There have been experts that have been warning the world that they believe our soils are so depleted and exhausted that it can only sustain about 60 harvests before we can no longer feed the world.
Since it is an estimate, the exact number is up for debate, but what we do know is that the soil is getting destroyed.
Soil is retaining less water, organic matter has reduced significantly, and the biome in the soil is being destroyed. We have land plagued with drought, and soon we won't be able to grow plants to feed the planet.
Jennifer Maynard will teach us what our current farming practices is doing to the earth, and how we can correct it to rebuild the soil.
What To Expect From This Episode
- [2:30] Jennifer Maynard used to work in biotech and pharmaceutical industry for over 20 years
- [7:00] Modern medicine does a great job of life saving medical intervention, but has a hard time dealing with chronic conditions
- [8:00] Organic farming definitely takes time to get good systems in place, but then it gets much easier
- [11:30] Hypersterilization of the soil is killing off the immune systems of the plants, imagine what hypersterlizing the planet is doing to our immune systems
- [13:00] For every 1% organic matter you create in the soil, it can absorb 170,000 gallons of water per acre (think about what happens in the areas with drought)
- [17:30] Everything we are doing to plants and forests is impacting the planet tremendously, which is increasing drought and wildfires and killing off the biome
- [24:30] If we want changes to the agricultural system and want more regenerative farming, we can vote with our dollars and purchase foods from regenerative farms. There are lots of resources in this episode
- [29:30] Farmers have high suicide rates, is this because of financial hardship or due to what the chemicals do in the gut
- [32:15] What does regenerative farming mean and how can it rebuild soil
- [36:00] It is important to rotate crops around to change up its impact on soil
- [37:30] What are the differences between soil-based growing and aquaponics
- [39:30] With indoor greenhouses you can control the climate and other variables much easier
- [40:45] When they say we "only have 60 harvests left", is that 60 years or less than that
- [42:15] What are the pillars of longevity and how do they help with health
Resources From This Episode
Some of these resources may contain affiliate links, which provides a small commission to me (at no extra expense to you).
- Get 10% off and a free bag of whole bean coffee- Learn More
Transcript For Episode (Transcripts aren't even close to 100% Accurate)
Bryan Carroll: [00:00:15] We've all seen areas that are dedicated to growing crops, to feed people in livestock. You've probably seen the endless fields of corn or wheat, and maybe you've seen all the fruit orchards, but have you ever wondered what is happening to that land?
If it is constantly being used for agriculture right now, some experts have warned that at this rate of heavy agriculture, pesticide and herbicide to use that our soils and farmland only have about 60 harvests left before the land is no longer usable. If that is true, that's a big problem. And we can't wait until after it's too late to start making changes everyone.
I'm Bryan Carroll and I'm here to help people move more, eat well and be adventurous. And I have Jennifer Maynard on the show to talk with us about what is happening with our soils and farmland and how we can start to follow regenerative farming practices to make soil healthier. Jennifer has also provided you with a 10% discount coupon, plus one free bag of whole bean coffee you order for, from her regenerative farm nutrition for longevity by using the coupon code summit.
So let's jump into my conversation with Jennifer. Jennifer Maynard worked in the biotech and pharmaceutical specialty medicine area for over 20 years. After putting two decades of her passion into changing people's lives, through modern medicine, she felt her knowledge and experience would be better served focusing on food as medicine.
Even though progress has been made with medicine, the battle with chronic illness is been lost. And in order to address this, she founded greater greens, a regenerative organic farm as a first step to bringing this moment front and center and to help focus on the root of our health challenges. Once the farm was fully operational, she co-founded nutrition for longevity.
farm to fork meal kitting company that focuses on bringing nutritionally tailored meals to the masses direct from her farm. Thank you, Jennifer, for coming onto the show.
Jennifer Maynard: [00:02:14] Thanks for having me super excited.
Bryan Carroll: [00:02:16] of course, and I would love to dive into your background, especially around the pharmaceutical, stuff that you've done for the last 20 years.
So can you tell us a little bit more about that?
Jennifer Maynard: [00:02:25] Sure. so maybe I go back to the beginning. So I grew up on a homestead in Alaska, really remote area. Kind of lived on basically 200 acres in a tiny little cabin. So we grew a lot of our own food. It was very connected to nature and that's always kind of grounded me and been part of who I am.
when we moved to California to be closer to family. I, actually helped caretake my uncle when he was, fighting his battle with HIV and AIDS. And, he really, it was a challenge for him. And I felt like at that time, there wasn't any standard of care and I just felt like the medical industry should be farther along.
And the treatments for people going through these modern illnesses should be further along. So I actually. I'm committed to trying to be a part of that solution. And I went into the, the specialty medicines area to try to create some of those, treatments and therapies. And I was really excited about it.
I started in biotech. I worked in the HIV AIDS area. I worked in oncology, ophthalmology, hematology. and I feel like as an industry, certain. acute illnesses and even certain chronic illnesses in the specialty medicine area, I think they have made major progress. So like HIV AIDS, where it was in the eighties, when I made that decision we're light years from where we were back then.
So that kind of stuff gets me excited. And I think there is a place for modern medicine for those types of things. Haemophiliacs, for example, they can't just eat healthier there. They're missing a gene that creates a factor eight protein, which is part of that, the clotting cascade or your, your blood clotting cascade.
So there are certain illnesses that we need to continue to bring medicine forward, to help people with these illnesses. But what I found. Really more and more of, as I moved up in my position is a broader view of the overall industry. And I thought, you know, it's great. We're making progress in this area, but with chronic illness, which is 80% of it, we're actually losing momentum.
We're actually going backwards. The curve just continues to increase, which is, which is really concerning. And I thought, you know, some of the most fundamental things that could be solutions for this. We're not even touching, which is food. I mean, it's one of the most fundamental things is lifestyle changes and we know a good share of these illnesses can be addressed with lifestyle changes.
