Tooled with over two decades of experience in technology, innovation and financial ventures – Aaron Niederhelman recognizes similar consumer & market inertia collecting behind circular economies regenerative in nature. Coined as a new internet, there are blue sky opportunities to be discovered in refining and evolving grandiose but arcane industries like agriculture, fisheries, water utilization and energy production. With prodigious scale greater than any immersive technologies we’ve seen to this point, and more disruptive than any open platform ecosystem or communication vehicle – innovations that will become increasingly essential to the staples of existence are not just an opportunity of a generation – but a necessity for all future ones.
Expedited in the information age, the inevitable future of every market eventually proves as the consumer desires. But, somehow we remain food ignorant in the US. As long as we hide behind the false economy of product price and the unmerited credulity in a food system not designed for consumer health – we’ll continue to fall victim to persuasive marketing that has predominately convinced the US consumer that all food is created equal – and thus cheap food will continue to plague our society. The truth is, this cheap modern food has yet to be exposed to the reality of a deeper value chain of a more engaged consumer. Somehow we as consumers persist in not knowing the backstory of the most important building block in sustaining our health & existence; in this day & age nothing seems more counterintuitive. What is so intriguing and the reason why food is ripe for revolution – the process of using technology, innovation and information has proven to change a consumer mindset to that of ‘greater awareness’ which has gained associated value in virtually every other industry of discretionary spending.
But first, a little more on the premise for an Innovation Economy. Biomimetics is the imitation of nature’s models, systems, and elements for purpose of solving complex human problems. This concept of learning from the efficiencies that ecology and biology create has only just begun to happen often, but rarely is it implemented within holistic systems. This premise for innovation associated to understanding how nature closes the loop in energy and nutrient cycling is to be reveled and broadly adopted in practice & procedure the more we appreciate our role in the system as a whole. Embracing and not trying to forcibly control our imprint in this healthy system is the inevitable future and the fundamental basis of future economies more circular.
Too often lazy or biased rhetoric from conventional practitioners points to those who support regenerative agriculture as being against science. In fact, with broader adoption of biomimicry as a foundation of regenerative land & sea agriculture – this couldn’t be more opposite from the truth. Furthermore, since our comprehension of science is actually defined as a series of controlled observations, we must ask instead what is actually being observed with agricultural and food systems, and resulting health & wellbeing associated to conventional practice?! The very premise of conventional technologies is becoming increasingly long-in-the-tooth; the basis for these technologies most broadly used were established well before we understood biomimicry, and are based on fundamentally arcane methods of trying to control a few granular parts in a broader system that only now we’re beginning to be appreciated.
A better argument is to transcend the current sandbox discussion and instead ask a more insightful question: how do we return food as premise for preventative human and planetary healthcare? So linear in the current approach, most conventional practice has lost sight of the fundamental purpose of food, and that of the implications on a healthy regenerative system that acts as the horsepower still creating the majority of the bounty. Plainly, we’re at a point where current technologies directly tied to conventional practice must be evaluated for their imprint & impact on the whole system. When assessed in this proper context all arguments are trumped by a clear and definitive answer – circular increasingly becomes our inevitable future associated to consumer awareness, production method and basis for economies. Learning from the controlled observations of the systems in which we partake will be our most monumental scientific accomplishment and innovative technology needed to sustain a shrinking planet.
So what’s lacking in a food revolution? Borrowing a page from the knowledge revolution of The Enlightenment: utilizing an approach of awareness and credibility to become a critical driver in rectifying a social error, or if nothing more, establishing adoption of a precautionary principle associated to the greater good of society – seems an interesting recipe to garner epic appeal when integrated with a proposed modern twist of technology supplied transparency and food provenance. In addition, technology and knowledge-share not only afford deeper engagement at an expedited rate, but it in fact has unparalleled potential for consumer retention & advocacy. Employing vested contributors is a critical driver in a thriving innovation economy, and will prove to be the foundation for a paradigm shift in our appreciation of food as primary preventative human & planetary healthcare for generations to come.
If we have hope of collectively empowering healthcare to be electively preventative, we must begin equally with innovations on farm and between the ears. To this, Aaron believes technology geared for the consumer maybe the very crucible of food system change through a vehicle of greater appreciation and knowledge of the true costs of food. The consumer is the only disruptive driver of change with capacity to make impact, and as folks responsible for feeding those consumers, we must first begin with food for more insightful thought.
We’ve put our eggs into a single basket for too long. We’ve become reliant on a few single organizations with questionable intent, and even corrupting forces to source our health. The empirical evidence resulting from the near singular production of cheap caloric energy is proving detrimental to us and our surroundings.
We must employ unbiased science and proper knowledge-share to restitute food as our closest link to natural order.
At a recent speaking engagement Aaron’s response seems apropos: “I’m not against science. Instead, I’m questionable of those who corrupt and manipulate our limited understanding of how the system of nutrient cycling really works. What we do know is the entire process is reliant on itself to remain successful, healthy; yet the linear practices associated to those who claim they’re backed by all the scientific answers makes me question validity. I believe in the innovations & technologies of true Evidence-based agriculture – one built on 10,000 years of agricultural & human coevolution as the fundamental line of demarcation where we’re part of natural order and not trying to control it. Empowering the consumer to embrace ‘these true costs of food’ is the only way we’ll change the food system.”