A WikiCast post in Above The Chaos
Release Date: 2023.09.21
Host: Jordan Nicholas Sukut
Guest(s): Klaus Mager - Food Systems and Climate Solutions
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Join our host Jordan Nicholas and food systems expert Klaus Mager as they discuss food systems and security, the chemical agriculture wars, stewardship and regeneration of soil, and bioregional decentralization.
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Klaus Mager: Overshoot now what is referred to as a websites called overshoot.org. Overshoot day. When you take that into account, we are extracting resources from the planet. we are increasing our demand on the planet, while the base capital of it is diminishing. That's right. So every year, the overshoot day comes a little earlier because we are taking these resources out.
So in a nutshell, that's what I'm saying. We are running it fast forward against a wall that's in plain sight.
Jordan Nicholas: Hello, everybody. Welcome again to Above the Chaos. I'm excited to be here today with Klaus Mager, a good friend and advisor on food systems. We had a delightful catch up here a week or so ago. I wanted to come in and talk about some of the things we've been facing and some of the concerns that Klaus has about the future and some of the opportunities we see together for what we can do together and in local communities to strengthen our food systems and health and resilience of our communities and our bodies, families, environment, all the way through.
Klaus, welcome. Nice to be with you.
Klaus Mager: Thank you.
Jordan Nicholas: Why don't you give us just a little bit of your of your background and where did you come to be interested in and passionate about food systems?
Klaus Mager: That really started after my retirement, I must say. I worked for 21 years for the Walt Disney Company as a food and beverage director, creative development. So I got to lead teams that develop food systems for theme parks, hotels, entertainment centers. After Disney, I joined a German food wholesaler, Metal, Cash Carry.
It's one of the largest foothold sellers in the world as a head of corporate target group marketing. So in that role, I had teams of analysts in 30 countries. We developed market segmentation strategies, customer identification. Customer intelligence, market intelligence, and interacted between our customers and the operating team and procurement teams to deliver the services for specific codes.
So I've had a chance to travel and And do deep dive work in India, China, Russia Poland, Turkey, Germany, France, literally 30 countries. It was divided into Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and Asia. And it was a fascinating job it was it was amazing to to travel, particularly in Eastern Europe, which we're not, it's now 10, 12 years ago, so that we're still in a more developmental phase.
So I retired in, in 2013. And I wanted to work as a consultant. So I started taking some courses. I took a course at UC Illinois, Introduction to Sustainability. And that just was when Coursera started. There were 70, 000 people locked into that course. And it was absolutely fascinating because I'm.
trained in metadata and are dealing with big data sets and so on. And when I listened in to the basic cycles of what constitutes sustainability discussion the carbon cycle, water, soil minerals and so on it became pretty clear that what we're doing Has an, end date to it because the resource extraction that we take from nature is simply not sustainable.
So I've since taken a couple of dozen courses with Jeffrey Sachs at Columbia, with Otto Schama at MIT and Duke and so on. And really wanted to, understand how does this work, how do you get your mind, wrap your mind around. This huge system, right? It's a trillion dollar part of the economy.
And the deeper I got into it the more concerning this really is. Because I think what frames it in a nutshell is that we're using 1. 8 times the regenerative capacity of the planet. When I say regenerative capacity, that means take fish stocks. When you fish the oceans faster than the fish can...
replenish itself, you're diminishing the stock, the base stock. You pump aquifers dry that take thousands of years to fill up. That's a finite resource. When it's gone. And so topsoil is one of the things. And soil is probably the most important marker to focus on. Think about Japan, think about Europe, China.
These are countries that have lived on their same land for thousands of years, literally. And they haven't destroyed their soil. They haven't destroyed their watersheds. Here in the United States, since World War II, we have literally destroyed one third of our topsoil. Now it's the topal, meaning it's depleted of life, depleted of its microorganism, its microbial life because of the application of chemicals.
So take that, that overshoot now what is referred to as a websites called overshoot.org Overshoot day. When you take that into account, we are extracting resources from the planet. we are increasing our demand on the planet, while the base capital of it is diminishing. That's right. So every year, the overshoot day comes a little earlier because we are taking these resources out.
So in a nutshell, that's what I'm saying. We are running it fast forward against a wall that's in plain sight.
Jordan Nicholas: Yeah. So let's just spend a little bit more time defining these terms and concepts for anybody that hasn't been immersed in them. So you used the word sustainability. We could use another word called regenerative. So you, talked about the regenerative capacity of the earth.
So one way to think about any living system. is it has some kind of a, baseline level of capacity. And let's take just an analogy that's popping to mind of sleep. And so let's say that a normal human maybe needs seven or eight hours of sleep a night to function. And so for short periods of time you can, dip into that to borrow more energy from your human being.
And you could go, okay I'm, up against a deadline. I have needs, so I'm gonna dip in. And I'm going to sleep five hours a night for a week. And so what happens is you deplete the base energy in your system and you build up what's almost like a sleep debt, right? So you can't just do that over time and then go back just spring back up to baseline.
You have to then work off the debt that you've accumulated to get back up to, the baseline. So with any, living system, let's imagine let's imagine fish stocks that that Klaus mentioned. We can imagine that there's a natural rhythm of the regeneration, the continuous birth and sustenance and death of fish stocks in national, in natural cycles that change over the years.
We could need food as a human species and go, okay, we're going to go dip into those fish stocks and deplete them. But once you deplete them, just like if you're depleting your own sleep, you're creating a significant debt where it's going to take a long time in order for that stock to get back up to where it was, let alone to be able to provide for more in the future.
And so when we deplete our fish stocks or we deplete the regenerative capacity of our topsoil or any of the water or land or air systems, there's really long cycles that it takes to replenish them. So in the example of sleep, maybe that only takes you go into sleep debt for a week.
And maybe over the course of the next month, you can work that off by sleeping another hour or two a night and you get back up to the baseline. Talking, when we get into talking about things like, natural stocks or topsoil, we're dealing with, often with ecosystems that, that have taken at least millennia to form, right?
Deeply enriched. Nourishing depth of every year, after year for thousands of years, building up the depth of the depth and diversity of life, starting with what Klaus called the microbiome. So you could imagine that so for instance, in your human body, I think a lot of people don't know that. So if you were to imagine your human body and you could think, okay that's composed of human cells.
But actually in your human body, there's more non human cells than there are human cells in your body. And what those non human cells are, what we call the microbiome. And the vast majority of those are contained in our gut. And human beings are like our Earth, more like a super organism that's composed of cells.
And a whole array of other forms of life, microscopic life that, are living within us and coexisting with us. And that, then those enable a bunch of the basic functions of our life. They enable us to digest food. They strengthen the walls of our gut system. They help produce neurotransmitters like serotonin that keep our minds healthy.
They prevent disease, all sorts of things. So, that microbiome functioning in a human body. Is the, is absolutely essential to it properly functioning. And maybe a little bit later today we can get into some of the, health effects that we're experiencing as we destroy the microbiome not only in our soil, but also that works its way into our own bodies.
So Klaus explain a little bit why Anything you want to add on that, notion of so, explain why soil is alive like the, concept of living diverse, rich soil and how that's different from dirt. And then explain the process of agriculture that you came to understand, the process of large scale agriculture and, why does that destroy the, core life and regenerative capacity of soil.
Klaus Mager: Yeah, so when you take a handful of healthy soils, there's more microbial life in that soil than there are people on the planet. It's just teeming with bacteria and microorganisms, which then in turn feed higher forms of life. So in a healthy soil, you will see worms and insects, which in turn feed birds and mammals.
but they also feed plants, which in turn feed, mammals and, birds and, and, and insects. and so there is a vapor of life that really originates inside the soil. And. What, I have come to, to think is that if you just focus on the health of the soil, then everything else falls into place.
The reason the, way that the soil microbiome gets damaged is with the application of chemicals. So the, most prevalent one is synthetic nitrogen, it's made with natural gas, so it's an extraction of nitrogen. Through a a process that burns fossil fuels natural gas and the application of herbicides and insecticides made from oil.
So the, these chemicals disrupt the the growth cycles. It dis that disrupt the photosynthesis. That brings nitrogen and carbon into the soil, deep into the soil, as a feedstock for the microbial life inside the soil. And mind you, I'm not a scientist, so I'm not, I'm like, really using layman's terms here trying to explain this.
