July 19, 2022
Whether a fatty snack or nutritious meal, all the food we consume has a massive impact on our bodies. That’s why it’s important that we have access to foods that are safe, nutritious, affordable, and, ideally, work in harmony with the environment.
Whether a fatty snack or nutritious meal, all the food we consume has a massive impact on our bodies. That’s why it’s important that we have access to foods that are safe, nutritious, affordable, and, ideally, work in harmony with the environment.
Paul Greive is an accountant, marine veteran, family man, and founder of Pasturebird. Pasturebird is one of the largest pastured poultry producers in the US that uses regenerative farming and provides people with more nutritious meat that comes from a more natural environment.
This accountant-turned-farmer believes everyone should have access to ethically-produced, nutritious food, which is why it has been a true joy for him to be one of the people pushing forward and re-inventing a new-old way of farming.
In this episode, Cory and Paul talk about the journey of building Pasturebird over a decade. Paul shares his life in the military, his battle with Lyme disease, and starting a pasture-poultry farm business with only 50 chicks, to raising millions of chickens without using a single antibiotic or drug. Paul addresses the problems in the food industry and the future of farming with the regenerative agriculture movement.
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Cory Ames 0:00
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Paul Greive 1:01
I think that there's a gap, you know, between this little tiny farmers market situation and the next option up, which is over a million chickens a week. These like, scaled operations. Why is there nobody in between trying to fit the bill for, I'm not saying large scale, but scaling up this idea of regenerative ag and making it more accessible to people that want to do wholesale and sell into grocery stores and sell into restaurants. And so we got super passionate about scaling regenerative, and that was really the genesis of Pasturebird and it's the work that we're doing now.
Cory Ames 1:35
Hey, y'all, it's Cory here with the social entrepreneurship and innovation podcast. As always, so grateful to have you listening in. Today we're talking about how to fix the poultry industry with regenerative farming. And to do so I'm speaking with Paul Greive, the founder of Pasturebird. Pasturebird is a Southern California chicken producer that's reinventing American poultry production for the better. Their goal is to scale the production of regenerative poultry that's beneficial to the lands, the animal, and the consumer.
Since their inception about a decade ago, as you'll hear Paul and I talk about, Pasturebird has raised millions of chickens without a single antibiotic or drug. And their topsoil is getting better every single year. They use nature as their template and they move animals to fresh pasture every single day. Paul and I get nitty gritty on the problems in the poultry industry, and as well, what a more ideal future might look like for chicken farming. If you're keen on the regenerative agriculture movement, biomimicry, and as well how to make change in a very complicated industry, this episode is certainly for you.
But before we dive into this conversation with Paul, I want to invite you to sign up for our Better World Weekly newsletter. It's a newsletter that I write and publish myself, send out every single Monday to our community of changemakers and innovators from all sectors all over the globe. Sign up for our newsletter at growensemble.com/newsletter, that's growensemble.com backslash newsletter to join in on our discussion of all things building a better world. Alright, y'all, without further ado, here's Paul Greive, founder of Pasturebird.
Paul Greive 3:38
Thanks for having me. My name is Paul Greive, founder of Pasturebird out here in Southern California. Really like a pasture poultry company, at least that's the product that we sell. Been doing this for about 10 years, like started in the backyard, and now we're the largest, what you would call like pasture raised chicken producer in the country, maybe in the world, I don't really know. And we're, on the flip side of that, one of the smallest chicken companies probably in the world too, if you didn't include pasture poultry. So we're like a tiny poultry producer, but we're pretty big pasture poultry producer. So it's kind of fun playing in that space.
Cory Ames 4:10
It always seems like there's two separate markets to some extent. There's like the conventional market, and then there's the market in the space of sustainability, no matter what industry we talk about. So that's always an interesting divide. But yeah, you mentioned right off the bat there, Paul, about a decade, and from what I recall, you started with maybe about 50 or so chickens as you mentioned there in the backyard. What does it feel like to be 10 years in? Does it feel like 10 years to you?
Paul Greive 4:36
It's really weird. Like, we didn't even realize it was our 10 year anniversary basically, and I was looking at the calendar and I was like, "Easter of 2022..." And I was like, "oh my gosh, we ordered our first chicks and Easter of 2012." And so, it's a funny thing. I guess it doesn't feel at all because we've really, honestly had a fun adventure here with building this thing. It's been a blast. It's also been like the hardest thing of our lives. So In the same respect that you could say it's felt like 30 years, you know, I got a lot of gray hairs to prove it.
But it's honestly been like a true joy to build and scale and be in this regenerative ag thing. And we always feel like we're standing on the shoulders of giants in our space like Joel Salatin and Gabe Brown and Allan Savory, just the legends, you know, who have served up this movement like on a silver platter. It's been a true joy to just be one of the people pushing the ball forward with a new way of farming-- new old way of farming.
Cory Ames 5:32
And I know you've hashed this out elsewhere, but just to set the stage for our listeners a little bit, would you mind giving us a little bit of the origins into what led up to buying those first chicks and diving into this endeavor?
Paul Greive 5:46
Yeah, it's unconventional for us. So like, I grew up in downtown Seattle. I know you're from Washington State as well. I just didn't come up in farming at all. My family was a regular middle class Seattle family. My dad was a general contractor, and my mom worked at a print shop kind of thing. I didn't have any interest in food. I didn't have any interest in farming, went to college for accounting. Just didn't feel like sitting behind a desk at 22 years old, so I went and joined the Marine Corps. I ended up in sniper commander school in Virginia in like 2007, which was so dope and really fun.
But one of the things in the summer in Virginia is, you get hit with a lot of ticks. Everybody did. I happened to get one that gave me Lyme disease. And so I got like the bullseye rash and just started getting the brain fog and fatigue and arthritis-- kind of weird body stuff. And at 22, I don't know, I'd never felt anything like that before. So pretty much had some buddies say, "Hey, dude, you should get the inflammation out of your diet, you would feel a lot better." And I was just like, "What the heck are you talking about?" It's yeah, "there's this new thing people are talking about eating like a caveman, paleo like, get rid of, you know, inflammatory foods and all that." So I was like, dude, that sounds so stupid... but I gave it a try.
And two weeks later, I can breathe through my nose again, my neck pain was gone, my knees felt better, I didn't have to, like, pump Motrin all day. I was like, wow, that was the first time I'd ever connected the food that you eat does have an impact on the way that you feel, even at 22 years old. And I went to Iraq, came back, and my whole family had kind of gone through this health journey. And we were really trying hard to find pasture raised meat, grass-fed, grass-finished, pasture raised, organic, and could not find what we wanted. Even in the farmers market, you know, it just didn't exist.
And so we were sort of joking around in April 2012, "Wouldn't it be funny to get some chickens for the backyard?" kind of thing, and my brother in law, sort of disappeared from the room. And he came back about 10 minutes later and was like, "Hey, I just ordered 50 chicks, they're gonna be here in two weeks." And that's pretty much how the business was born. You know, we didn't read many books, just kind of like jumped on YouTube and geeked out on Joel Salatin stuff and that became our Bible for how we were going to do things. And 50 became 100, became 200, became 500.
