The iconic outdoor apparel company sets its sights on the food industry with Patagonia Provisions' Unbroken Ground film.
Our modern food system, which has enabled virtually unbridled population growth, is also culpable in decreased biodiversity, loss of topsoil, the depletion of global stocks of fish, the contamination of groundwater, and a host of other negative environmental effects, such as increased carbon emissions, the gross misuse of antibiotics, and the health implications of vast quantities of cheap, virtually nutrition-less calories. And while we're seeing a resurgence of interest in so-called 'real food' or slow food and local food, it's going to take a lot more than a few urban rooftop farms in big cities, or the expansion of certified organic shipping container farms, or an explosion in countertop gardening units to go from our current wasteful food and agriculture system to a model that is ultimately sustainable and future-focused.
This food system transition is already starting to happen, as consumers begin to ask more questions about the consequences, both direct and indirect, of their choices of foods, and as producers begin to focus on practices that are less harmful to the environment, but we've got a long way to go to get there. However, with the backing of more environmentally conscious companies, and the attraction of investments from those who are looking further into the future than the next quarterly dividend, it's possible that the food revolution just might be catching on.
One sign of this is the foray into food by no other than Patagonia, which many of us only know as the folks that make great down coats and outdoor gear, through its Patagonia Provisions, as a way to share some of the company's favorite foods with its customers. But according to Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, this venture is about much more than that, as he states in this essay that he believes "there is great opportunity - and an urgent need - for positive change in the food industry." In order to move the needle on this issue, the company just released a short film (~25 minutes) that "explains the critical role food will play in the next frontier of our efforts to solve the environmental crisis."
"Today, modern technology, chemistry and transportation combine to put more distance between people and their food than ever before. We harvest salmon indiscriminately or farm them in open-water feedlots, putting wild salmon in peril. We overgraze our prairies, fill our livestock with antibiotics, and drain fossil aquifers to water unsustainable crops. Chemicals reign supreme to maximize production, and the unknown impact of genetically modified organisms hovers over the entire industry. In short, our food chain is broken." - Yvon Chouinard
Unbroken Ground examines some of the areas of agriculture that have, and will, change our relationship with both the land and the oceans, and explores the stories of four groups that are pioneering change through regenerative agriculture, regenerative grazing, restorative fishing, and diversified crop development.
Learn more at Patagonia Provisions.