UN Food Systems Summit & Sourcing Matters team up in new miniseries: “laying down tracks”



In collaboration with the UN FOOD SYSTEMS SUMMIT, Sourcing Matters has launched the 2021 miniseries laying down tracks”.

Joined by the Summit’s five Action Track leaders as cohosts of episodes, host Aaron Niederhelman curates an 8-part series featuring conversations with influencers and champions who are set on making this once in a decade gathering have impact.


“Food is our most intimate connection to nature and our best chance to save a shrinking planet,” explains Sourcing Matters host Aaron Niederhelman.  It’s the food we eat that is the elixir to instigate conversations and evolve mindsets which can stave off existential threats.  It’s food and its production that acts as the primary course of action for improving the human condition and advancing climate action,”  Niederhelman continues.


To amplify an appreciation for the role of well sourced food in addressing hunger, malnutrition, social welfare and climate change – Sourcing Matters show is collaborating with the UN Food Systems Summit to capture leading voices defining solutions of change.

The goal of the miniseries is to crawl into the ears of more folks through diverse discussions about how we can all be part of this historical movement. Episodes take a deep dive into the Summit’s Action Tracks and frame these chats around real world experiences in rolling out the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to stimulate new perspectives.


We believe that engaging in fun, informal and informative conversations gives us all a better chance to get to know a bit more about the mettle of the people who are leading the fight for a more just and stable tomorrow. You see, In all corners the process of producing and sourcing food in a modern world has evolved with consequence on our health and that of the planet.  “Three times daily we can vote for the planet and each other in what we decide to eat,”   concludes Niederhelman.



“laying down tracks”



EPISODE 1: Food Access – action track 1
Cohost: Lawrence Haddad, Executive Director at GAIN (Chair)


EPISODE 2: Sustainable Consumption – action track 2
Cohost: Gunhild Stordalen, Founder & Executive Chair at EAT FOUNDATION (Chair)


EPISODE 3: Nature-Based Production – action track 3
Cohost: Joao Campari, Global Leader Food Practice at WWF International (Chair)

GUEST:  Peter Thomson – UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean


EPISODE 4: Equitable Livelihood – action track 4
Cohost: TBD


EPISODE 5: System Resilience – action track 5
Cohost:  David Beasley, Executive Director of World Food Programme


EPISODE 6: Food for all Corners of the Planet
Cohost: Ruth Richardson – The Global Alliance for the Future of Food


EPISODE 7: The United Nations Food Trifecta
Cohost: José Graziano da Silva, Former Director-General, FAO


EPISODE 8: UN Special Envoys for Food & Climate
Guest 1: Dr. Agnes Kalibata, UN Special Envoy for Food System Summit


“I’m excited to share that Sourcing Matters is collaborating with The UN Food Systems Summit.  In effort to capture leading voices defining solutions of change, we’re launching the 8-part miniseries ‘laying down tracks’.  In the different episodes, the Summit’s Action Track leaders join me as cohosts; collectively we put together a series of interesting dialogues from informed guests about pressing issues.  Leading into the pre-Summit in Rome this July, and the “Nutrition for Growth” December ’21 Event in Tokyo – our chats should be helpful pre-reads for all types of engaged audiences interested in our Food, People and the Planet.”

– explains Sourcing Matters host Aaron Niederhelman


site:  www.un.org/food-systems-summit

twitter: @Food Systems

series hashtag: #LayingDownTracks

photo credit:


Ep. 100: Janis Searles Jones – CEO, Ocean Conservancy ||

Ocean Conservancy educates and empowers citizens to take action on behalf of the ocean. From the Arctic -to- the Gulf of Mexico -to- the halls of Congress, Ocean Conservancy brings people together to find solutions for our blue planet.  Driving forward progress built on science, policy, advocacy, and citizen engagement, for 48 years, Ocean Conservancy has fought relentlessly to protect the ocean and its wildlife we rely upon.


Thanks to these efforts tangible progress has been made on a range of issues including ocean plastic pollution, smart ocean planning, sustainable fisheries, ocean acidification and sea turtle protection. The ocean is the great global commons and the Ocean Conservancy keeps that sentiment front and center for key policymakers in the U.S. and abroad.  This approach allows us, mankind, to become better shepherds of the bounty of the sea and preserve the sanctity of our oceans for generations to come.