Then the other issue is monocropping, when each crop takes different nutrients out of the soil. Some crops put nutrients into the soil. So since biblical times there are references in the Old Testament about Corporations and then into soil waste, basically treating the soil as a living thing, which is what it is.
So you have to nurture it. And then you, when you, like I worked all over the world and I've met so many food producers, farmers, and food processors who talked about their soil making their product unique. Whether that's in Italy, where they call these enormous cranes, wonderful, or the French with their puff pastries.
They're only this flower that only grows in this particular region, and they're grooming their soil generation after generation to stay healthy, right? So we have completely lost this connection with soil as a living thing. And so we are killing it inadvertently because you put nitrogen on it and everything plumes for a while.
But then it burns itself out after two or three cycles, you have to put more nitrogen on it to keep going. And then when you use monocrops, the natural defenses that are in healthy soil also go away. So now you need to use herbicides to fight against invading weeds. You need insecticides.
To a fight back against predation, and all of a sudden, you have a chemical race, which is where we are right now. It is completely, entirely unsustainable. And and this is where the idea comes in. Sustainable, we could have talked about sustainable 20, 30 years ago and shifted our practices to make sure that what we do maintains the existing capacity instead of diminishing it.
It's too late. Now, so now we need to rebuild, regenerate the soil back to life. And, so in a, nutshell, that's what you can see is that globally we have lost over 50 percent of insects. Here in the U. S., some 70 percent of insects are gone by, by weight. Now, so you look at pollinators.
Some 70, 80 percent of our food requires pollinators to, to to assist. And when you take pollinators out, our food supply is going to collapse. So
Jordan Nicholas: Yeah.
Klaus Mager: all these little issues there, each one of which should force you to change course, should tell you it's time to change course, and we're not.
We're doubling down on
Jordan Nicholas: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So pulling on a couple of those threads. Klaus talked about the, timeless wisdom and principle of treating the soil as if it's a living thing because it is. So there's these really interesting Let's call them fractal and... Cycle relative principles that apply to living beings.
So for instance, in the Jewish tradition that Klaus was referencing, there's the idea that of working seven days and then having complete or working six days and then having complete rest on the seventh day. And so corresponding to that basic pattern, the, basic, millennia old understanding of how you.
How you properly steward the earth is to work the earth for seven years and then for an entire year Let the land just completely rest and recuperate and so so each of each living thing has a time appropriate Fractal cycle for work and rest. That is how basic living organisms, how God made basic living organisms to function, where you can draw on that creative capacity and you can cultivate and you can produce.
But then both, humanity and the earth needs a rest because it's living and it has to last for millennia. So there's these yeah, it's amazing when you look back at those traditions and how we're coming to, understand them. Okay, so we have a, we have the idea of living earth and soil that has to last for millennia.
And ideally what we're doing is we're going beyond, we have a minimum criteria of sustainability. And then, like Klaus mentioned, above that, we can understand how we can actually be regenerative as a species. How we can actually How we can actually consciously exist in a way that not only doesn't harm and, not only sustains, but actually causes the Earth to.
flourish over time. And so we have now, I think, a short window of time and the knowledge and the technology and the global reach and ability to locally be able to apply that knowledge to actually heal and regenerate our soil and our earth. And it's it takes a long time, but when you're dealing with those long time cycles, now's the time to start.
So, let's go to let's go to the issue of I want to, highlight one more, one more thing. You can imagine, let's picture I just got back a couple of months ago from the rainforest down in Amazon and, so when you're walking through the forest, you can see the life that's built itself up largely uninterrupted for millennia.
You have thousand year old trees that are giant and roots that are 30 feet tall to trees that are hundreds of feet tall that are then nurturing the whole thing and the amount and density of life and insects. Every inch of soil for as deep as you can probably think is just teeming with life.
And so the key thing to understand that Klaus was saying is life builds itself up from the bottom, not from the top down. And so, we have the basic idea, let's say, of mass energy equivalent. And so you have something fundamental like energy and all matter, all what we perceive as matter is really associated energy.
And then you have information in the universe that instructs that, that energy how to associate and disassociate into form. So you end up with life building itself up according to the instruction manual given by God and reflected in the DNA of all these different creatures. And so then you end up with.
Energy associated into the basic elements that allow the microbiome to come into being the simplest of, being the viruses and the bacteria and all those different things. You have the different kingdoms and then on those life rises up into more and more complex forms. And so everything eats the thing below it.
And as much of that next life form can exist as there is diversity and abundance in the substrates beneath it. And so you get this gradual layering up of life. So what Klaus was saying about the collapse of something like insect populations is so crucial. So, Klaus remind me of the stats that you said on collapse of insect populations in the US.
Klaus Mager: It's as high as
Jordan Nicholas: Something like 70%. I saw recently a study that they did of, similar of insect populations in Germany, near natural, near national parks where you'd expect them to be relatively robust. And it was showing something like the same, something like 70 percent collapse in the amount of insects by mass and weight, let's say, right?
Okay, so, something that we're doing as a human species. is causing the collapse of two thirds of insects. And so it's like maybe smart to think, okay, why is that happening? When you, look at, the other studies on wildlife and biodiversity, it appears that two thirds number is pretty pervasive.
like the studies seem to show that in many areas, Approximately two thirds collapse is about average for what animal populations are experiencing as well. And so those numbers match from top to bottom because life is building itself up consistently. So you can imagine that if we severely damage and destroy something like two thirds of the microbiome, that's what's supporting ultimately the, Plants and insects and life that are trying to cooperate and thrive there and then that's in turn making its way up into the birds and animals and so you have this rising collapse of roughly two thirds of life, which is like an apocalyptic scale.
We should be thinking really hard about whether that's going to keep raising its way up. And if we're doing something that's that destructive, that it's destroying two thirds of life, what makes us think that's not that's, not rising up? So those are a couple of the, threads there.
So let's talk a little bit about food prices and food shortages. You mentioned to me the other day that You're concerned with the potential for relatively rapidly cascading food shortages we've been talking about that with some different groups over the last year or so that there seems to be a reasonable potential that the rising food price crisis that we're seeing could easily spill over into shortages of food, which then have of, obviously, catastrophic impacts.
Tell me a little bit about what makes you concerned about our food supply chains and the availability of food over the next years and decade.
Klaus Mager: 70%. When you look around the world, just at this very time as we speak, Libya just got wiped out with the storm before it was Greece. So even just in Europe, you have several countries with devastating climate impacts. China, India devastating floods, Pakistan, last year one third of Pakistan was underwater.
So when we see these events, and think about here in the United States Florida, they have this massive storm going across the center. We look at the houses and the cars floating down the street, but we don't put the camera onto the farm fields that got wiped out. There are very large areas that where, the crop just got destroyed.
It's either underwater or, it's blown up. So there's one, that's one thing that these storms disrupt the agricultural cycle and at the very least drastically reduce yields. That is happening in a world that has increasing demands on food because we're still growing. The world population is still growing, the demand for higher value food like dairy and meat is still growing in many of the second tier countries, China, India and so on. So you have these conflicting patterns here, but what is also really disturbing is that the industry has settled on these types of monocrop farming, as we mentioned before, that are so destructive, and in order to increase yields, they have to put more nitrogen onto the fields and more phosphates, which run off into the rivers and into the watersheds.
And they actually contribute to the devastation that we see not just on the field itself, but also around it. So the biodiversity, the loss of biodiversity that we see has, is mostly due to runoff from farm fields. And then it's a it's a, it's an arms race. That means the more we monocrop and fertilize fields with mines, phosphates and minerals and synthetic nitrogen the less productive this gets.
So you have to apply more chemicals because you have disrupted the natural cycle of soil. to replenish itself now to which typically is being done by always having a root in the ground by using cover crops by rotating crops because each crop has a different impact on the soil and so on.
So there isn't there is just no there is no exit ramp here inside because the industry has completely specialized itself to working with these highly programmed products. There's a certain potato that McDonald's needs. It has to be this kind of potato and it's, amazingly destructive on the soil, on the environment and so on.
But if you are going to Idaho and you're asking the farmer, Look guys, we need to change what you're growing to restore your soil. They may say, look there's potato, species that will do that, will help us, but they don't fit into the supply chain. Meaning you the, challenge we, have is that the system has locked in to a, vertically integrated process structure where you can't change anything without changing everything, right?