And our big break was sort of like 2014. The LA Lakers were trying to source the best proteins that they could for the team, and the team chef Sandra came out, and Kate Shanahan, who was a dietitian, came out to the farm. This is when we were in our infancy, like backyard kind of operation. And they said, "Yeah, this is exactly what we want to feed our team, like, how do we source from you guys?" And before that, it would it all just been direct sale to like neighbors, you know, and this is our first real, wholesale, like, we got to get serious now.
And from that experience, which was so cool being sports guys growing up and loving LA sports, it was like, "I think that there's a gap between this little tiny farmers market situation and the next option up, which is over a million chickens a week - these scaled operations." Why is there nobody in between trying to fit the bill for like, I'm not saying large scale, but scaling up this idea of regenerative ag and making it more accessible to people that want to do wholesale and sell into grocery stores and sell into restaurants?
And so we got super passionate about scaling regenerative, and that was really the genesis of Pasturebird, and it's the work that we're doing now. It's been a wild ride. And it's not really where I would have thought I would be, like, 12 years ago when I was getting out of the military.
Cory Ames 9:29
I'm sure about that. But maybe not to gloss over too quickly that big break with the Lakers. It's one thing to even get that opportunity. I'm really curious as to-- they could have very well come out and visited the farm like, "alright, you know, it's cool what you're doing, but I don't think you're ready for what it is exactly we're looking for right now." Why do you think y'all were set up to take advantage of that opportunity when it came to you? Like, what about the operation at that point, or what have you been focusing on that maybe seemed like, you know, outside of just some really good fortune? I'm sure there were things that set you up to take advantage of that fortune when it kind of came into your lap.
Paul Greive 10:09
Yeah, because we had, like, 20 tough breaks that went the exact way you just explained before we had one really good break, you know. It's like, that's entrepreneurship - it's so much persistence, like, not getting down and getting all bummed out when you do have what looks like an amazing opportunity. People come out and they show interest, and then it doesn't work out, which happens on the daily still, you know. Something like the Lakers for us-- I always say, dude, the orders weren't even that big. You're feeding like 10 guys, or 15 guys, or something, which is good, but it's not millions of dollars or something.
But what it was, is the confidence that it gave us of like, "dude, out of all the farms in the entire world, the Lakers chose us." So it gave us this confidence. It was a great thing for helping to market the program. And so, later on, when we started to bring on investors and stuff, it was a really cool story to be able to share. So, no, it came at the cost of so many tough breaks, you know, so many things that you thought, oh, maybe this will work out, or maybe we have a shot at this. And then it just fails. And it's like, you get bummed but you just stay persistent. You come back and like, do the next thing.
Cory Ames 11:17
That's really interesting. In my head, I first thought, man, those must have been some really large orders. But then, like, yeah, a basketball team's not that large.
Paul Greive 11:24
It wasn't a stadium. People are like, "wow, you fed everybody in the stadium." It's like, no, we fed the team some of their protein, like not even all of it. And then actually, the Dodgers found out about the Lakers, and then the Dodgers started ordering-- that was actually a much bigger order, because a baseball team is bigger than a basketball team. Yeah, so it was like, we got to go in, got to go to the clubhouse and like, walk in the field, meet some of the players. It was just a just a rad experience for me and my brothers who we started the company with.
Cory Ames 11:54
Oh, I bet. I mean, I'm a big basketball guy myself, so a bit envious of that experience. But I mean, I'm hearing right behind you right now and some beautiful sounds of birds so it leads me to this next question. What has the impact been of being on a farm, working on a farm, for the last decade? I know you started the first three years full time still as a CPA, as y'all were getting things off the ground, quite a contrast to the work of a farmer. But what's the impact been like for you personally, or emotionally, or mentally?
Paul Greive 12:25
Well, it's really funny, people have this, like, romantic vision of farming. And it's absolutely true for like, the first three months that you're working on a farm. It's like, every day, you're just in awe of like creation and beauty and you're seeing regeneration - it's just this amazing thing, you know. But like anything in life, you start to get used to it, unfortunately. So I'm in these shockingly beautiful environments every single day, but I still have to remind myself to be conscious and appreciate it. You know, we see wildlife, we see new species popping up, we get to, you know, eat products off of our farm, they're so delicious and nutritious, and like, I get to feed my family these things.
But it's just human nature, you just kind of get used to it. And like, I fail to appreciate how amazing it is sometimes, and I get kind of bummed at myself. I'm like, dude, you got like this-- my office is like, you know, hundreds of acres of grasslands with thriving ecosystems, not just the livestock we raise, but the deer and the bald eagles and the squirrels and, like, the insect population, they're all thriving in this environment, you know. It smells good, and it looks good. And it's like, doing so much for the local economy. And I don't know, it's just sad that you kind of get used to it, sometimes.
Cory Ames 13:39
It is a weird sense of our humanity, how quick we our to like, try and get comfortable with whatever that environment is. Habits and routine are extremely, extremely powerful, both mentally and physically, you know, so that's, that's, that's an interesting reflection.
Paul Greive 13:54
I have this exercise where I like, intentionally-- you know, because in the beginning, it was all me and my brother in law doing the farming. I mean, we didn't have any employees. So every single day you're up early, you're like doing chores and all that. And as we've grown the business, what's funny is like, what started as this, you know, desk job, where I'm on a computer all the time, went to like the exact opposite of that. And now it's like, moved back to much more of, I do the sales and marketing and like, I'm on the computer, I'm on the phone, I'm in meetings a lot. Like, I'm not even-- they don't even let me do a lot of the farm work anymore. They're like, no, no, Paul, we got it, you're gonna just break things if you come out here.
I still get to be on the farm all the time, but I'm not necessarily the one doing the chores anymore. So it's been interesting. I do have an exercise where it's just like, just get on the farm, put down the computer, shut off the phone and just like meditate, pray just like force myself almost to actually appreciate the abundance that I get to like experience all the time. But it takes intentionality. It doesn't just come naturally, you know?
Cory Ames 14:53
Certainly and I mean, I think that touches to the the aspect of those routines and those habits and likewise, you know, the important but very simple habit of practicing gratitude or recognizing how great the things are around you. One way or another, doesn't matter so much, it seems, how the individual does it, but it's that exact thing. I experienced so much, you know, the same yourself. Like, for the most part, my job is reading, writing, and speaking to folks like yourself, and I'm like, that's something that I dreamed of doing when I was leaving college, and still-- I get kind of tense and build up this level of stress and all that kind of stuff.
And then, you know, it's always nice to start my day with some sort of reflection or journaling, like, wow, shit's pretty great for me. I gotta remind myself of that as I head into the day.
Paul Greive 15:37
There's a lot of power in that dude, yeah.
