Ep. 48: Michael Leviton, Chef-advocate, food system reformer -ft. cohost: Scott Soares, past Mass Ag Commish & shellfish farming leader  ||

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On episode 48 we welcome celebrated chef, advocate and food system reformer – Michael Leviton.  As past chef-owner of Boston area favorites Lumière and Area Four, Michael has recently spawned “Region Foodworks” – an initiative providing regionally sourced and produced bulk products for the institutional food service market.

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After working alongside some of the world’s best chefs at Square One, Le Cirque, and La Bernadin – Michael Leviton returned to his hometown of Newton, Massachusetts in 1999 to open Lumière.  In Lumière’s first two years in business, the restaurant was recognized as one of the Best New Restaurants in America by Bon Appétit, and Michael was named a Best New Chef by Food & Wine.  In 2011, Leviton opened Area Four, a wood-burning oven/bar and attached coffeehouse/bakery. Modern and minimalistic in both menu and design, each property earned local and national recognition for serving highest quality product, sourced locally and all scratch made, at a price point and in a setting that is accessible to all.

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Tune-In to our conversation to hear how Michael’s experience San Francisco, New York and in Paris influenced this launch of these world-renowned restaurants in the suburbs of Boston.  Sourcing local food from regional farms using elevated production standards in the Northeast is surely how Leviton cast his name. But, his influence has since created a movement – and not just here, in the Northeast.  Leviton’s time as chair of the organization ‘The Chef’s Collaborative‘ from 2010-2014 influenced a generation of top chefs.  He’s established a tree of disciples and understudies who share similar interest for values in the food and neighborhoods they serve.   In fact, he’s cultivated a formula that when put in the proper hands can be overlaid in many metropolitan burbs throughout the US.

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Now, Michael works to maximize throughput of local and regional production by focusing his business on “offering producers a fair price for the work they do.”  Through Regional FoodWorks it’s Leviton’s objective to rejigger supply chains by offering consistent demand for regional food – with –  business commitments for local producers – offering new growth and capacity-building opportunities for the regions he serves.
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Joining the chat as co-host is Scott Soares – former commissioner of Massachusetts Agriculture, 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.
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The scale that Leviton works in has changed, but he’s maintained a commitment to food’s value throughout each market he enters.  As he explains – he didn’t start a chefs movement towards more local food on the East Coast, but he’s surely instigated i!  And now, as a rock start of local and sustainable food – Michael Leviton is leveraging his voice to make more great things happen.
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@MLeviton1



co-host:

Scott Soares

  • Past 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. 47: Live recorded at Johns Hopkins “Choose Food” Symposium – we welcome Maisie Ganzler, Chief Strategy & Brand Officer at Bon Appétit Management Company ||

 

For episode 47 we speak with Maisie Ganzler of Bon Appétit Management Company live recorded at the Johns Hopkins ‘ChooseFood’ symposium in Baltimore Maryland.  Ganzler is Chief Strategy & Brand Officer at Bon Appétit Management Company, an on-site restaurant company offering full food-service management to corporations, universities, museums, and specialty venues. Based in Palo Alto, CA, the company operates more than 1,000 cafés in 34 states for dozens of marquee clients. Maisie has been instrumental in shaping the company’s strategic direction.  We focus our discussion on the diverse sustainable initiatives and purchasing policies Ganzler has implemented in her 25 year career at Bon Appétit management company.
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The “ChooseFood” gathering was a collective effort of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.  The goal of the event was to evaluate the broad reaching ethics of food, and its production.  Issues like Labor, environmental impact, externalities, animal welfare, health risk factors & new tech were all part of the ethical questions for food.  Maisie was asked to share with the group some of the impact her work has had, and how the commitments at Bon Appétit have influenced some vast changes in the foodservice industry.
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During our 40 minute discussion we dig deep into a few of the initiatives Ganzler described in her presentation, including her 1999 initiative “Farm to Fork” that buys meat, vegetables, and other products within a 150-mile radius of a client.  In fact, (at a national level) at least 20% of Bon Appétit purchases meet this criteria.  You’ll hear how of their pioneering initiatives to reduce food waste, work with small farmers, improve animal living conditions and ability to influence industrial scale agriculture to become more conscious & conscientious have evolved a minimum market entrance for their competitors.  For this innovative company not afraid to draw a line in the sand – a dedication to ethics is paying off with positive business results.   As you’ll hear in my conversation with Maisie, it’s all working for Bon Appétit because… it’s all authentic.
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To hear of lessons learned and milestones gained by an industry leader at Bon Appétit is invaluable for us all. As we’re all consumers of it, we all have equal stake in food.  For me, it’s inspiration and hope for what tomorrow can bring if/when we embrace ‘business ethics’ as a core competency in how we decide to vote for what we believe in – with our dollars – with our forks.   TUNE-IN.

