Episode #13: Fixing our Food Systems with Galen McCleary

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  00:03

With the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of us are paying more attention to our food supply chains. This present moment is bringing issues in our food systems to the forefront. Today, I’ll be chatting with Galen McCleary from Patagonia Provisions about how this current moment presents an opportunity to shift our perspective of food towards a more sustainable and healthful one, and how Patagonia Provisions is rethinking our food chain. Galen, thank you so much for coming on today and joining us for our Six Feet Apart special podcasts. And I know you’re in Molokai at your family’s ranch, so I’m sorry to have taken you away from your morning surf, but I know you’ll do this after the podcast. But I’d like to start this conversation with a question that is rooted in where you are right now, in terms of sustainable food sourcing. What are you doing in Molokai, and how has your experience been there in terms of sourcing your food and also how it’s giving you perspective on local food in general?

Galen McCleary  01:12

Yeah, that’s a great question, Wendy. Overall, Molokai in Hawaii as a whole, we are incredibly dependent on outside sources of food and material. We import over 90% of our food, so we really rely on all those tankers and all those containers coming in on a daily basis from the mainland and from other parts of the world. Luckily, none of those food sources have stopped coming in, but it has definitely become harder to go to grocery stores to shop. And I think what we’ve realized in this kind of tumultuous and strange time, is how weak that food system is. And during these kind of strange times, it’s harder to actually be able to access a lot of this stuff that we take for granted on a daily basis. And I think it’s really made people look more to their local community and see who’s growing things locally, what are we growing locally. And luckily, specifically on Molokai, which is an island of 7500 people, mostly Hawaiian peoples, well, there’s already this kind of subsistence lifestyle, where over 20% of people hunt and fish, and they rely on hunting and fishing for their main protein sources. A lot of people have gardens. So luckily, we have not been impacted as much as other outer islands. We’ve been able to kind of rally as a community: we’ve done community hunts with axis deer and been able to distribute that meat as a ranch. We’re selling out within five minutes. All the CSAs of produce are selling out. So there’s definitely been kind of a rally within the community to kind of support more local farmers and purveyors of food. That being said, I think islands like Oahu, they say in one week of barges halted, you would have no food left on that island or there’d be major food scarcity. So I think there there there’s still food coming in, but people are starting to realize the fragility of that whole system, which is hopefully going to kind of be the impetus on the other side of this once kind of the storm clears for a lot of people to invest more in local food systems, for people to support more local farmers. And I hope that this can be kind of the real kind of pivotal point where we invest more in building local food systems across the US and really the globe.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  03:28

It seems, I mean, you’re already identifying a silver lining that might be coming out of this, is that there’s this highlight of needing to be more local in terms of our resources and our basic needs, in particular, food. And so from Hawaii’s perspective, what would be one of the ways, it sounds like with Molokai, you already have a fairly integrated local system that you can rely on. What about on the bigger islands? What do you see as a solution?

Galen McCleary  03:57

You know, I think one of the big solutions is just putting more emphasis on agriculture and food production. And what we’ve seen in Hawaii and economically what we’ve seen in Hawaii, is we’ve taken a massive hit with tourism, which is pretty much halted completely. And that’s the number one revenue driver for the Hawaiian Islands, number one for most people are employed by some sort of tourist related industry. So for Hawaii, I think we need to after all this, there needs to be more of a balance of tourism, local food production. And we need to look at the islands more holistically. It’s not just that we need to have hotels and timeshares and just these large buildings for people to come enjoy the beach but we need to really build a food system and also invest more in renewable energies. I think we’ve also seen oil and gas during this whole COVID time become quite tumultuous as well and strange and what’s happening in the stock market there. So for me it’s been kind of an insightful time and I think for a lot of people in Hawaii in these larger islands too, to just recognize, sit back and recognize what we’ve created and how fast all the development has happened in Hawaii, and how little space we’ve allocated to actual local food production during that. And I think and I hope that younger people and just people as a whole, and people in the community will see opportunity there after all of this, the dust is kind of settled from from COVID.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  05:28

I mean, as a major driver in the Patagonia Provisions work that you do, you’re out there seeking sustainable foods and sourcing them in different places. Using that experience, and I’d like to dive more deeply into what you’re doing with Patagonia, but using the experiences that you have, with Patagonia, what would be the first step you would want to do in Hawaii? What is out there that you think might be able to be cultivated without even necessarily intentionally growing it?