Cory Ames 15:39
Oh, 100%. 100%. Well, to transition a little bit into the substance of the sector that you're in, Paul, our listeners are, I'm sure, quite familiar with, you know, the elements of factory farming, and many of the issues that have come about in large scale farm operations, especially in the US. But since Pasturebird was really started in response to a lack thereof, or problems that you saw in the existing food industry, can you set the stage a little bit more for us as to what are the problems that you've intimately seen throughout food production, and specifically in poultry and chicken farming?
Paul Greive 16:14
I can sum up a lot of it in just saying that animals were never stationary, you know? For millions or thousands, whatever you believe, like they were never stationary until like the last 50 or 60 years. They were always moving all the time. And that made the animal, whether it's a, you know, a livestock animal or a wild animal, it made it an asset to the environment. Because it's trimming grass, it's fertilizing the ground through the manure, and then it's moving on and giving the land a chance to rest and recover, and that actually happens in the ocean, too. All these ecosystems are based on the premise that animals are eating, pooping, moving, and then the land gets a chance to rest, incorporate that nutrition from the manure, and then regrow even stronger than before.
It's only in like the last, maybe, you know, 1950s? So I guess that's like 70 years now, that antibiotics really enabled us to keep animals stationary for the first time ever. I'm definitely not here to like knock factory farming or talk crap about farmers or growers or anything. But I think the fundamental unlock that we're working on is like, how do we get animals moving again? People have figured it out with cattle using rotational grazing, electric fencing, paddocks, holistic management. Like, your listeners, if they're into this stuff, they'll know all those terms, what all that means. It's like getting away from the feedlot system essentially.
But with poultry, it's really uncommon. The country harvests about 9 billion chickens for meat every single year. My math says 99.39999% of those are raised in a stationary environment, whether that's organic or free range, or antibiotic-free, cage-free, humane, or G.A.P., or any of those terms are all raised in these stationary environments. And I think you're missing like a huge power that animal agriculture has when you raise animals in a stationary environment. You're not getting that eat, poop, move, rest, rotation, you're not getting that fertility, you're not getting that nutrient density that's going to come from like an animal grazing on grasses and bugs and worms and flowers and weeds and like fresh forages essentially.
So at Pasturebird, we're trying to figure out how do we honestly like move that system from a stationary one to a mobile one? That's like the core-- whatever, you could call it a problem, or you could call it an opportunity. I'd say, farming animals in a stationary setting is actually what's weird. Moving animals across the grassland is actually what's far more normal in a historical context if you look back far enough.
Cory Ames 18:43
And so in your assessment, why is the animal production this way? Like, why are we here? Is it purely as you mentioned, maybe it was perceived as more convenient for the farmer to keep the animals stationary? Or other factors of the cost of production? Or, what's kind of led us to where it is that, seemingly, that's kind of an egregious number, 99%, that these animals are raised in stationary settings.
Paul Greive 19:12
It's about a million birds out of 9 billion that are raised in a rotational manner right now. Maybe it's 2 million now since the thing has grown. But it's a tiny, tiny, tiny sliver of the overall country's overall poultry production, which is done in a mobile way. And it would be even less than that for pork. Pork and chicken are the two that, in my opinion, have the most room for innovation right now.
The reason's like many-fold, but go back to the industrial revolution, when efficiency, whatever that's supposed to mean, became like the dominant goal. And so food got bigger, faster, cheaper, all at the same time. And I think it's ultimately, I trace it back to like consumer demand. 75 years ago, or 85 years ago, chicken was not the cheap protein, like it was actually really expensive. And so you were really lucky to be able to put up a whole chicken on a Sunday night dinner, it would be like a really fancy thing and it would be a big deal for your family. But as the industrial revolution hit, we started subsidizing grains, you know, corn and soybeans, mostly. Chicken became really cheap, and so it became like the cheap protein.
You have issues with like predation, which stationary farming has kind of helped us solve, but a huge unlock for stationary ag was that we could move poultry farming up in northern climates, year round. So now we have poultry farming in Indiana, and we have it in Pennsylvania, and we have it, you know, New Jersey and places where-- and it's the middle of winter, and it's negative 20 out and you still have chickens, you know, alive on the ground. And so that is kind of an amazing technological advance, if you will, to where we can raise chickens year round in these northern climates using stationary farming.
That's not possible with what I do. It wouldn't be doable in the winter to raise chickens like out on pasture. But, it made chicken really cheap, and I think that's what consumers were asking for. In the last 10 years, though, the narrative has shifted to where consumers aren't just looking for cheap meat anymore. I think there's a huge shift in looking for better meat, animals that are like raised better, treated better, more nutrient density, things that are better for the environment. So the narrative has really shifted, and I think you have big ag essentially trying to respond to that demand and figure out, okay, how do we how do we either produce the products that these people are looking for, or market our products in a way that tells the story that people are looking for? And essentially, kind of trick 'em, you know.
Cory Ames 21:35
Hmm. And so we'll shift here in a sec to the, perhaps the division for what's the more ideal future in raising chickens on a wider scale. But before we transition to that phase, I'm curious, are there any other like wider implications of this factory farming method that, you know, the average person may not be aware to are keen to? I mean, for example, you briefly mentioned the nutritional component, how does it affect actually what sort of chicken we're putting on our dinner table, for example? Or are there other things with the farmers as well that we may not, as the average user, just consumer of these products, think of right out of the gate?
Paul Greive 22:13
I think nutrient density is the one that you hit on that I would say like, it takes the cake for me. And when I talk about factory farming, I would say you can factory farm cattle and chicken and you can factory farm kale, and corn, and strawberries too. So factory farming is just producing food at the lowest cost possible. Which is brutal, because our element, or our dynamic, is like cost per pound. So what does that incentivize? That incentivizes getting animals as fat as possible, as fast as possible. Like, that's how you drive profit, if we're going to price things off of a dollars per pound and this commodity system.
The same is true for our corn or our kale, like, all you're going to try to do is increase yield as much as possible. There's no pricing for the nutrient density - I don't get paid more because I have three times the Omega-3 in my chicken, necessarily, at least not a commodity system. So it's a perverse incentive to pay a farmer on price per pound, when what you really wanted was the nutrient density of that. I use-- you got the Patagonia hat on. So Yvon [Chouinard] was involved in a study that compares oranges from the 1950s to oranges in like 2012. And it was something like nine times the vitamin A in an orange grown in the 1950s, industrial conventional orange in the 1950s, compared to one now. So like what the heck, what is that? Is it fertilizer? Is it pesticide? Is it fungicide? Is it the fact that we had better soil back then?
I would kind of venture that it's all of those. We've really depleted our soil. Nutrient density comes from soil, and we've done all these things to kind of reduce the farming equation to like, nitrogen phosphorus. It's more than that, you know. And I really think we've like, had this reductionist Western philosophy on farming to try to get food as cheap as possible per pound. And we need to get away from that if we want to bring nutrient density back and start thinking about soil health again, and start figuring out how do we produce food that's more-- We've done studies comparing our stuff to a barn raise chicken, and the results are insane. And I would say we're not even-- we're so far from perfect. Like, I think what we're doing is cool. We have a long ways to go to make our product even better than it is now.
