Skip to main content

tv   Earth Focus  LINKTV  August 28, 2016 2:30pm-4:01pm PDT

2:30 pm
mamaday on "eartrth focus, qu e new ways to grow in cities. growing fruit on trucks? this entrepreneur and filmmaker may be onto something. his film "truck farm" looks at innovative ways to grow food in cities.
2:31 pm
>> this is no orordinary route first posted barrier that keeps the roots out of your brain itit helps thehe water to drdra then you have a blanket and erosion blanket that keeps us all fromom washing away y and then you have some special special lightweight soil that gigives t the roots of place to play. truck farm is like a roof truck farmers like a roof but you cannot drive around in a roof # thehe inspiraration for the
2:32 pm
project was bornrn of necessity. i moved d to new yorork city, wd to h have a place to groww somef mymy own food,d, but did not hae any place e to do it. i took a gooood long l look at e ck of my a all dodge e pickup truckk and realized it was about the same size as a backyard garden beded. borrowing some technology from rooftop gardens, i me a truckk farm happed.d. .ost of us grow up in cicities the e majority o of the worlrlds population is an urbanan populatition. in the united states, we have long been for several generations s are predominantly urban peopople. what that means is that we grow up withohout an understanding of certain fundamental things that are -- that our grandparents or great grandparents have ten for grgranted -- where food d cs from, where water comes from. truck farms do one tiny little part of that, even by driving
2:33 pm
through the neighborhood or being parked on the side of the street. they are a visual remindnder t that food d comes m somewherere. it needs resources to survive, and needs healthy soil, rainwater, access to sunlight. itit has a back story. i think the more reminders we haveve that the stuff we c conse every day a actually has a back story, the more careful we will be about what we choose to buy. the decisionons will ripple back ththrough the economy to make evevery aspectct of our supply n and rfid systems more sustainable -- our supply chain and our food systems more sustainable. i think that truckckarms teachch ushahat to make the foodd itstsf sustainablee, maybe we need to inject somome amount of whimsy
2:34 pm
and out-of-the-box thinking into the way we are designing our system. i have seen truck farms get a much broader circle of young people interested in growing food than we might have otherwise. i think there is a lot of room for creativity and innovation. not long ago we launched a truck farm fleet where we encourage groups and individuals around the country in cities and counties all across the country to start their own truck farm, their own mobilele gardens, to educate young people about how fun and easy it is to grow their food. ththey have e been popping up everywherere. the fifirst summer of truck k fm fleeeets -- at the summemer we d 25 truck fararms and cities all acss the country. ththey are continuining to pop . the latest one that t over --
2:35 pm
emerged is oversrseas in paleststine. who o knows? may be able take fire internationally as well. we're making making our first delivery of truck farm produce to nutritionist who has paid $20 for descrcription. >> it isis very casual. i kind of let things do what they do. but it h has some interestingg food. it has, for example, blueberries. there is your truck farm. i once talked to her produce manager for one of the big food chains i icalifornia about howow lolong it took to get cacalifora toduce from a vegetable farm one e of the grorocery storerese neneighbororhood.
2:36 pm
he e explained that e whol thing was s out two o weeks. it in pick this and put your r refrigerator and keep itn your refrigerator,r, you can stl eat i it. it will be fine. from cannot keep produce california f for a week. it w wl be musushy. it is s much older and the nutritional quality wi h have dedeteriorated. the taste e is gone. broccoli from california does not taste anything like that or durable creature is going to taste. thank you. this is wonderful. it looks delicicious. you dodon't think ththat i can - oh, it i is good. >> the truck farm not the solution to our urban fofood prproblemsr globobal food problelems. it is our garden in a pickup truck. it was never meantnt to be a suggestion that everybybody shod abandon their farms and plant
2:37 pm
food and pickup p trucks or that evererybody in the city had a pickup truck filled with foods and everything would be ok. bubut i think t that truck farms teach us a f few things.s. food is fufundamental. we all have to he. -- wewe all hahave to eat. but it i is a window onto largrr issueses -- a window onto envivironmental l and social and politicacal issueses. by u understanding how we e eatd how we grow our food, we can understand a lot about what makes our world take, and through that, understand bebettr how w to promotete a more sustainablble future. the way wewe eat has a trememens ,mpact on the natural world and thereforore on the ability f future generationsns to survivi. if we can figure out a way to eat, we can not onlnly make our own liveves better andnd health, but we can figure out how to make the planet more sustainable in the long run. pre-k's #that's a lot of food you
2:38 pm
might t say how w much foodd do we r reallyd and how w much food d can we gr , mys geget down to the facts friend this is something we would all like to know there are 32 teeth in the human mouth and 20 feet of intestines forwater in niagara falls the 150,000 gallons per second the largest dinosaur with 200 tons only 75 on mars not every man drove a mustache ut people e like the smell off w cars my't's geget back to the facts friendnd this i is someththing we wouldll likeke to knowow the answs if we ed a lotf food we should grow at every place we go #
2:39 pm
. >> the p pject is l about king it possible r r new yoyorkerand d urbadwelle to ow food their artment year-round. themember looking at interior couourtyard o of my budiding, a six-x-story multifamily building that was just the central area where you leave all of your garbage. the whole area isis just cocoved with windowsws going all the way out of itt i remember taking a picture of it a and thinking, what if we were just growing food inside this unused space acko -- in thisis unused space? it is possible e for people too ararn much more about how plplas work and how to grow their own
2:40 pm
fofood and j just buildingng upr own confidence, babasically, abt our ability to survive on our own. -- - ndnd that >> i thinknk it was very surprising and instructive to think critically about urban agriculture and question whether truck farming or rooftopop gardening or vacant lot farming or window farmg, grgring foodd on boatsts, whetheher this is sd ididea or not. few off these farmerers were suggesting g that thesese were the solutionsns t r glglobal food d problems. but itit was still hpfpful to sy
2:41 pm
, becausere we doing this it sheds a lot of light onon wht we need to in cities. a lot of people are growing food in cities because they miss working with their hands, and they also miss the taste of freshly grown n food.. on a larger scale i think a lot of people are growing g food in cities because we like t the ida of being able to live in n a vibrant social e environment but not be totalally divorced from e natural world. farmers are all part of this project to figure out what cities of the future could and should look like. ## a family of u unusual farms truck farms as a family now my lonelinesess is gone e and my
2:42 pm
vegetables are here and soon we will be planting #gain >> truck and window farms provide heaealthy produce, but the needs of growing urban areas will also require large- scale sustainable solutions. tagonnweden, thehe ceo of planan is plantining a new seed for agagriculture. will construct a cuttining-edge genhouseo oduce morore od usisi less space, to deliviver fresh p proe a lower cocost by markrketing didirectly to o consumerss, ando embody a new business model, one that makes money whihile doing good..