So I just felt like that industry like organic farming and growing healthy food is not moving and it could be the solution. And then I felt like using food as medicine was not moving forward. And I think part of that is. The business experience, people go where the money is. And I think we need to start pivoting over and saying, no, we need to change.
What's fundamentally wrong with our food system and our farming system, which I do believe is making us ill. So it's actually contributing to that. And then we're actually not using it to, to be an effective. Prevention measure, but also an effective intervention for illness. And that's where I just, I decided I, I, he didn't want to do that anymore.
I wanted to be of the solution on the chronic illness as well. And so as much as I loved what I was doing on the specialty medicine side, I just wanted to be part of the solution on the chronic illness side. Cause I think there's so much more we could be doing than just focusing on the pill and the injection and focusing on these other types of interventions, like eating healthy and exercising.
Bryan Carroll: [00:06:04] It's pretty amazing that we've been trained that if anything happens, then we have a pill that can possibly help or at least alleviate some symptoms. and we forget. About the fundamentals, like you meant, like you talked about like going back to the food, what builds up every single cell in the body?
What helps with immune system and our digestive health and all that type of stuff. We forget foundations. And so I love that you have seen both sides of that. There is progress being made in medicine, and we do know, you know, if you're going to die tomorrow in a very tragic way that we have the technology to be able to bring a lot of people back from that.
But for those, a lot of chronic cases where you still haven't quite figured that part out yet.
Jennifer Maynard: [00:06:49] Yeah. So, so yeah, so I completely did paths and became a farmer, which pretty much everyone I knew told me I was crazy. but you know, I had a few really big supporters and mentors that said, you know, everyone's saying you're crazy.
You're probably actually doing the right thing. So, yeah, that was about. Three years ago and it's been kind of never looked back since and just been an exciting roller coaster ever since then, but nothing I would change has been really, eventful, but also really rewarding to see what progress we're making.
So it's exciting. So when
Bryan Carroll: [00:07:26] you made that shift, do you also recognize that, The standard way of farming that we're seeing across the country is also not exactly the ideal situation, which is why you started with the organics, which takes a little bit more work to get into. Is that right?
Jennifer Maynard: [00:07:41] Yeah. So I mean, organic takes time and, and we wanted to kind of take it to a whole nother level and incorporate organic and regenerative, which are too.
As far as a starting point of a farm is probably your two most challenging things to combine because you shift your it's in the long run. It's not in the long run once. So you hit kind of this equilibrium. It's probably easier, or it is easier, but until you get to that point, which takes, you know, three to five years, you're definitely fighting an uphill battle and it's, it's expensive farming as when you first are establishing a farm.
Is is expensive and you have to do a lot of just work to get it, to get it going, to get it started. And it's really easy to want to take shortcuts when it's difficult. So, you know, if your beans are getting attacked, all of a sudden, by Mexican bean beetles and you're like, Oh my gosh, what am I going to do?
The first thing most farmers would do, even, even organic farmers would be spray it with pyrimethamine and we try to never spray, well, we don't ever spray synthetic chemicals on our farms. So, even though that's the easy thing, we first look at, what are the mechanical controls like literally, is there a small enough amount we can physically remove them?
Is there biological controls? Is there other beneficial insects that can. That are maybe native to the area that can wait about the invasive species. Cause most pests on farms are invasive species. Yeah. With 80% of our bio insect biomass being depleted, unfortunately the invasive species are starting to outweigh the native species.
So yeah, part of regenerative farming is building that ecosystem back up and helping it find balance. And part of that's happening above the ground, which is your insects. So you're trying to create these habitats for the healthy insects and you got to. Start perennial crops and stuff for that, those usually take two to three years to establish.
And then you have these homes for your healthy ins or your good insects that they can kind of counter balance the negative ones, but that takes time to establish that ecosystem. And then more than anything, we focus on below ground, which takes time. But when you start seeing that change, it's really exciting.
you know, when you first move on, even if it's been a farm that's been organic, but using chemicals, there's less living creatures, I guess you could say, or, microorganisms below the surface and you, you don't see a lot of those symptoms and every year you start seeing more and more life underneath the soil, underneath our feet.
And we know so little about it. We know about 1% of what's going on under our feet. But there's still a lot that we're learning and a lot that we do, no. And we know that our modern farming practices are kind of wiping out the biodiversity in our soil. And what we also know is that that's critical for the plant and it's critical for its stress coping mechanisms.
So we're kind of in a way, wiping out the immune system of our plants. And that's what a regenerative farm does is you slowly start to rebuild the immune system of your entire farm, including your plants and. In return, they generate more phytonutrients and they're really nutrient rich crops that then feed our bodies and, and they're healthy for us to eat.
So, but again, it takes time and the effort to focus in those areas. It's kind of
Bryan Carroll: [00:10:59] interesting that you mentioned the immune system of the plants and the hyper hyper sterilization of the soil and how that can reduce the immune system, because that is one of the fears that I have with, the current state of the world with hyper sterilization and what that's going to do in the longterm for our own immune systems.
Jennifer Maynard: [00:11:19] Yeah. I mean, if you look so the plant holo biome, you know, it's very similar to the human hollow biome. So it has all these microbiomes that are part of it. We focus very heavily on the rhizosphere microbiome, which is where the, the root base of the plant is. And that essentially is the plant's immune system.
And it's also where you would kind of. see its nervous system is, and in that when you build up your soil, you also are building up the biodiversity in that rises fear. So when you build up soil, you're usually trying to focus on building up soil organic matter, which I look at as a big sponge. So it's a sponge for carbon.
It's great for the environment cause it's, it can sequester carbon and we've lost two thirds of our stores. Of carbon from our soil. So it's actually this huge split terms that we could be bringing that carbon out of the atmosphere back into the soil if we do it right. So you have that capability and then water retention is incredible.
We used to be at about 11% soil organic matter in the U S on average, we're now down to about 1%. Have you figured this is this sponge matrix that we've just done estimated now there's nothing for water to actually like. Get absorbed into you. So it just, it goes straight through into the ground or it floods into our rivers and then eventually into our oceans and creates dead space.