But it's something like, we were three times higher in Omega-3, 50% higher in vitamin A, vitamin E, we were 21% lower in bad fat. We were, you know, four times higher in micronutrients like you would take as supplements, like glutathione, NADH was like eight times higher in vitamin B 12. And that's not to toot our horn. It's just like, when we do take care of the soil and we put animals back in an environment where they can thrive and they can forage for more than just that highly industrialized kind of corn and soybean, you get a better product out of it.
You know, I used to go to Costco and I would eat a whole chicken by myself, that $5 whole chicken you can get from Costco, and it was like, I could down that whole thing. But now, when I'm eating these more nutrient dense-- like, if I eat our chicken, I can barely even get through like a drumstick and a thigh and I hit satiety, and my brain is sending me these triggers. It's like, "Dude, you're full, like, you're good." You know, it's hard for me to get grossly full on, you know, organic broccoli, like, your brain and your body just goes, "hey, bro, like you've had enough, like time time to shut her down," you know?
So I think that's the future. That's probably where we're going with this whole regenerative thing, is really looking at, like, nutrient density and satiety. And it's like, yeah, you're spending another 20%, but you're getting double the nutrients. So is it actually more expensive at the end of the day?
Cory Ames 25:42
It's certainly a necessary shift in what it is that we're actually valuing, you know, both in the context of what purchases we're making, and as well, on the business side, what it is we're producing and for what reasons. But as well, just like societally, it feels like efficiency was, as you mentioned, the spur of the industrial revolution, perhaps the utmost priority, and what that then provided for industry moving forward. And so with these crises abound, both the climate crisis, but as well, perhaps less spoken about in such, I think, mainstream messaging, there's definitely a crisis of our health, you know, both and what we see with many medical issues among adults, as well as children, all that sort of stuff is really quite insane.
Paul Greive 26:29
Yeah, I'd submit that it's being talked about, but people aren't connecting the dots, you know. This is like the first-- I'm the first generation where my children are expected to live a shorter life than me. That's crazy, you know. In the midst of unbelievable medical advances and technology, like my kids are still gonna die earlier than then I - like, that's crazy. You know, you look at COVID I mean, I don't care where you land on the issue, like it's certainly an immune system issue. So why are we having such a hard time fighting this off? Look at avian influenza, they've recently in the last year, the government has depopulated 38 million chickens, which means they came in and they like, forcibly exterminated 38 million birds because there's a disease going around and they're really worried about containing it and having it spread.
I feel like we're on a crash course, you know, these things are all-- I'm only hearing about a more and more. We're raising animals in a way that doesn't promote immune system health, which is ultimately-- it's not going to come from synthetic chemicals and vaccines and drugs. Like, that stuff can help, I'm not against any of that stuff, if it's used in the right way. But when it's prophylactic, and we're just using it because of the environment that we either us as humans are living in or the way that we're raising our livestock. That's a crash course. You know, you can only beat back nature for so long. And then you go, "actually, let's look at fresh air. Let's look at Sunshine. Let's look at a mixed diet. Let's look at not having animals living, eating, breathing, and sleeping on their own, you know, feces." And it's like, I think we need to rethink how we're doing a lot of this stuff.
Cory Ames 28:13
Certainly, and it's interesting how it can kind of come back to, you know, simplicity might be the best solution of where, you know, it's not necessarily that transitioning a farm from you know, something conventional to then abiding by regenerative agricultural practices is easy or simple, but the simplicity of like, we're attempting to return things mostly to how they were, you know, pre industrial movement.
Paul Greive 28:36
100%. Just one more thing: Biomimicry is the type of technology I'm most excited about for the next decade. It's the idea that, like, let's acknowledge that nature is actually really smart, and it's had a lot more reps in years than we have, as scientists or as as farmers. If we can design systems that look more like how nature designed it, it comes with intangible benefits that we don't even understand a lot of times. That could be the feed that you put into, whatever, a factory farm style house. Just using biomimicry principles for the feed that you use, that can still give you a big advantage. So it's not like you're either in the club or you're out of the club. I think this idea of like, biomimicry, and designing systems based on nature's wisdom can apply anywhere, you know, and it's all on a spectrum, like nobody's perfect at this stuff, so.
Cory Ames 29:30
Certainly, and I understand the inclination to continue to reach to really advanced technological innovation to solve many of these problems. I think the question of carbon sequestration, how do we just get more carbon out of the atmosphere is a big one. We're either attempting to create these machines, these highly advanced technological, you know, innovative machines that suck carbon out of the atmosphere, an extremely expensive research and development endeavor. The science is not exactly tested out and maybe we will get there. It's like, you know, in similar price per pound on a farm is kind of like the price per, you know how much carbon we're able to set out of the atmosphere.
But, you know, if we're attempting to do what it is that you're speaking to with biomimicry, how much carbon can we sequester is through improving the health of our soil? You know, and these nature based solutions to climate change might be a little bit difficult for some reason to sell with our hunch of like, technology is going to save all. And it's not that regenerative agriculture, in a modern sense, is incorporating a lot of you know, technology. But what we're trying to do is work better with nature, as opposed to like, let's continue to continue like to go down this this rabbit hole of you know, how can tech save us, specifically.
Paul Greive 30:38
And a lot of the smartest people that I follow, an approach that to be honest, I kind of like, is, it's not which one is right. It's like, we need to throw everything at it right now. I used to be the guy that would say like, "No, it's all about grasslands, like biomimicry, grass, plants, trees, that's how you suck carbon out of the atmosphere, not these stupid, you know, carbon digesters, and all this stuff." But a lot of smart people have kind of like shifted my thinking a bit to be like, "Well, why can't you have both?" We're obviously creating, not just in farming, but just look at how many cars we put on the road, like we're creating a ton of carbon. And so if there's a way to pull carbon out of the atmosphere with tech, and with using regenerative ag, like, let's throw everything at the wall.
I just, with the carbon stuff, I'm worried. Again, we're being reductionist, and we're looking at one thing, you know, as opposed to like, well, what about biodiversity? What about soil health? What about water holding capacity? Like we're in an insane drought in the west right now. Some of that's from a natural cycle of rain, some of it, maybe it's from climate change, but a lot of it's because we don't capture the water that falls out of the air anymore. It runs off, and it runs into the ocean, ultimately. And so, there's a lot of room for improvement all the way across the board. I think, maybe I'm an optimist, but I think we're in like the golden age of agriculture, because there's so much opportunity everywhere right now to do better, you know.
Cory Ames 32:01
Right. And I think, to put a cap a little bit on what you're speaking to there, and often something reiterated from many guests we have, is it's sort of finding which particular solution or area of impact kind of feels most energizing to you personally, especially for someone listening this conversation of wondering where or how you could get involved. Because I don't think I'm going to be a farmer, you know, that's just not going to work out for me in particular. But I'm big on on education and media, and that's my sector, but it's the thing that keeps me going, you know, it's not necessarily about what's the one single most effective solution to climate change, as opposed to, there are so many available to us and finding the area that kind of speaks to you most from this the sake of, you know, what you're most excited about? And as well, what you'd be able to sustain the longest in. Because the work is not necessarily easy, you know, and burnout is certainly a thing that can be rampant.