2:43 pm
plantagon and her nationall is new concept. what i is it wacacko - what is it? >> we are trying to figure out how to feed the megacities of the world. we have many reasons , lalarge-scale, inside o our cities, and we want to be part off thehe development of solutions to do that. we believe we will have three different problems to feed people living inside the city. one is the vast geographical sprawl of the cities. 42,050, most scientists agree that 80% of people will livee inside cities. alreadady today, we e are reducg 80% of the e arable lanand thate
2:44 pm
have for the wholele town. ifif you put these developining curves together and you easily realize that what w will happpps that we have to grow f food, lae-e-scale.. the cityty is a densnse environ. the land i is really expensive.. if you w want to grow things i n the cicity, y you have to goo vertrtical, and to go vevertical yoyou ha t to develop p tactical solutions.s. crack vertitical farmining, how doeot workrk? how much global area you can get out of the building. growing things vertical ali make sense if you donon't t have enoh land wherere you want to grow yr food. the way that we e solve itit is frfrom building, constructing a bubuilng where you don't t work withthorizontal stories. steaead we have an open cotrucucti usingng a h helical
2:45 pm
shapape, , but much - -- which s much more sunlight into the core of the building. then we have a logistics system fofor how to move our crops at e same timime as thehey grow insne vertrtical building. >> when n will the plantntagon begin producining and what willt produce? 2013.the end of depends on the local authoritiess. we are ready to starart building at this s stage. we will have a p production of 3000 to 50500 tons every year. onhahat building, , thfootprintt on t the ground is 400 sququare meteters. thatat is s thwhole poinint of g things v vercal. on the footprint o on the ground of 400 square meters, that is like a normal garden that you have y your house. we produce 500 tons of food every year. inwill be goioing back k troy -
2:46 pm
the dirty city environmentnt you need to grow this s in a closesd system, or a at least a a semi- closed s system. that means t that you have to have peoeoe gogoin intnto the syemem as he possibly could to protect this from beingg - -- havingng to use pesticidedes and otother thingsgs. what w we and everyone elelse is developing is consistent -- like eveverything goes around. you plant at the same place as you harvest. that means that t the whwhole is muchch morene efficient ththan if you would do this on freelance, because y you move things around. here you are actually moving the field that you are growing on. instead of m moving people and mamachines, you move the thingss that arere growing. that meaeans it gets much less
2:47 pm
labor-intensive. thisis is bothth good and bad, becacause you take work opportunities awaway in one sen. on thehe other hanand, if you 't competee, you donon't didisturbe markrkets and their jobs.. .nd you create new jobobs also o opening upp foror a sortf new peoplele becoming g foreigis ---- bececoming farmers. if you wou ask my chilildren if it be coolol to become a fararmi think theyey would say no. if you asked them if they w woud be i interested to work inin ths kikind of highgh-tech, futurisic buildingngs that are produducin, they might verery well say yes. and one of our main work, this is the main reason for that, to get young people interested in becoming farmers. normal l green a specialist, it is much less
2:48 pm
exexpensive to build a normal greenhouse. on the other hand, to run a normal genenhouse isis much more expense ththan to rurun one of hours. ,he lifecyclcle of one of hourss real eststate where you can grgw foodod at the e same time. the greenhouse -- you build them, you take them away a after 20 a and at thee most 30 y yeart then youou build a a new o one. we a are rationalizing an n old industry a and making g like a .econd-g-generation rain housuse -- greenhouse. when you do things like this, when you industrialize an old system, you have higher investment and lower cososts at the end. is about fivetime yeyears on the whole building. the business case for this is really really good. you also have to remember that the cost of a tomato -- if you
2:49 pm
buy a tomato at the grocery is cost oft 60% transportation in thehe store selling the tomato. we have takenn all the way. -- all that away.. it has m much less c costs at te end fofor our saleles. >> meeting tomorrow's food needs beyond cities. rainfall patterns are lessss predtatable tree providing fofod to growing numbers of f people becomes increasingly challenging. scientists at penn state university, working with the national science foundation, may have thehe answer. they are finding ways to adapt plans to stressful conditions like lack of water. we are in your greenhouse.. it is part of your research laboratory system. what is going on here? we're doing here is
2:50 pm
growing g plants undnder stresss conditioions. looks like theit third world, developing countries.s. people c cannot afford to irrige and fertilize their crops. is moren hungrgry people hungry people than we have ever had in the history of our species.s. the afaffected challenge ourur speciess and it will be unprecedented,d, which is how do you sustainably feed aa populatition of 9 9 billion or 0 millllion? most people cannnnot affordd fertilizerss and irrigatation, o the crorops have toto deal withh fertilitity and drouought. drouought is problem in countries like the u.s. we are trying g to understand hw to get plas s to adapt t to thee conditions and grow together despite the stresses. >> howow can you grow cropss without t nutrients s and water? willif you wantnt a plant that
2:51 pm
do well under drought conditions or soilils, you needo go to a systemem. scientists have known this for many years.. it is importrtt for gettining water. but what exaxactly is it about roots that is most important? what is the difference betweweea goodod root system and patatent systst? -- and bad root syststem? one of thehe main components of the system is havivi good architecture, meaning the shapee ofof the system, where it is in the soil. ththe main backbone routes of te root system of the main structural, architectural scaffofolding of the roosysystem fromom which the lateral roots and d all the finer rtsts emerg. they can be shallow going out of the topsoil oror they can n be . surprisinglyly, this is the kind of thing that, in r retrospect,s
2:52 pm
onon had -- is odd that it had t been done before. --ds that had shallow roots planants that had shallow w roos wewere much big -- betttter at pipicking up the roots in the topsoil. pets with deep roots are much bett a at picking g up water tre there is a trade-off here. at the st of reduduced water acquisition, renewewed drought tolerance. we had a student show w that in the field d in honduras. significant growth advantage under low phosphorus. deep-rooted plants, you have increased drougught tolencnce. in hononras and other countries, ththeyave wiwi drought and low lt ferility. >> other sectedombine both ststems ar to thsurface? >>e think we haveiscovedd
2:53 pm
trtrait that wld help get shallow and deep. we are working onon a couple mo. ththe ways we can combinine topl foragingng. this is exactly why thehe reseah is needed. nobody knows the answer to your question. nobody knows if we can do apapplied if we can -- anand plt that can d do both welell. theyey have to b be verifieded h actual plalants in the field. we t think we hahave some -- - k we have some solutions. by t trying to develop plans to put roroots where the goodies ae , that is how we are goioing to improve crop production in these environments. but in these poor countrtries, people may not be literate, may not have access to government services, may not have much moy or capability to do some sort of new farming system or
2:54 pm
machinery. one thing they can do is plant a new seed. they are planting seeds now and if you give them better seats, this might get significantly food. that is an imporortant improvemt there. in the u.s., if we had corn plants that neneed less fertilizerer, we can reduce thee cost for amemerican farmers and reduce thehe environmentntal im. >> how far off is the en relt? >> there a varieti being grown daday in rica, as america, , that have e better r, betterer yields. that is happenening today. double and tririple the yields without fertililizer, justst by selelecting for r the better nutrients. whenen wlook at ththe lines with ththe g good root traits for nitrogen and water acquisition, we are talalking a three to four fold increase in yield under droughght.
2:55 pm
in a s study published last yey, we hadadn eightfolold increase. that was eight times more aled without water. instead of putting on more fertrtilizers and wawater, we ae just selecting foror a better seed. by h having a tter root sysyste, we can have muchch better crop. i think k the impactct is goingo contininue. the overall picture is that we are really coming up with -- against biological lits of what we can dodo. you cannot j just assume that we will be able to continue making on moretilizer, putting irrigation s systems. therere are plenty of reresourcs to go around. we can't make progress t this proboblem. ---- we can make progress on ths problem. is not gogoing to take some kikind of magic tecechnology tht hahas not beenen invented yet. we can use this usingng conventional plant brbreeding ad common sense.
2:56 pm
[captionons made possisible by t televivision]
2:57 pm
2:58 pm
2:59 pm
3:00 pm
announcer: this is a production of china central television america. woman: as the global population grows, the challenge to end hunger only deepens. the u.n. world food program wants to wipe out global hunger by 2030, but can it be done? this week on "full frame," we look at someme of the innonovate and perhaps a little unconventional ideas for eradicating hunger around the world once and foror all. i'm m may lee in losos angelese. let's take it "full frame."
3:01 pm
in 2012, 5 mba students began developing an idea to address food insecurity in the world's urban slums, but it might seem a little unconventioional to yo. it's insect farming. but guess what? not only did their idea win the world's most prestigious social enterprise competitionon, they beat out 10,000 other competitors and wewere presented the $1 million hult prizize by former u.s. president bill clinton. now,w, since winning the award, two of those stutudents, mohohad ashour and gabe mott, have launched aspire food group. it's s a soal e entprisee focuseon farmi edible incts. ititas operaons inexexico, ghana, andhehe u.s take a lk.k. woman: this type of farming can be done anywhere in ghana. and especially the rural folks, they need this farmingng to supplementnt their income anand then to have protein in their diets.