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ChooseFood offered an opportunity to learn from leaders with a vested interest in food and how we produce it.  Hearing from these diverse stakeholders fighting a similar battle reminded me how much our food is so deeply intwined into family, beliefs, culture and society – no matter where you come from on the planet.  I left the symposium wondering if food ethics could be that common development language which would transcend many of the current differences we find in each other?   We’re so much more alike than different – could food ethics be a reminder if not the primary ingredient for this panacea? Not sure, but a goal to find some insight and codify better practices that harmonize us and our surroundings on a shrinking planet just seems like a good idea!
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@MaisieGreen || @BAMco



Ep. 46: Alex McIntosh – CEO & co-founder of Thrive Natural Care ||

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On episode #46 we welcome Alex McIntosh, CEO & co-founder of Thrive natural care.  Thrive designs and sells high-performance skincare, powered by regenerative plants.   Since 2013, Thrive’s team of American and Costa Rican entrepreneurs, farmers and scientists have produced new-to-market botanicals for the company’s products by means of an inspiring regenerative farming model that helps restore degraded ecosystems and communities. Thrive’s vision and 500% growth over the past year has attracted retail partners such as Whole Foods and Amazon, national media such as Travel+Leisure and Esquire, and investors from Clorox, Nestlé, Unilever, venture capital and the NBA.
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Prior to Thrive, McIntosh was the founding Director of Sustainability & Corporate Citizenship at Nestlé Waters North America, the $4B division of the world’s largest consumer water company. At Nestlé Waters, Alex developed the vision and strategic plan, and provided hands-on leadership to build the corporation’s first sustainability program from the ground up during a time of intense social scrutiny.  Prior to Nestlé, Alex was Director of Philanthropy at The Nature Conservancy, where he helped raise a record $75MM in private capital for two of the largest watershed conservation projects in the organization’s history.
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Male grooming market is booming global.  In fact, from the $15.5 billion in worldwide sales in 2012 – the Male grooming market is estimated to be worth about $29.14 billion U.S. dollars by 2024.  In our 45 minute discussion on Sourcing Matters.show we explore how personal care, especially for men, is a category yet to mesh with modern consumer interest and demands.  The blue goop we shave with will increasingly be a thing of the past.  McIntosh and team see this horizon when this macro trend leaning towards safer and cleaner ingredients will mesh with the growth projections in personal care.   This is a sound business  set on leaving this place better than they found it.

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Looking forward, levering an impressive background which had him participating in those diverse stakeholder seats – Alex McIntosh will continue to build Thrive as an example; better yet, a model for a “regenerative” supply and business across any sector.
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Ep. 45: Bill Mook, CEO and Founder of Mook Sea Farm -ft. cohost: Scott Soares, past Mass Ag Commish & shellfish farming leader  ||

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On episode 45 we welcome Bill Mook, founder and CEO of Mook Sea farm. Mook Sea Farm is an oyster farm founded in 1985 on the Damariscotta River in Midcoast Maine. They rear the American oyster from egg to adult size. Currently, the hatchery produces 120 million juvenile oysters (seed) annually for sale to other oyster growers throughout the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast, and for our own cultivation of Wiley Point and Pemaquid Point oysters for the half-shell market.

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They’re surely good eating, but oysters represent so much good to their surrounds, the shared environments, and the communities they support. You see, each adult oyster filters 50 gallons of water daily, they restore keystone marine ecosystems, and they build protective reefs around susceptible coastal communities – protecting us from storm surge and severe weather events. In this 45 minute discussion Bill Mook goes into details describing why Oysters are so important to the stability of seas, and to our planet.

