future wellbeing stems from food production insight
Evaluating a proven Dutch model for producing safe and healthy food as risk mitigation to our near singular commitment to conventional practice increasingly susceptible to evolving regulatory & market forces, atWhatCost is a six part long-form essay series detailing how investments in Circular Agriculture positioned in a well-supported innovation economy affords domestic US production a pragmatic future of paying for human & environmental healthcare through the food we eat.
The findings of my Eisenhower Fellowship program to the Netherlands focus primarily on reducing current exposure in food animal production through deeper appreciation of a ‘true cost’ of food, and further promotion of system resilience & greater precision to empower food value as foundation for future wellbeing and ecological vitality.
Strategies business opportunity Stateside
One of our strongest allies has evolved risk to the health & well-being of their citizens into vast global opportunity. The Dutch, experiencing troubles decades ahead of our own in the US, have already proven a model of circular agricultural practice that would expedite our capacity to successfully snuff-out public health concern, reduce liability to modern plagues associated to what we eat, and diminish many risks of toxic exposure which currently festers throughout the United States.
I learned while immersing myself in the Netherlands that there are many potential opportunities to implement Dutch evidence-based agriculture practice on US soils. Most noticeably, formulating cash-flow positive businesses that service immediate and intensifying domestic consumer demand for higher-quality food through production models alternative to conventional in the US. Supply of safe and healthy meat & dairy, and that of clean produce with reduced risk of exposure to persistent pesticides is currently being met predominately by international supply that even now can’t keep pace with demand. As markets trends lean toward wellbeing and greater consumer awareness, and the sure sign of more large US franchises flooding wholesale with demand for higher quality food value, it’s unclear where future supply will arise without addressing domestic sustainable food production limitations hindering greater adoption. Even with creative aggregates and food-hubs, small and mom & pop local farmers won’t do it alone. We need to barrow efficiencies of larger modern farming without compromising food for its essential value nor losing scope of its true cost. As I’ve witnessed, the Dutch approach does well – if not the best.
Below, I reference three immediate market strategies: (1) OneHealth Food Animals, (2) Glass-House Production, (3) Circular Agriculture IP & Community – each with opportunity in US domestic production to utilize, promote and evolve Dutch ingenuity which expedites our production diversification to a cleaner and safer food system Circular in origin. My investment bank has run extensive modeling on these strategies, and validates that not only are these practices the right thing to do for human and environmental health, but these initiaitives instituted on domestic US soils are destined for longterm preservation of wealth, strong financial returns and a prudent succession plan to all stakeholders. We’ve toiled in the US for years trying to change the system – I trust this approach gives fresh perspective to instituting Circular Agriculture at scale without betting the house nor losing anyone’s shirt.
1. OneHealth FOOD ANIMALS
A consistent supply of higher-quality meats is a $10B nationwide market opportunity, and $3.4B business potential to service population densities in the Northeast United States alone. Surprising to many, with 2.1M acres of fallow land currently growing trees in the Northeast – there’s unique opportunity to meet intensify demand for regionally produced food with provenance. When capital supports circular agricultural food production models at scale, wholesale markets surrounding population densities gain consistent throughput to desirable distribution. Best case scenario, under a single acclaimed brand promoting complete traceability and transparency, with distribution direct to consumer, restaurants and through-out wholesale, metadata of perishables becomes useful in both logistics and additional consumer value. Based on advancements in practice & technologies, and those on our assets in the States – (1) Grass-fed/ Grazing beef, (2) Grass-fed & pastural dairy, (3) clean; no routine antibiotic meat production – are three profitable product categories that endow US demand with higher quality food animal products with local backstory.
As in the Netherlands, the practice of professionalizing drug utilization and data-stream record keeping through empowering veterinarians to promote animal welfare through practice of OneHealth creates and framework for aspiring US farmers looking to get in, or transition to safer circular agriculture. But addressing these problems is systemic, requiring fresh perspective and unique knowledge for change.
grass-fed & grazing Beef cattle
Immediate opportunity to service current direct & wholesale market demand for local, grass-fed beef
grass-fed & pastural Dairy
Milk, butter, cheese, cultures, cream, chocolate etc. are products destined to be “grass-fed” in US markets
clean Meat from well kept animals
Meats safe for consumer, producer & public health – come as a result of investment in (one) system health
2. GLASS-HOUSE PRODUCTION
The future of horticulture production will require additional precision in practice and better utilization of resources. Innovations associated to controlled environement glass-house production over the past decade have grown exponentially with both hydroponic and soil-based growing. Reducing the risk of exposure to synthetic pesticides, and producing a consistent supply of food derived regionally to service demand for safer conventional and Organic produce & greens with provenance is a large market niche in the US – which seems destined for immediate growth when tooled with proper real-asset investment. As a whole, the US has a limited glass-house footprint – currently at only 10% of that of global leader – the Netherlands. Advancements & efficiencies in controlled environment growing afford new perspective in how local food can be consistent, cost effective, healthier and safer to population densities of the US that clammer for more. For the 34 Million in New England and New York, where local production only accounts for less than 8% of consumption, the Northeast United States ships most year-round fresh produce at least 3000 miles from water-tapped California, questionable linage on Mexican fields, or from the glass-houses in the Netherlands.