But next here, Paul, I'd love to hear, because I think that this is something I'm extremely curious about just as I spend time in various grocery markets, either, you know, browsing for eggs, or looking likewise for chicken breasts. I'm wondering so we can kind of start to set the vision of what is ideal and what we should be starting to look for and identify out in the world and just kind of as we continue to learn about how agriculture is changing, what's the differences between the cage-free, pasture-raised, free-range, organic, like there's so many terms, and this has been used in a lot of different ways. I saw grass fed with beef come, and then all of a sudden grass finished, as well, started to become a part of that because people could use grass fed in a different way, but not commit to it. So I'm curious from the the aspect of poultry, can you paint a broad picture as what's the significance of those various terms for us?
Paul Greive 33:43
This is like the depressing part of the conversation, you know, and I always feel bad when I have to-- I hope this isn't news to anybody, but those labels mean next to nothing. Every last one of them. I always have this game of like you name the label, I'll name the loophole, in chickens specifically. You walk into a regular brother house, it's 600 foot long, 40 foot wide, 24,000 birds. That's the way chickens are raised. You can call it factory farming, I would just call it you know, chicken farming. It's just how it's done. You walk in, you see it, you smell it. That same exact house could be the super cheap chicken a Walmart, not to knock Walmart, but it could be the super cheap on at Walmart, or it could be that $5 Costco whole chicken, or it could be the crazy expensive, organic, free-range, pasture-raised chicken at Whole Foods. And it's all coming from that same stationary environment.
The differences are very minor for somebody that's not a farmer. So if you walk in, that 600 foot long house has a few doors on the side of it like little windows, essentially, the birds have access to the outdoors. That's what makes it free-range. Has no implication whether they've ever been outside in their life or not. It's the fact that they technically had access, which is like the dirtiest word in the meat business, to the outdoors. That's free-range. And pasture-raised, because pasture-raised is simply an analogous term to free-range as far as the USDA is concerned. There is no difference. So as long as the birds had some sort of access to the outdoors that can be labeled as pasture-raised.
Organic is a little different, but the house would look the exact same to you. You have to have those little free range doors, and then the feed that's going down the lines of the house, that corn and soybean, that has to be certified organic, which can mean something or it can also not mean something, depending on where it's imported from and who's stamping it, kind of what's going on there. So it's really unfortunate. It's like a 1%, or 2%. You know, it's-- I'm not gonna say free-range isn't better than not being free-range, like, sure having access to the outdoors is a little better than not, I guess. But I always say, I had access to go to Harvard. I absolutely didn't ever go, I've never even been to Harvard. But I did have access just like you did to go, that doesn't make me a Harvard grad, you know.
And so I have a big problem with the way that these terms are greenwashed and marketed. And I think they're tricking consumers pretty bad. And it really feels like the number one detriment to a regenerative future being built, is the fact that it's so easy to just slap these terms on to meat products to, you know, vegetable products, fruit products. And like, very well-intentioned consumers are trying to do their best by the environment, trying to do their best by their family. Like they really have no way to know. And so I always get this question like, "Dude, how am I supposed to know how do? I mean, I'm going to the grocery store, busy mom, busy dad, like just trying to do the best for my family. How am I supposed to know?" And I'm like, I don't have a good answer for you. It sucks. I really don't know.
You kind of go back to like, know your farmer. Ideally, you visit that farm, you visit them at least on their website or social media. But, I'm telling you, these companies that can just take chicken, they can put it down on a pasture, take some pictures of it, talk about regenerative, and any well-intentioned person is gonna fall for it. Like, there's no good way around it. And it really sucks.
Cory Ames 37:12
Yeah, I mean, you certainly can't put the blame on the consumer there, just because there's so much to filter through, like you said. To some extent, you sort of need to be the farmer to be able to see the subtle differences between all those terms and definitions. And that's why definitions are so important to us here in our conversations, because what it means to be a sustainable business, sustainable food business or otherwise, or responsible business, you know, as those messages or those terms and phrases become more popular and important to consumers, there's the opportunity that they can be co opted just for the sake of marketing and appealing to trends, and making very small, at least mostly perceived changes, as opposed to actually making substantive changes that we need for an actual impact for what the end product is. Especially in the conversation of food, you know, just in the nutrient density of a tomato or a chicken breast or whatever it is. Or, you know, other industries as well.
Paul Greive 38:07
I would add this though: there are companies in the poultry space and in the greater food space that are being honest about things. So I have a problem with the people that are lying about what they do, or greenwashing what they do, putting labels on that aren't true. I have 100% respect for the companies that are doing what a lot of people would call factory farming or stationary farming, but they're showing the process. They're being honest about it. They're not trying to mislead anybody. They're trying to sell a good product at a good price. And they're trying to be-- I mean, I have nothing but respect for that.
Do I think it can be done better? Yeah. But do I think even my process can be a lot better? Yeah, like we all have room to improve. But the key is radical transparency and being honest about what we do, and not tricking consumers. So like, I only take issue with the people that are faking it. As long as you're being honest, I think there's room for large scale commodity farming. Not everybody has the privilege to worry about how their chickens are raised, you know, like, worldwide. It's the vast minority of people that can even worry about something like that. So there's absolutely a lane for those larger scale producers. I just think, come on guys, let's be honest, let's knock off the marketing nonsense. And let's just tell people what's going on. And I think it's such a better method.
So one of the things that we implemented recently is a live stream, where we're just like, you know what, screw it, we're gonna go live from inside of the coop. And I tried to figure out how to do it for like, years. Eventually, I figured out I'm just gonna buy an iPhone, get its own data plan, and I'm just gonna leave it at the farm. And the farmers go out a couple times a week, typically, they'll just hit go and we broadcast it out to YouTube and LinkedIn and Instagram, and like everywhere that we can basically have a live stream. And it's not perfect. A lot of times people have this preconceived notion of pasture raised chicken being out in this open, sunny field like running around.
And like, that's not what we do, you know, we're moving like a portable shade structure that looks a lot like what it would look like in a conventional environment. The difference is, they're living on pasture, they have fresh forage, and they have a lot of space. But it's still has a feed line, it still has a water line, they still have walls and sides and a roof over their head and stuff like that. So I don't care anymore, though. I'm just like, I want to give people radical transparency, let them see what they're getting for themselves and not go down this stupid thing that the food space has done, which is take these marketing pictures and come up with these terms and labels.
And it's like, let's just get back to being real with people. People aren't that stupid. You know, I think you do see people falling for these terms, like really smart, well-intentioned people. But I don't know, I think the radical transparency movement can bust up a lot of preconceived notions in a really good way. And like, I think it can do something for us.
