The days of the idyllic farm that grows and provides food for the entire community are over. We might still associate a quaint farmer and a herd of happy animals with the packaging we see on many foods in grocery stores, but the reality is that the farms of today are really more like giant, industrial endeavors that focus on mass-producing monocultures.
While the idea behind industrializing agriculture was to make more food available to the public, we’ve been left with a food system that favors “commodity” crops such as wheat, corn, and soy that are primarily turned into livestock feed or processed into other goods. The cost of growing monocultures en masse has lead to a world where it is easier, and cheaper, for people to access a bag of chips or a burger than it is for them to get fresh fruits and vegetables.
Unfortunately, this fast food system is not only depleting arable soil, leading to the rise in need for synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, but it is implicated in human rights violations as well as animal cruelty … and, on top of it all, failing to feed the population. Around 1 in 9 people go to bed hungry in the U.S., and a similar story is true across the world.
So how did we get this way? Well, some would argue that since major corporations largely control our food system, their interests and profits are consistently placed above those of the general public. With this in mind, the only way to create a more just and sustainable way of producing food and consumer goods. And this is exactly what David Bronner, CEO of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps has set out to do.
In a recent interview with Nil Zacharias on the #EatForThePlanet podcast, David explains how he helped transform Dr. Bronner’s supply chain to ensure that commonly destructive ingredients like palm oil and coconut oil are sourced and produced in a way that is better for the planet, people, and the environment.
Although Dr. Bronner’s is known for making soap, many of the ingredients they use are really food products – David jokes that you could eat the soap if you wanted (although it’s not advised!). Studying concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and other common farming methods is one of David’s specialties and as a vegan, and environmentalist, he is vehemently devoted to fighting the industrial food machine.
In the conversation, David provides insight into how the way we grow and distribute food can be transformed through methods like regenerative agriculture. He also weighs in on whether organic is really the most sustainable choice and provides insight into how everyone – vegans and meat-eaters alike – can help foster a more sustainable world with their food choices.