be done about it. Or, how hemp is an agricultural product for medication, fiber and material sciences to replace plastics – tune-in to learn more about what’s going on in Massachusetts’s 2nd, and on the Hill.

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@RepMcGovern



co-host:

Scott Soares

  • Former Commissioner MA Agriculture 
  • Dir. USDA Rural Dev Northeast for Obama administration
  • 15 years of fishery & Aquaculture experience
  • Served as 1st MA coordinator of aquaculture for a decade

@SjSoares65

 

Ep. 92: Bill Taylor – President & CEO of the Atlantic Salmon Federation ||

We welcome Bill Taylor – President & CEO of the world renowned conservation organization – Atlantic Salmon Federation.  
Est. in 1948 – the Federation is dedicated to the conservation, protection and restoration of wild Atlantic salmon and the ecosystems on which their well being and survival depend.
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In 2011, the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) commissioned a report to calculate the economic impact for Atlantic Salmon in eastern Canada.  The results presented $255 million annually – and supported 4000 jobs. Relating to the success of project one article explained “in our political climate, money talks, and government tends to invest in industries that provide economic benefits and jobs to communities.”

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Just last year Bill and his international team brokered a very important deal to preserve the sanctity of salmon in the wild. A landmark, 12-year agreement with Greenland Fisherman to suspend the commercial harvest of Salmon, and limit the quota to 20 ton subsistence quota.  This deal saves thousands of virile adult salmon every year.
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In our 45 minute discussion we cover many areas of interest for fishermen, eaters and environmentalists.   You’ll hear how ASF is a world-leading science and advocacy organization that has long-since been dedicated to conserving and restoring wild Atlantic salmon. You’ll learn how the ASF seeks to expand upon current programs, and explore improving farming practices of salmon to benefit diverse stakeholders

– including open run fish.


Co-hosting the episode is Aaron’s father, Byron Niederhelman. With an undergrad in biology, and a Masters from Northeastern University – Byron taught Biology and Earth Science for 19 years. For 13 year more he was the Principal of ConVal High School in Peterborough, NH.  Byron is an avid sportsman who for the past 25 years has been a busy traveler in search of the world’s best fishing spots.


  1. Are salmon truly the canary-in-the-coalmine?
  2. Is their demise an accurate reflection of the health of our waterways and marine environments?
  3. If we want to preserve the natural migratory paths of animals – why not start with this iconic keystone species?
  4. Could cleaning up farming practices of salmon establish cash-flow to invest back into the natural environment for their natural cousins?

 

We answer these questions and more – on episode 92 of Sourcing Matters.

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@AtlanticSalmonFed

 

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co-host:

Byron Niederhelman

  • Background in Biology
  • Former Educator & Principal
  • Avid Traveler & Fisherman

Full bio: 

With an undergrad in Biology, a Masters from Northeastern University, Byron Niederhelman taught Biology and Earth Science for 19 years, and was for 13 years the Principal of the ConVal High School in Peterborough, NH. Byron is an avid sportsman who for the last 25 yrs. has been a busy traveler in search of the world’s best fishing spots.

Ep. 91: Benedikt Bösel – Managing Director & Proprietor of Schlossgut Alt Madlitz – Germany ||

For episode 91 of Sourcing Matters we welcome Benedikt Bösel, the Managing Director and Proprietor of Schlossgut Alt Madlitz in Brandenburg, Germany.
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Through regenerative food production and forestry management; through hunting excursions and land stewardship initiatives; through a royal bed & breakfast and restaurant – Bösel offers patrons a unique experience dedicated to capturing and sharing the vitality found in nature’s systems.  Since Benedikt has taken the reins of this 7500 acre estate located 1 hour east of Berlin – it’s become an Agtech innovation hot-bed, and an epicenter for testing / implementing Regenerative Natural Resource Management at scale.
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What we learn in this 45 minute discussion is that Benedikt Bösel is diversifying and innovating on his family’s iconic German estate through investing in the future.  A regenerative future which marries and harmonizes with natural systems for maximum benefit to us, to the planet and to all of its co-inhabitants.
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Joining in on the conversation is good friend of the show Renée Vassilos, a Dutch-American Agricultural Economist who has spent over fifteen years in the production agriculture space.  Her work experience includes time spent with the USDA, she has started her own consultancy to help investors and Agtech companies, she spent  nearly a decade with John Deere; much of that time in Beijing.   Renée has recently joined The Nature Conservancy as their Agriculture Innovation Director.  She’ll manage TNC’s investments in early stage agtech companies that will support regenerative agriculture production – at scale.
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TuneIn to hear more about what regenerative really looks like. Both the opportunities and the challenges. Hear how when empowered to be better stewards of the land, we can tackle many of the biggest problems facing us in generations to come. Benedikt and Renée are our future, TuneIn to hear their positive POV on what’s in store.

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@AltMadlitz

 

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co-host:

Renée Vassilos

  • Agricultural Economist
  • The Nature Conservancy  Ag Innovation Director
  • past portfolio manager: Deere China
  • Bilingual Dutch / American citizen 

Full bio: 

Renée Vassilos is a Dutch-American Agricultural Economist who has spent over fifteen years in the production agriculture space.  Her work experience includes time spent with the USDA, she has started her own consultancy to help investors and Agtech companies, she spent  nearly a decade with John Deere; much of that in Beijing.  

