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Debating infinite growth on a finite planet. John Fullerton and Manuel Gonzalez weigh in.

February 2, 2023

Editor’s Note: New Food Order is a new podcast brought to by AFN’s parent company AgFunder in collaboration with Food+Tech Connect, co-hosted by AgFunder’s Louisa Burwood-Taylor and Food+Tech Connect’s Danielle Gould.

The views expressed in the podcast do not necessarily reflect those of the team at AFN or AgFunder.

This week’s episode of New Food Order is a bonus finance episode as we just couldn’t fit all the amazing people we’ve spoken to in the first one! They also fit nicely together as part of a wider discussion around where there are failures in the current financial system and the business models within it, and how they can be overcome.

We speak with John Fullerton, founder of Capital Institute and co-founder of holistic ranch management company Grasslands LLC, AgFunder partner Manuel Gonzalez (yes that’s my colleague at our parent company!), and FoodShot Global executive director Sara Eckhouse, where we start to uncover parts of a debate emerging in some circles about whether the world’s general goal for growth is at odds with the resources of a finite planet.

John believes that the idea we can have infinite growth on a finite planet is unsustainable and that we need to rethink our current system and growth’s position at the centre of it. He also explores how the current shareholder-led business model contributes to this issue and how we might rethink company ownership.

Manuel, who was former Global Head of F&A Startup Innovation at Rabobank and founder of FoodBytes!, has an alternate view. Manuel believes no growth means no creation of wealth. He fears the potential consequences of diverting to a system that fails to center growth for both the individual and the state. Referencing his home country of Mexico and the simultaneous growth in GDP and quality of life, he tells us about his fears that in searching for an alternative, we may do more harm than good.

What do you think of this contentious debate? Check out the show notes of this episode for more resources and let me know at [email protected].

We also include a discussion with Sara about why she created an integrated capital investment model on FoodShot Global that combines funding from multiple types of financial instruments to fund solutions that address social and environmental issues.

What to expect in this episode:

  • The failures of the current financial system and the business models within it
  • The potential benefits of restructuring the ownership of large multinational food companies
  • The failure of the growth and efficiency principles in our current financial system to account for their impact on people and planet
  • Whether we need to build a new system from the ground up with alternative principles and priorities  to cope with our current crises
  • What those principles might be
  • The potential negative impacts of a model that doesn’t center growth
  • How Integrated Capital works and is able to develop novel ideas that could be missed by other financing structures

How to listen

You can listen in the player below, or wherever you get your podcasts. And please remember to subscribe and share with anyone you think will find it interesting.

*Giveaway Details*

In this week’s episode, you’ll also hear us introduce a new giveaway with our partners at New Hope Network to offer ALL of our listeners an exclusive 25% off discount for an Expo West 2023 badge and ONE lucky listener will have the opportunity to win a free booth at Expo West 2024 ($8k value).

To enter, do the following by February 17th:

  • Head to New Food Order’s show page on Apple Podcasts
  • Make sure you are subscribed
  • Leave us a review – good or bad – but hopefully good! (Scroll to the bottom of the page to do so.)
  • Screenshot the review and email it to Meg at [email protected] – if you’re interested in the 25% discount to this year’s Expo, please call it out in the email.
  • Lastly, click here to register to receive our newsletters. In addition to New Food Order content, AgFunder and Food+Tech Connect publish the leading newsletters for the food and agtech community.
  • Those who follow New Hope Network, Food + Tech Connect and AgFunder on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn will receive a double entry.

Good luck!

New Food Order is sponsored by FoodShot Global and New Hope Network.

It is hosted by Danielle Gould and me, Louisa Burwood-Taylor

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