3:02 pm
man: it is an alternative way of giving people continuous livelihood and also raising their standard of living because they are making money.y. may: now, compared to livestock, insects require far less resources s to convert the same amount of protein. less farmland, less water, and emit far fewer greenhouse gases. joining us now to share their vision of providing economically challenged and malnourished populations with high proteinin sustainable food solutions are mohammed ashour and gabe mott. guys, welcome to the show. mohammed: thank you. it's exciting to be here. gabe: thanks, may. may: and it's so fascinating what you guys are up to. mohammed, it's not every day you hear about insect farming. right? so, why did you guys even decide to do this? what--where did this idea even come from? mohammed: yeah. so, actually, i mean--so, we were all in the mba program at mcgill university, and in maybe the first two months of the program, a friend reached out to me on linkedin saying, "mohammed, i know you're into these kind of things. check this thing out called the
3:03 pm
hult prize." and i went on the web site and saw that this was an interesting call to action that bill clinton in conjunction with the hult international business school put out to teams from around the world. and evevery year, there's a different challenge. in that year, 2013, the challenge is food and security in urban slums. how do you come up with a business that is for profit which, at its very core, solves... may: and that's important. mohammed: it's important. and that's to avoid the, sort of, one life cycle of charity, to create that perpetual sustainability. and that was very attractive from both the business perspective and also for most of our backgrounds. may: but here's where i'm curious. so, why insect farming? because, again, you know, in certain parts of the world, it's not a big deal, right? consuming insects, but to you, here, you're living in the states and you're going to school, insect farming, wow. gabe, i mean, you know, did that seem foreign to you at the time when you were tackling this? gabe: yes. absolutely. i--i'll be fully honest. mohammed, actually, i mean, not
3:04 pm
only did he form the team and originally hear about the hult prize, we spent 3 months, two, 3 months trying to sort out the different options and different solutions. we came up with a lot of good ideas, but we were low on spectacular ideas. and we knew the caliber of the competition that was gonna be there. we knew it just had to be an extraordinary idea. and then, mohammed, i think you were talking to a friend of yours who's a physician. and he had had a patient recently who had complained about stomach issues, and when he was doing his examination, she told him that he--she had eaten insects. so, the doctor assumed that it was the insects that had caused the illness and the patient's like, "obviously not. i've been eating them my entire life." may: oh, wow. gabe: and so mohammed's friend mentntioned this to mohammed. mohammed brought it back to the team, and then after a little consideration, we recognized that this s was an idea that we e could really run with. yeah. may: wow. mohammed: right. and to add to that, i mean, we know that 80% of the world's countries have a history of eating insects. that's the vast majority of the world. so, in fact, while it's
3:05 pm
certainly not conventional that insects are consumed in the united states or in canada or some parts of europe, that's actually the exception and not the rule. and, of course, every country has a different history and a culture behind specific insects. so, if you go to mexico, for example, in the southern state of oaxaca, people are--have a very strong and, sort of, cherished interest in eating grasshoppers, but that doesn't translate to every other insect. so, people might say, "look, i love eating grasshoppers, but, you know, silkworms, that's strange." and in a different country, it's different. may: exactly. but let's ta a about the f fact that insects, like you said, 80% of the world, you know, actually consumes them. and the protein, the nutritional value of insects is pretty extraordinary. i said briefly in that intro that it's equivalent to other conventional animal protein, so, tell me a little bit about the nutritional benefits of insects. mohammed: absolutely. so we--obviously, because we all grew up in a part of the world where insect consumption isn'n't a prevalent thing, we wanted to understand, what's the appeal here? why do people enjoy eating insects? and the taste was up there, but then we noticed that the
3:06 pm
nutrition was extraordinary. if you look at 100 grams of cricket protein, for example, and you compare it to 100 grams of beef, both dry weight, crickets have almost 70% protein by weight, which is extraordinary when you compare it to many other conventional forms, and we're talking about in a-a--in a almost unprocesseded . may: huhuh. mohammed: and d not only is the protein content high, , which is impressive, ththe iron content s impressive as well. and much higher than you would find in other conventional forms of livestock. gabe: it's 6 times that of beef. mohammed: yup. may: 6 times? gabe: 6 times, which, actually, it makes--there are a lot of different situations where you can see e different insects beig really therapeutic foods, right? they can actually be used to address--we suspect at least that they can be used to address medical issues. mamay: really? gabe: so, for example, in southern mexico, there are major issues with anemia in the rural populations. they eat some grasshoppers, but grasshoppers are obviously incredibly expensive, right? i mean... may: oh, are they? i didn't... gabe: yeah. may: i didn't know that.
3:07 pm
gabe: yeah. if--anywhere you go, anywhere we've been in the world, where if you find insects in a market, they cost more than beef and chicken. may: no kidding. gabe: so, insects are, they are, without exception, a premium food everywhere. mohammed: and the question is, why is that? may: yeah, exactly. why? mohammed: if they're--if they're so resource-efficient, et cetera, et cetera, it makes very little sense. well, the reason is because insects are seasonal. so, they're only available for a few months out of the year, and when they are available, you have to hand- harvest them. may: i see. mohammed: you know, so, managing a cow is significantly easier than catching a thousand grasshoppers... may: didn't think about it that way. mohammed: on a field. may: because you think--i mean, we'll get into this because obviously that's why you want insect farms because you can grow them around--year round. mohammed: absolutely. may: right? so, i know that you're getting into that, or you've already started that concept, right, of insect farming. tell me a little bit about where you're doing it and how you're doing it. gabe: yup. sure. may: gabe? gabe: yeah. so, we have--we have an insect farm in ghana in west africa, and in austin, texas because when you think austin--insect farming, you think austin, texas, right?
3:08 pm
may: of--i--yes, definitely. ha ha ha! gabe: well, austin has this motto, "keep austin weird." so, we're trying to fit right in. may: oh, that's great. gabe: yeah. may: ok. and so, how is that going? and is it--i mean, what are the challenges in actually farming insects? gabe: i mean, there are a lot of challenges, but it's--yeah, it's an exciting process. so, if you think about conventiononal livestock farmin, it's been donone for hundreds to thousands of years depending on how you want to count it, and on an--in--on an institutional level, people have been doing industrialized livestock farming for quite a while. and so, they've iterated, they've developed a lot of techniques, and they've become very, very efficient. now, nobody's put the time and effort in to do this with insects yet, and as we start to do this, we recognize that, yeah, if you bring commercial processes to insect farming, you can improve the scale and you can get yields that are far superior... may: and all this would bring the cost down, too. gabe: of course. may: r right? gabe: yeah. may: and let's not forget the environmental benefits of
3:09 pm
consuming insects and growing insects because it's not--it doesn't have the greenhouse gas emissions. it doesn't use as much water. everything that i talked about in, again, in the intro. so, how can that make an impact as well if the world starts consuming more insects? mohammed: absolutely. and, actually, that's precisely why we ended up setting up a facility in austin, texas. remember, we started off focusing on emerging markets, developing countries where issues like iron and iron deficiency, anemia, protein energy, malnutrition are prevalent. but then you realize that california has a drought. you realize that austin... may: yes, we do, yeah. mohammed: in the state of texas is also in perpetual very difficult water shortage problem. and that, i'm not gonna say is entirely, but certainly largely due to heavy water consumption in a lot of the livestock industry application. may: and the feed... mohammed: and d the feed. absolutely. and so, from our perspective, this is an objectively superior sourcrce of food, not just from its nutritional footprint and what can it do for the human body. we know all sorts of research now about red meat and how you should moderate your
3:10 pm
consumption of it because of other various, sort of, health consequences from overconsuming red meat, but there's the environmental component. now you're looking at the footprint of your food. how much water resources has it consumed, how much energy, how much land, and what are the emissions looking like. and that's where insect farming becomes extremely attractive, so. may: well, i was just gonna say you brought some samples and you mentioned the powder. tell me about what that is and the advantages of using that kind of powder. it's a cricket-based powder? ok. gabe: yeah, it's not even cricket-based. it's just cricket puree. may: it's just fully cricket. gabe: just cricket. just cricket. yeah, so, you just roast them up, grind them, and you get this high protein, high nutrient, high iron powder that you can use as a supplement in your--in your cooking, in your foods, and just put into anything you want to cook with it. you want to put it into something sweet, you can. if you want to do a high protein, high iron pasta, you can do that, too. may: and you don't have the actual cricket, like, staring at you while you're eating it. mohammed: right. and i think--i think the other component here as well is education.
