Exploring ROI Value of Buzzworthy Future Food Trends vs Regenerative Agriculture Utilizing Holistic Farming of Traditional Livestock

When we talk about alternative protein, the discussion is almost always centered on cell cultured meats, plant based proteins like algae and legumes, soy, fungi, and of course, my favorite: insect protein.

But there’s another way to have an alternative to an unhealthy feedlot system of agriculture, and that is regenerative agriculture using traditional livestock.

So why isn’t regenerative agriculture being pushed as THE solution to the feedlot system?

Primarily, it’s because regenerative agriculture tends to be decentralized and produced through local smallholder farmers, whereas these other alternative proteins, especially things like cell-cultures and lab-grown meats, are very centralized, easily controlled, and managed from the top down.

This is a result of two factors primarily:

  1. The climate change agenda being pushed by entities such as the World Economic Forum (WEF) with Agenda 2030, along with the UN Sustainable Development Goals
  2. Investors looking at where they can generate the largest returns in the shortest amount of time.

So there is much frustration for entrepreneurs who see the beauty of insect agriculture, who understand the benefits of insects at the core of regenerative agricultural systems, closed loop circular systems with zero waste and inputting insects into the hub of that system.

But for many “entomo-preneurs” it is a frustrating grind, because investors seem to have been chasing shiny objects and would rather drop $200 million on temperature controlled facilities that use robots in cold climates…

Well, the interesting thing is that now 5 to 7 years down the road, those investors are realizing that they can’t achieve the profit margins that they were hoping to achieve and they’re not going to be able to achieve the return on investment that they were looking for.

The downside of regenerative agriculture as a whole is that it tends to be very decentralized, slower moving smallholder farmers, and it doesn’t scale quite as fast in terms of the profitability that investors are looking at.

Now, I’ve mentioned this before, but I still see startups in the insect agricultural industry that don’t seem to understand how the venture capital world works.

VC in a Microcosm

When a VC invests in a company, they’re not doing it so that you can have a nice small business and make a million bucks a year and just sort of retire and kick back, and now you’ve got your company that’s producing 100 tons a month and you’re good.

That’s not what investors are looking at. They want to get 10x or 100x in 5 to 7 years, which means that when you take investment money, you have a responsibility to drive as fast as you possibly can towards profit, towards scaling growth into an industrial sized company.

They’re not investing in a small business. They’re investing to turn it into an industrial scale monolith that hopefully can monopolize at least the region, if not the industry.

But they’re looking at something that can produce and reach that number, the magic number of $100 million in revenue per year. That’s when you can have mergers and acquisitions, that’s when you can possibly go public, etc.

And so then investors can get that 10x to 100x return on their money no matter what investors say in terms of ESG, no matter what the sustainability focused investment funds put out there in terms of their mandate for environment, for sustainability, for a healthier planet, etc.,

The reality is that those investment funds also have their own investors called LPs which are Limited Partners, and those can be university endowments, those can be retirement fund, those can just be ultra high net worth individuals who have invested in that fund and they want to see a return on their investment.

So the venture capitalist is going to take a risk, and they’re going to take more risk than a hedge fund, for example. They’re going to invest in early stage startups with the understanding that probably eight out of ten are either going to break even or fail, but two of those are going to go 10x or 100x and it’s going to make it worthwhile.

The fund can stay in business, the fund can raise another fund from their LPs because, oh look, well we failed on most of these, but one of them hit 100x, we had a home run, we got a unicorn.

So give us more money. We’re going to do another fund, we’re going to do it again. That’s sort of the way the venture capital world works.

But in order to get that 100x or even 10x, entrepreneurs that have startups need to understand the point of your startup is not just to do good.

Yes, hopefully that is what’s going to happen, but you have to be able to generate revenue, generate profit and generate growth very, very, very quickly.

So how does this apply to the alternative protein sector as a whole?

Well, you probably saw what happened with the media blitz, with all of the excitement, the buzz around the trend of cell-cultured meat, lab-produced meat.alt protein

What happened with Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, two companies that are backed, not coincidentally, by Bill Gates, who is also simultaneously, while he’s pushing this cell-cultured, preservative filled, nitrate filled garbage on humanity, he’s buying up all of the farmland that he can possibly buy more than $1,000,000,000 worth of farmland in the United States.

Now, why would you need farmland if you’re going to do cell-cultured lab grown meats? The proles are going to be eating this garbage and the elites are going to keep eating steak that’s probably going to be farmed in a regenerative manner.

But why aren’t investors excited about regenerative agriculture?

Typically when we talk about alternative protein, it focuses on synthetic meats, lab grown meat, cell-cultured meat, it focuses on plant-based protein, such as legumes or soy or algae based protein, it focuses on fungi. And of course, my favorite, it focuses on insect protein for human consumption.

But in reality, what do we need alternative protein for?

What’s wrong with the protein we’ve been eating for thousands of years?

Fish, Chicken. Pork. Beef. What’s wrong with traditional protein?

Well, we have answers from WEF’s Agenda 2030, from the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the mainstream climate change dogma seems to have found all sorts of things wrong with traditional meat.

Even to the point of making a big deal over cow farts supposedly heating the world. That’s a discussion for a different day.

But it’s interesting that because of this agenda, we don’t ask the questions

A) what’s wrong with traditional protein and

B) how can we make traditional protein better?

Because all of these alternative proteins assume one thing, that the world is going to stop eating traditional protein and instead of eating steak, instead of eating chicken, instead of eating fish, instead of eating pork, that the world is now suddenly going to eat lab produced meat or cell-grown meat or algae or insects.

