An interview with Gabe Brown, founder of Understanding Ag, explains and explores the principles behind and potential of regenerative agriculture for the future of farmers and consumers. A different approach to farming where nature serves as the example and farmers integrate animals, insects, and soil into a happy, symbiotic growing relationship which leads to practical benefits like access to more nutrient dense food and growing in diverse climates. It also sequesters carbon from the atmosphere. There are opportunities to learn regenerative agriculture at any scale, from a backyard garden to a large scale profit-producing operation. Whether it’s financially supporting regenerative agriculture organizations or learning the practices yourself, you can find hope and peace in nurturing the land for future generations.
Mentioned in this episode
Soil Health Academy
Kiss the Ground
The Biggest Little Farm
US House Agricultural Committee
Dr. Jonathan Lundgren
Bionutrient Food Association
Dr. Stefan Van Vliet (Duke University Medical Center)
Holistic Management International
The Global Bridge Foundation
The Missing Conversation Episode Two.
Gabe Brown: (00:04)
In fact Bob, I’ve made a bet with anybody. I’ve put this out there publicly that if you don’t think that this will work on your farm, then bet me my farm against yours. I will put my farm up against yours that I can get these principles to work anywhere in the world where there’s dry land production agriculture. Obviously it’s not going to work on the north or south pole or on the top of a mountain.
On this podcast, we will propose critical new strategies to address world issues, including homelessness, immigration, amongst several others, and making a connection to how our individual psychology contributes and can help transform the dangers that we face. We will break from traditional thinking. As we look at our challenges from a freer and more independent point of view. Your host Robert Strock has had 45 years of experience as a psychotherapist, author, and humanitarian, and has developed a unique approach to communication, contemplation and inquiry born from working on his own challenges.
Robert Strock: (01:09)
Welcome to The Missing Conversation, where we explore issues on the world stage that have not been brought into the public eye to benefit our planet in the maximum way. That seems very essential. Uh, thanks for tuning in to this very, very important episode that has an impact both to our health, related to food that we can put into our bodies, but also the less known way that we can help our atmosphere with carbon being absorbed in the soil. We’ll learn much more about this as Gabe Brown shares his life experience with us. Gabe is one of the pioneers of the current soil health movement, which focuses on the regeneration of our resources, Gabe, along with his wife, Shelly and son, Paul own and operate Brown’s Ranch, a diversified 5,000 acre farm and ranch near Bismarck, North Dakota. The ranch consists of several thousand acres of native perennial range land along with perennial pasture land and cropland.
Robert Strock: (02:22)
The ranch focuses on farming and ranching in nature’s image. The Browns holistically integrate the grazing in no till cropping systems, which include a wide variety of cash crops, multi-species cover crops along with all natural grass, finished beef and lamb. They also raise pastured pork, laying hens and broilers. This diversity and integration has regenerated the natural resources on the ranch without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and fungicides. Plants animal, and yes, people too, over 2000 people visit the Brown’s Ranch annually to see this unique operation. They’ve had visitors from all 50 states and 27 foreign countries. Gabe has been named one of the 25 most influential agricultural leaders in the United States, and recently authored the book, Dirt to Soil, One Family’s Journey into Regenerative Agriculture. He is a partner along with Ray Archuleta, Shane New and Dr. Allen Williams and Understanding AG LLC. He’s also an instructor for soil health academy, which focuses on teaching others, the power and importance of healthy functioning ecosystems.
Robert Strock: (03:57)
Gabe, I really, uh, have multiple reasons why I’m honored to have you on the show. One of them, which I’ll start off right out of the gate, that you really don’t like having any focus being on yourself. And you’re really truly into it for, uh, the well-being of our planet, the well-being of our bodies. And because you won’t say it, I’ll say it for you. Uh, so I welcome you and I thank you for joining us.
Gabe Brown: (04:25)
Well, thank you, Bob. It’s a real pleasure to be with you today. I’m so excited about the work you’re doing and the opportunity to visit with you and those listening.