3:11 pm
i think--i think it's important for us to recognize that with any novel food entering into a market, there has to be some patience in terms of there being a synergy between market readiness and consumer readiness. may: yeah. mohammed: and for us, we take a, you know, we take a lesson from the chapter of sushi or other kinds of foods that, you know, in the past, not the very distant past, were unconceivable mainstream sources of protein or food. and, today, of course, are so conventional that nobody thinks twice about their origin or how they even penetrated the mainstream. and so, from our perspective, there is both working in tandem with the consumer, understanding what is it that consumers really care about for cricket protein. at this point, for example, we've done tons of consumer surveys throughout, you know, north america. and in particular, canada and the united states. and we're finding that a lot of people are interested in the function of the protein. there's a ton of functional eaters out there. people who--it doesn't--they look at food really as fuel. may: as fuel, yeah. mohammed: and it depends, and if they can get a higher performance out of that food,
3:12 pm
it doesn't matter what it is, they're gonna eat it. then you have people who are very focused on, you know, taste, and then you start working with chefs to create culinary, you know, inventions and different ways that you can use this as an ingredient in appetizing, you know, dishes. and then there's people who really care about the social impact. and what's particularly interesting, and gabe can probably comment about this even more because he's a vegetarian, is we're even finding certain communities, even within the vegetarian community, people who actually find this to be an interesting protein alternative. because it doesn't--it--while it may be considered an animal protein, it doesn't carry the ethical and, sort of, ecological concerns that a lot of vegetarians, you know, who have those kinds of concerns. may: conventional animal... mohammed: absolutely. so, understanding the consumer and what the consumer desires and understanding that this is a product that is new to the market, that there is some education required, is also crucial in order to really make sure that it's not a gimmick, but that it is something that is seen
3:13 pm
as a food source. and with a planet that is growing as rapidly as ours is, that is urbanizing rapidly, that is seeing a shortage of, you know, arable land and that is gonna have nearly 9 billion people, we're not gonna be able to continue to feed the whole world using beef and using chicken. we're gonna need new alternatives. so, in some sense, people have to gracefully embrace this as just a part of the world. may: no, i like that comparison to sushi because it's true. that stigma that originally was there, i mean, it's non-existent, so, you do see a future where people aren't even gonna give it a second thought. mohammed: absolutely. may: right? what kind of impact do you hope that aspire foods is gonna have? because this is obviously a project that started by just with this competition, but now you definitely see that there's some legs here. well, ok, i didn't mean that. well, ok, i said it. mohammed: it's ok. you're not--we're not bugged by it. it's fine. [laughter] may: ok. getting back on topic. but, yeah, there's a future. gabe: yeah, there is a future. and i think the impact we're
3:14 pm
looking at differs depending on the country that we're looking , , righ so,o, i thk k in gna, , w'rere seeing auguge upke i in e communitwhwhere oplele love t insects we grow lmlm weels i in ana. people le e palmeevivils the'reelicicio. ma telell what t ose are. i...wawas reing g abt thatatnd i was like, hahat arthese?" ga: sure. palm weevil is a beetle. it's acalally aest t th causes damaginin pal plantitions. but people e t the lval l ste and theyook likethey loo ke magts the se of your umb. y: yummy gabe: t i... may: ok,eah. gabe: soit'-i mea that's a ha x factor get b may:ight. gabe: buthey werone e of t rst t inses i ever ate, d it was a ruggle f me, escially hing been vegetari for so ny years may:k. gabebut they're dicious. may: reay? gabe: th really-hey're like--think th're in my top may: doeit tas like chicke gabe: ah. no. . it's sortf got calamari teure, buthey' sweet-ish. the're like--ty'reeally quititnice. may:eally? o gabe: i rely like em. y: andhat'a good proin source tt is reliablend susinable. mommed: solutely.
3:15 pm
and i thk from aimpact perspeive, i mn, younow, we talk out us ling in a rld now ere peop are so infoed, peop are so, y know, la year, o of the p 10 tres in food llennials. 90of milleials pollenow readabels onhe back their pructs. anwe live a wor where peop reallcare abouthe "w" behind company, anin oudna, st of, th"why" behind aire ise refuse to live in world ere foodnd nutritioinsecuri aboun d we havthe aucity, th ills, thpassion,ngenuity relliousss, and coitment to excelnce to dsomethg abouit. inact, tho words ell out pire and. y: oh, ne. i lo that. mohammed: ah. and e of thehings we envisions reallyvoiding e charity model in the sense of we want to, you know, produce this food and just feed people. that's great. that's a phenomenal first step. but even better than that is empowering those communities to produce their own food. so, w do we take this technolo, , how we e silify
3:16 pm
it, d d thenecononstct it,t, and then pacgege it,nd t the prove it to individu farmers r ruralhanana, ich we' a alrea done. and enable them, with very minimal training, even if they're completely illiterate, to actually start producing this source of food for their own subsistenc may: rightanand behe s supplier. mohammed: sosolute. and w'reindiding ripplpl effe t that's s betiful in terms of impt t we ner envisioned. so, anher exame, the o of the biggest problems in slums in parts of the world where people are earning a couple of dollars a day is that you have this crowding. you have 7 people living in less than 100 square feet. and the worst part is, it's one thing to be retired in, you know, a developed, you know, nation or civilization where you kind of feel useless, you kind of feel that your contribution to society is limited. it's entirely a new level of devastation when you're a senior and an elder living in a home where you really are an extra mouth to feed. and you're doing very little to attach your family. so, what's really cool is that in ghana, more than 50% of our farmers are tutuallyboveve t age of5.5. may:uhuh? wo mohamm: : and , nonot ly iss
3:17 pm
this givinththem sethihingo do in their fe e timeecauauset' very eastoto do, it's nomamanualaboror-iensive whatevever. now they a actualldirectly feedinththe faly a andort ofof recapturing atat rolas t the elder in t f familwho'o's reallyrorovidi in n a significant d d dire way. may: ok.e need ttry so of thstuff th you bught in. so, herere the cckets, righ mohammed: mm-hmm. may: and i'm just gonna pick one up so, you know, we can just take a look. so, it's a pretty small little cricket. and how is this prepared? gabe: so, that cricket is just a straight roasted cricket, so... may: roasted? ok. gabe: so--yeah. so, if you look in mexico, say, where grasshoppers are part of the culinary traditions, they'll roast them with lime and garlic. or they'll roast them with chilies and they're nicely flavored. these, we sell the people to add to their cooking as they wish, so, these come unflavored. so you're--this is--this is a roasted cricket. yeah. may: see, i've had cricket before. i actually really like them. because they're very crunchy.
3:18 pm
mohammed: they are. may: yeah. mohammed: and it's a great garnish that you can add to a salad. you can actually, you know--in fact, in mexico usually outside of soccer stadiums in the state of oaxaca, this is a popcorn substitute. may: oh, my god. yeah. mohammed: that people literally will just pop back and think about it, the e protein contents excellent. may:y: no. totally, you'u're geg the bebenefi of the e protein. so, itit's like a bag of nuts or something. now, this, the chocolate that you brought, has the powder in it, right? mohammed: right. may: so, mohammed, can you pass me that plate so i can try that? mohammed: absolutely. yes. may: chocolate, anything, i'll eat it. i mean, chocolate-covered rocks i would eat, so, yeah. mohammed: yeah. and this is actually made by one of the--what is considered one of the top 10 chocolatiers in the united states. based in austin, delysia, and they focus on really ultra-premium gourmet chocolates. they're handmade. it's really quite something. and that's actually using the cricket flour, so, take that and then grind into a very fine flour that can then be used as a--as a ingredient to any product. may: so, this a really healthy chocolate bar. mohammed: that's a superfood chocolate. and it doesn't...