So, when you think about transporting food over thousands of miles, when you want, if you want to reduce the transportation cost, then you have to decentralize the production, right? Then you have to change the production centers and so on. So everything is linked. And this is the challenge that we have right now to make change at scale is highly disruptive to the existing business models.
And these business models are all operating top down. Highly centralized ginormous supply chains. And it is going to be a challenge for these companies. And some of them may not be able to adapt to the, requirements of a decentralized regenerative food system. And that's why we
Jordan Nicholas: Yeah.
Klaus Mager: political challenges here.
Jordan Nicholas: Yeah. Okay. So let's talk about centralized and degenerative and decentralized and regenerative conceptually. So, you could imagine that you could imagine conceptually, let's say we don't have McDonald's and we don't have Kroger and we don't have Costco and we don't have Walmart. We don't have these massive groups purchasing massive quantities of.
Uniform things, right? So the alternative is that you have a decentralized array of local communities operating in their own places with the regenerative harmony and balance of the unique place that they're in. And, you tie together a, locally regenerative sustainable farm to table food system that moves a little bit with the seasons.
And so throughout the course of a year, depending on what's available, the different restaurants locally are using that local produce and they're producing a variety of different dishes that change seasonally and you're working you're working in harmony with nature and the local area in a locally adaptable way.
Decentralized way, not dictated by central authority. So that looks like one thing for the farm system, let's say here in Idaho. Where that gets pressure, whether it's food systems or manufacturing or anything, is once you have, let's say, a McDonald's and a Walmart that come into town, you have the same basic dynamic happening.
So, to switch metaphors really quickly, Let's imagine the same thing with local manufacturing and let's imagine that you have a diverse, decentralized, local manufacturing economy where you have lots of craftspeople and small shops and smaller manufacturing centers distributed widely with their own practices making locally appropriate things and exchanging them.
What happens when Walmart comes into town? And then it's sourcing mass quantities of uniform things at very low prices with very high turnover or obsolescence is you switch and you end up buying those walmart monocrops, whether they're food at walmart or whether they're products at walmart. And you end up putting a lot of pressure on the local producers who, if they're going to now supply, have to completely try to change or go out of business to meet that shifting consumer expectation.
So, back to the food systems. I don't know what the stats are, but if you imagine the amount of a certain kind of potato that McDonald's needs to serve everywhere around the world simultaneously every day, 12 months a year, 24 hours a day, you end up putting this massive drive to produce that one thing.
And so then you end up with the giant agricultural companies. Working to meet that need, whether it's potatoes or whether it's corn or anything, you have the agricultural giant. Educate us a little bit on the agricultural giants like Monsanto and other of that ilk and their impact on food systems.
How has that evolved over the last 40 or 50 years?
Klaus Mager: The, probably since Reagan, but really post World War II the, growth mentality of companies has, is constantly seeking out to make more money. I worked corporate, right? So every year you get an end budget. You have to increase profit 8%. How you get there, you gotta figure this out, right?
So then you, every year this gets more complicated and then you start coming up with some pretty crazy things that you shouldn't be doing, but you're doing them anyway because your job depends on it so thing. So there is. There is a level of centralization, which I was part in.
When we moved to Hong Kong it opened up all kinds of supply chain opportunities, cutting out the middlemen, buying factory direct for a fraction of the cost and so on. But you took out all this middle, all these brokers and middlemen along the way. And so companies get big, bigger.
And, there is no mentality in place where's enough Or can we can we like flatten out and stay here for a while or it just has to be more every single year now. And, so that nature abhors conformity, right? Nature is not monogamous. Nature wants diversity. And anything that, that, that becomes monogamous, it gets attacked and, brought down it's just the nature of it's just how nature works.
To change this now there there are a lot of applications that should be centralized. It doesn't make sense, for example, to build irrigation technology in every community. It's perfectly fine to have a few global players like the Israelis are phenomenal with the irrigation technology.
And so use that and make it accessible to the community. So there are tools and process structures that should be at the meta level because that's just the most intelligent way to develop these things. But then at the local level. You need to apply those things in the way that your particular community needs it.
So the, core issues of regeneration is first of all, what's your soil, right? So what type and condition of soil are you dealing with? Your soil is different in the Pacific Northwest than it is in Kansas or Florida or California. So you're dealing with your soil. Then you have your local climate, even microclimates they bring certain conditions to the, play.
Then you're dealing with access to water is it readily available, are you in a desert environment, so what exactly can you do with water? And then, and this is completely ignored by by the industrial sector it's the socioeconomics of the community you're dealing in. Social economics are your workforce.
It's the political environment, the local political environment, the regulatory frame you're working in. It's what people like to eat. Maybe you have a different demographic in Louisiana than you have in Oregon. People have different preferences. All of that combined dictates the frame of what the farmer can work with.
And because it's not just about changing your crop to restore your soil, it is also having a market for that crop to be sold into profitably, right? So you have this balancing of developing types of crops that can find markets. But now comes the, challenge here because at this point the, definitions of what gets grown where are top down.
And then chemicals overpower local challenges climate, weather, water, whatever. Use a GMO seed that's specialized for this, whatever. In order to, to now to, in order to be re, to regenerate, you have to turn that thing upside down, and now the farmer dictates. Here's the range of things that I can call.
And guess what? The cranes that I'm calling in the Pacific Northwest may be a different subspecies than what you're calling in Kansas or in California. So it doesn't fit the standardized bun that you're working with or whatever products you're using with flowers. So it challenges these homogenized manufacturers.
Jordan Nicholas: Yeah.
Klaus Mager: with the need to decentralize their supply chain then customize their recipes and products to regional specifications. It totally can be done and it you will, once, once there is enough impetus here, you will find innovators and you will find companies who see the light here and they'll just go and do it but so far we haven't reached that point yet where
Jordan Nicholas: Yeah.
Klaus Mager: that.
Jordan Nicholas: Okay. So let's take another little case study to illustrate some of the workings of the food system. So I have a good friend who's sold a lot of the eggs that we eat on the West Coast. And so he's been deep in the egg industry for a long time. Okay. So, let's imagine that in California we want we want to evolve our standard of the kinds of eggs that we eat.
So let's imagine that a group puts on the ballot a referendum that says do you want the chickens that are producing the eggs we eat in California to have more space or be cage free and be treated in a better way? And so let's imagine that we vote yes. Okay, that's really difficult because of these centralized and interconnected supply chains.
So, Klaus was talking about the The, localization and the adaptation, you said the farmer dictates, you could also say that nature dictates, right? There's this, window of, what nature will tolerate. And then let's say that ideally those who are cultivating the ground are acting as, stewards and representatives, intermediaries between, nature and the consumers of food that are making the market for what nature can tolerate regeneratively over time and in what seasons and the people in the local community that want to eat.
And one of the things that's, happening is we don't realize the extent to which these giants are absolutely dominating the systems and making these things a lot more complex to change than we think. For instance, you could say, okay the farmer should change and do something regeneratively, and then instead of selling to Walmart and McDonald's, you could sell to the to the local farmer's market or co op or whatever it is.
Stat, or Klaus correct me if I'm wrong, but I think those kind of small, Co ops and farmers markets and regenerative attempts currently constitute something like 3 percent of the food sold in America. Is that right?
Klaus Mager: that's correct, yeah.
Jordan Nicholas: Okay so, basically, let's imagine that 100 years ago, something like that was probably 90 plus percent, right?
Basically, everything was local. Is that correct to say?
Klaus Mager: That's pretty much correct, yeah.
Jordan Nicholas: Okay so then it's really just been. Post World War II we picture this reality we're living in as if it's always been that way. And it's really just World War II where we really learn to do a great job circumnavigating the globe with giant ships and having global logistical supply chains and being able to move people and products and weapons around the world at scale.
And so coming out of forging those... logistical capabilities really through the world wars for the first time in history as we get into let's say the 50s and 60s and then really into the 70s, we're learning about that rapid beginning of globalized supply chains and centralized supply chains built off of our centralized military mindset and infrastructure, let's say.
So then we learned, okay just like we can build a big military to go set up supply chains and do things around the world, we could build big corporations to go set up supply chains and do things around the world. I just got off a call where someone was was giving a rant about His observation that as human beings, it seems like we have a really hard time conceptually conceptualizing what these giant corporations that we've created are.
So he gave the example is we tend to look at Google or. Monsanto or, some giant corporation as if it's a person like with maybe a personality and a conscience and maybe we could send it a communication and it would communicate back and it would like us or it would hate us, but it would operate with some kind of almost a, I don't know, a human like moral conscience.