Robert Strock: (04:36)
Thanks so much. Could you give us a simple version because I know I’ve seen you on your Ted Talk where it’s pretty simple, but maybe not quite simple enough for a relatively new audience of the difference between conventional AG and regenerative agriculture was some simple details, both to help farmers and the lay public.
Gabe Brown: (05:03)
Sure. So how I view the difference between conventional agriculture and regenerative agriculture is that conventional agriculture is focused on producing more, more bushels of grain, more pounds of meat. And through that focus it uses what means are necessary to achieve that, more fertilizer, more chemicals, more herbicides, more fungicides, uh, more water in the case of irrigation. Whereas regenerative agriculture is focused on how do we farm and ranch in nature’s image? How do we work within the context of our environment to produce food that is not only ecologically, but also is higher in nutrient density? So one model is working with nature. The other model is imposing mankind’s will on nature. And there’s a big difference between the two.
Robert Strock: (06:15)
And if you give us a little bit more detail, I know I wanted to make it simple, but maybe a little bit more detail of some of the steps of integration are made.
Gabe Brown: (06:24)
Sure. So we’ve come to realize over time that there are six core principles that are constant in land-based agriculture. And I will briefly run through them. The first is the principle of context. Nature always acts in context, and I tell people there’s a reason bananas don’t grow in North Dakota. You know, as we speak it’s minus 31 here, bananas, aren’t going to grow in North Dakota. Okay. Yet, so often in agriculture, we’re trying to grow crops or raise livestock out of context with nature principle. Number two is armor on the soil. Surface nature always tries to cover the soil. Walk in a forest there’s always leaves covering the soil, but what do we do in conventional agriculture? We till the soil and we leave it bare, then it’s prone to wind erosion, water erosion evaporation. Third principle is no mechanical or chemical disturbance. In nature you, yes, you have earthworms and burrowing rodents, but you don’t have this massive tillage that’s going on.
Gabe Brown: (07:38)
You know, it doesn’t destroy the home for biology, by tillage, and it doesn’t leave the soil bare and uncovered. The fourth principle is diversity, where in nature, do you find a monoculture? Walk into a forest it’s not just one tree species growing there, there’s all these other species. You walk onto a prairie, there’s a myriad of different grasses and forbs and legumes. You know, what do we do in agriculture today? We try and plant monocultures, corn, soybeans, rice, cotton, wheat, whatever the case may be. That’s not how nature functions. The next principle is living root in the soil as long as possible throughout the year. And I often tell people, look at a garden. People go out and they till a garden, what happens, we’d start to grow, right? Nature wants a living plant that’s soil to take CO2 and energy out of the atmosphere and put it into the soil to feed biology. That’s nature’s way of healing. That’s what we use in regenerative agriculture. And then the final principle is animal and insect integration. Nature does not function properly without animals and insects. It needs all of these pollinator species. It needs predators species of insects to eat the pest. It needs livestock ruminants grazing that plant because once that plant is grazed, it will bring in more carbon out of the atmosphere and put in the soil. So regenerative agriculture is working with those six principles in order to have healthy functioning ecosystems.
Robert Strock: (09:19)
That’s beautiful. Quick summary. I really appreciate it. Um, so how much supervision are you and your team currently doing in farms in the United States and for how long have you been actively doing this?
Gabe Brown: (09:33)
Yes. So that’s a great question. And, and, uh, I have been out actively promoting regenerative agriculture for over 22 years now, but four years ago, uh, four of my friends and three of my friends and myself decided that we’re better off working as a collaborative than alone. And so we came together and formed a business, called Understanding AG. And Understanding AG is a consulting business and we consult with farmers, ranchers, businesses, communities, government entities, anyone who wants to learn about regenerative agriculture, we will consult with. Uh, last time we added it up or already actively consulting on over 22 million acres in the United States. This is growing very, very rapidly. Now, besides Understanding AG, we have a 501 C3 nonprofit called Soil Health Academy and Soil Health Academy’s mission, sole focus, is to spread the word of regenerative agriculture. So we will spread the word to any and all that will listen, as to the benefits of regenerative agriculture.