Galen McCleary  06:00

That’s a really good question. You know, there’s a couple different things. I think, one, we’re incredibly blessed in Hawaii to have a year-round growing season. And that’s one reason you have Syngenta and Monsanto and some of these big agrochemical companies doing tests and stuff out in Hawaii, which is unfortunate, but we can grow a number of things. We can grow everything from citrus, there’s even parts of Hawaii that can grow olive trees, obviously tons of different tropical fruits. Taro is a big one, breadfruit, these really prolific crops that produce a lot of food in a small acreage.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  06:34

What is taro fruit?

Galen McCleary  06:35

Taro is, they also call it kalo here and it essentially is a starchy fruit that the Hawaiians brought over from Polynesia, and it’s purple when you cook it, it’s a root. It’s just a really good kind of starch that people use as a staple in Hawaii. And they also make poi out of it, which is a kind of blended up mashed taro. It’s a liquidy paste, and it has a lot of carbohydrates and different key vitamins as well, so it’s been kind of part of the Hawaiian diet for hundreds of years. I think there’s a lot of important food crops that, if you look back traditionally, what the Hawaiians were growing: sweet potato, taro breadfruit, there’s a lot of these crops that we could easily start growing on a larger scale. And I think the hardest thing to get out, the hardest thing to change in Hawaii is really the kind of Western palate of what we eat. And luckily, a lot of people cherish and love eating and cooking breadfruit and taro and these other crops, but there’s also this kind of Western diet mentality here, where people are used to eating just very simplified ingredients, such as white rice, white potatoes, beef, pork, these kinds of things that we can grow in a more sustainable way, but they’re not necessarily the most optimal crops and livestock for the land and for the place. So I think there has to be a little bit of more of a shift in that regard as well. And then I think we can kind of produce things in a more sustainable way through agroforestry, through just organic intensive and organic farming methods. And a lot of these practices that actually regenerate the soil, they don’t deplete them, they don’t take away nutrients, so we’re leaving the soil better than it originally was. So for me, that is kind of the way that we can, in a way, look to the past for kind of answers of our current agricultural system in Hawaii, but also introduce new cover crop practices, new practices that we’ve learned and that we know, benefit both those crops and the soil and start incorporating those into kind of our current farm systems here.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  08:44

Yeah, I think that your point of looking to the past and relying on traditional foods is a really important perspective that I know others that are looking at, you know, improving climate health, in general, or really trying to reach out to traditional societies because of the practices that’ve been employed for hundreds of thousands of years and without any detriment to our environment or soil. So that’s a very promising approach not only for Hawaii, I think, but for every community to look at what was traditionally grown there and work with that. I love your idea of also looking to the newer practices that are now being recognized around the world in terms of, you know, regenerating the soil and I know that’s something that you’ve used as a guidepost to identifying and sourcing foods for Patagonia Provisions. I remember one story you told our students, you are a highly popular speaker at our UCLA Food Studies Colloquium and you mentioned the ancient grain and that particular story as one that you highlight for how you developed a new product for Patagonia Foods. I’d love for you to share that with our listeners.