That is a long, expensive road which is going to be very challenging to convince people to go down, especially people in the developing world who are beginning to come out of poverty and they like eating steak and chicken and fish, they don’t really want to eat this lab grown vegan, preservative processed garbage. So why don’t we look at another alternative protein?

Why don’t we look at innovation of the traditional protein system?

because I agree, traditional protein where the animals are stuck in cages or on a feedlot and they live in very unsanitary, unethical conditions and they’re pumped full of hormones and antibiotics and and other feed inputs in order to make them grow fast and plump and juicy and even though that meat is not going to be very healthy for humanity.

It’s cheap and it’s quick and it makes industrial scale agriculture work. I agree. That’s not good. I don’t want to eat that. I don’t want to put that in my body either. I don’t want to put feedlot protein in my body any more than I want to put the lab grown garbage in my body. But what’s the solution?

Well, regenerative agriculture of traditional livestock produces meat. And by meat, I mean everything from cattle to pork to chicken to fish. All of it. Regenerative agriculture produces traditional livestock that is nutritious, natural, healthy and ethically raised and gives back to the soil to improve the carbon sequestration in the soil. Regenerative agriculture is just that. It regenerates the ecological systems where it takes place.

So why isn’t that being pushed as the solution for protein? Why isn’t regenerative agriculture the innovation in traditional protein doing it better, healthier, more natural, more ethically? Why isn’t that a potential solution

Well, as I mentioned, investors are looking for quick returns, big returns, fast scaling. And the agenda that is at the root of alternative protein is driven by ideologues who want to push the climate change mandate idea with the goal of 2030. You’ve heard all about it, I’m sure. Whether you believe it’s true or not, it’s out there. 15 minute cities, central bank digital currencies, social credit scores.

And yes, you will own nothing and be happy. So that ideology is pushing the opposite of self-sufficiency and sustainability and regenerative agriculture, a natural, healthy food system because it wants to control. It’s not about a healthier planet. It’s not about a healthier you. It’s about control.

And so if you look at, well, why isn’t regenerative agriculture, traditional livestock being pushed as a solution for a very unhealthy industrial feedlot system of protein production that we have today?

Why can’t we produce protein in a more decentralized, humane, natural manner that gives back to the planet?

We can, but it’s not easily controllable and it doesn’t scale very quickly in a centralized manner to where investors can make huge returns on it.

But we have a responsibility, those who are part of the food system in any manner. We have a responsibility to look at the reality of protein production, to look at the reality of what the world is eating and what the world is going to continue eating, and to say, how can we produce food for our planet in the healthiest, most sustainable, most ethical, most natural manner possible?

The other discussion that comes up very often with ESG is “stakeholders”. Now, what does that mean?

What it suggests, usually when it’s used by the media or when it’s used as a buzzword with ESG, is that everyone has a say in what big companies do, whether they’re a shareholder or not, that everyone in the local community should have a say over what companies do, what governments do, etc..

Now, that sounds good in theory, but in practice, really the biggest polluters on earth are the industrial scale companies who work very closely with governments who look the other way because of the money that comes in from those industrial scale corporations, the monopolies.

And then it’s the small businesses who get hurt.

Who was open during lockdowns? The mega corporations.

But the small businesses, hundreds of thousands of them, millions of people were affected because they lost their business.

That’s the way our world works. That’s the way our food system works as well.

So when you talk about stakeholders, if we’re going to have an honest discussion about stakeholders, how can you have any more skin in the game than by producing your own food for yourself, for your family, for your community, and for your region?

That’s how we get stakeholders involved in a more natural, sustainable, nutritious, healthy, ecologically friendly protein production. That’s how because those people are actually truly stakeholders.

The problem is that doesn’t fit the agenda of control and that doesn’t yet generate outsized returns for investors.

Now, I won’t say that having your own farm is the solution for the planet, but it’s a solution for you.

And if everyone had the mindset of self-sufficiency, personal responsibility, responsibility to your neighbors, to your community…if people thought more about the smaller world around them and in doing their part as individuals, instead of delegating rights that they do not have to a government who is going to mandate morality at the point of a gun to people thousands of kilometers away, the world would be a better place.

Take personal responsibility for your own food production and then you won’t have to worry so much about whether or not chemical fertilizer is banned halfway around the world.

In terms of investor returns with something natural and sustainable and healthy, like regenerative agriculture, the solution is venture capital is going to have to look at this sector in a very different way.

It’s been easy money and quick returns over the last couple of decades. That may change as we go forward if we’re truly going to do what’s best for people and planet and animals, because it takes a little bit longer to do regenerative agriculture.

It maybe isn’t quite as controllable from a centralized entity as a mega corp with a monopoly on a sector.

But it is important and it is the right thing to do.

If we’re going to talk about true ESG, if we’re going to talk about true sustainability, economic viability, proper relation with limited government, individual sovereignty, it’s important that we look at regenerative agriculture not as a solution of alternative protein, but as the solution for improving our system of production, for traditional protein, traditional livestock, traditional agriculture.

This is a better plan of action, instead of looking for some rich oligarch to save us through lab grown, processed garbage.

Take responsibility for yourself, for your family, for your neighborhood, for your community at large, and figure out how you can utilize regenerative agriculture to your advantage.

Because it is a solution. And I believe that insects as an animal feed source and as a way of transforming agricultural waste, agro industrial waste, food waste into something of value, including organic fertilizer and animal protein.

Insects should be at the hub of every circular system of regenerative agriculture, and they can be.

It’s what we’ve done with UB over the past few years in Malaysia and are setting out to do now with UB Mexico.

What’s your perspective on the differences and synergies between “alternative protein” and regenerative agriculture?