Robert Strock: (10:49)
I wish I could convey your smile as you’re saying that, you know, how, how warm and how inspired it feels, looking, looking at it. Um, you mentioned something about, uh, upcoming events where you’re going to be a part of Kiss the Ground too. And for those that haven’t watched it, Kiss the Ground, one and The Biggest Little Farm are such inspiring movies that anyone that has an interest needs to watch those, both for fun, for education and inspiration. It’s really done in a way that, uh, has that. But maybe you could tell us a little bit about what you’re on the verge of with both Kiss the Ground too, and the US House Agricultural Committee.
Gabe Brown: (11:33)
So, uh, I was fortunate enough to be asked to, to, along with Ray Archuleta, to, to be in the movie, Kiss the Ground, uh, producers, Josh and Rebecca to CAL, uh, sought us out for our knowledge on regenerative agriculture. And we played a part in that movie, uh, after it came out a friend and client of mine said he was very impressed with the movie and really enjoyed it, but he wanted to take it to another level to show all society that regenerative agriculture is part of the solution. It’s not the problem. It can be you . . . agriculture can be used as the solution to climate change, clean air, clean water, low farm profitability, uh, the, the dying of our rural communities, you know, they’re drying up, how can we revitalize our rural communities and human health? And what we like to tell people is no matter where your interest lies, is your interest in climate change, is it in clean air, clean water, any of these things I mentioned, or is it simply in your own health? The health of society, regenerative agriculture can play a major part in that. So he was gracious enough to supply the funding for the next movie. And we’re currently starting work on that. That is very exciting. And as I said earlier, Bob, we’re looking for any way we can to bring the story of regenerative agriculture and the hope that it provides to all society. And next week I will be testifying, uh, to the US House Agricultural Committee, a committee, as to the benefits that regenerative agriculture can play in mitigating climate change. And I’m happy to do that. I think that it, as I said, agriculture can play a major role in this and we need to do what’s necessary as farmers and ranchers and as consumers to help move that forward.
Robert Strock: (13:47)
Now, I don’t know if you would agree, uh, from what I’ve heard through the ever growing grapevine, that you really believe that if a significant part of the earth was farming regeneratively, that it could have close to the same impact as fossil fuel being reduced to close to zero, you know, that, that the absorption of the carbon, how you see that, how do you see that?
Gabe Brown: (14:17)
I really think that thank you for asking that question, Bob, because it’s a very important one and the data that we are gathering right now as to how much carbon can be taken out of the atmosphere and put into the soil into the cycle. And it is, uh, you know, carbon comes into the soil and it’s consumed by biology and used for plant growth. We really are seeing that it is much, much greater than people thought possible. And so I really think if we would change farming and ranching practices, and as a part of that, though, Bob, we need to educate and change consumer’s mindset. Consumers are sold a bill of goods, so to speak that it’s all about buying cheap food. Well, too often, they’re buying foodlike substances. It’s not really nutrient dense food, but then through their buying dollar, they can have a major impact on what happens on our landscapes.
Gabe Brown: (15:24)
So if we apply these regenerative practices on the landscape, which farmers and ranchers would and will do, if they’re economically rewarded, realize farming and ranching is a business, you have to make a profit at it. Otherwise you’re not going to be able to stay in business. So the consumer plays a role in that, through their buying dollar, we can significantly change the amount of carbon that’s in the atmosphere. Let me give you an example, if I may. On my own ranch near Bismarck, North Dakota, my wife and I purchased it in 1991, preliminary soil status showed it was less than 2% soil organic matter. In other words, think carbon. Well it’s . . . scientists tell me historically speaking, it should have been 7 to 8% organic matter. So in other words 75% of the carbon that was in the soil has been released into the atmosphere, due to prior farming practices. Okay. Now, today, I’m very proud to say that we’re back up to that 7 to 8% level and we’re getting even higher. So I’m getting higher than it was historically speaking, just through my, as I like to call it stewardship of the land. If we would do this on a global worldwide scale, we could mitigate climate change.
Robert Strock: (16:51)
And you think it’s, uh, somewhere like a close second, or are you, I know you’re guessing, none of us know for sure, but just your intuition.
Gabe Brown: (16:59)
No, my intuition is it’s number one by far.