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As you’ll hear, Mook has implemented bleeding-edge R&D in his hatchery that is second to none. Innovations include development of methods for overwintering seed out of the water; a tidal powered nursery system; a vessel and gear for mechanizing the use of OysterGro™ cages; and a unique, energy efficient, and highly productive system for growing the micro-algae we use for food in the hatchery.  Effectively his approach to “brew” feed for Oysters, or for other animals for that matter, sets to be revolutionary.

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Joining the conversation as a first time co-host is Scott Soares.  Soares is former commissioner of Massachusetts Agriculture, 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.

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If you care about the health of the Oceans, the solidarity of working waterfronts & local economies, the sanctity of place, or if you just like to eat great seafood – have a listen to what this agent of change is doing in the clean cold waters of Maine.

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@MookSeaFarm



co-host:

Scott Soares

  • Past 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. 44: Marion Nestle – Author & Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University -ft. Jennifer Hashley of New Entry Sustainable farming ||

Today we welcome Marion Nestle, the Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University.   An icon in the food movement, Nestle’s research examines scientific and socioeconomic influences on food choice, obesity, and food safety, emphasizing the role of food marketing.

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Nestle coined the term “vote with your fork”.  Effectively, this mantra empowers us all to reevaluate our food choice as a daily decision and endorsement to how we see the future.  For this spirited dialog delving deep into how much politics influences food choice, and robust support systems – Jennifer Hashley of the New Entry Farming Project  joins as co-host for Sourcing Matters episode #44.  Throughout our 45 minute discussion we evaluate what it will take to change food, nutrition and broader perspective.

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Nestle has some pretty impeccable chops in the space, and shares this unique wisdom with us.  You see, Marion Nestle is author of six prize-winning books re: food, policy, health, diet and more.  Acclaimed titles include: Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health (2002), What to Eat (2006), Why Calories Count: From Science to Politics (2012), Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (2015) Additionally, she has written two books about pet food Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine (2008) and Feed Your Pet Right (2010).

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Despite all the truths she knows, Nestle is supremely positive about the future of food in this country.  Her efforts to engaged younger generations in these daily decisions have already seen monumental impact, and seem to be just the tip of the iceberg set for transformative change within a decade.  Tune-in to hear to how Marion addresses questions about subsidies, land access, food waste, awareness and the importance of diverse food value.

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Finally, Nestle shares additional insights on her forthcoming book, Unsavory Truth: How Food Companies Skew the Science of What We Eat.  So, whether for you or your dog – listen and learn to how and what you eat is being pre-determined in a boardroom of Big Food and Big seed with no concern for your best interest.  It is clear that most often in a modern US food system it’s your commitment to being part of a throughput engine chock full of waste, externalities, and abuse is your desired role.  Tune-in and learn how to “vote with your fork!”

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@MarionNestle



co-host:

Jennifer Hashley

  • Founder of Tufts New Entry Sustainable farming project 
  • Owner of Pete & Jen’s backyard birds
  • Evangelist | Activist| Innovator
  • Eisenhower Fellow 2016

@JHashley

Ep. 43: Alicia Harvie, Advocacy & Farmer Services Director at Farm Aid  -ft. co-host: Jennifer Hashley of the New Entry Farming project ||

On episode 43 we welcome Alicia Harvie,  Advocacy & Farmer Services Director at Farm Aid.  Her role is to guide the organization’s advocacy, research, farmer services and policy-related activities.  Supporting her work, Harvie has a masters degree in Agricultural & Environmental Science and Policy from the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.

Jennifer Hashley of the New Entry Farming Project joins the conversation as co-host, sharing unique understanding of the farmer and of Farm Aid. Throughout this episode Harvie describes the many positive initiatives Farm Aid is involved or has spawned in current day.  More than just an annual concert event, Farm Aid has become advocate, an influencer on national and local policies, a coalition builder, and a broad venue for communications for farmers, the community and eaters.

