Over the course of 2019, we’d been having great conversations internally and with several of our partners about the food supply in general and, more specifically, about the future of meat. Given our founding and our focus, we care not only about trends in proteins and meat alternatives but also about large-scale issues like sustainability and biodiversity.
Those conversations, like the majority of our work, happened indoors: in front of a screen, at a trade show, in a breakout room at our partner’s headquarters. We find it helpful, when time and occasion allow, to remove physical barriers between us and the subject matter we focus on, physically immersing ourselves in what we’re strategizing, designing, and sharing with the marketplace—personal encounter is a powerful form of knowledge. It supplements, in a meaningful way, the research, testing, surveys, and other forms of secondhand data that we spend the majority of our time with.
So near the end of 2019, we sent our video team to Green Pastures Farm in Rucker, MO, to immerse themselves for a time in the world of Greg and Jan Judy, regenerative ranchers with a personal stake in the conversations we’d been having. Our goals were threefold:
To deepen our knowledge of the subject at hand. The future of the land, the animals, and the soil is a vital conversation that we need to keep having in the most thorough way possible.
To create a video for Greg and Jan that they could use to help tell their story.
To further awareness of the regenerative movement by sharing our experience, which we’re doing here.
Over the course of several days, we asked questions, we listened, and we observed, and we documented our time there through the camera and on the page, which we’re excited to be able to share with you below. In the end, we left with a deeper category of knowledge regarding this aspect of the food industry, and we brought back with us genuine awe and respect for people like Greg and Jan. We also returned with a renewed sense of gratitude that we get to spend time focusing on food, animals, and health and wellness.
Down below is the video we made for Greg and Jan, and leading into that are some photos and field notes from Creative Director + Photographer Crystal Buckey (thank you for letting us share these, Crystal), who is passionate about this conversation and about the people leading it:
“10.12.2019 | 7:10 pm
Dewy air. Sharp air. Sweet. Woody. Wild. The diversity and the natural progression of scent I encountered from the moment I stepped into the pitch black of the farm through sunset was an experience I hadn’t had since childhood. When I was tapped into my ecosystem. I could see, hear, and smell it: so complex, always evolving. Nature is always moving. If you listen, it talks back. Greg knows this. Greg is a pioneer; he was able to hear what the soil was telling him and he listened. And he acted. He radically changed the way he was living. Greg is healing the land.”
“10.13.2019 | 6:24 pm
It was beyond dark when we rose this morning. We had to be willing to stumble around to capture that five-minute window of blue light, that transition between worlds, the earth stretching in bed.
Eventually, we found Greg and his crew letting the cows into the next pasture. These cows were singing. They clearly have a deep affection for Greg. They know he feels the same for them. They love seeing his face. Even more, they love his voice, which leads them to a fresh patch of grass twice a day. Every single day. This is regenerative ranching: moving the cattle twice a day, feeding them grass and building the soil. It’s a natural cycle, a holistic approach to rebuilding organic matter and restoring biodiversity, helping, in the process, to reverse the effects of climate change.
Greg has enmeshed himself with nature. He is immersed. Working from within the natural cycle. What a gift to be part of this cycle for the last two days. And to be able to help tell this story. It matters.”
Storytelling is important. Whether you’re a startup CPG brand or a global ingredients player, we all know that story matters. What we always remind ourselves of is that the storyteller is as important as the subject matter. When the people behind the camera are engaged and passionate and growing in personal knowledge—when they’re immersed—then the story sings. The care and joy of the team carry out from behind the lens and into the real world.
To learn more about the mission of Green Pastures Farm and this segment of the food industry, visit their website here.
And for more reading on regenerative agriculture, here’s a small list of organizations to get you started.