If not for this being in National Geographic, I’d likely not write this blog about this fellow. But I have a real problem with the publication giving space to a product developed by a fellow who to me is talking out of both sides of his mouth.
When I read the short National Geographic story, I was confused. It states a computer programmer turned nutrition drink developer who feels “the future of food isn’t in farms and animal husbandry.” What?
The computer-programmer-turned-entrepreneur has made a drinkable food sort of like a milkshake that he’s marketing to replace real food, looking to get it manufactured and offered in the U.S. this month as an efficient, sustainable food source. Seems he feels slamming modern farming practices can help him do this.
If not for this being in National Geographic, I’d likely not write this blog about this drink. But I’ve liked the magazine since I was a little boy dreaming of far-off places. And I have a real problem with the publication, which has a boasted circulation of 8.5 million worldwide with 5 million of that in the U.S., giving copy space to a product developed by a fellow who to me is talking out of both ends: wanting to slam commercial agriculture for his personal marketing gains, yet using what can only be commercially grown, agricultural commodity ingredients for his drink, even as he claims food should one day be independent of farms.
Curious, I looked the stuff up, the drinkable food, wondering what sort of healthy food product could be made by not using farm-based commodity ingredients, again something the developer implied he’d like to see happen in the future with food. I was also confused by his statement because the very name of his drink has “Soy” in the name. It also has a long list of vitamins and minerals in it.
First of all, the drink contains soy lecithin. Plainly describes it on the drink’s website. An emulsifier, soy lecithin is in a wide-range of food products. Where does the fellow think this soy lecithin comes from? It comes from commercial-, farm-grown soybeans, and likely not from native people collecting soybean pods from wild-grown plants in the far stretches of the underdeveloped world. (And if his soy lecithin came from this native source, he’d likely say it on his website.)
Second, his drink contains oat flour. Again, where does this fellow think this oat flour comes from? You know. But he doesn’t seem to let this fact get in the way of his marketing strategy against modern farming.
Third, the drink’s primary protein source is rice protein. In fact, in an extended blog on the product’s site, his group goes into how they’ve had problems getting this ‘just right’ rice protein through customs to start processing their drink in the U.S. Again, this rice protein obviously came from farm-raised rice. But it appears his rice protein comes from a foreign-raised source, so I guess that makes it better than evilly grown U.S. rice.
But here is what the really scary thing is: The product has received strong financial support, grassroots support. The campaign funding site for it boasts 20,000-plus backers contributing $2 million-plus to it.
This from the product’s campaign funding website:
“(The drink) frees you from the time and money spent shopping, cooking and cleaning, puts you in excellent health, and vastly reduces your environmental impact by eliminating much of the waste and harm coming from agriculture, livestock, and food-related trash.”
The fellow that developed this drink seems like a hardworking fellow. He spent time, his and other folks’ money and efforts to develop it, and entrepreneurship if done right is a noble venture. But I don’t understand how he can claim, or advocate, a time when food will be independent of farms and at the same time use farm-raised products in his product. Seems like he wants his marketing “cake” and “drink” too without really seeing the bigger picture of what he is claiming ... or the ignorance he is displaying.