Galen McCleary  10:04

Yeah, that’s a wonderful story. It’s actually something that’s been in the works for quite some time. Wes Jackson, who runs the Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, he’s been working on developing through crossbreeding and shuttle breeding, generating perennial grains. So essentially, the way we have grains right now in current commodity systems is just annual grains that every year the soil is tilled, those grains are taken out, and we till up the soil. And then we replant plant seeds, and we grow new annual crop every year. And the issue with that is every time you disrupt that soil, you’re actually exposing all that good soil microorganisms to oxygen and killing them. And so the best thing to do, and now that’s what’s become really popular is kind of a low-till or no-till practices. And in order to do that, especially with kind of commodity grains, you need to have a type of grain and a wheat that will stay in the soil and actually produce multiple crops year over year. So it becomes a perennial crop. So what they’ve done, they’re actually working on a number of different things. The first one was this thing called Kernza, which is there, it’s spread between kind of a wheatgrass and a grain, and it’s a perennial grain that produces the grain we now use for our long-brewed ale, we have two different beers actually, that we use in it. And they’re also working on a sunflower and a sorghum and a number of different crops that are used quite often that are currently annual crops. But the whole idea with that is to allow this grain to stay in the soil to build this long, healthy root system. And through that, you build increased soil fertility, you build soil organic matter, you don’t disrupt the soil as much, you don’t release as much carbon dioxide into that atmosphere, during that kind of tillage period that you see. You can see these maps of when soil is tilled in the US, and you can kind of track the carbon dioxide levels during that time. There’s a massive release during that time. So that’s kind of an example of what we’re trying to look at, these different crops, that we can kind of be the tip of the arrow to bring to market and then to inspire other larger companies like General Mills, which is now also using Kernza for some of their crops, to start adopting similar practices that are certainly better for the soil and long-term going to be better for the planet and for us. So that Kernza developed by the Land Institute is certainly a pretty exciting example of that and kind of a really good example of what we’re looking for to bring to market for Patagonia Provisions.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  12:45

Yeah, I love that the strategy that you have, which is really, I love calling it like a catalytic investment where you can catalyze the opportunity through your efforts, and then hopefully, it propagates. That’s really fantastic. How do you find these people? I mean, you’ve mentioned a number of other people like the kelp farmer, I mean, how the heck do you learn about who is doing these innovative efforts?

Galen McCleary  13:14

You know, we definitely go out and look for these different amazing kind of needles in the haystack sort of stories of these people going against the grain doing things differently. But I have to be honest, with a brand like Patagonia, a lot of things also come to us. And people see us as a real North Star, kind of the brand equity, the sustainability goals that we have, I think people really look to Patagonia as a leader in this space. And it’s been interesting going from just an apparel company to now also a food company. And so I get a lot of things that kind of passed across my desk, and just a lot of things you have to sort through that aren’t really solid and on this kind of social environmental side. But there are things like Bren Smith and what he’s doing with GreenWave and kelp growing, that are truly unique examples of the way we should be looking at our food system and the way we need to move forward from an agricultural standpoint to build the food system for posterity. So, I would like to say that I’ve, you know, we find all of them, but I think a lot of them just people reach out to us people inquire people are interested to work with us. So that makes it a bit easier. And then the real fun part is actually meeting these people who are the real heroes and the people on the ground growing food and, you know, diving into the research and figuring out these new creative ways to feed people. So that’s kind of the fun part is actually getting out in the field, seeing them and then trying to take what they’ve done to actually grow food or produce food or, you know, have livestock and then figure out how to turn that into a finished product where we get to kind of amplify their story and and bring it to market.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  14:57

Yeah, so you’re describing one of the important steps that you do in terms of your research with these people is that you meet them. That’s a big step, I’m assuming as part of your buying into this, their whatever they’re growing or harvesting. What else, how else do you determine, you said also making sure their methods are sustainable and within the ethos of your mission with Patagonia Provisions? How do you go about that?