It doesn't appear that's what's happening. We've created essentially these soulless giants legally established solely for the purpose of getting larger and creating monetary benefits for their shareholders. And then we've backed that with a legal system that makes it the legal obligation of everybody cooperating that soulless giant.
to make it larger and richer every year. So that essentially leads to this unchecked growth of soulless monsters that increasingly centralize things and are, have no consciousness or qualms about the destruction of the earth and local communities integrity in order to do that. in order to keep up that that growth, right?
So that's a recipe for disaster. Okay, so back to this egg this egg issue. So Californians voted to, to, that they wanted to consume, across the state, cage free eggs. What we don't realize is that if California decides that it wants to consume cage free eggs, Because of the centralized systems, and because 97 percent of the supply is going through these centralized supply chains, that essentially forces every other state to ultimately convert to cage free eggs.
And that that one decision of the largest state in an empire to convert to cage free eggs, in a democratic referendum that nobody understands, sets off essentially a 15 billion rebuild of 70 percent of the egg infrastructure of America because Walmart and Kroger and Costco aren't capable of dealing with differentiated egg types in their supply chains.
So they don't really have the infrastructure set up, just like McDonald's can't tolerate 16 different types of local variety of potatoes because people want to go in and get the exact same one every time. The, big distributors have essentially those same requirements where they can't, they logistically can't tolerate diversity in their supply chains among something simple like eggs.
And so you end up driving these massive changes. So, what have you come to find out that's a little bit of my exposure. Direct exposure from people working with state governors and things on those issues. What have you come to find out or understand about the disproportionate role that centralized logistics and distribution from the giant corporations plays in driving this?
Klaus Mager: We already mentioned the, difficulty that these companies have to decentralize their supply chains. In fact, you may have an egg producer in Vermont ship all his eggs to Chicago. And then get and then the stores in Vermont get delivered back the eggs that just came from Vermont in the first place, right?
The, way the system is, the supply chain is only intelligent in a way that it provides the most effective distribution, but it has a huge carbon footprint it, it prevents you from anything local, so it is it's a monstrosity that has evolved because no one ever paid attention to the externalities that are coming with it which is the reason why the food system is actually accountable for one third of global emissions.
When you take agriculture in itself, that's maybe 10, 11 percent, but then when you add on transportation, refrigeration, storage the manufacture of fertilizers deforestation and so on, it is really the elephant in the room and so forth. There is no way, Yale just came out with a study saying that if we don't radically change the way we call food and our, and make significant changes to our dietary patterns, we'll fly right beyond any kind of climate objective we have, the food 0. 7 to 0. 9 percent Celsius temperature increase. So there's that.
Jordan Nicholas: Go ahead.
Klaus Mager: But then so, what, where do you go with this? So USDA has started to really emphasize what they call the Title II conservation programs in the farm bill. And the Inflation Reduction Act just put, allocated 19. 5 billion into these programs, which are notoriously underfunded.
And these programs are really designed to, A, help the farmer to start regenerative practices. Meaning, you may put in a cover crop, you may rotate your crop, you may put in a pollinator buffer a watershed repair, and things like this. So these are stacked benefits that the farmer can use.
But then also you need to rebuild the supply chain because the industry has taken out systematically all the processing capacity, the brokerage functions that enabled a local or regional food system. So for example, the meat markets 80, 90 percent of U. S. meat markets are controlled by four companies.
Now one is a Brazilian, one is Chinese, mixed ownership on the others. And They took out all the small abattoirs. So when you travel in Europe or in Asia, every little town has their own butcher. And all the smallholder farmers can bring in their animals and get them processed. And the local markets at very reasonable cost because the supply chain cost is silch.
But it opens up an important revenue stream for smallholder farmers because They can feed their animals with byproducts that now go to waste leftover products in the fields outer leaves of cabbage or salads. There's all kinds of things, or you can grow food for your poultry and your pigs.
And to, rebuild this local food system really requires a community supported effort. So I'm actually doing. A panel discussion in Bend here this evening, we're showing the Kiss the Crown movie and then we have a local panel, and we're talking about the tens of thousands of meals, even in our small town, that we have to serve for free to people who are hungry and can't feed their families and can't feed themselves.
So how is this normal? Why can't we grow food for these local folks? Last year, The U. S. government spent billion dollars on nutritional assistance programs. Where is this money going? To Kroger, it goes to Wal Mart, it goes to the big actors, it goes to Cisco, and they don't buy anything local.
So the government gives money to the community and they're taking it right back out. Where if this money
Jordan Nicholas: Yeah.
Klaus Mager: used to feed a local infrastructure now the Neighborhood Impact Kitchen could buy from a local farmer and that money starts rolling inside the community. They can organize a local processor or an aggregator to make this
Jordan Nicholas: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Klaus Mager: Go ahead, that's true
Jordan Nicholas: So tell me, more about the way that Yes. So when you travel through other countries, like you say it's, sometimes alarming because you're, traveling down the road and there's animals hanging along the road from all the local butchers, right?
So, you have this, very tight supply chain, right? Where when, you say the supply chain costs are near zilch you're, essentially generating and consuming food in a single bio region. And whereas a lot of times if we go to, if we go to Kroger or Walmart and we look at where our produce is coming from, it's being shipped from a foreign country, it's being shipped from a foreign country and it's, like the, it's the antithesis.
So you could measure something like the length of supply chains, right? And the other thing that, that we should talk about, just getting back to the potential for food price escalation to turn into. Food shortages. There's, I'm not sure what it is. I think the latest status is something like a billion people are currently in, in reasonably severe food insecurity, right?
One in one in eight people throughout the world. And so the length of these supply chains, for instance in, in Africa, where we've been trying to understand and, do a little bit of work. A lot of, those communities have been.
What do I want to say? Fraudulently ensnared, let's say, into consuming these massive amounts of their food from these globalized supply chains. And so you can imagine that Russia and the United States and China, for instance are, doing everything they can to push out local food production and consolidate supply chains and get the products of Monsanto, if it's US, Bayer if it's Europe, and whatever Chinese companies doing the same thing, basically getting those, supply chains hooked into those consumer markets.
And when they do that they, flood those markets with cheap alternatives, cheaper alternatives, cheaper, toxic, chemical laden, health destroying And local economy destroying alternatives to what can be produced locally and people without understanding that they'll be destroying their local economy and regenerative capacity go for those cheap.
International food products, which then increasingly drives food products or manufactured products, which increasingly puts the local producers out of business. So it's this, it's this vicious cycle where once that happens and then you displace more of the local food production, that creates additional demand on the centralized products that are waging their chemical war against the regenerative capacity of the earth, something like that.
Klaus Mager: yeah
Jordan Nicholas: you call that, go ahead,
Klaus Mager: the nature of why this is possible is because it's extractive. So if you
Jordan Nicholas: yeah,
Klaus Mager: attention to what this does to nature, which you, if you abuse your watersheds and your soil and you take minerals out for next to nothing, then you can do this. But it's, there's an end game here.
There is, a, this is not, when, not sustainable means it cannot continue in perpetuity. And we are coming
End phase much faster than people are ready for.
Jordan Nicholas: yeah, there's, let's say there's a principle like something that can't last forever will come to an end, and so you can cheat, you can attempt to cheat 40
or 50 years. But once you, exhaust all the soil you there's a forced reset. So we'd be pretty smart to consciously change before the forced reset comes. Why do you call, do you call that a chemical race or a chemical war? Describe the, describe in more detail the imagery in your mind when you're describing a chemical race or a chemical war that's getting increasingly more intense.
Klaus Mager: Think about fields of thousands of acres of corn. There, there are there is as much land under cultivation for corn as the size of California. It's phenomenal, yeah.
Jordan Nicholas: massive billions of dollars of wasted subsidies
Klaus Mager: Exactly. And pumping groundwater that's irreplaceable in the process to make biofuel and feed for animals, mostly. So the, so you have this crop and now you have the invasion of weeds. for the weeds, this is like Bonanza, right? Wide open there is no defense here so we can attack this.
So the first thing they have to apply is a herbicide. now they're already building herbicides into the seed itself. They're also making these plants herbicide resistant. That means they can douse the field with glyphosate round up, and it doesn't harm the food plant, but it kills the weeds.