Bringing 24,000 concert goers to Hartford in September- the 2018 Farm Aid event was a smashing success.  Featuring Farm Aid founder Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews, Neil Young, Sturgill Simpson and many more – this gathering amplifies the needs, and helps define current state of farming in this county.  Alicia Harvie and Jennifer Harvie describe their moving experiences during both the main concert event and the field visits and pavilion days leading up to the top billing.

As you’ll hear Harvie provides some unique insight into what needs to be done to save the American farm and to promote healthy economies for our farmers.  Nearing a decade at Farm Aid has provided her a clear vision to what can be done, and what should be done first.  Tune-in to get a better understanding of what this wonderful organization really does, and how influential their great people really are!
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@FarmAid

@AliciaHarvie

 



co-host:

Jennifer Hashley

  • Founder of Tufts New Entry Sustainable farming project 
  • Owner of Pete & Jen’s backyard birds
  • Evangelist | Activist| Innovator
  • Eisenhower Fellow 2016

@JHashley

Ep. 42: Stacey Chang – Executive Director of the Design Institute for Health – Dell Medical School Univ. of Texas ||

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Serving as the Executive Director of the Design Institute for Health, a collaboration between the Dell Medical School and the College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin, for episode 42 of Sourcing Matters we welcome their founder – Stacey Chang.

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Until 2014, Stacey served as the managing director of the health care practice at IDEO, a global design and innovation firm. Clients included governments; research institutions; hospitals; companies involved in pharma, insurance and medical technology; and all the upstarts trying to rewrite the script in established and emerging markets.  Chang levers this unique experience in his current efforts to redesign the future of domestic healthcare.

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Transplanted into a truly unique community healthcare situation in Austin, TX – Chang is tilling new ground for US programs.   Travis County, TX has employed Stacey and his talented team at the Design Institute of Health to redraft an approach of healthcare based on outcome measures of patient good health, using value-based care.  They’ve put together an entirely new architecture that incentives good health, for more.  Their objective is to service the needs of their constituents; all of them.

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These guys will prove to us all that fixing the healthcare system is attainable through palatable, bite-sized portions. Chang’s vision for food and agriculture as preventative care is a must, and a welcome bridge across industries for diverse stakeholders. Additionally, smart data analytics looking for anomalies has already saved the county millions in insightful preventative action.  When their slower burn projects – like improving social determinants of health in each community, and enhancing the quality of food across the board – this potion of the Lone Star State could be a next healthcare capital.  Take a trip to Austin during SXSW if you don’t believe  what these folks can do. Don’t mess with Texas!

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We all need to care more about our care.  It’s changing, fast.  This 45 minute conversation provides a good overview of what’s broken in the system now, why incentives are what they are, and how it can all fixed.  There is hope.  And, this guy, Stacey Chang – is a righteous guy in the right place making good things happen.
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For our sake, thank goodness for that!  Have a listen:

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Ep. 41: Live recorded at Harvard’s Let’s Talk About Food festival – we host a discussion about “Systems Thinking in Food Production” with founder of New Entry Farming Project – Jennifer Hashley, and CEO & Founder of Big Picture Beef – Ridge Shinn ||

Get this.  What if I told you it wasn’t the cow that was the problem, but instead the management shortcuts that are causing concerning environmental impact.  Properly orchestrated food animal management can actually have a net positive impact on the climate! That’s right.  Despite being counterintuitive to everything you’ve heard, it’s actually a straight forward leap to return to natural order.  More broadly, it’s just another example of an awakening to systems thinking on a shrinking planet.  In this 45 minute conversation expert guests will describe a few different systems thinking scenarios that will drastically evolve food production to positively impact future food systems, and our planet.
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Sourcing Matters ep. 41: “Systems Thinking in food production”– live recorded at the “Let’s talk about Food” festival at Harvard University – looks at harmonizing with more natural systems, and evaluates better management practice that could be used to produce our food in the future. Host Aaron Niederhelman will guide the discussion to cover diverse topics.  Not the least of which a process that’s being used to sequester carbon through reengaging the natural system of our living soils – on the hoof.  Additionally, one of the most under valued workforce in food production – pollinators.  And, it’ll be a conversation that clearly detail how what you eat is the most impactful vote you have to positively benefit your health and that of your family, to increase global stability and to mitigate climate change.   So, If you’re an environmentalist, a humanitarian, a patriot, a doctor, or even that you just want to look and feel better – tune-in and learn how your grocery budget can change the world.
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@JHashley || @NewEntry