Robert Strock: (17:03)
Gabe Brown: (17:03)
Robert Strock: (17:04)
Wow. I just hope everyone that’s listening to us could possibly, um, try to absorb. We’ve been hearing for, uh, now decades, uh, since An Inconvenient Truth came out and, and, and before that the key is fossil fuels, but to really let in that agriculture could be as much or more, if we could really do it in the way that’s going to mimic nature.
Gabe Brown: (17:33)
And if I may Bob, see, they go hand in hand, because let me again use my own ranches and example, okay. How it was farmed previously to me purchasing it. It was copious amounts of the burning of fossil fuels. Now I still manage the same number of acres I’m producing literally 10 times as much product in nutrient dense foods as was the previous owner. But I’m doing it on less than one 10th of the fossil fuels that were used. So they go hand in hand.
Robert Strock: (18:14)
And when you approach a farmer, who’s skeptical, um, do you have, uh, kind of a set way of starting to educate them or how?
Gabe Brown: (18:27)
My elevator pitch, right? You want to find an elevator pitch and realize that this happens daily. I get between 200 and 400 emails and phone calls every day about, you know, farmers and ranchers right now are really being pinched financially. And so that’s where I start. You have to start where they feel comfortable. They’re coming to me and our organization. How can we help them stay in business? So I have to start from a profitability standpoint. So what we do is we work in the context of where they’re at. Okay, what are you doing? What are you growing? What are you raising? Okay, how can we help you? Well, we start doing proper soil testing and help them realize that they’re over-applying many of these inputs, fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides. And I’ll use this as an example. My good friend, Dr. Jonathan Lundgren, a world famous entomologists told me years ago for every insect species that’s a pest there’s 1700 that are beneficial. Okay. Farmers and ranchers spend their time trying to kill that pest. Gabe Brown spends his time trying to provide the home and habitat for the 1700 that would eat that pest. Okay. So you work, you save them money that’s that affects their pocketbook directly. Then they’re much more likely to adopt these principles.
Robert Strock: (19:59)
Yep. And what percentage of farmer let’s say here in California, in the San Joaquin Valley and they’re, they’re, they’re, they’re really unfamiliar, what percentage of the farms do you think, if they really thought through, would be able to become profitable a hundred percent?
Gabe Brown: (20:17)
Zero doubt in my mind, in fact, Bob, I’ve made a bet with anybody. I’ve put this out there publicly that if you don’t think that this will work on your farm, then bet me, the, my farm against yours. I will put my farm up against yours, that I can get these principles to work anywhere in the world where there’s dry land production agriculture. Obviously it’s not going to work on the north or south pole or on the top of the mountain. But because Bob, all I’m working with here is time tested ecological principles. You know that’s how this system evolved. I’m not trying to do anything that nature wouldn’t do. If Gabe Brown wasn’t here and that farmer in California wasn’t there, what would happen to their landscape over time? Nature would revert it back to these time tested principles. That’s how come I’m very, I may appear arrogant, but I’m that confident because it’s simply nature’s principles.
Robert Strock: (21:23)
Yeah. You tell him . . . you don’t appear arrogant. Uh, not, not yet. Anyway. Um, so maybe you could give us a couple, maybe one or two examples. And I know you mentioned that you were working with the American Indian community, as well of where you might’ve started with one or two, and it gets a quick synopsis of how it worked.
Gabe Brown: (21:46)
Sure. So it there’s, my reward comes from seeing the difference we’ve made in people’s lives. And so often farming and ranching, there’s tremendous amount of stress. You know, there’s the highest suicide rate of any industry in the United States is in farming and ranching. And when we work with a family that is stressed and we see after a period of time, and it doesn’t take as long as one might think, usually we start making a positive financial impact within the first year. And certainly by year three we have had people come to us by the end of year three that have totally paid off their debt and their debt free, where they were once financially strapped. I have wives coming to me telling me that the person they married is back on with them, you know, because, you know, uh, when, uh, when a person’s financially stressed and I went through this myself, you’re not the same person, uh, we’re working with, for instance, the Iowa tribe in Kansas.