Cory Ames 41:05
That's an incredibly important message. Just because, you know, in the context of sustainable, responsible business, I'm not sure what example, you know, is exactly perfect. So, like you mentioned Patagonia for one because the hat I'm wearing, and only a particular percentage of Patagonia's clothes are certified Fairtrade, because there are complications with them, you know, verifying every single aspect of their supply chain. So Patagonia held as an extreme champion of this type of business, and I think it's still well deserved - I'm still a big fan of Patagonia - but they're not perfect, either. You know, they're actively seeking to--
Paul Greive 41:42
But to me, the coolest thing about what you just said is that you know that there's a percentage, and they publish it. And they're not trying to BS you about it. Like, I think that's so cool about their business. And it's what I respect more than the fact that they're doing all these amazing things, which is so cool. Like, I love Patagonia. I'm deeply inspired. But the most inspiring thing to me is the honesty behind it. And the fact that they acknowledge that they're on a spectrum, just like everybody else. And like, I think that they're intentional about trying to do better that can apply to way more than just farming.
Cory Ames 42:14
Yeah. No, 100%. And so to speak a bit more to what Pasturebird is doing and how y'all are raising the chickens you do, can you set the scene for us a little bit? You mentioned - and you didn't use this term just yet - but the mobile coops that I first became aware of through, I think your videos on LinkedIn. But I'd love to hear more as to what's the setting there? I know y'all categorize it and label as pasture-raised chicken. Talk to us more about about what that looks like.
Paul Greive 42:41
Yeah, so the guy that I mentioned in the beginning, Joel Salatin, pioneered in the US - was actually popular in Europe, like back in the 1930s, but Joel Salatin kind of brought it to the US. And it's this idea that chickens aren't cows or dogs, they don't just run around out in a big open field. They're prey animals, they want to be under a bush, they want to be in the shade. If you've been to like Hawaii or Thailand, you kind of see the nature of a chicken. So instead of pretending that that's not the nature and taking like a free range style house where they have outdoor access, but they're never actually going outside, what if we took their house, and we put it on wheels, or skids, or made it mobile, so that they have the protection, they have the shade, they have their food and water, but then every single day, they're actually moving to a new spot.
And that's what got us really stoked. The way he was doing it, and still is, it's in these small wood pens. So it's like 80 birds, everything's completely manual and done by hand, you pull the coop by hand, the birds are fed by hand, it's even watered by hand in his system. And so we started out that way. And we've just scaled that principle of moving chickens with a portable shade structure. But we've grown it. So then we went to a 600 bird system, which was pulled by a tractor, we automated the water with the pressurized water line, and then we did manual feeding with buckets inside of the coop. And then we said, well, you know, we're still like, so expensive. I think we have about 100x labor cost, even in that system compared to the industrial stationary environment, which makes sense, right?
Like you don't really-- in industrial stationary environment, a feed truck brings feed into a silo, which feeds an auger, which feeds the entire house of 24,000 birds without the farmer even touching anything, you know, so how do you even compete with labor on that? And we said, "All right, well, let's embrace the things that big ag has figured out," which is ventilation, that auger's feed system that I just explained, the nipple watering system - which is really cool, because it's like a hamster where they hit, we call it a nipple or ball, and it keeps them out of their water, it keeps the water really clean and fresh. Like, let's acknowledge that the industry has done some pretty cool stuff. They've advanced some tech, but how do we combine that with this thing that we've been doing for seven years or now 10 years, moving this portable shade structure to a new spot?
And so we solved for scale and automation. And the bigger we made the coop, the more we can afford to put these cool gadgets and gizmos on and this modern tech. The problem was, you're moving a structure. And so we solve to the number of birds that goes onto a truck to the slaughterhouse, because that's the bottleneck thing. So we wanted to figure out how do we build something that will integrate into a bigger chicken company, it'll fit their process, but it'll allow them to do things regenerative and to move chickens to fresh grass all the time. And so we solve for 6000 birds, which in our environment is about a 7500 square foot coop that was required. So you can imagine 150 foot long by 50 foot wide, and somehow this giant structure needs to move to a new spot every day.
It's gonna be hard to pull that with a tractor, A. because it's just labor intensive and you have to move it pretty quick when you're on tractor because you're under the gun on time. What would be better is if we could put drive wheels onto the system, and it could drive itself autonomously on a timer, based on seasons, how old the birds are, how much manure load you want to put down, like, how do we get all that? And all that came back to well, we need autonomous power too. So solar power, became the solve there. And we installed-- imagine like 150 foot by 50 foot fully solar powered system that has built in silos, it has all the coolest stuff from a modern chicken house, fully thermostatically controlled curtains, thermostatically controlled fan systems and ventilation, a silo that brings feed in and automatically feeds the birds, and then the coop automatically drives itself to fresh pasture every day.
And it was like, that's my dream. That's what I want to do. I'm not an engineer, I don't frickin' know how to do it. So we ended up teaming up, we brought this guy Dan Cody on who had run farms like White Oak Pastures, he'd worked with Joel Salatin before, kind of like-- he's a PhD, organic chemist, just genius level dude that's also a really talented engineer. And then through some of our investors, we got connected with JPL, which is like the NASA division. So we have full blown rocket scientists trying to solve for moving. It's actually the largest electric vehicle ever made, right? So you're moving like a 7000 square foot electric vehicle that has to move on undulating terrain with different soil types. And you may have a bump here, and then it may be a divot here, maybe you have, like, you hit a rock over here.
So the engineering was actually really, really complex. It looks simple, and I think it's an elegant solution, but there's so much engineering that went into it. But that's what became the automated range coup, which I think is going to transform animal agriculture. I think it will for sure transform poultry. The big idea is now that we have scale, we can actually integrate these into crop fields, which I think is really cool, because the crop fields are starving for fertility, fertilizer prices are an all time high, like we have a ton of fertility in our system. So the idea is we integrate, you take a 10,000 acre crop farm, you give the chickens 1000 of those acres for two, three years, we run our birds on it, you put a cover crop in, and we're hitting it with our birds, where we fertilizing the ground, and then we're gonna rotate off, and then they're gonna come in, they're gonna plant their crops behind us, essentially. And they're gonna utilize all that fertility that we just gave them.
So it's like this really rad closed loop system that gets unlocked with the large scale mobile coop. And I think that's what we're really excited about is this automated ranch coop that now is happening at scale, we can put off a really cool, pasture-raised chicken product that's differentiated. But then it's solved this big thing in the closed loop like grain farming, too.
Cory Ames 48:48
That really stuck out to me in my research, that you started to lend your chickens out with the construction of these coops to those other farmers across the country for the use of that fertilizer. So that seems like a really incredible opportunity that's been created as a product of that.
Paul Greive 49:05
I mean, it's like in its infancy, but I think there's a lot of potential there.
Cory Ames 49:09
Absolutely. And to kind of draw out some of the other implications of this system contrasted with the conventional, what are some of the other outcomes and results that we've seen? You know, you mentioned, the health of the soil, the grasslands that you have with the fertility available on your pastures. What else have you seen as a product of this for the effects on the environment, the effects on the quality or the health of the lives of the chickens you're raising, or even the experience of what would be future-- sounds like y'all are really a guinea pig for other potential farms in the future by investing in a lot of this technology. But what are some of the other outcomes and results that that you've seen as a product of this?
