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In Session

The complex challenges of sourcing protein: It's not just plants vs. animals

Join an Esca Bona panel discussion on the future of protein featuring major players in the natural meat and plant-based protein industries. Panelists discuss topics of sustainability, animal welfare and solutions for revolutionizing the food system.

Part 1: The current state of our food


  • Moderator Robyn O'Brien, author of The Unhealthy Truth, introduces the discussion by giving an overview of the current state of our food system in the United States. 

 Part 2: Insect innovation


  • Pat Crowley, founder and CEO of Chapul, talks balancing overconsumption and reducing waste by introducing edible insects. 

 Part 3: Back to the basics


  • Johnathan Wolfson, co-founder and CEO of Solazyme, suggests that returning to ancient sources of protein, such as algae, can provide us with sustainable solutions to sourcing micronutrients.

 Part 4: The power of consumers


  • Gina Asoudegan, public relations of Applegate Farms, recognizes the way consumers are changing the market and how corporations are responding to demands. 

 Part 5: Protecting the earth and the ethics of food


  • Mark Tilsen, president and CEO of Native American Natural Foods, speaks about the responsibility of the natural food industry to life-giving forces, the "grazers" and native peoples who have the knowledge to reconnect us to sustainable and ethical practices. 

 Part 6: It's all in the taste 


  • Matthew Sade, CEO of Kite Hill, proposes that making plant-based alternatives that taste as good and have a similar price-point is the key to ending reliance on meat and dairy. He raises the question: Can meat and dairy, even natural and organic, ever be sustainable? 

 Part 7: A change in perspective 


  • Miyoko Schinner, founder and CEO of Miyoko’s Kitchen, hopes that we can shift our thinking by asking ourselves, “What do the animals want?” She proposes that we have so many options of what to eat, so, why not choose compassion?  

 Part 8: Critical takeaways


  • The consensus is clear: It is going to take multifaceted solutions across both industries to solve the complex problems at hand. 


This session—Plants vs. animals: Finding a healthy and sustainable middle ground—was recorded at Esca Bona 2016.


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