Gabe Brown: (23:00)
And they are seeing major benefits in their local community pride in what they’re doing. You know, the whole community that nation is coming back saying, yes, this is what we were about. What, who were the first regenerative agriculturalists? It was the indigenous peoples, right? They were the first, they knew how to manage the land much better than Gabe Brown knows how, right? Why not lead them back down that path and let them be the peoples that they once were. They have a great deal of pride in that, as they should. And we’re seeing case after case like this all over the world to be quite frank.
Robert Strock: (23:47)
So one question that, um, I didn’t prepare you for. Um, but I, uh, it’s a burning question and I’ve talked to a couple of major foundations and some impact investment advisors at some major firms. And just wondering whether or not you have any, uh, set up for there to be actually a business arrangement where somebody can loan the money for the upfront costs, which many farmers might not be able to come up with and then work out some kind of a business arrangement where the foundation can get their money back and a small profit and, and, or apes a social minded impact investment firm could do the same. But it seems like that must be a lot of farmers that are really destitute and that don’t have that initial money to come up with it. And wondering whether that’s something either that you’ve started or would be open to starting.
Gabe Brown: (24:46)
Okay. You know, I’m chuckling Bob, because, uh, just in the last two months, Understanding AG has brought on a CEO, Scott Farquhar and Scott is a philanthropist who has a real interest in regenerative agriculture. And he actually came to us wanting to start just as you’re saying, he wanted to make the donations. And after visiting with him for a time, uh, he has a business skillset and the desire to do that. And we asked him, Scott, why don’t you join us for the greater good and let’s do this. And so right now we are working on that, Bob. So thank you very much. And our goal is to do just as you described, how do we help keep more people out on the land? You know, Masanobu said it best when he said the health of the land is directly related to the footsteps on the land. The more people we can get out on the land. And, and if I may lead in Bob a little bit, is that not what you’re trying to do with the homeless community? How do we get more of them on the land, giving them pride in what they’re doing, teaching them skills sets and, and helping to lead them down the regenerative path. So they might have a brighter future.
Robert Strock: (26:16)
Well, thank you so much for giving me a lead in for that because the Global Bridge Foundation is really, in this moment, dedicated to starting in the Los Angeles area, move into several communities that are focusing on the specific needs of each community and being largely on the outskirts where there’s agricultural zoning and looking for the cooperation of, uh, of the zoning departments and the city council and the mayor to have communities that not only would have identification like veterans and, and underemployed single women, families, uh, people that have specific mental health needs, but also to teach skills like regenerative agriculture that not only are a skill to feel useful for the day, but down the line look like they’re going to be great job opportunities for those that are capable of doing it and doing that with regenerative agriculture, as well as, uh, solar energy, uh, and, and, and learning how to install panels.
Robert Strock: (27:25)
So, we were looking at having both of those as self-operating businesses and trainings that can be combined with the homeless community starting in LA, although I don’t mind if it starts anywhere else. Um, but, but we have a number of organizations that are cooperative. And so, um, what we’ll look to you to, to guide us in how to do that in a more local way as we really get under gear. Cause we’re, we’re scoping out some very serious land around the Los Angeles area, uh, over the, over this present time. Right. Um, so we . . .
Gabe Brown: (27:59)
We would be honored to help you in that endeavor.
Robert Strock: (28:03)
Thank you very much. I really appreciate it. So what testing, is to me one of the key things in my mind, I wonder if you agree with this, is when I first, uh, started to becoming aware of RA and then saw myself going into Whole Foods or supermarkets and going, I want, I want to see a sign that saying, you know, that this is extra degree more nutritious and the FDA would approve of it. And it’s also helping take carbon out of the atmosphere and what’s understood as carbon sequestration. And I want to see that sign. I don’t want to just see it packed in with organic farming or, or, and I’m wondering, do you know of any, uh, testing that’s underway that could ultimately lead to the FDA?