Whereas. For every 1% of soil, organic matter, you create, you are building up this sponge. You can absorb 170,000 gallons of water per acre per 1%. So if you think of all these areas, we have drought and we use a lot of our fresh water for agriculture. If we just got back even half to where we were, think of how much water retention, we would have an way less drought issues.
So. There's so much that building up this soil organic matter does just for the environment, but then it builds this matrix for all of these microorganisms to live on. So you have fungi to start to build up that, create this incredible network. And then all of the bacteria can live on that network and actually communicate with the plant and create this incredible exchange of chemicals and nutrients.
And again, that's, what's incredible to me is the whole biome. Which is all the DNA of the plant, but also of the microorganisms associated with it, which is more than 50%. It uses that as, as part of its genetic diversity. So what we thought is, even with humans, we thought you're stuck with whatever genetics you're born with.
And what we're finding out is actually plants can draw on this. Hold up there there's soil. Well, their whole holobiome, but they can draw from this rhizosphere, a lot of genetic diversity. So say, there's been a drought in the past, whether it was in that region or even this type of plant, like say it's a.
A dandy line, variety and Italian, Daniel, and variety that we want to grow. And it's been through drought before they pass part of their whole biome down in their seeds. And the other part is actually they're pulling from their environment around them. So if, if. That plant's trying to cope with the stress of a drought.
The microorganisms can actually tell it to change its genetic expression, which surprises a lot of people. It can actually, we tell that plant to send out more finer, root fibers, more lateral fibers, that it can actually absorb more water. So, if you think that's why I'm saying it's, it's a plant's stress coping mechanism.
It's is it's its immune system. It's telling it how to cope with all these biotic and abiotic stresses. And again, we're kind of cutting that off for most plants when we don't have that diverse microbiome for it to pull from. So I think that's, you know, all of these chemicals we use pretty ubiquitously.
Even if they say it's, it's fine for human cells. We do know that for sure. It's not good for a lot of our bacterial cells and fungal cells. That's what it's designed for is, is most of these are essentially antibiotics that are, that are meant to kill a lot of these, different, microorganisms. So we're, we're cutting that off.
And then we know that plants that don't have that biodiversity. Also, aren't creating as many photo neutral trans because that's what signaling them to cope with stress. When they're stressed, they create more phytonutrients. And that's now what we call most of the. Plants with high phytonutrients are what we call super foods.
So they're actually feeding our, our immune systems are feeding our bodies and we're going less and less of them in a lot of our modern the way do our modern farming. So I definitely think there's a connection there and it's something that we need to stop ignoring and say, we got to look at our plants and the way we grow them as this holistic system.
That's why I liked the concept polo biome. Cause it's, it's really looking at it as this. You know, mini ecosystem that helps the plant thrive. And if we cut off any component of that, it's not going to thrive in the same way, and it's not going to be able to pull on that diverse genetics. That's this whole pool of genetics.
It's only going to have slivers of it. so, you know, we spent a lot of money and effort on GMO crops and you have a lot of scientists now saying, man, if we would've just understood the soil microbiome, we could have achieved way more. so it's just really interesting, you know, like I said, we know about 1% of what's going on below our feet.
and it's just amazing. The more we're finding out, we're realizing there's so much more opportunity and beneficial, components of the soil that we just never understood before. Wow. There's
Bryan Carroll: [00:16:40] you just unloaded a whole lot of having stuff right there. And I don't want to dive too deep into it, but it's amazing.
The connection that you just brought there with our own holobiome, the soil drought areas. where I live, I know they do a lot of spraying in the forest to reduce different type of pest populations, which could also be why we're getting more and more wildfires. because going back to that sponge reference, there's not as much, water retention in the soil.
There is you just unleashed a lot right there.
Jennifer Maynard: [00:17:14] Yeah. I mean, I think I, I love for people to the first time most people hear holo biome. They're just like, Whoa, I've never heard that concept before. And I think it's such an important way to look at things because. If you look at so many of our environmental problems and so many of our health problems, they are related, and we're just not connecting the pieces and we have to start doing that.
And if you look at the right, is this your microbiome? It's so similar to the human gut microbiome. It's also where most of our immune system resides in the human body. And it behaves in a very similar way. You have this incredible neuro network. Like people don't realize like what you eat you for sure.
You know, we are what we eat, but also our mood, everything are affected by what we're putting in our body. So like, people are blown away. Then they, when they find out 90% of your serotonin is created in your gut, that's what makes you happy. So, you know, we have a lot of issues with that in the U S and it's like, you know, We're not feeding our gut microbiome.
We're not supporting it. We're actually loading it with toxins and it is affecting us in multiple levels. So that's where we think if we can start by. You know, building the soil back up and then we can start building healthy food and then we can start feeding our bodies, less chemicals and less toxins, which also some of those we know bioaccumulate in the body.
I mean, if you look at DDT for a long time, we were, we were told that that was safe and still to this day, 98% of people tested, have residue of DDT in their body. so we know a lot of these things bioaccumulate and. You know, who knows in 10 years, in 20 years, what we're going to find out what we're, what we're ubiquitously using, in the world today, what affects you, it's going to have.
So I think any chemical we got to think about and say, is that right? Really necessary? I mean, so many people say we can't feed the world if with organic farming and it's just not true. If you look at the yields, we get on our farm, because of the way we do intercropping and we use the land in a really productive way.
We get incredible yields. And it's interesting because last year we had a really wet year in New Jersey. Well, No, I guess it was the year before. So we had a really wet year and almost all the firms around us, the conventional firms they're crap. So we're just completely wiped out with powdery mildew.
So they had pumpkin crops in squash crops and we didn't have the same issue. So they, you know, even some of them came up and they're like, man, I spent thousands of dollars on chemicals. I should've just done organic farming this year because. Cause your stuff's fine, but we again have that raw water retention.