In our 50 minute discussion we learn about the lineage and focus of the Ocean Conservancy.  I ask Janis Searles Jones, CEO of the Ocean Conservancy, about the organization’s strategic priorities and how they have evolved since she has taken the leadership role in 2017.  We learn about their diverse ocean health efforts, and about what has successfully percolated to the domain of public knowledge.  We hear what’s really working and how certain pathways to broader awareness – initiatives focused on the likes of plastic straws & sea turtles – are serving as an impetus to drive real change by empowering end users, consumers and voters.  We discuss the state of biodiversity in our oceans and the capacities for the seas to continue to keep buffering the excess amounts of heat and carbon we’re spewing into the atmosphere.  We learn what Ocean Conservancy is doing to instigate climate action in projects ranging from local clean-up initiatives, all the way up to global policy making in multi stakeholder relationships like the Paris Accord.


We discuss seafood and the state of our global fisheries.  In our chat we learn how we may or may not be able to continue to feed over 3 billion global citizens reliant on seafood as their main caloric intake – on oceans threatened to be exhausted within a decade.  I ask about Searles Jones’ interest and enthusiasm for Regenerative Ocean Farming.  How this smart and pragmatic management practice of generative natural resources can spawn a sea change in our relationship and management of the oceans.


BIO: Janis Searles Jones champions the work of the Ocean Conservancy’s fight against the growing threats of oil and gas development, increased maritime shipping, overfishing, contamination and climate change.  As CEO of Ocean Conservancy, Searles Jones helms the efforts of this leading conservation organization’s strategic direction to preserve the health of our oceans  – bringing her passion, logic and commitment to their work throughout global waters.  Searles Jones is a respected expert in the marine conservation field – authoring numerous pieces on the sustainable use and proper management of ocean resources. Janis was a 2017 Pew Marine Fellow, and prior to taking the leadership role at the Ocean Conservancy – she was senior regional counsel and policy advisor for Oceana, and the staff attorney for the Alaska office of Earthjustice.


We must stop exhausting the health of oceans in our mining of biodiversity and exploitation in using them as our dumping grounds.  Representing 70% of the face of the panet, oceans constitute our best opportunity to balance a planet under threat by enveloping the ideas of systems thinking which will save our own asses through investing in the well being or others. It’s an opportunity to coexist with life on the planet by stepping-up and acting as a steward of the seas.


Janis Searles Jones book recommendations:


photo credit: Ocean Conservancy & Jasmine Ive 


Ep. 99: Jennifer Morgan – Executive Director, Greenpeace International ||

Joining for ep. 99 is the Executive Director of Greenpeace International, Jennifer Morgan.  For 50 years, Greenpeace has been fighting for ecological justice.  Now, arguably the pre-eminent non-governmental voice instigating environmental action, Greenpeace has a focused lens on addressing climate change, deforestation, overfishing, commercial whaling, genetic engineering and orchestrating anti-nuclear campaigns.



In 2019, there were approximately 4000 Greenpeace staff working for Greenpeace International and its offices around the globe, alongside tens-of-thousands more volunteers and passionate activists!  The co-ordinating body of Greenpeace International represents the collective actions of 27 independent national and regional organizations in over 55 countries and regions across Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific. In our 45 minute discussion we cover how Jennifer and her global team makes sense of all of the moving parts.  We learn how the preservation of biodiversity is the lifeblood of Greenpeace’s activism. 


We hear more about the lineage of the organization, and how Jennifer came to lead efforts with this world renowned ecologically focused juggernaut set on “ensuring the ability of the Earth to nurture life in all its diversity”.  We discuss where Greenpeace plays in the Paris accord, and how the United States should not just be re-entering the agreement, but lead in future efforts to define substitutive and quantifiable climate actions.


A focus area of our conversation is the utilization and shepherding of regenerative natural resources. Specifically, with the production of food.  What humans eat from land and sea has a vast impact on the planet and its inhabitants.  In our conversation we explore how food values may materialize as a unique angle to drive environmental awareness with broader audiences.  How much of the global population can choose these food values as a way to take environmental action, 3-times daily.  We also explore concerns of food insecurity, for those who don’t have access to enough food or nutriment in the developing world and within some of the richest countries on the planet.  Food insecurity is real, and we learn what Greenpeace is doing to address impending problems throughout these diverse corners for often marginalized communities.   One thing is for sure, we can’t keep exhausting regenerative natural resources just to generate more calories that may never reach the target audience. It’s ecological suicide.  