Laws of nature you kill a thousand weeds, five survive and replicate. So the next time around... You have weeds that are tougher and need a higher dose of herbicide. So you play that game and you're in an arms race.
Jordan Nicholas: Yeah,
Klaus Mager: a
well, go ahead.
Jordan Nicholas: So there's, so it's, going in two different ways. Okay so, people. may or may not know about pesky weeds, that they're there for a reason. And if you, imagine a dirt field, nature often doesn't want things to be dirt. Nature wants to propagate and grow. And so you don't go from a dirt field to a beautiful, diverse, flourishing pasture full of a diverse array of plants and insects and birds and wildlife.
You start with dirt, and weeds play a very specific function. Weeds let's say that God created weeds in order to go first. And so they are, the tough soldier plants that go first into those barren areas in order to come back in and start to regenerate. And as, the weeds proliferate, then eventually if they're left unchecked, the soil starts to re dirt and fursify, the microbiome starts to come back.
Klaus, correct me where I go wrong. The, other more diverse plants come in and, the healthier that soil becomes, the more rich, diverse the bio becomes, the more different types of plant life are supported, insect life, bird life, that bring back all the other animals, and you start to regenerate the soil, then the weeds naturally go away because it's not their turn anymore.
So something like that is the function of weeds, right? So when you say, When so so it goes in two directions what defends against weeds in nature is Flourishing abundant healthy soil doesn't need weeds That's basically correct, right?
Klaus Mager: You could, yeah, it's, it we are trying to create pictures to, to explain this, Yeah
Jordan Nicholas: Yeah, but it's something like that So the more so so let's say the first time you go through and you drop you mass drop Roundup and douse all the food that's going to be going into human beings bodies Along with everything on the ground that roundup that the seeds have that the plants have been genetically engineered to be resistant to The roundup then goes down and indiscriminately kills the weeds and everything else.
So you could imagine that if the roundup is strong enough to kill the toughest weeds, it's also strong enough to kill the very fragile microbiome. And so every time that happens, you're depleting the healthy soil that is the defense against the weeds. So the next year, you have less defense and... Klaus said, the weeds that survived were the toughest ones, most resistant to the chemicals.
So then those are the ones that reproduce. So you're in an arms race where you're getting tougher and tougher weeds with less and less defense. And so this same thing can be seen happening, for instance, in the antibiotic races, where we, intervened in nature by indiscriminately prescribing antibiotics for so long.
Those indiscriminately... break people's microbiomes and body, the things that survive those antibiotic onslaughts are stronger ones. And so basically you're selectively breeding stronger and stronger pathogens. And then we're doing the same thing with the soil.
Klaus Mager: Yeah, and the same applies for insects and then all of this bleeds into the food supply. So today, some 80 percent of women, American women, have glyphosate in their breast milk in urine samples the hormones that are being used for animal production, they're adding hormones in it, have an impact on puberty disruptions in children, now you have eight year olds who are starting to menstruate and the, you mentioned already, like 70 percent of antibiotics are prophylactically given to animals because they're living in such challenging environments, they get sick, so they feed them antibiotics, which is very dangerous because now they're basically breeding antibiotic resistant strains.
Would be very difficult for us to deal with. This whole thing screams unsustainable,
Jordan Nicholas: yeah. Okay. I want to come back really, quickly. You mentioned 80 percent of women having glyphosate in their, breast milk. I'm, I was just on the, on a call with a doctor this morning who was, talking about these same issues. He has, happens to be a specialist in brain health.
So, my understanding is that over the since 1970 or thereabouts, let's say We've, ramped up these processes and so we're using more and more chemicals in our chemical war because of this cycle that Klaus is describing. And as a result we've, had to gradually increase the amount of residual roundup that's allowed to be in our food supply.
And so I don't know the exact number, but my understanding is we've something like doubled that over the last few decades where we used to say that X amount was allowed. And then, as we're in this chemical arms race, having to put more and more on to feed our unsustainable food systems, the government has to keep raising the amount that's allowed.
If you look at the, if you look at the charts of what's happened over since 1970, If you look at diabetes, if you look at obesity, so the doctor this morning was telling me that some, something like two thirds of Americans are obese or overweight, something like two thirds of Americans are diabetic or pre diabetic, and his take is that all comes directly back to the same issues of food system.
So when we think about the costs of what we're doing, It's so easy to silo these issues like so, now the United States is spending an exorbitant amounts on its healthcare systems as people are getting sicker and sicker. The other crucial thing to understand about glyphosate in our breast milk or in our gut microbiome.
So these things pass through multiple generations. It's not that we could just consume these toxins. and then our own body deals with them. They have multi generational effects because they're passed from a mother passes on microbiome to a child. And so, what happens let's imagine that that cycle Klaus was talking about where we're in these increasing cycles where every year we have to use more and more chemicals.
So you can imagine these fields of wheat Let's just say your corn or whatever it is getting doused with Roundup. Glyphosate is the active branded ingredient in Roundup. And that's then doused. The harvesters and combines then come by and just take all of that crop that was doused with glyphosate.
That gets mass processed and then makes its way into our cereals and bars and breads and everything we eat. We then consume that and that glyphosate is still active. And goes in and starts destroying our microbiome just like it destroyed the weeds and the microbiome of the plants and makes its way into breast milk.
And so key is we're looking at, we're looking at these massive increases in chronic disease. And so that's entirely coming back to these same farming practices. It's also the same root cause of one of many, but it's one of the principal root causes of the mental health and depression and anxiety because that serotonin, there's, I forget what it is, 70 or 90 percent of serotonin is produced in the gut actually.
So when we're ingesting these glyphosates and destroying the healthy microbiome in our bodies, that's having these profound impacts on our own bodies and our brains and our mental health. And then we're passing that on to the youth. And the, maybe the last thing I'll, say on this is that this doctor was getting me up to see this morning that.
There was recently a large study released looking at stool samples from healthy people and then Alzheimer's patients. And so what you're seeing in people with these brain diseases is that almost. There's a lot of evidence that shows universally there's severe lack of diversity of microbiome, including several specific strains of, bacteria that are needed for healthy gut and brain function that are being wiped out by these, farming practices.
And he was saying that the evidence is mounting for those same things being witnessed in the stool samples of people with autism and a lot of other a lot of other of these rising issues that we're seeing.
Klaus Mager: Yeah.
Jordan Nicholas: they're, hard, it's hard because it's so abstract, but we don't realize that every one of our days and our bodies and our family members is directly affected by this.
Klaus Mager: Yeah the Medical Association today is saying the disconnect between, for example, Farm Bill incentive allocations and what the dietary guidelines are, It's phenomenal. We're spending money on things
Jordan Nicholas: Yeah.
Klaus Mager: need and fruits and vegetables we don't spend the money on. In fact, there is the, in 2022, the U.
S. was a net importer of food, if you can believe this. Trade deficit in agriculture and we're importing most produce, fruits and vegetables from from other countries. Where, I said how does this make any sense is is, hard to believe. Medical association will say that two thirds of the American healthcare bill is nutrient delayed related So if you figure that you have a $1 trillion food economy $1 trillion damage in healthcare and then 1 trillion damage in environmental ratification. So
Jordan Nicholas: Yeah
Klaus Mager: it's, an incredibly damaging. To do things and it's incredibly hard to change,
Jordan Nicholas: it's a, yeah, it's amazing to hear to hear you talking about the agri, agricultural deficit. Just a week or two ago I was re reading that the Biden administration is currently trying to force Mexico to take all this genetically modified and chemical laden corn that we're producing and Mexico doesn't want it because they don't want to poison their population, presumably.
Then the Biden administration is getting into these, deep coercive negotiations to try to at least push it into the food supply of their animals, but all that stuff makes its way up through the system. So that's one of the other just absolutely Somewhere between atrocious and evil aspects of these giant centralized corporations is not only are we destroying our own environment and food systems and body, but then we're using the Massive political and military might of the United States to basically shove it down the throats of the rest of the world in extremely coercive manners that very few understand.
I was talking with someone who was in the office of one of the African presidents and cabinets as they were getting ready to sign a deal with Monsanto. And he was like do you guys realize what you're signing and what that's going to do? And so they, talked through it and fortunately ended up backing off that, but we have massive political pressure on countries around the world to poison their populations with these things we're producing too.