And so it's not just flowing on our crops or sitting in stagnant pools. It's, it's really absorbing and staying in the soil until the plant needs. So again, It could solve a lot of our issues that we have in the, in the agricultural area right now. And if you look even, yeah, the history of farming, it's like, like cyclical.
If you look at the, the great depression, you know, part of the entry into that was the dust bowl and it was heavily revolving around agriculture and it's directly impacting our food system today because most of our kind of modern food, like. Are four to fade white breads and our fortified milks and all the things that we're now saying, you know, where did this come from?
All these, you know, I kinda crack up about American cheese because my great grandfather used to get it from the food banks and bring it and be like, we got you this cheese. And my mom's like, Oh, thank you. But, you know, we got these incredible gifts came out of the great depression, but if you think it was the first time we faced real mass poverty in the U S and food shortages.
So the response from the government was we need to create as much cheap food as possible, as fast as we can. So, and we got afford to fight or do whatever we can, children are not malnourished. And then the industry just had a heyday. You know, we had creamy peanut butter out of it. We had the whitest bread on the planet, out of it.
We had all these super processed foods and we created a subsidy model that supported that. And it hasn't really changed much since the thirties. And we've just exacerbated it with mechanization, with tillage. I mean, even the USDA is one of the first to admit that tillage is probably one of the most destructive things we ever brought into the agricultural sector.
And they're now trying to reverse a lot of that. but it's, what's allowed us to have these massive farms and a lot of monocropping for efficiency reasons. And for sure, farming from a labor standpoint is far more, if you do monitor crops with mechanization, but it's, it's, you're really killing our soil and turning it into dirt.
So we're, we're heading in that same direction. If you look at the dust bowl, we created most of that problem. Yes, there was drought, but we depleted the soil leading up to that. So, you know, there's a lot of soil, biologists kind of screaming saying, you know, we, we have like 60 more harvest left of soil. If we don't reverse this trend and, and no one's listening.
so I think it's really important that we start to again, look at it holistically and see what can we do on the farming side to continue to be able to grow food, to feed the world, but also stop this nonsense saying we can't do it organically. Cause it's just simply not true. And. Again, if you look at it from a different perspective, 80% of the crops that we grow in the U S are going to meet production.
So if we just consumed a little bit less cheap meat and we focused a little bit more on vegetable production, we certainly could feed people with appropriate amounts of protein because you can get the right amounts of protein from plants. So just a lot of things that. Just your average person can change.
You know, I talked to a lot of friends and they're like, well, there's nothing I can do. I'm not a farmer. And I was like, actually, you can probably do more than I can as a farmer by just making decisions as a consumer, I'm going to consume a bit less meat, which is going to help the whole agriculture sector.
It's going to help the environment. it's going to help my human health, there's things that I can do to, to focus on. My purchasing power on farms that are trying to do it the right way, way, cause it's not easy. And, you know, we try to balance that our produce is expensive because we. We do use less mechanization.
And we do put a lot of inputs onto the farm with compost and things like that. but we also try to help in areas of food, scarcity, scarcity, and food insecurity. So we're trying to also give back in those areas and make sure that we're providing this food, across the boards, everyone has a right to food.
It's not a privilege, but it's a right. And I think that's really important too.
Bryan Carroll: [00:23:45] Yeah. The saying vote with your dollars is. It's pretty true, because as we've seen over the last, last five, 10 years, there's more organic options on the shelves. There's, more gluten free options and all this different type of stuff, because people were using their dollars to vote on what they needed more of.
And I might not be the healthiest of options, but it's better than. Like I mentioned all the stuff that we've had on the shelves.
Jennifer Maynard: [00:24:09] I mean, what's astounding to a lot of people is even at that, we're still only about a 1% of the farmland in the U S is organic. So we got to do a lot more, but I agree. It's a great first step.
And a lot of farms are starting to see the benefits of regenerative farming. Like I said, there's an investment upfront, which. It's hard and people are like, well, why don't farmers just move over? Cause they can get a 30% premium or whatever they typically say you can get for organic food and that's debatable.
But. If you look at most farms, basically, since even before the great depression, a lot of them are generational farms. They're passed down generation to generation. And if you look, farmers are actually one of the top three suicide rate professions in the U S which a lot of people wouldn't expect that, but there's so much pressure on farmers.
The average farm has $2 million in debt. So they're not, they're not racking in the DOE. They're really struggling, to provide food for this country. We've, we've very much undervalued food. We have the least cost per capita of food in the world, in the U S and the highest cost of healthcare. So something's a bit off there, right?
So we've undervalued food. Our farmers can barely feed their families and. Because of that, they're afraid to make any changes because they don't want to be the generation that makes the misstep and loses the family farm. So they're terrified of making a change and being more in debt. And so they can't make a lot of choices unless somebody pays for that.
So you do have companies starting to basically. Pay upfront for transition farms to make this transition. And that's, what's exciting to me as you are starting to see that shift. I think things like carbon credits, which we don't talk about a lot, but it's coming where farmers can actually get paid for carbon credits to sequester carbon out of the atmosphere.
So we can start reversing climate change. I mean, they say if, if we turned every. Electricity component in the world to solar, it would still take a hundred years to reverse climate change. If we just moved 30% of our farms to regenerative farming, we could do it in a matter of a few years, we could start reversing climate change.
So that's how impactful it could be. So we just need, we need that push. We need that extra effort and we need companies. I think light nutrition for longevity that are making them connections for us, the way we were able to afford it as we, we had a direct supply chain. So we said, okay, we have the farm and we're going to create an immediate outlet.
So we can have this ultra fresh food that within 24 hours of us shipping out an order, we're confirming it with the farm. They're harvesting it, we're prepping it and it's going out the door. And so by doing that, we've eliminated 35% of food waste, which is what the average is in. In that process of getting food to a consumer.
And we've eliminated a lot of middlemen handling it so we can have this ultra fresh food that we pick at it's prime. Most of our food we're picking for logistics reasons like a tomato. The average tomato is six weeks old by the time it's in the grocery store and it was picked dark green and then gas on location.