3:19 pm
may: that's awesome. mohammed: and it doesn't--and it doesn't have--so, now you're having chocolate without the guilt and without that chalky protein bar kind of, you know, texture that makes you very unhappy with this. may: honestly, it's delicious. and i'm not just saying that. it is like a really good quality chocolate. i mean, i don't taste the powder, but i guess that's meant to be that way, right? you don't really taste it. mohammed: right. may: so, this--ok. so, a babar of this chocolate would be the equivalent of what in terms of protein content, do you think? mohammed: so, depending on the size, it could have anywhere up to 10 to 15 grams of protein. may: wow. mohammed: so, you're talking about a bar that's competitive with protein bars that are out there, but at the same time has the taste and deliciousness of being chocolate. and what's interesting is, i mean, obviously here on the table you have two products that i would say this represents the gateway product to a current consumer today. this is something you will see 5 years from now when you walk into a restaurant as sort of a--an appetizer or salad that is offered before people consume, so, in some sense this, you know, we certainly
3:20 pm
don't expect, although it would be delightful to see consumers rushing to purchase, you know, whole roasted crickets and they can consume them right away, but once you try it in flour form and once you sort of accept the ingredient, it doesn't matter in which form you consume it from that point onwards. may: slowly but surely, people will adapt to it. so, so cool. mohammed: thank you. may: thank you both for being here. it was fascinating learning about your idea and your business and good luck to both of you. mohammed: thank you so much. may: with aspire foods. it's amazing. mohammed: thank you so much. may: all right. well, coming up next, a look at food options beyond meat. we'll be right back. well, see this delicious-looking beef burrito here? well, believe it or not, it's completely meat-free. the plant-based protein in this burrito is manufactured by beyond meat, a business recognized by fast compapany as
3:21 pm
one of 2014's most innovative companieies. ethan brown, beyond meat's foder and o, belies that producing protein is the most important environmental question facing our society today and that replicating animal proteins with plants is part of the solution. a vegetarian since he was 18, brown is the first to acknowledge e that we humans are wired toto crave and enjoy meat, so, he set out to mimic the taste and texture of beef and chicken. ethan, welcome to the show. ethan: thank you for having me. may: this looks great. we're actually gonna try some later, right? ethan: yup. may: but listen, you grew up on a farm, right? the backstory is very interesting with you. so, you were surrounded by animals, farm animals, all that. so, how did a guy who grew up in a farm probably eating meat... ethan: right. may: all of a sudden go this way? ethan: right, right. so, i actually-- so, i had a lot of exposure to a farm growing up and i grew up in the city and my dad had a hobby farm... may: ok. ethan: we would go to on the weekends and summers. and it was supposed to be a place to just go and relax and
3:22 pm
recreate, but he ended up creating a 100 holstein cattle operation, and so, we had dairy cattle. and, you know, so, i was exposed early to animal agriculture and the enormous amount of resources required to produce, in that case, milk from cows. but the principle certainly translates to meat production as well. and so, seeing that firsthand, i think it made an impression on me. may: ok. but something must have--something must have happened, though, at some point where you thought the connection to these animals and then you eating them... ethan: sure. so, i think... may: was not right. ethan: for me, the observation was, i always tried to look at the animals that we kept in our home, and then the animals that were used in the broader economy for food, and i could never tell the difference between one versus the other in a way that was significant enough to pamper one and slaughter the other. may: there is a cartoon that i love. it shows a dog and a cat talking to all these different cattle, and cows, and chickens, and saying, you know, they take care of us. we live with them.
3:23 pm
and they feed us and they love us. and all these animals are like, wow, that's amazing. so, that's--that was the point for you. ethan: for sure. for sure. that was the initial thing. and then, if you start to take a step back and look at the food system we have, it really became--i look at 4 different factors. and i looked at, you know, one being human health and heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and the relation between those chronic diseases and disease epidemics and processed meat consumption. then you look at resource use and you look at the--for example, water here in california. the amount of water we use to create a hamburger as an example... may: and people don't realize how much water it takes. it's not just the water that is fed to the catattle and the dairy cows. it's the water that's used to grow the crops to feed these animals. ethan: so, i had an amusing moment along those lines. i was at a restaurant recently where we live and which is in southern california and they were no longer serving water. they were saying you have to ask for it instead of being
3:24 pm
given to, right? and then i opened up the menu and it was full of hamburgers and steak. so, i said, "ok. people aren't focusing on the right thing." may: that's right. that's right. well, but you do admit, and this is often brought up, that we're built, our dna is built to actually want meat. to eat meat. so, how do you go about changing someone's dna if that's what they actually crave? ethan: so, the thing about meat is it's absolutely fascinating, our relationship to meat, right? it's--the value that we--that we ascribe to meat is far greater than its nutritional value. and it's because it's so much part of our culture, it's part of our religions, it's part of our history and evolution. and so, it's important to recognize that, it's important--you know, i don't think you can build a great brand by saying, don't eat something you love. it's much better to say, i'm gonna help you eat something you love, which in this case we're saying, we're not telling you not t to eat meat, we're saying we're going to create a piece of meat directly from plantsts. and from a science perspective, what's so fasascinatingng about, that's possible. you can actually do that. you can understand what the compososition of meat is and inn our case, we look at it and we say, it's ok. it's a--it's a basic set of things.
3:25 pm
it's amino acid, it's lipids, it's carbohydrates, it's minerals, and it's water. and it's predominantly those amino acids, and lipids, and water, right? and so, you can find all those in the plant kingdom and you can understand the architecture of meat. we can put a--we put a chicken breast on an mri, you can open up a textbook and understand how the fat is distributed, how the water is distributed, how the protein is distributed, so, we can do all those things and we can create this piece of meat directly from plants. if you were to go back to business school and say, i want to take a basic operations class, the first thing they would teach you in operations class is to remove the bottleneck from the production system. yet if you look at our global fofood supply, we run enormous amount of energy and resources through a really inefficient bottleneck, which is the animal. the animal is essentially at this point a bioreactor that creates meat from putting in plant matter and energy. we can do that better. and the history of technology and innovation is asking that question, how can i do this better? and we found a way at our company to do that. may: so, let's talk about how you went about creating your beyond meat products. you said you actually looked at a chicken breast under mri to
3:26 pm
see the composition of it. so, pretty much your product is composed in exactly the same way that meat is, it's just using the plant proteins rather than the meat. ethan: yeah. and i think-- i think it's important to recognize that, you know, that what we're trying--so, humans have been consuming meat for almost a million years, right? and even longer, certain species, and so it's--you know, this is a long process. we're not gonna get there overnight. the products we have in the market today are very good and they fooled a number of people. mark bittman, alton brown, et cetera, have all said these are great products. may: yeah. and these are well-known culinary experts. ethan: yeah. exactly. may: that you fooled. yeah. ethan: and so, whole foods were for 3 days in northeast united states mixed up our products in their prepared food section and served chicken--actual animal chicken as our product and our product as animal chicken in a chicken salad. may: did they do that on purpose or was that accidental? ethan: they made a mistake. may: oh, no! ethan: yeah. yeah. so, it was--it was covered in the paper at the time. but i think that the important thing is those were in dishes, and what we need to get to is
3:27 pm