Gabe Brown: (28:53)
Yes, I do. And we are actively involved in that. So a friend of mine, Dan Kittredge with the Bionutrient Food Association in Massachusetts is doing a large scale testing on fruits, vegetables, dairy, pastured, proteins, uh, learning, and understanding how to measure those. They’re developing a handheld nutrient meter that can test those, uh, those products in real time. The goal would be, Bob, that within a few short years, we will have an app on any iPhone that you can walk into any supermarket, any, uh, uh, grocery store, any farmer’s market scan, be able to press that, you know, uh, uh, pull up an app and then scan that your iPhone over those vegetables and get real time nutrient testing of that. We see shortly thereafter where we’ll be able to test for chemical residues and things like that. Now on a greater, a more specific scale, uh, we’re working with Dr. Stefan Van Vliet at Duke University Medical Center through the use of a mass spectrometer. They have the ability to measure over 2,500 different phytonutrient compounds in food. And we’re involved with, with comparing are they grown and raised products versus conventionally grown and raised products. What we see that, uh, evolving into is human trials, where we’re actually gonna gonna, uh, feed humans, regeneratively grown products while another set, conventionally grown products, we’re going to do blood work, uh, analysis of them to see how their health compares. And then we’ll have a break in between and then switch, who speaks, who consumes what we see that as being what’s really needed to make an impact on FDA and saying, okay, here’s proof. We have peer reviewed research that shows that food grown in regenerative soils has that difference. Now, if I, if I may just, uh, I’ll, I’ll give your listeners a little, a preview of what’s coming.
Gabe Brown: (31:29)
I happen to know for a fact that a new book, which is entitled, You Are What’s Your Food Ate, is at the printer right now. And we actually did this understanding Ag was part of this, where we went out to farms and ranches, and we found a regenerative farm, and then a neighbor who was willing to take part, this was, they knew what was going on. We grew the same fruit, the same vegetable, the same pastured protein, and other words, animal on each of those. And then we had those analyzed for nutrients, and it’s pretty amazing, the differences that we saw. So that book, You Are What Your Food Ate, will be out shortly.
Robert Strock: (32:15)
Great. And, and so I’m taking from what you’re saying, but please correct me if I’m taking it wrong that you think the first phase would be having that device that really can allow the consumer to be able to see the nutrients. And then after a period of time, uh, there will also be testing that will hopefully reach the FDA and be, to have the sign I’m looking forward to seeing it.
Gabe Brown: (32:42)
You’re you’re exactly right, Bob, you know, you don’t know what you don’t know, how, how does a consumer know when they go buy a carrot, is it nutrient dense or not? Now there’s labeling, but let’s be honest labeling is only good at, as good as the third-party verifier. In some cases that’s very good, in some cases not so good. Right. So if there’s a device that can do that, that will propel this movement.
Robert Strock: (33:12)
Great, great. A little bit off subject, but really not, um, for you, how significant do you also think the ecosystem restoration work is being done for the world? And maybe you could briefly summarize what that is.
Gabe Brown: (33:27)
So it goes hand in hand, obviously, as we move and adopt these regenerative practices, we’re going to enhance ecosystem health. So I see it going hand in hand, the work that John Lui and others are doing, permaculture is surround the world, it’s fantastic. And that’s what we’re doing in regenerative agriculture. I don’t think you can separate the two, it’s one and the same.
Robert Strock: (33:56)
Yeah. I mean, for the listener who is really trying to absorb this, John, who’s a guest on an upcoming episode had initially taken on 35,000 square kilometers that was desert and turned it into an Oasis where the ground is covered. And then I assume that ground then is perfect for starting to do the regenerative agriculture to follow up.
Gabe Brown: (34:24)
If I may, Bob, I’ll give you an example. Um, uh, one of our consultants in . . . at Understanding EGG what we do is we actually try and seek out those who are the best practitioners of regenerative agriculture. And then we hire them. So, Alejandro Carrillo ranches in the Chihuahuan desert of Mexico. Okay, this is, this is desert. Okay. It’s just barren. There’s some mesquite growing there. Very little. I had the good fortune. I traveled last February to Alejandros and you literally drive through hundreds of miles of desert. And then you open the gates to Alejandro’s 30,000 acre ranch. And you are literally standing in need of waist, high grasses that are growing in the desert. And you ask him, how does this happen? Well, it happens because he adopted those practices. That’s the same thing John Lui has done in so many places around the world. We can regreen the desert. You look at what’s happening in the Southwestern United States. I mean, I traveled through Arizona, New Mexico, California, Eastern, Colorado, West Texas. We’re turning this landscape into deserts. We need to regenerate it much like John has done and, and it can become truly productive land again.