Okay, so that's pretty dour. So, basically Yeah we're, destroying the planet. We're, collapsing our topsoil. We're collapsing the microbiome. That's causing the collapse of something like two thirds of insect populations that's rippling up into the collapse of something like two thirds of animal species.
An increasing arms race and doing that at a more and more rapid rate as the corporations grow larger and larger. And then we're using political and sometimes military intervention to export those destructive technologies around the world. Klaus, what should we do about it?
Klaus Mager: So I think the most promising tidbit of information that is circulating right now is related to what is called the small water cycle. And let me try to explain that. About 60% of local rain really comes through a process called evapotranspiration. That means you have water coming into a watershed or into a bio region.
By the way, the term bio region is really important. We touched went over it to separate to separate bioregions by what you should be going in there and how that should work is an important aspect. But anyway when, so soil will hold water, absorb and hold water in direct relationship to its soil microbiome.
So the amount of organic carbon in the soil determines how fast the soil can absorb water and how much it can hold. For every 1 percent increase in soil organic matter, it can hold 20, 000 gallons of water per acre. So when you have 4 10 percent typically in healthy soil of organic content, 5 percent means the soil can hold 100, 000 gallons of water per acre, right?
So that water then evaporates and it comes back down as rain. So this local process really creates what the weather system that we're used to. Now imagine millions of acres of farmland have been dried out and the soil microbiome has been damaged and the soil can't hold any water. So now you have prolonged periods of drought because this local rain has has ceased to function.
And when it rains, it really comes down in a more massive way because the soil absorbs heat and reflects heat. Alright, so when the air warms up, it can hold more water. So when water comes, it goes down, and this is what we observed in California, for example where you
Jordan Nicholas: Yeah.
Klaus Mager: periods of drought, and then when it rains, it really dumps,
and when it
Jordan Nicholas: And then because the soil is depleted it can't absorb that water,
and so it just runs off.
Klaus Mager: now you're flooding so
Jordan Nicholas: Yeah,
Klaus Mager: is finally sinking in that you actually have a norm, a natural way of tempering our climate. putting roots into the ground, restoring your soil, and stimulating this local, regional water cycle, the small water cycle. It does, when you have vegetation on the ground, it actually cools. has a cooling effect. Whereas dried out soil that is barren has the opposite, has a heating effect, right? So it amplifies the impact of climate change. I think as that sinks in, I was just communicating this with several groups because all of a sudden I had this aha thing going on.
Jordan Nicholas: yeah.
Klaus Mager: it, but we haven't connected what it
Jordan Nicholas: connected it,
yeah. Okay I try...
Klaus Mager: go ahead.
Jordan Nicholas: I tried to triangulate towards answers as we're trying to figure all this out. I just want to give a, another triangulated evidence of this. So, I was just down in the Amazon a couple months ago where the local tribes are ringing the alarm bells as fast as they can saying that they think we're reaching a critical deforestation tipping point and, the alarm bells that they were communicating to me.
We're exactly along the lines of what you're saying on the local water cycle. So there's the local water cycle that Klaus is talking about where you have water going up into the air and coming back down and, remaining in a local place. Amplified out at scale, then you have the, whatever you want to call it, the heart, and lungs, the pulmonary system of the earth that's moving water around the earth and, massive currents that are in the oceans and in the atmosphere.
And so our understanding is that the Amazon rainforest functions something like that heart and lungs of the world. The pump that's moving things. Okay. And what the, indigenous tribes are trying to warn humanity about is that because of that exact local weather cycle that you talked about every day, each of those trees in the rain forest.
Draws from its roots and from the rivers and tributaries to the Amazon, massive amounts of water up through it and releases it up into the air. And then that direct local water is what rains back down and creates the local rainforest. It's exactly the same dynamic that you were describing. So their understanding and experience is that in a, given domain, if you deforest something like 25 percent of it, you wreck that local water cycle and you start the catastrophic unwinding of the system.
So you could imagine that it's all healthy. You could deforest 1 percent around the edges and you don't break the local water cycle. You could then imagine at some point you hit a point where it starts to unwind itself and the weather patterns are changing too much. And so anyway, it sounds like we're doing that same thing.
Here in the United States that we're doing down in the Amazon, those affect both local and global system. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Klaus Mager: my hope is, this is salvageable. And this and we can put woods into the ground instantly. I had somebody ask me yesterday, I was in a presentation with a different group, and they said how fast can we do this? I said, as fast as your intentions drive you.
Jordan Nicholas: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So let's talk a little bit about let's talk a little bit about the solution. The let's talk about the conceptual solution that we've been discussing over the last years. Talk a little bit about the local examples of, where and others are trying to work on that and the opportunity to expand it.
I'm going to try to, I'm going to do my best to, actually, you know what, let's start with a story first that might hold the space a little better than the concept. Would you describe for us the process that you went through? When you were when you were working in those different countries to go in and map local food systems and support their interconnection, right?
So what we're going to talk about here in a minute is how we can decentralize and relocalize food systems on a bio regional basis. And I think your background and experience helped me understand that. So would you describe for us a little bit what you would do? Role through those 30 countries and what your experience was going in and connecting with the, different producers and consumers and distributors and, mapping those systems and seeing the gaps and, how you came to understand how that can work locally.
Klaus Mager: The three years. The company that I was working for had over 700 locations in 30 countries. We had over 6, 000 sales people in the fields attached to each store, and each store had a region that we're servicing. And sometimes we had clusters of stores, like you go to Istanbul, there may be seven or eight stores that worked as a cluster to match different regions and so on. But each store manager had the ability to purchase. As much as 30 percent of the, of his SKUs in the local market. And the reason we were doing this, we were operating in India, in Pakistan, in Vietnam, in China in, in at the time, Eastern Europe, which was very raw when in 12 years ago or so.
And, but also even in the advanced countries like France and Germany and so on, we found that, People had loyalties to local producers. For example like in Germany there is a there's a family owned dairy in this particular town, and they are delivering in a circle of maybe a hundred miles, if that, right?
And you have, if you want to cater to this particular market, you gotta have their products on the shelf. Because otherwise people, out to be the local population is loyal to these local brands. And that's a unique mindset which we don't have in the U. S., but we found that. So my thing was, I had a team of two, three, four analysts in each country.
And they were MBAs mostly not, necessarily foodies. But we would go and look for types of customers that had similar buying patterns. So let's say take out pizza or kebab stores, and things like that. And then we would go and say, so how many of those are in our region? Okay that's, a good segment to go after.
There may be 50 restaurants that sort of match this profile. Let's go and figure out what, what really makes them tick. And then we would go and take one of the most successful ones, give them some incentives, and then we would take inventory in the store. What do you buy from whom?
How much do you pay what are the pack sizes, what is the quality, what makes your product unique in this market. And then we would go to the procurement team and say, okay, here we need to make some changes to our assortment. And we would go to the operating team and say we need some service adjustments here because this is how these guys work.
And so that, that was basically the core thing. I would go into the wholesale market to meet with manufacturers who in, who were unique, local, producing certain, whether that was dairy or flour or rice or whatever it was. Oopsie, I'm sorry. I just kicked up my... So that brings the awareness to... this bioregion concept. How how in this particular market they have been if you go to India, my god, they have been there for thousands of years.
Jordan Nicholas: Yeah.
Klaus Mager: knows each other and and this is the kind of rice we eat here and this is the spice mix we are calling here and so on.
So we, so western companies then come in and a lot of them have very disruptive models. Like in India, for example, Walmart coming in Monsanto coming in, and the first thing they want to do is buy up a whole bunch of farms and have them shift into monocrops.
Jordan Nicholas: Yeah. Yeah.
Klaus Mager: nitrogen, and so on.
Created a mess in not just India, but also in other countries. And many countries can't defend themselves. India is pretty strong, pretty tough. But you have other countries that they're just completely helpless against
Jordan Nicholas: Why? Why can't they? What do you mean they can't defend themselves? And why do you use that language?
Klaus Mager: Because their political structures are too they don't have any institutional defenses, they don't have a
Jordan Nicholas: Yeah,
Klaus Mager: of agriculture and a department of transportation and so on. There's, everything is very loose and power is too concentrated. So they come in hey, you're rich, we make you richer, why don't take this franchise and you own the franchise, you are the but we'll tell you how this all works.