Galen McCleary  15:30

It kind of depends on what that product is and what that category is, because obviously, the scope changes, whether it’s, you know, a land-based crop, or whether we’re looking at fisheries or, you know, kelp farming, it kind of really depends. And luckily, we do have a large network of scientists and nonprofit organizations and stuff, who can kind of help us vet those and look at these practices and really sift through kind of the smoke and mirror sort of players who are just greenwashing and the ones who are really doing good work on the ground. So that helps. But the other part of it is just looking at the impact of that specific category. So for example, back to kind of the Kernza, if you look at wheat production, and you look at these large commodity, you know, soy, wheat, corn in the US, and the detriment that those kind of commodity systems cause, and then you see what this unique, but very nascent early crop Kernza could become and could do, and the impact that that could have, I think that’s the that’s the way we kind of look at it. What is the reason to bring this to market, the reason for being and what’s the impact that it could have? And when you see something like Kernza, where if we can get in early, we can start making products with it, we can kind of lead the way and other people adopt this crop and adopt similar practices, and we show incentive for farmers to grow this, that impact just in the US and then globally, is massive. And so we really are looking for those interesting examples of crops that can sequester more carbon and alternative meat production, that’s going to be far better for the land and for people. So that’s kind of, if that makes sense, that’s kind of how we look at it is the impact that it will have. And then the specific practices that kind of differentiate it from what’s being produced in the market currently.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  17:24

Yeah, that sounds like a very systematic approach to making those decisions and also relying on so many of the other experts out there. That’s a really good strategy, I think for a lot of us to take. Before we get to how you create, you find the product, and then you create something delicious that you sell, which I could attest to, you’ve gone all over the globe, really sourcing these really unique agricultural products that fit the sustainable model. And I’d love to hear about somebody or some product that you discover that you were surprised by.

Galen McCleary  18:04

I definitely have one that is kind of in the R&D phase that I can’t talk about quite yet. But I wish I could, but one that we’ve come out with is actually the Spain example, in Galicia on the western coast of Spain. We were looking for different within the seafood category, different kind of innovative, and also just really solid kind of sourcing environmental criteria to that of what seafood proteins can we put out into the market that not only do less harm, but actually do good. And one of those things is bivalves, is mussels, oysters, kind of this whole class of filter feeders that are actually cleaning the ocean, remediating the ocean, and making it a healthier place while producing an animal protein. And obviously, there’s amazing projects like the Billion Oyster Project and the Hudson, and these ideas of kind of cleaning up waterways where you wouldn’t necessarily want to eat those crops. But we eventually went to Spain. And this one small family owned group called Pres Lafuente Conservas, Pres Lafuente, and they’re a cannery over there that’s fifth generation, family-owned. And the current owner, Juan Pres Lafuente is in his mid-60s and incredibly nice guy. And essentially what he did 20 years ago, there was a massive, just like everything in the food industry, kind of, there’s a lot of concentration and power of wealth within these larger processors that push out all the smaller processors and kind of just create a couple big players in the field. And that was happening and he realized that one, him and his family knew that for kind of the longevity of their business and the oceans needed to be healthy for their business to be healthy, so he decided to switch his whole model, source only organic ingredients work only with fisheries that are traceable, that are responsibly sourced, that have healthy stocks. And so we started working with them. And they work with this whole group of mussel farmers within Galicia, these stewards, and they’re the third largest producer of mussels now after China and Chile, and they produce a ton of mussels. And through these, this production, it all cleans up the waterways there. It’s all within a couple hundred yards of where they’re processing them. And we actually took that we created a canned mussel product that we came out with about two years ago, and brought to market. And I think just the experience of working someone like Juan who really, one, you know, depends on kind of the success of our business and the story that we’re telling, but was also just doing this good work on a small scale beforehand and knew it was the right thing to do, would continue to do that even if we’d hadn’t come along. But I think the strength of kind of a Patagonia brand coming in recognizing the good work that they’re doing and the people that they’re supporting on their sourcing side. And then bringing that product to market in the US and really shining a light on the good work that’s being done, just totally changed their business, how they’re operating. And I think it’s just that exactly what we need more brands to do is to go out to find people doing the right kind of practices in a righteous way. And really support those folks, not just look for commodity ingredients at the cheapest price, but find the people who are doing it the right way for the right reason.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  21:37

That’s lovely. Well, you know, it’s very interesting I because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve done a lot of focus on social well-being and how do you promote social well-being, especially when some people feel forced into quarantine or sheltering at home? And one of the ways for people in the long term to feel better is to feel like they’re being altruistic, that they’re doing it for the good of the community. And I asked this professor, well how do you promote altruism, when, you know, some people might not be naturally altruistic? And he said by telling stories. And so what you just said about this family-owned business over generations who are now doing this work about the mussels, it could potentially convert some people who might not be necessarily as committed to sustainable foods by hearing that story. Well, we might as well take that story one step further. Once you get the mussels, what do you do to make it palatable or delicious or interesting to the consumer to purchase? What’s your next step once you find the raw ingredient?

