Why Animals Are An Essential Part Of A Healthy Food System

We often hear the argument that in order to solve climate change we need to stop eating meat, but the truth is that animal agriculture done right is actually part of the solution. Human health is dependent on planetary health. A healthy planet coincides with healthy animals; when we look at the way public health and our climate have changed with the industrialization of agriculture, animals are a key focus. The methods used to raise meat can make or break our climate crisis and our health.

On today’s episode, I’m excited to talk to Robby Sansom and Taylor Collins about the nuances of regeneratively raised meat and how it can reverse climate change, support better health for those who eat it, and provide natural and caring conditions for the animals it involves. Our current U.S. food system is built to subsidize and support corn and soy farming. It makes it easier for big farms to get bigger while smaller farms have a difficult time making ends meet.

Robby explains the major issues in our food system and what he learned studying regenerative agriculture at ranches all over the world. He also shares how it differs from conventional and even organic farming practices. As Robby, Taylor, and I get into our conversation, we recognize how far removed we’ve become from food production–and death in general–and how that relates to consuming meat. I had the unique opportunity to visit ROAM Ranch and be a part of a Bison harvest. It was one of the most compelling and moving experiences of my life.

Taylor explains the importance of honoring the animal’s life, and discusses how the animal dies is just as important as how it lives. He also talks about the difference in the quality of nutrition between regeneratively grown bison and conventionally raised cattle. Much of the U.S. is made up of farmland, but that land has been systematically depleted, stripped of complex root systems and critical topsoil, causing nutrient depletion in the crops and animals.

We talk about why animal integration is a fundamental element of regenerative agriculture, and how different animals play different roles in regenerative grazing. We also get into the true cost of food. I’m not talking about the dollars and cents you are paying at the market; I’m talking about the benefit or burden that food has on your health, our environment, our climate, farmworkers, the economy, and so much more. One example is our loss of biodiversity.

Conventional farming practices like agricultural chemical inputs, over-tilling, nitrogen fertilizers, monoculture, deforestation, and more, contribute to a massive loss of biological diversity on the planet. This has major consequences for our food security, as we have less fertile soil, a decline in pollinators essential for food production, and other direct food losses like fish from polluted waterways. Regenerative agriculture is the answer to better food, a cleaner environment, and healthier people.

I hope you’ll tune in to learn more.

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