So they're working, so they're basically corrupting the local economy
Jordan Nicholas: yeah. Okay. Yeah, exactly. So, the giant US corporations backed by US political pressure are out actively corrupting the weak institutional structures around the world that they can predate upon. In order to go in and open up another tentacle of these centralized supply chains, which they control that goes back to the manufacturer of the genetically modified seeds that can withstand the chemicals that are tied back to oil and all the way back through the
thing. And so what you. What I think a lot of people don't realize is that you, the United States on behalf of these corporations are out seeking actively to corrupt government structures in absolute violation of the basic values and ideals that most Americans profess verbally to uphold and then our elected officials and deep state that's collusively intertwined with the big corporations is then bringing political pressure to bear if the transactions can't really be forced.
And then when we look at our sad history, we see occasions of CIA and military intervention on top of that to do coups or turn over leadership if the existing governments can't be adequately corrupted to extend the tentacles.
Klaus Mager: Yeah, that's the unfortunate reality.
Jordan Nicholas: Okay. So what we've, so based on your experience and our aggregations of, our best attempts to triangulate and get an understanding of how we could help people turn things around in their local communities and bio regions. The stuff is damn complicated to try to explain with words, but we're let's, try a little bit.
Okay, so you talked about earlier that there's, We, we have an existing system that's way too centralized and way too uniform to an extent that it's absolutely antithetical both to the laws of nature and the basic values that all good people hold. And we know that it's actively destroying our soil. It's actively destroying our microbiome in our bodies.
And it's actively destroying our brains. And it's leading to these cascading problems in both health and environment that eventually result in a wall of mass destruction. So we know we need to change. Okay, so let's talk about how we can change. First of all I guess there's the recognition that The solutions absolutely are not going to be originated by the corrupt giants of government and politics and corporation and oil and finance whose entire growth and domination of the supply chains is contingent on them continuing.
So that's I think a first major step is to go like. Why doesn't the government do something about this or whatever is just to understand the degree to which corruption and collusion permeate those systems. And when you have more lobbyists in D. C. than you have politicians and an absolute corrupted system dominated.
It's not obvious how, we didn't even talk about the, Farm Bill, but Klaus has been working on Farm Bill, et cetera, it's not obvious how you create change from above. So we can do our best to press on the levers of government and shift legislation and expose the deep collusive corruption and all those things, and we can and should do that.
The real there's, also I would guess that there is A massive wave of plaintiff lawsuits probably getting ready to fly as it becomes more and more self evident that, every single family in America is being consciously poisoned and our country consciously poisoned and our country consciously Destroyed for future generations in the pursuit of power and wealth that should lead to massive legal backlash.
But the quickest lever we have is to educate and make people aware of the depth of these things and then equip and empower individuals and families to change their consumption patterns that pressures the system from the bottom and then equipping. Localities to. Relocalize and regenerate their own communities and bio regions.
Okay so let's imagine let's imagine that we have a geolocated map of the 10 million communities on earth where people live. And let's imagine That's rooted in community, and so you could make a minor modification of that would reflect bioregions. I'm not, sure, we have the map and the geolocations of the 5 or 10 million places where people live.
We also have the maps of bioregions, but let's imagine that there's 10 or 20 million bioregions. Each one of those is unique and different. If we as a human species want to stop inflicting upon ourselves the destruction that's leading to the vast majority of humanity being afflicted with disease and destroying the regenerative capacity of the earth, then we would need to change in a very wise, responsible way without destabilizing the food systems that are currently keeping us alive, right?
So it's a really a an interesting, nuanced, dangerous moment where you have these centralized systems and supply chains, and if you try to enact a mass change rapidly in an unwise way from the top down, or if there's geopolitical conflicts and wars, such as in Ukraine or different places that are producing a lot of the food for the world, those centralized supply chains are easily disrupted by Geopolitics.
Let's say that can have severe rippling impacts. Okay. So if you have overly centralized food supply systems that are destroying the world and are vulnerable to the high likelihood of geopolitical conflict at scale, we seem to be marching towards. And if for all those reasons were likely to have food shortages, then essentially what we want to do, both from the standpoint of self preservation and logic, And cleaning up and regenerating our earth for future generations is we want to relocalize supply chains and increase the strength and resilience of local communities so that, they're not dependent on toxic, poisonous, long, corrupt food supply chains that are destroying their health and local environment, but rather have a flourishing, abundant, regenerative, vibrant, free, sustainable food system.
Non corrupt local food supply system that allows them to flourish. Okay so, now let's imagine that we timebox that. So we want to, we as a human species who don't want to suffer and die, want to regenerate and relocalize and decentralize our food supply chains. And maybe while we're at it, our manufacturing supply chains, and maybe while we're at it, our systems of governance.
So all of those things that have grown corrupt and collusive and centralized. need to be decentralized like rapidly. And so if we wanted to do that in 10 or 20 million places, time boxed over everybody can debate how much time we have, but let's say we're in a seven year window of opportunity and crisis where by 2030 we need to be well on our way to, changing our trajectory with millions of places.
in the active process of regeneration and learning from one another and Relocalizing and rediscovering how to produce and consume and feed ourselves and manufacture and all the things that we've abstracted out and centralized. If you want to do that millions of times in a short period of time, one of the first things you realize is you can't centralize it or you're going to fail.
So we don't want to create the same thing of trying to, establish a top down mandate to do that. However, let's say we spread this information rapidly enough and enough people spread it rapidly enough and enough people around the world wake up quickly enough and realize that we're destroying our family's health, our own bodies, our brains and our environment and passing that on multi, multi generationally through our reproductive cycles and that we want to stop that, then all of a sudden around the world, you've got millions of local communities waking up Realizing that they've been victims of fraudulent and corruption and exploitation and deciding they're going to take back their sovereignty and responsibility and authority over their systems and lives and bio regions and set things back in order.
Okay then you have to go, okay, if 8 billion if 2 billion families and spread through 10 million different places want to undertake this collectively. We could try to figure it out locally. We could try to say, okay, 10 million places are just going to have to figure it out for themselves. But I think as we've traveled around the world, we see that's hard.
And in a lot of places we lack the knowledge and the knowledge is actively concealed by corrupt authorities who don't want people to have it. And it's, not realistic to try to reinvent the wheel from scratch and figure out all these principles and 10 or 20 million places over seven years.
So then you have to say, okay, if we have 2 billion families living in 10 to 20 million places, each of whom wants to work together locally to regenerate and strengthen their supply chains and systems, How could we set up an infrastructure and a program? To help and support that effort how, and so that's where Klaus was saying, okay, you have things like irrigation technologies that are highly advanced in some parts of the world and highly primitive in other parts of the world and which are crucial to helping, right?
So that's one thing where you could say, okay let's establish a prototype of the top kind of generalized process and solutions that it takes. to recreate a regenerative local food supply chain. Let's take the very best irrigation technologies and the ability to access those via distribution and let's put them in this theoretical prototype.
And now there's a resource up there. Knowledge is another thing we could put in that program. So, there's a whole bunch of knowledge contained in a distributed array of organizations about the general process that you would go through, let's say, to map a food system and for people, for local communities who have never mapped their food system before, those templates are helpful.
And so you put that up there. Okay so, you end up with this total prototype that's a kit of parts, let's say an interoperable kit of all these different elements that could help and benefit. Any one of 20 million local communities. And then basically what you need is what Klaus calls innovation brokers.
But let's say you have these knowledge and solutions that could be the difference between life and death in 10 million different communities, but we're detached and we don't have access to them. So, basically the, design that Klaus and I have been talking about over the, last period of time is you'd set up You basically train representatives or, whatever you want to call it, brokers is a crass term, brokers of these innovations or coaches or whatever you want to call it, people who understand the prototype in this total basket of solutions, but are also humble enough to understand that they don't have the answers and don't understand the locality, but to go in and work with these local communities to map their systems.
And understand basically the vision for a regenerated local microbiome and a stable and resilient local food system that's operating in harmony with nature that sets up their children and grandchildren's grandchildren well for the future. You have the future of what that looks like.
We have the knowledge and understanding that so many places don't have of the degree to which these corrupt, poisoned, centralizing systems. are destroying capacity. So you have the list of kind of patterns of life that we want to instantiate that are good for our families and our communities and the earth.
And then you have the centralizing patterns of death that we know are poisoning us and robbing the planet of its regenerative capacity. So that creates kind of a start doing and a stop doing list. Then you have your analysis of the current state, the mapped analysis of the current state like Klaus would do when he would go into these dozens of different countries with teams to go map and analyze what's there.