Galen McCleary  22:48

That’s a good question. And it’s a good example to use because mussels, I think are polarizing and that some people love them, but a lot of people even in the US have never tried them. A lot of people think they’re gross and look gross. And you know, when you can them that even makes it harder when you preserve something. Of course, fresh food is always kind of the best thing possible. And we’re trying to make these foods taste as fresh as possible, but make them shelf-stable. So that whole process kind of, we start with, obviously playing with the raw ingredients, cooking them up, we actually leverage our chef down in Ventura, who leads all of our kind of main brand Patagonia kitchens down there. And she helped us develop those recipes. And we kind of all have input, we have a whole tasting group that we try them, we iterate, we try them again. Kind of the whole team, we’re, you know, we’re a pretty small team that’s pretty bootstrapped and it’s really a startup within a larger company. And so we all kind of get involved in different capacities, but also collaborate on things like the tasting and feedback and then we, I think we had about four rounds of trials there and even the founder Yvon Chouinard, he’s very involved with things that are close to his heart, like the mussels and seafood. So he’s tries those, he tastes those, he gives us feedback. He also tinker’s in his own kitchen, you know, he’ll add some spices, and he’ll try a different, really unique pepper that comes from some far-off place that he gathered during his travels. Then, of course, if he wants to use that pepper, then it becomes a whole another kind of supply chain chase to try to find that thing, grow it organically, bring it into the fold. So it’s always a long kind of process to get to a finished recipe, and not one that you would traditionally see and kind of most food R&D, you know, development for consumer packaged goods companies. So it makes it definitely interesting. It keeps us on our toes. And I think it gives us really unique products, both from an ingredient standpoint and a recipe standpoint, that you’re not going to get from anywhere else just because there’s so many people with good ideas that are playing a part in that development.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  25:00

This collegial work that you do among your colleagues, and also it sounds like also with the people you source with, can you explain the approach that you take in general, which is called “rethink our food chain”? Where did that originate in Patagonia, given the fact that it is a clothing company?

Galen McCleary  25:21

That’s a great question. You know, it really started from Yvon Chouinard, the founder himself. And back in late 80s, Yvon decided that if he was going to have a clothing company, he didn’t want to have an extractive harmful company. And at that moment, he decided that he went to move all of the cotton, all of the raw material cotton that they were sourcing into organic. And of course, to just make that decision overnight, people have to scramble, it takes time, they have to talk to the farmers who are growing cotton, switch practices over so it kind of created this whole search for how to grow cotton better, how to grow it organically, what does that mean, what are the differences between conventional and organic cotton? A lot of people from the leadership positions went to some of these farms and saw the difference, you know, the stark contrast of conventional cotton, where you have just cotton growing, dead soil underneath, no avian life, no birds over and then go into these organic cotton fields that were full of life full of, you know, moths and butterflies. And so I think they saw that and then realized why Yvon was making this decision and kind of became more fired up than ever to make it. And within I think it took a couple years, but these transitioned over to all organic cotton. And then the company continued to innovate and for every part of their supply chain tried to cause the least amount of harm, and to try to make it more sustainable. But I think, at the end of the day, apparel, it’s extractive in nature, and you’re making things that hopefully you wear for a long time, hopefully, you don’t buy new things very often, but it’s inherently unsustainable. And then Yvon looked at the food system and realize that you buy a jacket once a year, you eat three times a day. So there’s a lot of impact being had there. And really, by growing food, there were these practices that people knew of that are regenerative, that are actually building soil organic matter, sequestering more carbon, being a net positive to these ecosystems and to the world as a whole. And it’s an essential thing that everyone on this planet, seven plus billion people have to do is have to eat. And so for him, it is the way that we are going to solve our current crisis, solve global warming, our current global crisis of you know, extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is to grow food better. It’s to transition, what we have currently as pretty deleterious, like bad agricultural system over to a more regenerative system that’s actually benefiting the world as a whole. So that’s kind of the reason that he started it in 2015, I believe he started it, just with one hire who’s, you know, currently, our senior director, and they just started with a salmon jerky product, and then kind of moved it into bars and then started growing it. And I joined that team fairly early as well. And we went from having five different products and now have over 30, and are growing pretty rapidly. So it’s taken off. And his goal is to make it larger than the actual apparel company. And it’s been interesting, actually, because during this, you know, strange time with COVID, and this kind of non-normal that we’ve hit at this point in time, the only business that is open for Patagonia is Patagonia Provisions. So we closed down our whole apparel business, our distribution center, we closed our stores first, then our e-commerce site as well, just to prevent any sort of spread of the virus. But what we did see as essential was to continue providing people with healthy sustainable food and keeping Patagonia Provisions up and running. And during this time, our business has grown immensely. Obviously, it’s a surge in buying due to of all of this, but it’s definitely an indicator for us that we are in the right space that we are providing the right kind of food and that there is a demand for this. And our hope, and I think Yvon’s hope as a whole is that Patagonia Provisions becomes a leader in the space and becomes a much larger part of the whole Patagonia business.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  29:38

