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 AFN or AgFunder.
In the midst of the pandemic, Danielle and I had a phone call. I remember so distinctly catching up with her from my then home in Connecticut, and about seven months pregnant, while she was living the nomad life on the West Coast of Mexico. And while we were living miles apart during a time of immense uncertainty, one thing that was certain was our concern about how the world of food, agriculture, and innovation was developing.
One of our biggest worries was the hype surrounding certain innovations and developments, such as plant-based meat, regenerative agriculture, and vertical farming. Were the entrepreneurs and investors involved truly considering the impact of their innovations on the system as a whole, even the unintended consequences? Were big agrifood companies being realistic in their net zero commitments? Were all people being considered in these decisions? Did they all have a seat at the table?
Fast forward a few months (and a baby!) later and it was Clubhouse – remember that?! – that gave us the nudge to start working together. We held several events on the platform, the most successful being the Future Food News Review – you can find recordings of that here. What really excited us about that weekly event was the level of nuance we got into with the diverse group of journalists we hosted – it was amazing and truly differentiated from a lot of reportage on this topic.
So today, after nine months of development, we are launching New Food Order, a podcast about the business of tackling our climate and social crises through food & agriculture.
The timing couldn’t be more apt, as world leaders meet in Egypt to discuss tackling the climate crisis and where food systems are finally getting the attention they deserve with the first food systems pavilion.
While the need for nuance in conversations about the food system is where we began, we cannot underestimate the urgency of this topic and the importance of bringing as many people as possible on this journey with us.
Food and agriculture contributes to one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions. It also sends 800 million people to bed hungry at the same time as causing increasing amounts of diet-related illnesses and obesity.
It employs 27% of the world’s workforce today while paying some of the lowest wages for many of the most dangerous jobs – you only need to look at the pandemic to see how much risk so many people in food and agriculture were taking to feed us each day.
And while there’s a growing number of people, companies, farmers, investors, policymakers, and others working to solve these challenges, it’s not happening fast enough.
So with urgency and nuance, we bring you weekly episodes featuring diverse voices and debate to answer key questions like:
- Will plant-based, lab-grown meat and regenerative agriculture save the world?
- What are the most people and planet-friendly business and finance models?
- Is carbon neutral enough?
- How might we best honor and learn from indigenous communities?
- What are the unintended consequences of these new innovations, and how might we avoid them?
We interview industry leaders like Paul Polman, the former CEO of Unilever, Sam Kass, former nutrition policy expert for the Obamas and a partner at Acre Ventures, Nathalie Kelley, hollywood actress and advocate for regenerative agriculture Indigenous peoples, James Beard award-winning chef Sean Sherman, Aleph Farms CEO Didier Toubia, and Oatly’s Julie Kunen.
New Food Order podcast is an investigation, so we have more questions than answers, and we are trying to leave our biases and egos behind as we question everything we think we know about the food system. We may feature some radical views but the goal is to inspire business leaders to think differently as we face the enormous challenges ahead of us.
Please join us by checking out episode one launched today and by subscribing so that the algorithms help us to reach as many people as possible and together we can play a role in driving this industry forward in a truly positive way for all people and our planet.