So it looked beautiful and ripe and, and, red. But it actually was picked very immature, which is why it's from and tastes like water. So if you've ever grown tomatoes in your garden or, you know, even in a pot, you're like, wow, this is so flavorful in comparison to this. Like, what's the difference? Well, that's one of the differences is most of our food chain is built on logistics and it, and it has to be if, if you have the model the way we have it right now.
So just a lot to understand about. Where our food is coming from and how it's grown. And, I really encourage people to start connecting with their food more and understanding where it's coming from, because. Like you said all that buying power, there's something behind every company. And there's something that they're either doing good or maybe not so good.
like I said, most farmers aren't doing this malicious thing. They were taught to do this by their parents and their parents and all the universities. And that's what everyone's focused on. And now we're saying, wow, maybe that was really destructive, but how do you suddenly turn that huge machine around and change it?
You know, a combine for, for, grain crops is about $250,000. So once you've made that investment, you just suddenly go, I'm not gonna use that anymore. You know, it's a lot to turn around. It's this huge beast. That's just going full steam ahead that we need to start to shift the direction and it's going to take time.
Bryan Carroll: [00:28:34] Going back to the suicide rate for farmers serious. not only with the financial strain of all the debt that they take on, but since they're working with the fields and a lot of pesticides herbicides, and going back to the microbiome, being impacted by that and the serotonin production getting reduced, if that also influences.
just their mental health as well.
Jennifer Maynard: [00:28:56] Well, I think, I mean, I think a lot of it is the stress and the, just the uncertainty. I mean, farming's hard period, no matter what you're doing there's and the thing is whether it's getting less predictable, not more predictable. So the, the potential for crop loss is really high.
And I mean, at least for me, I have 300 some crops. So if one or two of them fail. You know, okay. I have some extra compost now, but it didn't kill my whole farm motto. Most farms on air on, in the S so on average, a farm produces two crops. So if you figure you got literally all your eggs in one basket, and so crop failure is a huge risk and, you know, one environmental drought or heavy rain and all the things that we're seeing go up.
Could really throw that off and it, and it does. And so you have massive crop failures happening in different areas that are pretty catastrophic, so they'll buy crop insurance, but again, it's hard to then have a biodiverse farm because crop insurance is more set up for nano crops. So. Again, their whole system is set up to work with that model.
And if you suddenly start to shift it, it's very challenging. So I think that's part of it. It's just, they're in a corner and there's not an easy way out and they're not making a lot of money and every year it's getting tighter. So that's one challenge. the cost of food, doesn't go up with the cost of living right now.
So it's, it's really a challenge. And. Then there's the other side. I, you know, I do think that chemicals have yeah. Affect, they're exposed to a lot. If you look at hazardous, jobs, farmers are exposed to a lot of chemicals. It is one of the hazard jobs. If you're on a farm, that's spraying a lot. so could it be like, I mean, certainly, and again, if you look at a lot of farmers, they are at the poverty level.
There's a lot of discussion going on right now on food insecurity. And that there's a direct correlation with chronic illness and food insecurity. So the question is, is that farmer even eating their own food or are they growing say a huge amount of corn and it's not, not even going to human consumption, it's going to feed cows.
And then they're eating, you know, 99 cent boxes of Mac and cheese that they're getting from the store. And they're not even eating their own vegetables and stuff cause that's not what they're growing. So I think there's a lot of things. Factors that play in that. Do I think mental health is being impacted by the food and not just farmers?
Everyone. Absolutely. Without a doubt, it's affecting us.
Bryan Carroll: [00:31:24] So you've mentioned multiple times the term regenerative, regenerative farming, and you keep talking about soil. So can you give like a brief overview of what does regenerative farming mean and how can you improve the health of the soil?
Jennifer Maynard: [00:31:38] Okay. So I'll tell you what it means for me.
because. You know, it's, it's used in a lot of different ways. So for us, we're mainly a vegetable farm. We have, we have a few goats and chickens on the farm, which do help with our soil regeneration, but they're more, we, we rescued them. They're kind of our, our farm, animals that they do generate some good waste for us.
But, there. They're in their area of the farm, but the majority of the vegetable farms. So some are, some people will say regenerative farming. Yeah. Only when you have livestock and you're rotating it around, around. we don't do any meat production on the farm, so that's not our approach, but we are focusing always on regenerating the soil.
So that's what we have in common. We have basically. A few fundamental practices that we, that we've implemented with regenerative farming. One is we keep the ground as covered year-round as possible. So, just like you would put, you know, a hat on, if you're out in the sun to try to shave yourself soil, it has to be protected from UV light, from wind, from rain.
So the best way to do that is to cover it with crops. So we do a lot of intercropping. We do a lot of cover cropping. We'll do mulching where we can't do that. So we try to keep the ground as with as little access closure as possible. And that helps us with erosion with a lot of things and it helps us keep those microorganisms happy under the surface.
Then, we also use no-tillage. So once we cut our beds at our farm, we don't till the land after that. So that's really key cause. Especially Fung fungi. funghi which, should be a good share of your microorganisms in the soil. They don't like being disrupted and some of the best bacterial organisms also don't like being disrupted.
So they like to build soil structure. And organic matter and they like it to stay intact. so we don't do tillage. And then the other thing is we keep all the root mass in the ground. And if you think about it, I said all that, all those microorganisms concentrate around this rhizosphere so root vegetables.
Obviously you have to harvest and you pull the root, but a lot of vegetables, you don't like a tomato plant. So we let that incredible root mass grow with all these thriving organisms. And then we just snap snippet at the base and leave all that intact. And so that builds soil organic matter, that builds up the biodiversity in the soil.
And then we have the animals that we incorporate room and the animals definitely accelerate, building up soil organic matter, not just building soil organic matter, but building up diversity in the organisms, in your soil. So we do have them kind of on rotation and we use their manure and our compost, and then we use a ton of compost.