Robert Strock: (35:52)
So coming back to the question I asked you earlier, if someone that’s listening right now has money and has the energy, and I’m finding an enormous amount of young people that are inspired to make this be their life purpose, their career, and like literally a couple of hundred young people that, that I’ve talked to over the last three months. Um, how would you suggest they continue to move forward beside the kind of obvious of, uh, reading and studying, you know, where they get in touch with you, where they get your organization, would they get, how would they, how would they get started?
Gabe Brown: (36:35)
That great question. Thank you for asking it. There’s many organizations they can get in touch with obviously Understanding AGs Soil Health Academy, Holistic Management International, the Quivira Coalition, the Savory Institute, uh, John Lui’s organizations. There’s many different organizations. What I tell young people is intern on farms, ranches that are applying these principles, learn from them and grow. That will only open more doors for you and then move on from them.
Robert Strock: (37:09)
Great, great. Can regenerative practices be achieved at any scale?
Gabe Brown: (37:17)
I laugh at that one because my answer to that is how large is an ecosystem. Yes, we can do this at any scale. And I tell people, I have seen it done in a flower pot, on a deck in New York city, and I’ve seen it done on 1 million plus acre operations around the world. It can be done anywhere. It’s simply a matter of time and yes, that that one can happen anywhere. We’re working with a number of different clients right now, we’re are well over a million acres in size. It’s just a matter of applying the principles.
Robert Strock: (38:00)
If you were to summarize just how you feel and how you, how your heart, how you’re, I don’t know what word to use, heart, soul, whatever, just how your inner being is affected by what you are doing and what you feel could be contagious from really one of the very few optimistic, uh, ways that our world can turn. What, how, how are you experiencing your work just on an inner level?
Gabe Brown: (38:34)
Sure. And I can sum that up in one word, hopeful, everywhere I turn, you know, I’m, I’m literally those who know me know I’m a pretty hard guy because I’ve seen a lot. I’ve been through a lot, but I’m literally brought to tears at night. I spent about four hours every evening answering emails, and I’m brought to tears every night by the number of people who tell me that I’ve changed their lives for the positive. And I’ve made a difference. And I mean, I hear it from, uh, in my book, I read about a lady in New York city and what she’s trying to do, producing food for children and in her community using vacant lots. How are you not moved by that? How is that not making a difference? And, and Bob, that’s, that’s exactly what you’re trying to do with your organization. And will do, will do about, because it’s the same thing. We can have a positive impact. Why can’t we as society? We’re going to disagree on a few things here or there don’t pay attention to them. It’s pretty meaningful. Let’s agree. We all can agree on the 80% of the things that regenerative agriculture can positively address. How can you not be hopeful about that?
Robert Strock: (39:55)
Yeah, well, I couldn’t agree more. And one of the things that’s hardest to explain, cause it can be misunderstood as boasting, but the gratitude’s able to find something, anything that’s going to make a contribution to the world and to actually have that come to you is the greatest gift that any of us could ever receive. And, uh, I just wish you, the continuous passing that onto your whole environment, uh, uh, manyfolds, if that’s possible from where you already are. And it’s truly a great honor to talk to you and, and to, um, feel both your insights and your outside, which basically feel like the same thing.
Gabe Brown: (40:42)
The pleasure was all mine. Bob, thank you.
Robert Strock: (40:45)
Yup, well you can’t take it that far, the pleasure I have to share it with you, greatly. Thanks so much.
Join The Conversation
If The Missing Conversation sounds like a podcast that would be inspiring to you and touches key elements of your heart, please click subscribe and begin listening to our show. If you love the podcast, the best way to help spread the word is to rate and review the show. This helps other listeners, like you, find this podcast. We’re deeply grateful you’re here and that we have found each other. Our wish is that this is just the beginning.