the point where this product on a standalone basis, it's indistinguishable from its animal protein equivalent. and that takes a lot of investment. we spent millions of dollars to create new versions of each of our products. and those will be e released, yu know, year a after year to thehe point where we get it to where the consumer would say, "ok. this is completely indistinguishable. i can use this in any dish and not use animalal protein." may: b because you know the bad reputation that fake meat has had in the past is that it tastes like fake meat. right? it's rubbery or the texture is weird. right? so, people were very turned off by it, so, clearly, you've tapped into what it takes to make it seem very, very authentic. ethan: i think what you have to recognize about meat is meat tastes great. you know, it's satiating. may: well, see--ok. i have--full disclosure, full disclosure, everyone. i don't eat meat. so, this is actually a great segment for me because i don't actually like meat, but it's interesting to, you know, hear from you that people who love meat are being convinced of this as well. ethan: well, i think there's something--and we talked about, you know, what are the factors that are driving it? and if you look at, you know, almost every day now there's
3:28 pm
some new study that comes out that says that there's association between meat consumption and disease. or you look at the resources we talked about. climate change is one that's really fascinating to me. so, i worked for a long titime on fuel cells and for a fuel cell company. i did business development for them. and if you--if you--and we were spending--we spent a billion dollarars developing fuel cecel, right? if you put that amount of money into creating a piece of meat from plants, you'd have it almost, you know, tomorrow, right? and so, i think you have to think about what's the--what's the total impact of your actions. and so, there was a study done in 2009 by two scientists. they looked at all of the emissions associated with raising livestock for protein and for food. they found that 51% of greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to livestock, so that's... may: 51%? ethan: more than automotive, right? more than stationary power plants. so, i said, what am i focusing on? let me go focus on the right thing, right? and so--and what's really cool about this is it's not--if you actually look at how those numbers put together, one of the--one major contributor is
3:29 pm
the fact that all animals are breathing, and when they breathe, thehey're emitting carbon. may: right. right. yup. ethan: there used to be a huge carbon sinink to absorb that i n terms of forest. those forests are being diminished, so, you have this kind of disequilibrium that's... may: yes. yeah. so, we're in the negative when it comes to that. i know that you've had some intererest from some pretty high-profile people. one of them being bill gates. ethan: yeah. may: but there's a funny story about the fact that he was a little bit hesitant in terms of...the concept-- he loved the concept of it. he didn't like the actual execution for himself, right? ethan: so, he--first, it's a blessing to have him involved. may: yeah. ethan: and i think, you know, what he was drawn to is he was obviously someone who's disrupted a major industry and changed the way people communicate. and he was very interested in disrupting the protein space and providing particularly a low-cost protein solution for global hunger, right? and so, you know, as we grow, we are very much looking
3:30 pm
at the chinese market, at the indian market, africa, et cetera. today, we focus on the u.s. we have more demand here in the u.s. than we can actually supply, which is a great problem to have as a business. we just need to continue to invest in our facilities to do that. but bill gates has been a tremendous supporter as have many of our investors. may: well, you mentioned the idea of helping in the global hunger issue. and bill gates is a big proponent of that. so, with plant-based proteins, that's got to be a potentiaial problem solver when it comes to that issue, right? ethan: so, if you think about-- so, just taking the u.s. as an example, if you look at the percentage of agricultural land that's dedicated to providing crops for animal feed, for example, or direct grazing, it's 80% of our total agricultural land. how do you continue to do that? so, it all gets back, again, to central observation that's inefficient system we've set up and isn't it time to disrupt that and create one that's more efficient? may: yeah. so, you also talked about the lower cost of plant-based protein, so, that's got to help, again, in
3:31 pm
solving global hunger because low cost, and the nutrition value is equal, isn't it? ethan: yeah. and so, it's-- and it's also a bit of a marathon. i mean, it's--so, today, because of our scale, we can't offer things at a lower cost ththan meat, but there's no material obstacle to dramatically underpricing meat overtime as we scale. like, if you were to look at tyson or perdue and their facilities, we'd be a very, very small percentage of their total square footage, right? we just--we just don't have the scale. but as we grow and as more and more consumers say, "you know what, tonight, i'm gonna have a plant-based version of meat versus an animal version of meat," you'll start to see us just be able to tab more aggressive pricing. may: what are the hurdles, though? i mean, is it--is it still the perception? is it still people wanting that big, fat, juicy steak, and if it's not real, then, forget about it. ethan: so, that is--there are cultural issues for sure. and those are the ones that really fascinate me, is how do we get people to think about meat. you know, there's really--there's two ways to think about it. you can get huhung up on meat t has to come from a chicken, cow, or r pig. and if you do, then you have this ever-worsening set of problems.
3:32 pm
you have the climate, all these other things, right? but if you can think about meat in terms of meat--what's the composition of meat? then you're freed up to create that composition from many different sources, right? and so, that's what we're doing. we have to get the consumer to understand that it's just associating, it's better for them, right? it's a cleaner source of protein. we wouldn't--we couldn't create cholesterol if we wanted to and we wouldn't put it in there anyway, right? so, if you're gonna redesign meat, why not take some of the things that are maybe bad for people out of it, right, and offer something that's better. may: well, listen, we have some of the products here, so, we got to taste it. the--i mentioned the beef burrito here. and then, this is a chicken salad sandwich, right? ethan: and this is much like the one where there was that confusion over animal protein versus plant. may: because here's the thing, it actually even looks like chicken, right? ethan: yeah. and what we've done so much work on there is creating that texture that is much like a muscle texture. may: right. ethan: and so, what you're doing, you're taking a set of protein from plant and you're just reorganizing them so they bind together, stitched totogetr a lot like protein would in muscle. and that's what gives that impact on your teeth.
3:33 pm
may: right. well, i've got to say, this tastes totally like chicken. ethan: thank you very much. may: yeah. i'm not gonna eat the beef burrito, but i believe--i'm sure it's... ethan: i'll take it with me. may: take it with you. we'll give you a doggy bag. ethan: thank you. may: but it's delicious. well, ethan, i think it's amazing what you guys are doing. ethan: well, thank you. may: and it really will make a global difference. ethan: that's what we're hoping for. may: and people need to catch on to this concept. it's brilliant. ethan: and every year we're gonna be producing products that are better and better. i mean, that's the thing about our company, we have a firm belief that over time we will get it exactly right and each year--i think the consumer has enough trust in what we're doing each year we release new products that get closer and closer. may: right. well, judging from this, you're pretty dang close already. ethan: thank you very much. may: so, ethan, thank you so much and good luck to you. ethan: thank you. may: all right. coming up next, could you survive solelely on food that ws either discarded or given to you by others? we meet one woman who did just that. we'll be right back.
3:34 pm
according to a 2013 report issued by the united nations environmental program, roughly 1/3 or more than a billion tons of all food produced in the world for human consumption gets wasted. filmmar r jen stememey and partner anant bawin n we equally diururbed thehe negaveve impact of food ste and cicided do o sothingg about .. the pair deveded a pn whwhery they'lilive sely y onood thth was diararded giviveno themem by oths s for months. d theyaptured e entire joney on cera. wh transred is sn in thr award-wiing film "just t it." ant:t: aandadariorange. jen: i've beetrtryingo trtrac how muchood we fd.d. and in the fstst mon alolone we brought he e $1,1 of food and even though we' t tryinto pafofor itwe only ded d up spdiding $. and thenfter tha it just nd of goout of ctrol and i uldn't even mitor it anymore.