@RidgeShinn

@Lets Talk About Food

 



Ep. 40: Live recorded at Harvard’s Let’s Talk About Food festival – we host a discussion about “Ocean Farming” with CEO of Ocean Approved Bri Warner, and Perry Raso, founder of Matunuck Oyster farm & bar ||

Our seas are under threat.  Floating plastic islands are but icing on the cake of a much bigger problem – how we manage the oceans.  It’s a complex discussion with a simple solution.  You see, we’ve got 92% of global fisheries already stressed, and large population densities are tied to some of these soon to reach exhaustion. The continued contamination from the waste we spew into these channels of our food, and all the supporting natural systems of the oceans will soon reach a ceiling.  And, it’s going to hurt.  With 3 billion reliant on sea-proteins as their main caloric intake for the day, if we have only dirty or no fish we’re all due for a rude awaking no matter where you call home.  We’ve begun farming fish in all reaches of the planet.  In fact, today 50% of fish consumed is farmed raised.  But, most of that farm raised stuff is nearer feedlot beef as compared to the clean and healthy moniker that open caught seafood had long-since enjoyed.  That it’s all changing is an understatement.
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Sourcing Matters ep. 40: “Regenerative Ocean Farming”- live recorded at the “Let’s talk about Food” festival @ Harvard University – Host Aaron Niederhelman speaks with two dynamic New England leaders in shellfish and seagreen production to learn what it takes to farm our waters.   Similar to a terrestrial grass-fed beef brethren – there’s been increased interest in regenerative ocean farming.  Regenerative effectively means everything is renewed in the process of using it. It’s ecology down to trophic level, and up-throughout the interchange of vast systems which do include food animals, mollusks and ourselves.  For those who do tend to the farmed fresh food from the ocean, alot of the hope for the future is being spawned in our clean cold waters of the Northeast. These local (ocean) farmers have developed models that give back to their natural environment to reap the benefit of a better crop.  It just makes sense.  By (i) addressing sea level rise and storm surge, (ii) alleviating hunger in impoverished areas, (iii) creating local jobs near highly populated areas, (iv) sourcing clean seafood as preventative human health care, (v) stabling natural environments in keystone areas (vi) motivated champions to fight for a cleaner environment – Regenerative Ocean Farming has vast potential for all coastal communities everywhere in the world.

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@OceanApproved

@MatunuckOyster

@Lets Talk About Food

 

 



Ep. 39: Scott Murphy – VP of Compliance & Security at MA-based marijuana cultivation & dispensary facilities – Revolutionary Clinics, and President of Veterans for Safe Access to Compassionate Care (VSACC) ||

According to HHS.Gov – in the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to opioid pain relievers and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates. Increased prescription of opioid medications led to widespread misuse of both prescription and non-prescription opioids before it became clear that these medications could indeed be highly addictive.  Easy access to highly addictive drugs now has 11.4 million consumers misusing prescription opioids.  Directly correlated, nearly 1 million folks now use heroin, and 130 people die everyday from opioid-related causes.

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Today we welcome a Veteran with some answers in how to deal with this Opioid Epidemic crippling many communities and families with its mighty grasp.  What’s so interesting – Scott uses many of the same soil management practices that we do in food. Scott Murphy is currently VP of Compliance & Security at Revolutionary Clinics. Previous to this, Murphy was Chief of Compliance / Director of Operations at Garden Remedies – where beginning in 2014 he built-out one of Massachusetts’ first professional marijuana grow, processing & value-ad facilities. Scott is also an Army combat veteran who served from 2006-2010.   Murphy was deployed to Iraq with 3rd Infantry Division as part of the “Surge” from January 2007 to April 2008.

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Last, Scott Murphy serves as President of Veterans for Safe Access to Compassionate Care.  An organization fighting for smart, just pain management programs for their brethren; for every community, and for every family as a proactive plan against this epidemic.

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@VSACC1

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