Paul Greive 49:49
Yes, I mean, a lot of its like, social, some of its environmental, some of it's, you know, health of the actual product that we're feeding people. But one of my favorite stories is we got on to about a, it's a third generation farm, the guy has four conventional chicken houses with Purdue, he has a beef cattle operation on about 500 acres, and he grows hay for the winter season. And so that's, that's a really typical Georgia farm. The poultry is kind of used to pay the bills and stuff and the beef cattle is, it's kind of like cream on top. And it's a very normal way of doing things in that area.
Every single year, that farmer was applying synthetic fertilizer for his hay crop. So he'd come out with a big spreader, you know, be nitrogen or phosphorus, but he would take it a synthetic chemical, and he would spread it on the field to get enough hay to feed his animals in the winter. He really wanted to do pasture raised chicken, and so he was trying to figure it out on his own. We were able to come to him with a business plan that would pay him to raise chickens in these mobile coops. And the coolest thing to me was, by moving those birds around in his field, he's completely stop using the synthetic chemical fertilizer for his hay crop. So not only did he reduce his costs there, he increased his profitability by raising chickens for us. And now he's feeding his cattle without any synthetic chemicals, too, so he could transition that to organic and get a premium for that or direct market and get a premium for the story.
It's little vignette type of stories like that where I'm like, "Dude, that is such a powerful example of what's possible with these types of systems." And I'll be the first one to say, Pasturebird is just part of the overall regenerative solve. But it's like thinking that way, thinking about these biomimicry, it's such a win win to me, for that farmer to be able to do pasture poultry, and get off of the synthetic inputs for his hay crop and be able to feed his cattle more. It's insane.
I wish I could share my screen, but when you look at the strip of deep, lush green that comes behind the chickens, like a few days, you know, a few weeks really behind the chickens after the ground has gotten that chicken manure and that fertilizer, it is epic. And just makes me go, "Good things should scale. How do we scale this and other models like it across the world?"
Cory Ames 52:11
Absolutely. Well, it sounds like I'll have to get myself out to the farm sometime to check it out because I'd love to see that in person. But speaking to the conversation of scale here, you mentioned Perdue's name once - that was the company, Perdue Farms, that bought Pasturebird in 2020, I believe, and it's a large food company, I think about six and a half billion or seven in annual revenues - would love to know, what was behind that decision to sell Pasturebird? How did you go about making that decision? And what does that do to change Pasturebird, now in these last couple of years since the sale and into the future?
Paul Greive 52:52
Pasturebird was really created with the intentionality to team up with another company that was vertically integrated. The poultry space in particular is really vertically integrated. So you have like 10 processors or companies that make up like a 90 plus percent of the overall market. You can get mad at that and you can see the flaws in that, and I certainly did for many years. And I still do see some of the flaws in that. Or you can embrace it, that's the way it is, and there's actually a lot of potential and opportunity with a system like that, too.
We still have a small family, local brand called Primal Pastures. I'm really proud of it. It's all certified organic, pasture-raised meats, like it's really, really a ultra top of the line type of brand. But a few years into that brand, I don't know, I didn't grow up in a family that could have afforded those types of products. They weren't accessible and affordable to a middle class family, certainly not a lower middle class family. And it always just made me a little bummed that we're almost like producing food for privileged or wealthy people that can happen to afford that type of food. And like, I don't know, it's cool. I have no problem with it. I think it's important. It fills a need in society.
But I also think there's a huge need in society to make regenerative food accessible and affordable. And in 2017, we were approached by Ryan Perdue, who's like the fourth generation of the Purdue family, it's still a family-owned business, family-run. He came out and he showed a sincere interest in what we were doing and how we were doing it, kind of explained that he thought regenerative was the next big thing coming in the food space. He explained that, you know, judge Big Ag if you want, but also I recommend taking a step back and going, "well you know what? A lot of what they did was respond to consumer demand for cheap chicken. And they actually knocked it out of the park was that they gave people what they were asking for, I think."
Now that people are asking for something different, I think you're gonna see big ag start to either shift and do things differently, or like I said, greenwash your products, and the fact that Purdue actually out looking at what we're doing and interested - and we got to know their executive team, we got to know some of the other brands that they've acquired like Niman Ranch, which I think is a fantastic brand that's stayed true to their values. Panorama Meats, which is another really awesome brand that was acquired by Purdue that's really stayed true to their values. And so, I don't know, I got to this point where I was really torn between selling out or something, or really feeling like we we have a potential to leave the system better. And if this big ag company is genuine about wanting to do things differently... Man, I'd almost feel remiss to not help them, you know.
I feel like I know how to help them, I feel like we've built a system that could be a game changer for the industry. And so it was actually late 2019, they acquired Pasturebird, but I didn't think of it as us selling out at all. My entire team came over, really excited to help show them a different way to do things, and a new way to do things. We were able to tie into their chicks, their feed suppliers, their harvest plants, their logistics, their back end, their capital. Whereas before I was out doing a lot of fundraising and trying to get capital to keep the business going. Now, you know, we had a parent company behind us that could do a lot of that stuff. And I could spend a lot more on my time thinking about systems and innovation.
So it's been a really, really cool thing. I use the word "cautiously optimistic" a lot. I still use that word even though we're like three years in, I'm more optimistic than I am cautious now, than I was like three years ago. But I think, for me, at least, this is not for everybody, I think for me, the idea of helping Big Ag do things in a real and genuine way, as opposed to just slapping labels on like-- what's really tempting, honestly, it's so tempting for a company like Purdue, I think, to go and slap pasture-raised on all their free-range chicken programs, which is totally legal, it's totally possible, and they see other companies doing it. And so I just say, "good freaking on you guys for trying to do things differently, and like pioneer, a new food system. And if I can be of service in that way, I'm so down, you know."
And to make these things accessible for more families and affordable for more families that probably wouldn't be able to necessarily go spend $35 for one chicken in a farmer's market. Like, some people can some people can't. My dream is how do you get these products into sprouts? How do you get them to where a real consumer would actually do their shopping? And it's never gonna be the cheapest chicken on the market. But how do I get that price within striking distance for like a normal family? And that's, that's what's got me like really stoked and excited right now.
Cory Ames 57:43
I think that that's some really important nuance that you add to that general conversation of seeking out larger partners or kind of existing industry partners. I mean, I think about that - earlier in the conversation, we talked about the whole journey that you went on of, you know, health and nutrition and looking into food, you know. And it becomes, I guess, I'm worried about the divide that happens with like you said, you know, these products can be completely inaccessible to some families. And likewise, just the information and the knowledge, because it's something that takes a lot of time to go through can become increasingly inaccessible. It's not something that we're necessarily taught in schools, how to eat the right way, or the differences between an orange grown in 1950 versus 2020. That nutritional density.