3:35 pm
grant: i'm ju statartg to l le thexexcitent o of nding g ns of food li t this. but ultitetely, 'the fafa that wt t we'rere dng, itits not reducinghehe amot ofof wte, somebody is sising mey o on this wn n it gs ththro out.. jen: m mean,n ththe e handnd i'm hay y becae wewe fnd foooo and it's s real excxcitg, andnd then on thother ha, , i fe so guiy y for en f feeng excited becae e it's s su a shamththat smuchch fd is g gng to was a and 's s ally depressing, tutually may: god, th really amazg. ll, hereo tell umore out thr uniquexperiment and whwe shoulall justat is filmker jen stemeyer o joinus via satlite fro vaouver, btish colbia. n, welcomeo "full ame." jen: tnks for ving me. y: well,en, thatlip, i an, i's real staggerg anshockingow much od is discardeeverywhere were y even prared to e whatou did oa day innd
3:36 pm
day oubasis? jen: ion't ink i wa mean, yohear the statiscs like % of fd is beinwasted, buyou don't reallynderstand at that mes until u see with yourwn eyes. i me, that's why made th moe in theirst pce, to exposthe issue. may: i goto ask, d your friends anfamilyhink you were cra to do ts? jen:n: yh, definely. oufamili are suppoive. i thinthat w a little strae and i s embarrsed to tl my colagues fosure. i waworking inn officet the me. and i s petrifiethat m bo was gna see me,ou know, nging ounear the mpster aer wor ma right n: buthen they s--when ey sawhe qualityf food, they aually rely shied their miset. ma that's amazg. and i t thisilm is definitelyonna shi the mindseof a lotf people bui know thawhen youet out with your partner, you had some rules that you had to follow on this 6-month journey. what were those rules? jen: well, we basically had to eat only rescued foods, so, food that was destined to be
3:37 pm
thrown out or had already been thrown in the dumpster. of course, we used our common sense; we weren't eating spoiled or rancid food. and then, we also were allowed to take food from other people, so, if they came to our house, we'd serve them rescued food, but if we went to their house, we would eat what they had. may: we have another clip from the documentary. so, why don't we take a look at that and talk about it afterwards? ma i went a banan plantati and aft one dayf harvest a a sine plplantion,, therwawas a ucklkloaof bananas being waed, , anthosose re being wast solely on the bisis ofosmetic andards. the banana plaatioion s growinbabananafor r eupean supermartsts. supermarke tell yowhwhat diameterlength, rvature, l of tho paramets have t be exact right f that supermarket, so,hehe banas basicay y lookhe s sam it is delyly shoing g wh you e mountain-c-concerarated mountas of fd being waed.
3:38 pm
's mething at everyime i e e i stl geget ocked d it. may: j, that iso traordinarthat tre are su specic standardthat are quired f a piecef fruit toe broughinto a grocery store. i mean, that must've been shocking to you as well when you started discovering all of these standards. jen: it was absolutely shocking and i mean, when you hear things like--or when you see things like apples that are all the sasame size at the grocery store, you think, "oh, they must all grow that way." but actually, all the apples that are too big or too small have been wasted along the way. may: all right. we have another ip from the documentary. we'll take a look at that and talk about that as well. jen: we said that if wgogo ove to somnene's hohousand wewean eat their odod so at w we n allevie e thatind d oftresss of mining evybodody el uncomforblble, b we e di' take intacaccoun likike,hen we gawaway f an n enre weeken w we c't st, lili, go to soonone's hohousand thth
3:39 pm
just eat eryrythintheyey he. we can't ivive arnd a a sange city a t try tfindnd se foodod i me, , we'rere ting totoo it now anitit's nonot rking g t very well. no way there's s evennyththin there. mamay: didou ever t sicknd tireof doing ts, thoug mean, wereou juslike, "wow, i'm not su if i cado this a constantlthink out food everyinute ofvery day jen:n: was done th t the oject after about the fit month. d thenrant decid that we needed to for 6 mths to ally provehe point it's not glamorous. i mean, we were bically gcecery sppining at autut 10: at t nit drivivg arnd in the dark. we weren't hoing g fees orr breakingococks oanytythi, butt the's dedefitely an emement of sakaking oundnd. may: rhtht, rit. o ok. let meusust goack k to one issue at i finfascining. we were talking about the food that's always discarded if it's not perfect. there's also an issue about expiration dates and those are really rigid standards as well,
3:40 pm
right? i mean, even if something is not that close to being expired, a lot of places will still throw it out, won't they? jen: yeah, this isis a good poi. so, food is really being thrown out for the two major reasons, aesthetic standards and the "best before" dates. and i don't use the word "expiry date" because if you look at those products, it says, "best before date." and what that is, is an indicator of peak freshness. so, when are those chips the crispiest, when is the pastry the flakiest. it has nothing to do with safety and it's actually safe and legal to eat that food after ththat date. may: so, why do you think compmpanies do this then if it's not actually accururate? and they--again, we're all programmed to think expiration, expiration. jen: exactly, i mean, i think the dates were invented for stock rotation. it is important to know when the food is made so that you can make sure that you're, you know, selling it in the correct order. may: hmm. jen: i think that consumers have bececome confused by the dates and they rely on them too much. so many people throw food out
3:41 pm
before the best before date because they're scared of it. and we really need to get back to using our senses. milk is a good example. you can tell when milk is off. and even when it is starting to go sour, you can make pancakes with it. may: that's true, that's true. good point. jen, i know there's environmental concerns, too, when it comes to food waste, on both ends of food production and then throwing it out, right? food production because why are we producing so much food if so much is being thrown out? but then on the backend as well, there's a lot of repercussions to food waste. jen: yeah, it's not just the food itself, it's all the energy, and the water, the transportation, the refrigeration that goes into the food. i mean, that's wrapped up in the cost of food. when people complain that food is getting more expensive, you know, if we stopped wasting 40% of it, food would probably be a lot cheaper. may: yeah, yeah. and what--interesting statistic that i didn't realizize is that actually 50% of the food wasted is done by consumers. we're the ones who are actually throwing out a lot of this stuff on our own, right?
3:42 pm
jen: yeah, that's exactly it. out of all the environmental issues, this is one that we as individuals can actually impact. we are wasting 50% of the food and that's in our own homes, leaving food on our plate, buying too much and leaving it in the back of the fridge. may: and that's interesting, jen, because this is an issue that we can actually control because there's so many, you know, environmental issues, social issues in the world where the individual things, well, i--i'm not the decision maker, it's policy, and i can't change that. but in this case, we actually can. jen: yeah, not only can you control the amount of food that you're wasting, you're actually potentially gonna save a lot of money. i'm talking, you know, $700 a year you could save by not wasting so much food. may: speaking of money, were you able to track how much food you rescued and the dollar amount, the value of that food? jen: right. so, we couldn't measure the amamount that we found because there was so much, but we counted what we brought into the house and we assigned what
3:43 pm
we thought was its fair market value and we found about $20,000 worth of food. may: right. that's--yeah, that's a substantial amount of money for folklks. i know that sometimes you would find some really crazy stuff or just enormous amounts of the same stuff. can you tell me a little bit, give me some examples of that? jejen: well, s something that wd happen frequently is that you'd have an entire case of something and maybe the corner would get damaged so they would throw the whole case out. an example would be eggs, right? s s some thehe es aree brokenththey tow t thehole case out ande e had terarall you know, 2020 den eggs onene time just lid d up iourr fridge. may: th's inedediblejustst because of aitittle nt.. that'-wow. i'm geing any just listeninto youight now. we, you kn, i thina lot people o don't know h the syem worksincludin myselfyou knowwe woulday, "wel why doesn't this food get donated to food banks and other charities? i mean, why throw it out?" why is that not happening?
3:44 pm
jen: i think it happens to some extent. i mean, therare orgazazationthatat date. a loofof it mes s do to logistics. so, o'o'gonnnna y to d drive that fd d to t plalacethat need it? o'gonna a pi it up asoon asas it avavaille? so, i've seen so apps coming out tt t are arting t idge that gap. ma right, right. from persol level,en, i haveo imagine at this rely chaed you in many ways by doing this experiment. long term, i mean, how do you feel now and how do you look at this issue differently? jen: personally, i really value food more. i mean, i realize that it's a luxury to go into the grocery store and buy whatever we want whenever we want. we have an amazing food system. i'm much more careful in my own house, so, we actually have this bin that says "eat me first" on it. and weutut oureftotove in there orur half ions a we make surthat we e priorizing eatg thatood. so, we'rere betr atat magingg foodn n our n hohous
3:45 pm
may: jen,'m woering ho thisxperiment for you created more empathy in terms of a better understanding of how actually people live who don't have their next meal. they don't know where their next meal is coming from. how did your perspective change that way? jen: i got a sense of what it's like to not know where your next meal is coming from, but really, i think nothing can compare to the real thing because, you know, we lived in a house that was very comfortable and we had the benefit of a car where we could drive around looking for food. i mean, the lifestyle we were living is not practical for people to live. we're not advocating that anybody should have to go dumpster diving. it's really about breeding awareness of the issue and making sure that that food gets to the people who need it before it hits the garbage. may: right. well, jen, really remarkable effort on your part and your partner. it's, you know, shocking stuff that everyone needs to know about and see for themselves. so, thank you so much for doing the film and good luck to you. jen: thanks very much.