Jennifer Morgan became Executive Director of Greenpeace International in 2016. Formerly, Morgan was ‘Global Director for the Climate Program’ at the World Resources Institute.  Additionally, she was ‘Global Climate Change Director’ at Third Generation Environmentalism (E3G) and she led the ‘Global Climate Change Program’ at the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).  She is passionate about helping countries, governments and individuals take positive action to achieve a zero-carbon future, and is a strong proponent of the need of companies to “go green” and invest in sustainable technologies.


Tune in to hear Jennifer’s thoughts on how antagonizing and instigating change has  set forth numerous efforts by Greenpeace to realize lasting impact on a shrinking planet.


photo credit: Greenpeace International & Roland Berger


Ep. 98: Joel Makower – co-founder & chairman of GreenBiz ||


For episode 98 we welcome Joel Makower, chairman of GreenBiz. For more than 30 years, Joel has been a well-respected voice on business, the environment, and the bottom line. Joel Makower is co-founder, chairman and executive editor of GreenBiz Group, Inc. Among his duties at GreenBiz, Makower hosts the annual GreenBiz forums and is author of the annual ‘State of Green Business’ report.



A former nationally syndicated columnist, Joel is author or co-author of more than a dozen books, titles include: ‘The New Grand Strategy’, ‘Strategies for the Green Economy’, ‘Beyond the Bottom Line: Putting Social Responsibility to Work for Your Business and the World’, ‘The Green Consumer’ –  just to name a few.  Awarded the Hutchens Medal by the American Society for Quality, The Associated Press has referred to him as “The guru of green business practices.”  In 2014, Makower was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the International Society of Sustainability Professionals.
Much of our conversation in this episode focused on the Circular Economy.  The United Nations Industrial Development Organizations (UNIDO) describes this holistic approach as, “A circular economy is a new way of creating value, and ultimately prosperity, through extending product lifespan and relocating waste from the end of the supply chain to the beginning – in effect, using resources more efficiently by using them more than once. In a circular economy materials for new products come from old products. As much as possible, everything is reused, remanufactured or, as a last resort, recycled back into a raw material or used as a source of energy. ”


Offering a more concise description of what a circular economy could do for the stability of the planet, Makower explains the system as “keeping molecules in play“. Joel leverages an in-depth understanding and appreciation to evolve common practice of businesses and consumers alike.  As such, his work focuses on three principal topics:

  1. How companies of all sizes and sectors are integrating environmental thinking into their operations in a way that produces business value. 
  2. The creation of new companies and markets for clean energy, clean water, and advanced materials.
  3. The strategies and tactics that companies use in order to communicate and market their environmental efforts and leadership, especially to consumers.


In our 50 minute discussion we cover stakeholder value vs. shareholder value.  We discuss a bit of politics and the potential for sustainability and Green Business under the Biden administration. We learn where things stand with the Paris Accord and what we should do, now.  We explore if biodiversity could replace the siren song of Carbon.  I learn more about the history of GreenBiz and how Joel and his talented team have been able to not just weather the storm in 2020, but thrive.  Additionally, we discuss the role of business leaders in climate action and how business itself as an arm of the voter/ consumer can influence policy moving forward.  


Joel Makower has been a commentator on environmental topics for public radio’s “Marketplace” and appears frequently in both broadcast and print media. He serves as a board member or adviser to both for-profit and nonprofit organizations and speaks regularly to companies, industry groups and business schools around the world.  I encourage all of listeners to get on the GreenBiz mailing list, to attend his conferences, and seek out other speaking engagements featuring this expert in all things sustainable.

Tune in to ep. 98 to learn from a man with unique sagacity about what it’ll take to save the planet through better business.  As Joel explains it, “this is a massive economic opportunity masquerading as an environmental problem.”





photo credit: New York Times & Gage Skidmore


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


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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.







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.
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.
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.

Tune-In to hear about what business can do for you, and the planet in the near future.






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.
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.

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.”

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.
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.
Tune-in to hear what this soothsayer has to say about what’s next for us and the planet. 

. .





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  ||


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.
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.
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.
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.




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  ||


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.

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.
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?


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.



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.




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



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.
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.”

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.
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.






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.