So I'm concerned myself about the increasing separation of inequality and in health and nutrition and food access, because an orange is not an orange is not an orange. You know, they're not all the same. But I appreciate you sharing their some of the intimate thoughts behind that decision there, Paul, but I want to be respectful your time here. Thank you so much for dedicating a good portion of your morning here. Before we wrap up, would you mind if I ask you a few rapid fire questions?
Paul Greive 58:51
Yeah, I love it. Let's do it.
Cory Ames 58:53
Awesome. So first one, what's maybe a book, film or other resource that has impacted you recently? Or you always come back to? It can be about what we talked about here or not? What would you share to our listeners?
Paul Greive 59:05
All right, I'll do a really new one and a really old one. So really new: I really do enjoy the Kiss The Ground stuff. That's a documentary, it's on Netflix, it really like-- I just feel like we need the best and brightest telling stories and doing media around regenerative to help it be, again, accessible. If it's all scientific papers, not everybody's gonna get-- it's not everybody's thing. So I felt like Kiss The Ground took what can be a really complicated concept of regenerative ag and they boil it down to stories and they did a great job visually explaining it. I highly recommend that if you haven't seen it. That's pretty new.
Pretty old: I'm reading through Matthew, which is a book in the Bible, right now. And I just try to have a new lens on this stuff. I didn't necessarily grow up in the church a ton, but I find a lot of the wisdom like in the Sermon on the Mount, really applicable to what we're talking to out here with like social entrepreneurship and thinking outside of the box. And like you said, an orange isn't necessarily an orange. The paradigms that they talked about 2000 years ago feel so applicable to today. And I just think, if Jesus was on earth, I really do think he would be farming regeneratively or like pushing the ball forward in that way. So I just, I've been enjoying that book. And that's old, but I feel like the concepts are just as new today as they ever were before, you know.
Cory Ames 1:00:32
I like the recommendations. Next one for you: What's maybe a morning routine or daily habit that you have to stick to, if anything?
Paul Greive 1:00:40
We talked about the idea of gratitude. For me, I'm just not a dude that can journal or necessarily sit and read the Bible for a long time, as much as I kind of want to do that. For me, I'm so blessed to be on these farms pretty much every day. So I try to just get out, shut off the computer, even if it's five minutes, go for a walk. And just like that gratitude slash prayer kind of walk. I don't know, I love that it changes my entire day. I also feel the need to stay in shape, and so CrossFit, for me, has been a lot of fun, because it's kind of like a set hour that I try to get to two or three times a week. And a lot of times with entrepreneurship, it's such a grind, I feel like you can lose your own health pretty easily. And so CrossFit has been really great. Just a local gym, really good local group of people that, you know, we get to see a couple times a week, and we all push each other. And kind of been that competitive athlete my whole life, so having some competition and sweating, trying to sweat every day. Yeah, that's been pretty important for me too.
Cory Ames 1:01:49
Awesome. Next one for you, perhaps applicable to you - not every single guest - but even though your team doesn't always allow you on the farm the same way as perhaps they used to, what was historically maybe one of your favorite tasks on the farm throughout the day?
Paul Greive 1:02:04
I mean, moving animals is magic, dude. Whether it's cattle or chickens, pigs, there's something about it. There's like a visceral, tangible thing that happens when you just feel the animals energy, I guess? I don't know, I'm not in that into all the energy stuff. But I do feel there's like a resonant energy that comes from moving off of old ground that has been beat down and moving them onto this fresh pasture that just like, no video could ever give you the feeling. You just have to be there. You just have to do it yourself to experience. It's really cool. It's like tapping into an ancient design, you know? I don't know, something about it's so rad.
Cory Ames 1:02:46
I love that. All right, one final question, Paul, what's one piece of advice that you might leave our listeners with? These folks are changemakers, and innovators from all sectors all over the globe, hoping to leave the world a better place than they found it.
Paul Greive 1:02:58
I think it's just because I've talked about a little bit but this idea of biomimicry has no limit. Nature's iterated a lot. And so, just because we don't understand the full benefit of what happens when we model after nature-- like we're looking at nutrient density right now. And we used to look at omega three, vitamin panel, and fat, and that was it. An unlock happened when we started looking at micronutrients, and there's a panel of 2000 different micronutrients. And that's where we're like, "oh, my gosh, look at the difference in these."
Who is a PhD or an MD, or an MBA - like all these letters, we think we're so damn smart sometimes, but we're not. I think, if we can really leverage what nature solves for us and model systems after her, I just think there's intangible benefits that we will realize 100 years down the road when science eventually catches up with the genius and the wisdom of the systems that nature's designed. So I think that's what gets me geeked out. And I think it applies to lots of different industries, not just farming.
Cory Ames 1:04:05
Certainly, excellent advice for us to end on. Paul, final, final item. Where's the best place to keep up with you and Pasturebird? Where should folks go to follow along?
Paul Greive 1:04:15
There's a lot of exciting stuff happening on our website, pasturebird.com. Trying to keep it fresh, we just updated it. We do sell chicken products Nationwide there. It's got a lot of cool packs and bundles and like, summer bundles and different things like that. I'm most active on LinkedIn now. I kind of like, deleted all my social media a couple years ago. It felt toxic, and I hated that I would check it when I'm hanging with my kids. And it was just like, felt very distracting to me. I found a fun community on LinkedIn, so that's more where I'm personally involved. So if you want to reach me, that's a pretty good place to do it. But definitely check out our website too. That's where we do a lot of our live feeds and posting nutritional studies and like there's some cool stuff happening.
Cory Ames 1:04:56
Great. All right, well, we'll have all things linked up in our attached show post. Paul, thank you so much for taking the time. Appreciate it.
Paul Greive 1:05:03
Thank you, man.
Cory Ames 1:05:04
All right, y'all. That's a wrap on another episode of the social entrepreneurship and innovation podcast. As always so grateful to have you listening in. If you love the show, please leave us a review on Apple podcasts or hit subscribe wherever it is that you get yours. And as well. I want to invite you to sign up for our Better World Weekly newsletter. This is our weekly discussion with our community of social entrepreneurs and changemakers on all things building a better world does the newsletter I write and publish send out myself every single Monday go to growensemble.com backslash newsletter, to join in on that discussion, all things building a better world. Go to growensemble.com backslash newsletter to get the next one in your inbox.
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Farmer, Founder, Veteran
"Deep in my cells I know there's something bad at the end if I don't give it everything. This keeps me honest. It keeps me scared. I am stronger because I know there is a consequence. I know I can't get away with slacking off. This is what happens when you ascend above mediocrity. It's a game. It's a test. It is the way I live my life."
-- Mark Twight, Ice Climber
My vision has less to do with size and more to do with impact. I want to leave a positive mark on global agriculture. I want to see environmentally destructive factory farming come to an end. I want to see antibiotics, especially prophylactic antibiotic use, come to and end - preferably before a major outbreak of antibiotic resistance caused by livestock. I want to see a future that's regenerative, where manure is an asset and not a liability. Where we're building soil organic matter, producing a nutrient dense chicken, and giving animals a high level of welfare that we can be proud of and transparent to.
Read Paul's story: https://www.pasturebird.com/pages/meet-farmer-paul
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