So those are your inputs. Even when we do our own meal prep, anything that doesn't get used in the meal kits goes back to the farm and we use it in our compost and we use other inputs like wood chips and things like that. So all of those things are focusing on building soil organic matter and building soil structure.
So these organisms can thrive. And one of our composting methods is also called the Johnson SU bio-reactor. You know, it sounds like these big stainless steel tanks or something, but it's just basically. A tube that you make with fencing that allows you to do static aeration, but it's proven through a lot of studies, that it accelerates the, the generation of these right ratios of bacteria and fungi.
And it creates basically super inoculant. So we're trying to speed up that process. So we have lots of these biodiverse organisms in our soil. So those are some of the things we do to build up our soil, to protect our soil. And like I said earlier, everything's about building that soil organic matter building that sponge matrix that everything can thrive
Bryan Carroll: [00:35:12] in.
So I'm curious when you're cutting the plants at the base, are you also rotating crops or are you
Jennifer Maynard: [00:35:19] yeah, and that's a requirement even for organic certification anyways. and. So well, and there's reasons for it. You want to rotate crops around. So there's certain things we don't rotate. So perennial crops, they stay intact by kind of definition there and they come back every year.
So those we use as head rows, and those are pollinator habitats and different things like that. So, you know, every, like 15 to 20 roses, Is a permanent Headrow and that just allows these habitats. There's there's a lot of different benefits to it. Every other row gets rotated. So say you grow. onions and garlics with which are the allium family for pest reasons.
You don't want to grow it in that same place. The next year. You want to move it at least 200 feet away. So that, that soil, you know, a lot of pests lay their eggs in the soil. And if you're not spraying it, they're going to come back up the next year. So if you've moved it away, takes those pests awhile to find the crop the next year or so.
It buys you time. And then again, it eventually, you get this equilibrium where those pests kind of take care of themselves. Cause you have other organisms in the soil that, that just keep them at a balanced level. So yeah. Super
Bryan Carroll: [00:36:32] interesting. And then on, on top of that, you're, you're doing the soil based farming, but you're also doing aquaponic based farming as well.
And so can you tell us a little bit about the difference between those two methods?
Jennifer Maynard: [00:36:45] So the regenerative farming is all outdoors. We do have some greenhouses that we grow in as well outdoors, but the aquaponics is a water based system and it's using fish. So we grow fish. And they, and their waste is used to actually feed the plants.
So it basically, you have nitrify bacteria, just like you would have, in the soil that are converting nutrients to something usable for the plant. So these bacteria basically accelerate that process really fast. So you can take ammonia, which is two, it would burn a plant's roots if it, directly contacted them.
So you have what you call a biofilter, which is just. like you can use clay beads. There's a lot of different things. You just need surface area that these organisms can thrive and they're not bad for humans, but they convert everything to something usable for the plants. So. we have deep water raft culture, which essentially means the plants are floating in the water.
And that's how we grow a lot of our lettuces. and so they literally are, you know, you're kind of pumping the fish waste through a biofilter, which is like a natural substrate. And then it's going into the plant bed and they're getting this, this rich nutrient media. Or, or fluid that's feeding the plant roots and then the plants in return clean the water.
And it goes right back to the fish tank. So we use about one to 2% of the water of a conventional farm when we're inside the aquaponics facility. Cause it's all really circulated and it's different than hydroponics, which doesn't use the fish. cause hydroponics doesn't always recirculate. They have to build a desalination plant in order to recirculate the water.
So the fish kind of do that for us and they create this symbiotic relationship. In our indoor greenhouse. So we grow a lot of our micro greens and herbs and our tomatoes and lettuce indoors. with a lot of that practice, we also supplement it with outside. but tomatoes in New Jersey, we can't grow year round outside.
So we mainly use the indoor greenhouses to do that.
Bryan Carroll: [00:38:42] And the indoor greenhouse has you're able to. Ah, climate control better as well.
Jennifer Maynard: [00:38:48] Yeah. I mean, for me, I'm, I'm really into the regenerative farming, but I do feel like we have to understand, Plan B if things happen environmentally, and that's kind of what aquaponics this is for us is we need to still develop these.
It's actually an ancient technology. It was used by the Aztecs, you know, thousands of years ago, but it's something that we're trying to, create some sort of scalable model. That's not damaging the environment with chemicals and things like that, but something that could allow us to grow indoors if we ever have to.
Because we might, you know, if we keep going down the path and we don't start changing, I mean, again, soil biologists are saying we've got about 60 harvests left of crops. If we don't dramatically change what we're doing. So that might be our only solution in the future. so that's why for me, I think it's important to look at alternative options as well.
And that's the one that we've selected. Cause I do want to make sure whatever we do still has the lowest possible footprint on the environment. And I think that's the one that for me is, is solving that, that issue.
Bryan Carroll: [00:39:54] So when you say 60 harvest, is that 60 years or do you harvest multiple times a year?
Jennifer Maynard: [00:39:59] It depends, but that probably means less than 60 years.
Cause you know, a lot of, a lot of them will have two rotations in there. Like they'll grow wheat and then corn or something like that and do that kind of a rotation. So I would say less than 60, you know, it's probably something between like 45 and 68. I mean, at this point, it. It's it's in the near future.
Like it could happen in my lifetime. And so that's, what's I think really concerning to people is that's not hundreds or thousands of years out. That's pretty, pretty close around the corner. and so far we haven't really gained a lot of traction to change it. Yeah.
Bryan Carroll: [00:40:34] Unfortunately we're very reactive. people we'd rather wait until it's too late and then try to figure out that solution afterwards.
Jennifer Maynard: [00:40:42] It's kind of getting too late though. I'm like 80% of our insect biomass is depleted, you know, we've lost all our carbon stores and we're really in this crisis state with our soil. And, it's, like I said, I mean, I feel like we're just heading down the cycle with the dust bowl. but we don't have a lot of solutions, so.