And then that basically sets up this gap for local transformation from whatever its current state is to the better patterns of regenerative local agriculture that create local health and resilience and flourishing. And then you have this total basket basically of solutions that can be brought in just in time.
That whole array of different tools and resources and knowledge and coaching organizations and mentoring and all those different things that can be brought to bear just in time as the community works through that roadmap. And the place that I want to extend and I guess cross pollinate from this conversation with Klaus.
And care, these things go hand in hand because our food systems and our health are so related. So when we bring in hope and knowledge and support, hopefully to places that are suffering and sickness and destructive food systems, there's going to be health problems there too. And so that same Innovations brokerage can start crossing different domains and not just bringing the knowledge of food systems and regenerative food systems, but also how that relates to integrated Health and being and why they're so crucial.
And so that same system can not only aid and assist communities and developing flourishing and abundant local agriculture, but also in aiding communities and some of the coaching and mentoring and support and knowledge and infrastructure to relocalize vibrant health systems. And then when I talk to educators it's the same thing.
We, mentioned the there's, you can find in the Bible, but there's verses in there my people are suffering and dying for lack of knowledge. And as, I've traveled to dozens of countries around the world it is so encouraging and magical to learn from those cultures and to understand how much.
don't know and how much there is to exchange and then you also look at some things that are happening and just go. Oh my gosh, there's so much suffering here that could be alleviated to it with
Klaus Mager: Yeah,
Jordan Nicholas: of knowledge and so so basically the design that Klaus and I have been talking about and that we've been working towards is networking together the leading, solutions knowledge wisdom technologies into something like a prototype that contains all these different aspects of knowledge and health and being and agriculture and self governance and all these different things that communities need to flourish then allows for those to be localized and adapted with help from trained supporters to any local community that hears about these issues and requests the help.
Klaus, where did I what can you add to that vision of how we could successfully address this?
Klaus Mager: I'm a great believer in a free market economy. But with the caveat that this free market economy has to operate within constraints. But the one thing, there's nothing that can turn this around faster than people who are incentivized for personal gain to do the right thing. Now, much of our incentives are completely misallocated.
They have been corrupted. The big food fight over the farm bill is basically who gets the money, and it's going to a lot of the wrong places. But if those incentives were allocated to help people, to reward people for providing the ecosystem services that we need, now just pay them. And and then so that, that's the to, to, correctly allocated incentive structures.
The, and the other part, of course, is there is benefit in centralized knowledge. I'm right now working with AI. I'm working on a chat GPT project to write a manual of here is where we are. And it's phenomenal how. A. I. Is adding to this process. But then so I'm using theory.
You inspired dynamics to develop a communication structure that helps people process what we're facing here without losing hope, right? Because you don't want to discourage people. You want to say we can do this during World War Two. Some 40 percent of fruits and vegetables came from what, was it called?
The home, gardens, right? That was called the victory gardens, right? And so we can do this. We can absolutely turn this around if we can engage at community level, at bio region level, to have people collaborate, come together and understand what this is and have a collaborative superstructure from government and corporate to help that process.
So that's, where it is. That's where the options are. But you can tell when you look at the political process how hard that is going to be. So you have to have communities step up to the plate. And you have to support and assist innovators, right? If there is a group coming together and say, Hey, we'll take care of aggregation we'll do contracting.
Here's this local hospital. They have volumes that are way too much for one or two or three farmers. They may need 50 farmers to come together to supply them. We'll take care of it we'll aggregate the cost of farmers, we'll take care of contracting, logistics, we'll find a processor to subcontract processing so you get your product in the right condition.
It can be done
Jordan Nicholas: Yeah. Exactly.
Klaus Mager: has to be taken, undertaken with optimism joy because we can share, we can change our food system. Think about these wonderful cuisines from around the world. which have harmonized their consumption patterns, their dietary patterns with their natural environment.
Think about Japan think about China, France, Italy the Mediterranean. There is a program at Harvard University, it's called Menus of Change. So they have partnered with the Culinary Institute of America to train chefs to go into a bioregion, do an assessment. of what's
Jordan Nicholas: Yeah.
Klaus Mager: in the local market and then create a menu out of this.
That's what we can
Jordan Nicholas: Yeah, exactly. And how
it, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. And how that morphs through the seasons, right? You can imagine that the delight of locally sourced food changing through the seasons. And, yes, there's a sacrifice from the mono food that we're used to eating, but there's a whole joyful delight that can be found in Yeah, refiguring out how to balance ourselves.
Okay so, we for anybody that's interested in this Klaus and I and others in the network have been discussing this in various fractals and groups over different lengths of years, depending on which of us you're talking about. But we think we have a viable vision and a plan. And not only have we sorted out the strategy and tactics and essentially the process side of how it could be rolled out, but we've also built the open non cancellable technology to set up the repositories and then onboard local groups to start learning and exchanging knowledge.
And then we have basically the rest of the infrastructure in place to be able to increase the amount of services and support that we're providing. That technology has been tested through its alpha and beta sections by something like 300 orgs and maybe organizations and maybe 500 projects in 50 something countries.
And so it's a small drop in the bucket and a small start. But at the same time, it's it's being very actively developed and received and tested around the world. So our opportunity now is basically to start to aggregate knowledgeable people and resources and solutions and partner organizations, and then start more actively engaging in and supporting a few prototype local transformations that we then engage in a regular rhythm of sharing information out.
And Klaus is going to be traveling in South America for a while here. He'll be back in October or November. And then it's going to be diving into the next phases of prototyping and bend. And we're discussing what it would look like to to identify several other, localities that could be cross pollinating and sharing knowledge through some of the technology and process that we've built And so we would love to get some Resources and support and engaged interest around these issues so if you would like to Participate in that I would love if you would drop me a note you can Email me at jay J at lionsburg.
org. If you would like to participate and help fuel these efforts, you can go to www. jordannicholas. org and click join the movement. That'll structurally connect you and make sure you're getting regular updates as we go through next stages. And Klaus, if people are interested in exploring more of your work and some of these concepts, do you have anywhere you would direct them to?
Klaus Mager: Yeah, we have a YouTube channel. And the YouTube channel is called Climate Systems Solutions.
Jordan Nicholas: Beautiful. We'll drop a, we'll drop a link to that in the show notes if you if you text it to me.
Klaus Mager: Yeah.
Jordan Nicholas: Beautiful. All right. So Klaus what a conversation. That was that was intense and engaging and flew by. Anything else that you would like to insert or share or get into hearts and minds of interested people out there?
Klaus Mager: Yeah. No we live in interesting times, as my Chinese friends would say. It's stunning to think that our generation is actually the one that stands on the precipice of where humanity is going to go.
Jordan Nicholas: Yeah,
Klaus Mager: the time we have right now determines where humanity will be in 30 years, in 50 years, in 100 years.
And it could be going into any direction. And as loved to say, survival is optional. That's probably the best way to summarize where we are at this point.
Jordan Nicholas: yeah, it's so amazing this moment in history where the choices that we make over the next seven to 10 years compounded with the end breaking superpowers of technology and driven to the end of their logic ever more rapidly could create a future that's so much better than we could possibly imagine.
And then we could also look at how if we use all this in breaking technology and weaponize it to accelerate the rate at which we're correcting and exploiting each other in the earth, how we could create a quite a hellish situation that could take many generations to recover from. Yeah, it's I feel like it's our duty to be ringing the alarm bells as rapidly as possible.
Getting as united as we can in our understanding of where we're at and what the possibilities are and moving as rapidly as we can towards collective action to stabilize things in our own lives, our own families, our own bio regions and communities. And if we get enough people around the world doing that quick enough and supporting one another and exchanging wisdom and knowledge and infrastructure and technology.
We could turn this entire thing around in a, single generation. So that's the vision and hope. So please please join us. And if you're aware of. If interested people, resources, support that would be interested in this conversation please, share it and encourage them to follow along and to connect with Klauserei.
When Klaus gets back in six weeks or so, we'll be we'll be evaluating follow up actions. Klaus, if you're up for it, maybe we'll have another one of these conversations to hear about your, learnings over the next couple of months, and then talk more about next steps based on what materializes.
Klaus Mager: That sounds good.
Jordan Nicholas: right.
Klaus Mager: Alright.
Jordan Nicholas: Thank you, everybody. I appreciate it.