You know, referring to the COVID-19 impact and its demand on Patagonia Provisions, it’s interesting because many of your provisions were created for the outdoor and for long life and I know you’ve since then gone into you know, people are purchasing them just for the busy lives that we all have. And I’m wondering, have you been developing new products during this time, or is it mostly that you’re sustaining the products that you’ve already developed?

Galen McCleary  30:06

No, we’ve definitely been developing new products, you know, products take a while. And of course, from kind of actually identifying what those products are, where their supply chains are, and then bringing them to market is quite a long process. So we haven’t made anything in this short, you know, a couple months during the COVID time. But we’re definitely still making products, I think we have a couple things in the works, that we want to get out more than ever during this time to customers. And we are also spending a good amount of time just making sure that we have secure supply chains, making sure that all our farmers or fishermen are still operational. And if not, you know, what are alternative supply chains that we need to look into that are equally as good or if not better, kind of from the environmental and social standpoint, when it comes to sourcing. So it’s definitely been a scramble during this time, I think, like many businesses have experienced is a lot of disruptions to supply chains. And that being said, I think it is just the most important time to make sure that we’re doing what we’re doing. And I think everyone within the business is kind of been as inspired as ever to get products out and made sure that people are getting packages, you know, as quickly as possible through e-commerce and through their orders. Because we realize that some of these folks, of course, are getting products to store and to, you know, as kind of a disaster relief kit or something like that. But a lot of people are also relying them on them for kind of their daily eating habits. So I think it’s an interesting time in that regard. But definitely one that has, I think galvanized kind of the whole mission and what we’re doing more than kind of disrupted it.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  31:47

You know, it almost feels like Patagonia Provisions, in your work, there’s some integrity that is in your production of food that’s not just value-driven, but also the fact that you and even Yvon are tasting the food. That there’s this sort of boots-on-the-ground kind of experience that’s going on and your story about the cotton, and why people who worked at Patagonia were willing to go full on with it when they actually visited the farms, it’s a great lesson for everyone that you can’t lose sight of what you’re doing, you always should be aware of what’s going on on the ground floor, so to speak, so that you can be more productive knowing where how everything is happening at every level. It’s a great lesson and also in this day and time, I feel people really need to have confidence in where they’re getting their food. I mean, because people feel less safe in general.