Bryan Carroll: [00:41:02] Yep. Well, if we can, you know, get more of this type of information out there and hopefully more people can get on board with their regenerative farming, then I think we can start making some really good changes. Cause like you said, something has to change at some point.
Jennifer Maynard: [00:41:15] Yeah.
Bryan Carroll: [00:41:16] Now you also with your company, you kind of follow the pillars of longevity.
Can you explain real quick what those pillars of longevity are?
Jennifer Maynard: [00:41:24] Yeah, so the one we focus on the most is nutrition. so obviously if you look at, so, we work with dr. Valter Longo. He wrote the longevity diet and that's, what's the foundation of our meal kits. And what I loved about his approach is he looked at the regions, the world that seemed to inherently understand eating healthy and living a healthy lifestyle because they live past a hundred and they don't just live.
Past a hundred, they live healthy and vibrant past a hundred, you know, with great cognitive ability. So he wanted to understand, cause he grew up in one of these longevity regions. What is it that drives this? What's so different about their lifestyle that you have, you know, multiple people in your little town that are living past a hundred and then in the U S you know, we're struggling with, You know, our lifespan and actually it's more about health span cause it's for them, it's that healthy part of your life that you can extend that vibrant part of your life when you have your energy and your cognitive ability and your mobility.
That's what we focus on is how do you extend that as long as possible? And so he researched for decades what's going on in these areas. And he came out with these exact macronutrients that they all share in common and different lifestyles and these longevity pillars. So they all eat a mainly plant based diet with potentially a little bit of fish.
So that was something that he said, okay, the diets are very similar if you break them down, fundamentally. I mean, yes, an Italian diet is different than a Costa Rican diet in the different regions. But if you look at it at a macro level, What they're consuming. As far as nutrients, it's very, very similar and they all consume lagoons as their main source of protein.
So you looked at that and he researched what's going on behind that. And then you also saw they have routine fasting regimens in their, in their diet. So they do long fasting once or twice a year. And then they do intermittent fasting, not. The extreme ones that we see, but a circadian rhythm intermittent fast, which is just a 12, 12, you know, basically think you stop eating.
When the sun goes down, you start eating again. When the sun comes up and they allow their body to get in a rhythm in the U S we don't really do that. We have food and energy payment and everything around us, 24 seven. So we never are letting our bodies have that cycle where it decompresses and it detoxes and more than anything where it has cellular regeneration.
Yeah. That's happening. And if you, if you look at. The aging process is essentially think of a rope. Your DNA strands are kind of unraveling at the ends when you're allowing your body to actually recuperate and regenerate. It goes in and it says, okay, that one is too damaged. We have to. Destroy it cause we can't repair it.
It's irrecoverable. This one can be repaired. We gotta, we gotta braid those, those edges back up and we're not letting that happen. So we just keep unraveling. And so when you do a prolonged fast, you have a very deep cellular regeneration that happens. And that's where. That even a lot of religions had prolonged fasting in in there.
and he designed a mimicking diet as you to do essentially a five day water fast and get the same benefits, but with limited food, so you have less side effects. And then we PR we always recommend, cause we're kind of on the feeding side of things, to do a circadian rhythm daily, which just allows your body to get into this rhythm and it allows your cortisol.
Throughout the date of wind down. So you're levels are winding down and your melatonin to come up. So you get a deep sleep and you get that good cellular regeneration. If you look at in the U S we have a lot of sleep issues, part of it is not letting your body get into a rhythm. So that was a key component and then active style.
You see these hundred year olds, they're still dancing. They're still cooking meals, even things like all of our automated kitchen equipment, you figure you're, you're burning calories, just out vegetables and stuff like that. And we, everything. So they actually. They do a lot of these things. They walk to their garden, they pick their produce.
It's not that there, weren't running a marathon every day, weak, but they're just doing constant daily activities that are keeping them active, even as they're older and they don't stop doing it. They, they all have their chores and they keep doing their chores. and that's really key. And then they have community, so sense of community where you're supporting each other.
And you're asking, how are you feeling today? Oh, you don't look so good. You should go see the doctor. So they are, their health is more proactive. Based on this community support system that they have, which helps them encourage each other to eat healthy and live healthy. And then they have a sense of purpose.
They really are. They a lot of these areas that people that live the longest are really mission driven. So they have a purpose behind what they're doing and they want to fulfill that purpose in their life. So those are kind of the key things that make up these longevity regions. Obviously a big piece being the nutrition, which is where we focus, but also these other lifestyle pillars that round it all out, to build these incredible longevity regions.
so that's what we try to kind of bring to the table with our meal kits.
Bryan Carroll: [00:46:22] Awesome. Well, is there any final things you want to talk about, in regards to regenerative farming and soil health and all that type of stuff?
Jennifer Maynard: [00:46:30] I think one thing I just, I always encourage people to do is even if you're in an apartment, you don't have a lot of space.
I really encourage people to try to grow something so they can reconnect, you know, 98% of the U S in the 18 hundreds were farmers less than 2%. Barely 1% now are farmers. So we're so disconnected from our food. How has it grown? What should it taste like? So I encourage people just grow herbs, if you can, or micro microgreens, or if you, if you have a patio grow up tomato plant, just to connect with the soil and the plant we've lost so many of our.
connection points with food and even the pre digestion. When you go pick tomatoes and you make a tomato sauce and you smell it and you touch it, you're already pre digesting your food. And we just Wolf down our food. We use tons of artificial colors and sweeteners and flavoring. We don't even know like our bodies used to know what we needed.
If in, in a primitive state, you even saw a narrowed color spectrum because your body knew you needed super high phytonutrient foods. We don't understand that anymore because we're so disconnected with our food. So I encourage people to just grow something and reconnect with your food and appreciate how hard it is to grow that food.
So you don't waste as much, but just also connect, allow your body to connect with that because it's a really important part of a healthy gut, healthy digestion, again, being very consciously aware of food. So that's just one thing I. Really encourage anyone to do as a takeaway is just start to learn about your food, but especially reconnect with it.
