I'm suspicious of many things, including weather forecasts and bestselling diet books. But topping the list are capitalism and trying to solve problems that were caused by technology with more technology.
So I was eager to ask today's guest, Tyler Mayoras, some skeptical questions.
Tyler is CEO of Cool Beans, a company that makes some of the cleanest, healthiest, plant-based food around. Inspired to become vegan four years ago after reading about the damage animal agriculture was causing to the planet, Tyler struggled to find the time to make healthy, plant-based food for himself.
There were plenty of frozen convenience foods around, but none that targeted the growing health-conscious, plant-based consumer sector. So he put his money where his mouth was, and started a company to create such a line of products.
With three kinds of WFPB burritos in gluten-free wraps, Cool Beans went to market in May 2020 and is now in 900 stores. Convinced by the work of Will Bulsiewicz, MD, author of Fiber Fueled, about the importance of a wide variety of plant foods for gut health, each Cool Beans burrito contains at least 17 different plants.
But still, there's that whole capitalism thing. Can an investment-based company really do good without compromising its values in the marketplace? Can it provide returns to ordinary people, and not just continue to enrich the already-wealthy?
We talked about various financial instruments that can democratize, to some extent at least, access to early-stage investing. These include crowdfunding investing sites, and SPACs.
Tyler, in addition to being a CEO, is also an investor in many other food-related companies, including several involved in indoor agriculture.
Again, this makes me nervous. Given my desire to live in connection to the earth, what do we lose when we shift from fields to factories? Will geographic diversity be replaced by vast industrial monocultures, where every bite is a commodity?
Isn't this another case of overusing technology to solve another problem caused by technology – kind of like Elon Musk's plan to save us from the earth by moving us to Mars?
Perhaps. But what's missing from my analysis is just how bad the situation is right now. Between decades of land mismanagement, the drawdown of our aquifers, and the instability of the climate and consequent unpredictability of agricultural yields, we may need a big dose of indoor agriculture just to continue to feed us while we buy time to solve the underlying problems.
Indoor ag has certain advantages, Tyler explained, among them a much lower and more efficient water usage and local production and distribution, vs our current system of shipping almost all the produce sold in the US from California.
So listen in, see what you think, and share your comments at PlantYourself.com.
Fiber Fueled, by Will Bulsiewicz, MD
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New Audiobook: Use the Weight to Lose the Weight
Listen to Josh LaJaunie and me narrate our latest audiobook, about how to start moving when you're obese.
It's $10, and Josh and I split it evenly 🙂
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The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.
It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.
You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.
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