Renée has recently joined The Nature Conservancy as their Agriculture Innovation Director.  She will manage TNC’s investments in early stage agtech companies that will support regenerative agriculture production – at scale.

Ep. 90: Daisy Freund, Senior Director of Farm Animal Welfare @ ASPCA ||

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76% of consumers are concerned about the welfare of animals raised for food. For episode 90 we welcome Daisy Freund – Sr. Director of Food Animal Welfare at ASPCA – to discuss her work set on improving the health, treatment and living conditions of farm animals.

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Earlier this year the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal) launched the ‘Shop with your Heart‘ platform – a service designed for consumers to created a more humane world for farm animals.  Just recently, Daisy and her team delivered another tech tool that will continue to empower consumer choice as a change agent in food and ethical behavior.  The ASPCA ‘ShopKind Helpline‘ is a text-based service to ask questions about farm animal welfare and food labels.   You actually get a text response with answers from an expert re: what to buy and where: www.ASPCA.org/ShopWithYourHeart

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As you’ll hear, Daisy is on a mission to harmonize the interests of consumers, advocates and business through her programs.  In our 40 minute conversation we learn more about how these new consumer facing platforms can be used in your day-to-day.  We discover what drove the ASPCA to include farm animals in their focus – along with companion animals.  We hear about Daisy’s background and influences which has lead her to tackle these big problems facing our society today.  We also learn how we can take these concerns mainstream – and with what partners. And, we hear how this effort to drive change through empowerment may just be our best path forward in finding shared solutions for diverse stakeholders in food.
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If you’re an eater; if you’re a lover of animals; if you’re a concerned citizen or community member – TuneIn to hear about some exciting advancements in the world of food production.

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follow: 

@DaisyFreund

@ASPCA

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Ep. 89: Kevin Murphy, former CEO & President to Driscoll’s fresh berries Enterprises ||

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On episode 89 we welcome Kevin Murphy, former CEO of California-based fresh berry company – Driscoll’s.  Murphy has 30 years of business and agriculture experience. Kevin joined Driscoll’s, the world leader in fresh berries with operations in over 20 countries, in 2007 and rose to President and CEO. Prior to Driscoll’s he was at Capurro Farms where he served for three years as President. For roughly 15 years, Kevin was with Fresh Express from its early inception to its acquisition. During that period he held various jobs that included heading up strategic planning, marketing and operations for the company.
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Most recently, Murphy has become an advocate for the farmers he spent three decades working arm in arm.  Since stepping down at Driscoll’s – Kevin has decided to take on the issue of undocumented workers in agriculture head on.  In a recent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, Murphy explained that American farmers desperately need immigration reform.  The editorial teased the readers with a subtitle – “will migrant workers produce our food here or somewhere else?”  What’s great about it – in this WSJ piece Murphy doesn’t lament over the problems.  Instead, he lays out a three step plan to reform immigration in this country beginning from our ground zero – the fields that produce what sustains us and our families everyday.

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In our 50 minute conversation we go deep into Murphy’s three-step plan for immigration reform.  We discuss how that will impact the American farmer and consumer.  We learn how this approach in agriculture could very well be the proving grounds for a much grander solution for immigration reform for the 12 million undocumented immigrants in this country now, and the volumes more set to arrive in generations to come.  We learn how Kevin’s background as an immigrant to the US has offered him unique insight into the issues, and the solutions.  And, we hear how his formidable years dealing with apartheid in South Africa with his work throughout California agriculture has matriculated into him becoming a champion for the underrepresented and the marginalized.
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Want to know what’s really going on with immigration in this country – then turn to your food.  Start to peel back the layers and get some of the backstory of where your sustenance is actually coming from and whose hands are getting dirty in the process.  Need a crash course on how to reassess this? Where to begin being part of a solution for the future – then TuneIn to our conversation with food system reformer Kevin Murphy.
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Ep. 88: Erin Baumgartner, CEO & co-founder of Family Dinner ||

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On show #88 we welcome the CEO & co-founder of Family Dinner – Erin Baumgartner.  Family Dinner is a farmer’s market delivery service that uses data to improve the food supply chain.  It’s an innovative approach to the standard CSA model working directly with a network of farms to broaden their markets through software applications. Baumgartner is the former Assistant Director of the MIT Senseable City Lab in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, a lab that used data to understand complex systems.


Tune in to our 45 minute discussion to hear how Erin’s background in data science is now impacting regional food sourcing, and production.  In codifying a smarter supply chain and being more in-tune with the interests of a modern consumer – Family Dinner is developing scalable tech which would allow anyone to take advantage of regional assets – for anywhere.  But, as we learn from Erin – you can’t fake the hard stuff.  You need to get your hands dirty and develop the relationships with producers and buyers who are interested in maintaining integrity in their approaches.
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From the home office in Somerville, MA – Erin and her menu curation team act as bespoke master chefs for your household.  By knowing a good amount about each of their consumer’s interests and avoidances – Family Dinner sculpts a pretty amazing week of meals which will celebrate and amplify what’s in season and prime to eat.   Culinary plans like paleo, vegetarian and allergy sensitive programs fit nicely into their data driven model for weekly regional offerings.
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Every week they’ll deliver you and your family chef’s quality food from within shouting distance of harvest and home. That’s a pretty good service!
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