Bryan Carroll: [00:48:07] And then my final question for you is what do you do each day to improve your own health?
Jennifer Maynard: [00:48:12] well, I try to eat like a centenarian. I mean, I really do eat the way that we, design our kids. If, if I'm cooking at home, I try to cook that way. I even grow my own food, even though I have a farm five minutes down the street from my house.
I still have my own garden. Partly it's stress relief for me. I love gardening and growing food. But, part of it is also, there's nothing like going out and picking your own peas or tomatoes or kale. I just think there's something really special about that. So I do that for my own health and my family's health, and I try to actively move every day.
I don't work. I don't intentionally go work out on the treadmill every day. But I intentionally am always moving. Whether I'm working at the farm and working at our warehouse and going up and down our stairs, I, I make sure I'm moving my body and doing things, from an active lifestyle standpoint. so those are probably the two things that I do the most.
I also try to meditate. but I think the food and the lifestyle are really, really important.
Bryan Carroll: [00:49:11] Perfect. Well, people can find [email protected] You're also on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Can you just tell people a little bit more about meal kits? What exactly those are and what they can get from nutrition for a longevity.com?
Jennifer Maynard: [00:49:27] So we have, we actually just launched a produce box as well. So some people that already kind of know what they want to cook and they're, they're comfortable with that. we have that, so farm-fresh, We basically harvest it goes in the box. We ship it out. So that's one, one thing we offer. If you don't have a CSA in your community, I highly rated.
And if you do that, you support your local farms and get those fresh produce. Cause it, it encourages you to try things. You may not normally try. Like we grow cold, Rob and people are like, what is that? When I lived in Europe, it's ubiquitous. It's everywhere. Whereas here, people just didn't know what it was.
So we give people recipes like this is how you actually can chop this up or saute it or do this. So that's one thing that we offer. and then we offer meal kits and in about a month, we're launching, ready, made meals as well. So we have kind of the full spectrum. you just want the clean vegetables and you do all the work yourself, or I don't want to do anything.
I just want to eat healthy and everything in between. we also have organic, coffee and olive oil just to kind of supplement, you know, coffee has our coffee has, over two times the, phytonutrients as blueberries. So, you know, so coffee doesn't have to be this like negative indulgence. There's actually a lot of health benefits to it.
If you drink. Clean coffee. it's one of the most pesticide ridden crops in the world. If, if you don't have it farmed properly, but it can be extremely nutrient, rich and beneficial if you buy the right coffee. So we actually just added that to our lineup as well. So people can start the day with the right energy and.
Nutrients going into their body and then feed it throughout the day with all the food. So, so yeah, that's kind of the stuff that we offer. We do some lifestyle education and programs as well. So even if you don't buy our kids, we have a lot of recipes and information as well.
Bryan Carroll: [00:51:11] Awesome, Jennifer. Well, thank you so much for coming on to talk about this topic.
I've had a few people on to talk about different styles or regenerative farming, and I just love being able to chat with you and learn a little bit more and see all the differences that people are doing, but, you know, All everybody is improving the soil and improving the types of food that people can get.
So thank you so much. As you can see with some of the episodes we've had lately, there is a way to regenerate the soil and start to take care of the land that we grow food on so that we can continue to feed the planet. We just have to continue getting this type of information out there. So more farmers start to make the change.
As we have seen with the organic industry, the best way to push for change is to vote with your dollars. And when companies notice people are wanting different and more sustainable options, then they will start to make the changes to make that happen. And speaking of voting with your dollars, you can get 10% off your order.
Plus a free bag of whole bean coffee from nutrition for longevity. If you use a coupon code at summit. You can go to summit for wellness.com/one 20 to find all the links to her site next week, master Mingtong GU will be on the show. Let's go learn about Mingtong. I am here with Master Mingtong Gu what is one unique thing about you that most people don't know?
Mingtong: [00:52:35] Hmm. I'm pretty shy person. Most people don't know about me. I can be very open, very social, very passive, but deep inside of me, I'm pretty shy, kind of introverted and also kind of Herbert on hiding myself in the cave most of the time.
Bryan Carroll: [00:52:55] And what will we be learning? About an hour interview together,
Mingtong: [00:53:00] and we're going to learn about the ancient, traditional wisdom, mainly in Chicago, the possibility, the true benefit of transforming your life, including your health, physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and to truly fulfilling your full potential.
Even at this challenging time as a gift, as awakening as a healing process.
Bryan Carroll: [00:53:24] And what are your favorite foods or nutrients that you think everyone should get more of in their diet?
Mingtong: [00:53:30] I like soup all kinds of soup mix. The soup stew. Occasionally I use meat, but most time is vegetable. So I love a good cup of soup all season. Pretty much. Yeah.
Bryan Carroll: [00:53:46] In your soups. Do you put medicinal herbs in there as well, or no?
Mingtong: [00:53:51] No simple, mostly original flavors.
Bryan Carroll: [00:53:56] And then what are your top three health tips for anyone who wants to improve their overall wellness?
Mingtong: [00:54:03] Most importantly, keep the energy moving. Secondly is literally become not only more aware of the stress of your body, but discovering a way of reducing releasing stress every day basis, no matter what's happening in your life. So can truly make a difference for your self care self healing. And the 30 is literally connecting with the purpose.
Continuous discovery. Yeah. The deeper purpose of life. Yeah. And especially in this given time of challenge and the crisis, often we feel meaningless feeling lost, feeling confused, or feeling depressed, but keep asking that question.
What is the meaning of this life? What are your purpose on this planet earth as a human being, as thinking eventually what discover new connection, new meaning for your life? I
Bryan Carroll: [00:54:58] think all of us are dealing with a lot of stress these days. So you'll want to check out that episode with Mingtong and his upcoming chronic stress summit, and until then keep climbing to the beak of your health.
Learn More About Jennifer Maynard
Website: NutritionForLongevity.com (use coupon code SUMMIT for 10% off)