3:46 pm
may: well, stay right there. we'll be right back with this week's "full frame" close-up. from harvesting to feeding, food forward, a volunteer-structured organization, reinvigorates surplus produce that would normally go to waste. it does this through various community-based programs inclcluding backyard harveststi, farmers markets, and wholesale recovery. now, all of the fruits and vegetables collected by food forward are then donated to hunger relief agencies across southern california. this is around 270,000 kilograms of produce a month. that's enough to feed 100,000 people every month. "full frame" met with the volunteers of food forward to witness how food that might otherwise go to waste is feeding the hungry.
3:47 pm
woman: you got that? ok. man: there's a lens, i think, at the very top of the food forward philosophy t that tries to show people and encourage people that whatever they have, if they looook close at it, they have excess of it, andnd they yn share it, and they can get much greater r gifts by giving it a y and gifting itit to people instead of holdingng on to it tightly and saying, "i need
3:48 pm
these extra oranges." well, you really don't. why? because next year, you're gonna have another 3,000 of them on your tree, and if you share them, there's plenty of people that will benefit even more from it. i live in an area of los angeles that was predominantly citrus orchards a few decades before i lived there. and many of those trees remain. i began to see these trees that were hanging with fruit 3, 4, 5 months a year, and no one wawas eating it.t. anand at the same e time, i was hearing stories and seeing peoplele in lines at food pantries as the--as the e econoy tanked and i thought, what if i could connect this fruit with people in need? woman: how are you, guys? rick: we used a friend's backyard as a--as an experiment. about 3 weeks later, we had harvested 800 pounds from this backyard with h two trees, a tangerine tree andnd a orange tree. and that fruit within 10
3:49 pm
minutes of being harvested was driven over to a food pantry just a mile away. it was handed out within two hours. fresher produce than you or i could go and buy anywhere. i found a bunch of people who kind of drank the kool-aid with me and we powered through about 100,000 pounds of hand-picked mostly citrus in the first year from backyards across l.a., and we're at a point now where we have 3 programs. we do harvesting in backyards and public spaces. we do close to 20 farmers mamaets across l.a. and venturura county on a weekly basis. and ththe big one that we addedd just over two years ago is the whwholesale program. millionsns of pounds a week are discardeded unnecessarilily. eithther it doesn'n't look righ, it's the wrong size, it's been
3:50 pm
double o ordered, there's a bubumper crop, and w we take the pallets and we collelect them, verify that they are indeed, like, 80% % to 90% quauality producuce, and thehen we dispere them to top feeding food banks and food pantries that then distribute it on our behalf. and that food reaches over an estimated 1,000,000 people in the last year. food forward directly feeds about 100 agencies and about, indirectly, another 200 agencies. the range of clients is one of my greatest sources of pride in this organization. one of the groups we've been working with for a few years now through the hollywood farmers market is project angel food. they are a cornerstone agency in los angeles with an amazing reputation that's well-earned for feeding thousands of p peope
3:51 pm
every year who are terminally ill. they started with h hiv patients but have since added other illnesses, people with cancer and so forth. and they make sure that these people are eating nutritious hot meals every single day. man: food forward actually approached us and said, "we're going to the farmersrs markets getting produce. wowould you like to o be a recipient?" and we're like, "yes, that's exactly what we wawant." so, it's been a great partnenership, delivering about 10,000 meals a week. we prepare them here in our kitchen and then deliver them to our clients' homes. we're gonna actually deliver a meal to one of our clients. edmundo, he's been with us for--since 2007. he is a person who has aids and we help make the ends meet, help him with his nutritional support, and help him fight his disease. people who a are struggling with critical illness especially,
3:52 pm
they're weakened by this disease, they--they're not feeling like cooking or shopping, and food sometimes goes by the wayside and it decreases their health. and so, having the food helps them stay in home, be fed, and make their ends meet financially and they fight the disease. woman: our volunteers meet here every day at 11:30 and they have our food forward boxes and a couple of carts. and we go through the market with those carts and the boxes and ask the vendors if they want to make a donation. hi. you guys wanted boxes for food forward today? they will usually give us stuff that they have extra of, so, it's stuff that it's still good, it's still fresh, it's, you know, healthy produce. you know, if they have extra lettuce or extra oranges, they'll give us those boxes of produce and then we just record it all.
3:53 pm
rick: there is a magical moment in taking a piece of fruit off a tree that we couldn't have created if we wantnted to, all right? this is a nanatural phenomenon that this tree does, but we, in a sense, become change-makers by taking that piece of fruit that was given to us and passing it along to someone. woman: i really love the idea, the way that everyone can get behind the idea of preventing food waste and also feeding the e hungry. i think it's a really easy way to kind of take care of one problem while solving another. it helps pretty much everyone involved in the system and i like that we fit into, like, a little niche. rick: two years old, we were inviteted to be part of a fast pitch, which is a growing
3:54 pm
movement of, you know, you have, like, 3 minutes to kind of give an elevator speech in front of 500 investors to earn some money and, you know, we did really well. bubut the kicker was t that my coach at the time came witith hr familyly and the family had a nanny. she was well-dressed. she came from a--looked like a very nice middle-class background, and she pulled me aside at the reception after the event. and she said, "i just have to thank you because i think it was like 3 weeks earlier, i didn't have a job and i was eating the fruit you guys gave at the food pantry that you spoke of in the presentation." but the immediate understanding that hunger knows no boundaries and that everybody has moments and sometimes more moments than others where they need assistance. this wasn't a woman sitting with a sign at the end of a freeway off-ramp saying "food
3:55 pm
needed." this was a woman that somehow was able to pull h herself together and dress well and get this job and was now kind of in a nice middle-class famimily watching the kids, but just a few weeks earlier, she was on a much different plalace, and the food that we provided were--was a lifeline for her, and that felt realllly powerful. man: yeah. rick: i don't want us to become just another anti-hunger nonprofit. i think we come at it with a slightly different view of the value of the food, of the people, and of the human capital that it takes to make it all happen. i don't think it has to be like a nobility to go and help other people, but there is an amazing callll to us when you u look acs los angeles and you see the
3:56 pm
number of homeless encampments, and the people that are clearly living outside because they have to. no one lives under an underpass because they want to, it's bebecause theyey have to. and what can we do, what canan each individual do to soften that, to make it just a little bit better? what i love about food forward is that it could be as simple as an hour and a half or two hours of your life of picking oranges, but hopefully that becomes a gateway to bigger action or more regular activism or service. i just think we all need to just do a little bit more and ththink a lilittle bit m more compassionately. may: looks like a great program. well, that's it for this week. join the conversation with us on social media. we are cctv america on twitter, facebook, and youtube. and now, you can watch "full frame" on our new mobile app available worldwide on any
3:57 pm
smartphone for free. get the latest news headlines and connect to us on facebook, twitter, youtube, and weibo. search cctv america on your app store to download today. and all of our interviews can still also be found online at and of course, let us know what you'd like us to take "full frame" next. simply email us at untitil then, i'm may lee in los angeles. we'll see you next time. ]ñ]ñ]ñíñ
3:58 pm
3:59 pm
4:00 pm
>> hello. i'm john cleese. i think we all know that music, aside from the pure pleasure of it, s sometimes has a transcendt power. what is called "sacred music" seems univiversally to be a form of prayer. so, settle back, take e a long deep breath as we join our host, phil cousineau, on thihis music, soul-rendering episode of "global spiririt," the first internal travel series. >> tonight, we are proud to present the critically acclaimed cu


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on