Galen McCleary  32:46

Yeah, that’s a really good point. And I think just having transparency for us, you know, working on kind of the supply chain side, knowing firsthand what’s happening with these farmers, what’s, you know, what are those bottlenecks that are happening? You see, right now with COVID, you know, massive processing bottlenecks. And people trying to figure out the food safety side of things with workers, what that distancing is like how they operate under these current conditions. You see massive Smithfield and these large meat processors closing down due to huge COVID outbreaks and stuff. So I think for us, it’s working outside of that commodity system and not working with middlemen and wholesalers, really going direct to farmers, knowing how it’s being milled, having direct contact with those people who are milling our grains and processing our stuff makes the biggest difference because we have transparency and insight into what’s happening, everything from you know, the seed going into that ground to that dehydrated bean that goes into our soup. So I think it makes a big difference. And it’s it’s made us realize that there really is a lot of value to working with smaller growers, the smaller farmers, instead of having to deal with large commodity crops.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  34:04

I have to thank you for giving us the opportunity to be able to vote with our fork and actually eat things that we can feel okay about given the state of our world right now. There’s a lot of food choices that aren’t necessarily as responsibly grown or developed or produced. And so I think all of us who are listening to this podcast, I mean, we all should feel empowered that we can vote with our fork and our pocketbook. And we do at least with our fork potentially two, three, four times a day. And you know, I think that, I think everyone should feel empowered by that because I think we can all make a difference. One of our professors analyzed our choices and if we could just one less time a week, a red meat kind of meal, if we could just one time a week, not eat that, we could really reduce our carbon footprint by 30% in the United States alone. So you know there’s ways of doing that and individuals can make a difference. So and I you know I picked up this from your website from the Patagonia Provision website that I love this quote that said “Together we are building a bigger marketplace, a powerful alternative to industrial agriculture, a path to restore and regenerate our home planet. ” And I’d love you to finish this podcast off with how you feel about that, that mission or statement and what you’d like to add, to leave us with as we conclude this really powerful interesting conversation.

Galen McCleary  35:39

You know I think the biggest thing is these these shifts, these paradigm shifts. They take time and I think everyone is working on it. I think what chefs are doing these days to inspire people and change kind of palettes and put you know vegetables at the center of the plate, and put meat on the side. I think a lot of people are doing their part and I think it’s it’s truly something where we all need to change the way we eat, to change the way we make consumer choices. And for me kind of that bigger table I think it’s also about the education piece that you’re providing, that you guys are doing as well through these podcasts, through you know the university, through your course and developing more kind of inquisitive consumers. I think people need to ask more questions about where food comes from, where material comes from the things they use and purchase and just become more interested in the system as a whole and how intricate and connected. So yeah for me it’s kind of that, it’s for that inquisitive part and it’s to also through our choices, especially with food, to communicate to farmers through those choices of what we really value and what we really want. I think for so many years we’ve asked farmers to produce food with the main priority of kind of increased yields and decreased prices. We haven’t really included the actual health of the land in that, so I think as we move forward, we need to also asked farmers to take into account the health of the land and their own well-being. And they would be thrilled to make those shifts and changes and try to make systems that are going to be you know more rewarding and that their kids can even come and take over and not kind of run to the cities and stuff. So for me that bigger table is about kind of not saying, oh we’re eating the right way, you’re not. You know we can’t operate that way on a kind of right-or-wrong basis but we got to be really inclusive in all of this.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  37:38

Well it’s almost like this pandemic, I think has given people the understanding that we are borderless. And so you know, and pandemics definitely have a relationship with global warming so there’s, you know, not necessarily this one but there’s the future of our health and the climate health can impact and promote unfortunately pandemics. Well, these are really great wisdoms. Thanks so much, Galen. I know you’re probably aching to go out there and get catch the surf right now so.

Galen McCleary  38:14

Well, Wendy, thank you guys. Thank you for what you do. I really appreciate it.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  38:22

Thank you for tuning in to Six Feet Apart, a special series of the LiveWell podcast. Today’s episode was brought to you by UCLA Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Center. To stay up to date with the rest of the episodes in this special series and to get more information on maintaining your mental, social, and physical well-being during COVID-19, please visit our website at healthy.ucla.edu/livewellpodcasts. Thank you and stay remote.

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