With economic modeling in tow, decommoditized food grown indoors is a triple-bottom line approach to solidifying nutrient security and preserving health for a greater volume of US population from diverse demographics.
glass-house production is local everywhere
Innovations in glass-house production offer consistent produce production nearer US population densities
reduction in persistent pesticide exposure
Glass-house production is precision agriculture that controls the grow environment to lower use of toxins
unparalleled resource conservation
Indoor hydroponic or soil-based growing are both highly efficient in water, energy & resource utilization
tangible real-asset investment with ticket
A strong cash-flow investment vehicle, building glass-houses is applicable to many US incentives & credits
3. BEST CIRCULAR PRACTICE IP | COMMUNITY
The future of food production will be much less resource intensive in both production methodology and distribution. As the Dutch have proven on densely populated lands – for purpose of nutrient security and cost, food production is destined for evolution. Established on a corroding foundation, current practice of conventional agriculture nears a concerning ceiling of water and natural resource utilization. What appears to be our future, and that of the rest of the world, is to instead utilize regenerative natural resources locally with best practice circular agricultural knowledge. A concept of international IP presence on different lands is nothing foreign in conventional production, so why then obfuscated for circular; i.e. best farming practice of Dutch Dairy farms on Chinese lands, or new US grass-fed beef husbandry production on African plains are dependent on packaging scalable IP, and building a global advocacy community and network to support. An aggregation of strategic partners, industry thought-leaders, key producers, distributors and vendors engaged in defining a better circular food system is ripe with opportunity and new technologies teeming with insights from a framework of transparency and traceability. Sharing an online platform ecosystem of knowledge-share, collaboration, innovation and engagement sets forth best circular practice domestically in the US, and abroad, through economic incentive of sourcing regionally produced foods, anywhere.
future food production is knowledge basis
more than production knowledge, it’s consumer awareness that food is human and planetary healthcare
global network of circular agriculture
provincial practice matters less as domestic production will be reliant on one-system-health throughout
regional & global community supported
advocacy of US farmer and global consumer await proper channels to think globally while acting locally
innovation hives foster grander ingenuity
Proven in many verticals, when innovation economies aggregate under a single roof, ingenuity is a buzz
Summation food is ONE-SYSTEM-HEALTH
Underpinning man’s ability to do more than survive, but grow, learn and thrive – our most profound genius of community, society and culture are directly correlated to an ability to source sustenance to growing populations. Now, overfed yet increasingly hungry & malnourished, the past 25 years have forced consumers of the Western diet fatter, chronically more ill, and disconnected enough to their food-system that most Americans have lost complete touch to the primary purpose of the food they eat. As the World teeters on the cusp of a Malthusian catastrophe unlike no other, for the first time in history to realize resources and unbridled growth are increasingly finite, more mouths turn to conventional practice for nourishment, and instead receive food-systems taxing to soil, body & environment rife with catastrophic backlash.
The skyrocketing cost of health-care should be directly correlated to the deteriorating value and poor nutrition of the Western diet. What’s intriguing, US consumers are now linking the wellbeing of their families to food as more than fuel – but sustenance. As seen in the Netherlands, engaging a diverse group of partners and vendors to promote higher quality food, and the process used in producing that sustenance as a mechanism to proactively keep employees, citizens or students healthier, is primed for future private, government and educational action beginning equally with consumer awareness and alternative methods of production.
Stressing tolerances of system capacities
When digested Stateside as new innovation to diversify our production portfolio through investments alternative to conventional, and not that of competition nor business-loss, domestic food systems will evolve to meet changing consumer sentiment drafted first by the free-market.
Yet to be fully realized, the production of higher-quality food does more than source preventative human healthcare and build farther reaching food security, but also these proper practices significantly lower impact on ecological resources, water and the environment. If properly incentivized, healthy grasslands, cover-crops and top-soils teeming with biodiversity can rectify the warming of the planet through proper ecological & animal husbandry. Being part of the circle we partake keeps us healthy & whole. This seems an ideal foot in the door to drive further State influence as nutritional security is first and foremost national security.
So, the world isn’t big enough, and we’ll have to evolve our practice. Already in crisis, conventional farming and food systems have experienced skyrocketing operational expense combined with a shifting regulatory environment and an diverse awakening of consumers to the true cost of food to establish a pending revolution in food production & distribution throughout the world, and recently the United States. After a half-century of a conventional agricultural experiment mining our domestic natural resources & water while incrementally squeezing American farmers – our current food system is proving damaging to future production capacity.
What needs to be told is the United States is the story of solutions of change. This may come someday in form similar to the Dutch ‘Golden Triangle’, but without a doubt, at least in my mind, the impetus will be pragmatic business, entrepreneurial circular farmers and new startups throughout the food system engaging consumers in innovations that take control of their own health and wellbeing through the food they eat.
We are what we eat. But, what we’re learning on a shrinking planet is that it’s much great greater than that. What we eat is not just about us as individuals, it’s about everyone and everything in the circular one-health-system. Calculating atwhatcost cheap food is paid gets us to understand that the solution to the problem is the very nature from how it’s been derived. This is not a roadblock, but instead a short-hoizon hurdle that presents unique opportunity to evaluate these true costs of food with new perspective gained from awareness, facts and precedent from proven instances that embrace an inevitable future of circular agriculture.