This past week Savory participated in the insightful, soul and tummy filling, expertise-loaded, Slow Food Nations Summit in Denver, Colorado, a short drive from our Savory headquarters. Savory had the wonderful opportunity to join the conversation and to represent the voice of our global Hub network that is facilitating the regeneration of grasslands around the world through holistic land and livestock management.
Slow Food USA Executive, Director Richard McCarthy, shared with all who participated and with the wider world a few key messages, some of which resonated loudly with Savory. For example, that “food is the bridge that unites us, and that chefs are important actors to cook up a better future”. It is easy to see and feel that by building bridges “between urban and rural, and between pleasure and responsibility”, we can reconnect to the source and impact of our food. By doing this, we more eagerly and meaningfully learn about the farmers and ranchers who feed us, and we experience an amplified sense of awe and respect for all living things. In being together as community and building those bridges we can experience the essence of regenerative agriculture – one that builds soil health, produces plenty of nutrient rich food for 100% of humanity, and regulates water and carbon cycles, ultimately restoring our climate.
Becoming partners in arms with chefs, brands, and retailers who are committed to leveraging climate-friendly menus and products to activate eaters to vote with their forks is at the center of Slow Food’s strategies, as well as Savory’s Land2Market Program which is being deployed by the Hub network.
Above all, “we must walk the walk”, says Richard. We at Savory agree. We are in a historic moment with clear agreements from policy makers and heads of nations, as well as businesses and farmers, that we need to disrupt and reboot the current centralized, industrialized, and commoditized system of food (and fiber) production. We must re-activate the ability of agricultural soils (croplands, forests and grasslands) to act as carbon sinks in our efforts to reverse climate change.
To that end, supporting farmers and ranchers in their own local contexts to be more successful in creating ecological, social and financial wealth through their craft is essential. Differentiating these producers with clear metrics (rather than practices, which are contextual in nature) is key. Cleaning, shortening, and localizing supply chains so they are transparent and accountable is a monster task that needs to be done and essential in fostering circular economies for zero waste and net positive outcomes. Educating everyone involved so we can be truly empowered to vote with our food purchase decisions is our responsibility as consumers. All of these tasks can begin now. In fact they have already begun.
Panel members from left to right: Gregor Landua of Terra Genesis International, Calla Rose Ostrander, Independent Consultant and Activist, Wes Jackson of the Land Institute, Lauren Tucker from Kiss The Ground, Tom Newmark of Greenpeace Fund USA, and Daniela Ibarra-Howell from the Savory Institute.
Savory Institute CEO, Daniela Ibarra-Howell, and Bobby Gill, Savory Corporate Development Director, joined an incredible panel and a wonderfully engaged audience of regenerative ag thought leaders, scientists, and entrepreneurs, to continue to envision and operationalize these concepts. Our takeaway continues to be: let’s just do it, and let’s do it right.
We have the great responsibility to take a stand, to make a move, to contribute to the regeneration of our soils. Food is our most frequent relationship with the land – every day. What we eat can change the story of our soil, of our planet, of us. We hold the collective intelligence to do it now, to do more good than what potential setbacks can occur from execution mistakes or optimistic projections. We are not dealing with dangerous technologies, in fact, regenerative agriculture moves us away from that and instead fosters biological processes of food production, through socially, economically, and ecologically sound (holistic) management and decision-making. We have the partners to scale this work quickly, through networks like Slow Food’s and Savory’s. We have the expertise and technology to tell the stories so they go viral. We have the increasing interest and commitment from the scientific community to measure real outcomes of real regenerative work, on real farms and ranches – many are already working closely with Savory, such as Michigan State University (MSU). Market partners such as Epic Provisions are eager to support and source products from regenerative farmers and ranchers.
As Richard reflected “Change is not easy. It can be clumsy, but there is no alternative”. We agree.
Thank you Slow Food for a wonderful gathering!
To learn more about Savory Land2Market Program click here.