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. 83: Kristofor Lofgren, Sustainable Restaurant Group CEO, and Founder.   -ft. cohost: Scott Soares, former Mass Ag Commish & shellfish farming leader  ||

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For episode 83 of Sourcing Matters we welcome CEO & Founder of Sustainable Restaurant Group and Bamboo Sushi – Kristofor Lofgren.  Sustainable Restaurant Group (SRG)’s mission-focused concepts aim to conquer the environmental disaster that is the worldwide fishing industry today. Bamboo Sushi and QuickFish will never put a fish on their menus that is endangered or on Seafood Watch’s ‘Red List.’ With nine total restaurant locations across Portland, OR and Denver, CO, the company will be expanding Bamboo Sushi this coming September with three new locations in the San Francisco Bay Area – Seattle and Arizona will follow shortly after, eventually making its way to the East Coast.

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In 2008 Bamboo Sushi became the world’s first Marine Stewardship Council-certified sustainable sushi restaurant. Since, under Kristofor’s leadership Bamboo sushi has been promoting responsible fisheries and sustainable management practice for the betterment of the environment and his patrons.   TuneIn to our 40 minute discussion to learn what’s happening to our seas, and to our seafood.  To understand how we can take a lead role in determining the health and stability of our oceans through the food choices we make.  And to hear how this entrepreneur is building a sustainable business model focused on benefiting diverse stakeholders ranging from his fisherman, processors, employees, investors and consumers.

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Joining today’s conversation 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. Recently, along with a few ventures promoting the bounty of New England’s waters to broader audiences – Soares has taken on the role of the Mass Shellfish Initiative coordinator.

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@KSLofgren

 



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. 82: Richard Stavis, Chief Sustainability Officer at Stavis Seafood  -ft. cohost: Scott Soares, former Mass Ag Commish & shellfish farming leader  ||

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Joining for episode 82 of Sourcing Matters is Richard Stavis – Chief Sustainability Officer of the Iconic New England Brand – Stavis Seafood.  Stavis Seafoods has been an anchor of the international seafood industry for 90 years. From its origin Stavis quickly grew from a clam company to a one-stop-source for high quality seafood, now delivering more than 1000 seafood items nationwide from more than 48 countries around the globe.
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Stavis is also a leading importer into the Florida seafood market specializing in fresh seafood from Central & South America.  Stavis Seafoods recently launched seafood line ‘SeaTru’ that comes in tow with the tagline of “high-quality seafood that is completely traceable, socially responsible, and sustainably sourced.”
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Richard Stavis wants the industry to shift from talking about what’s “sustainable” to what’s “responsible” – and not just tracing fish but also ensuring that fish is what sellers say it is. Richard is well known for his vision for the near future in the industry when emerging technologies allow for standardized platforms – like how any bank card works at an ATM – so consumers/retailers/restaurant chains can get the information they need about the fish they eat and sell, through information-sharing.
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Joining for our 45 minute discussion is the former commissioner of Agriculture in MA and the Rural Development Agent for New England with the USDA – Scott Soares.  During our lively conversation we cover the stability of the oceans, the health of our fisheries and the industry that serves it, and the well-being of its consumers.   TuneIn to hear what’s going on with our changing waters.

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@StavisSeafoods



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. 61: A.G. Kawamura, Founding Member Orange County Produce -ft. cohost: Scott Soares, former Mass Ag Commish & shellfish farming leader  ||

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A.G. Kawamura is third generation fruit and vegetable grower and shipper from Orange County. He is the former Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (2003-2010). As a progressive urban farmer, A.G. has a lifetime of experience working within the shrinking rural and urban boundaries of Southern California. Through his company, Orange County Produce, LLC, he is engaged in building an exciting, interactive 21st century 100 acre agricultural showcase at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, CA.

 

In our 45 minute conversation we discuss California’s massive impact on our food system. We also discuss climate, water, citrus, berries & produce, the Government, and the system as a whole.

Joining-in as cohost is the talented and knowledgable 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.  TuneIn.

@twitter



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

 

quick snacks with our co-hosts:

I’m lucky to have some amazing co-hosts on Sourcing Matters. This deep line-up of leaders with diverse expertise throughout food systems, agriculture and finance enhance each conversation. What a fantastic legion we have here in the Northeast.    about us:



 

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. 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