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Why Are Animals Essential to Our Food System? The Tangible + Intangible Benefits
with Nicolette Hahn Niman

Nicolette Hahn Niman is an environmental lawyer, a former vegetarian, an advocate for meat, and also a mother and a cattle rancher. Often times on this podcast with guests that have done many interviews, I will take a more unexplored path – but you can always find other interviews in the links. In this interview, Nicolette and I explore Defending Beef and where meat was in 2014 at the time of its first publication and where it is now 8 years later with the new edition. We briefly touch on Livestock’s Long Shadow and how a figure that was later retracted, launched a thousand vegan campaigns, when really the author of the paper’s aim was to further concentrate animal feeding operations and eliminate grazing. Nicolette elegantly explains carbon, methane, and water cycles in relationship to meat. While meat has its fair share of vilification, this interview really focuses on what it means to BUILD a new system. We dive into not just the obvious benefits of raising meat regeneratively, but also the intangible benefits. Things like raising kids on ranches, building good citizens, strengthening microbiomes, preserving ecosystems from development, and coming home to rural communities. We also talk about husbandry and the contract that we entered into with animals as humans at the dawn of domestication and what it means to uphold those contracts. Nicolette dives into advocacy and policy as a vehicle for changing the landscape of our food system. 

We also talk about: 

  • Witnessing joy and finding mentors in our cattle
  • How yields and centralization changed the industry
  • & so much more

Find Nicolette:
Twitter: @defendingbeef
Facebook: Defending Beef

Book: Defending Beef: The Ecological and Nutritional Case for Meat (Second Edition) by Nicolette Hahn Niman 

Further Reading Mentioned: 

It’s worth noting that Defending Beef leaves a breadcrumb trail of other fantastic authors – so dive into the book for more!

Wilding by Isabella Tree

Resources Mentioned:

Walter Jehne’s Water Cycles

Related Ground Work Episodes:

Dr. Stephan van Vliet on the science behind regenerative ag
Will Harris on building rural communities 
David Montgomery and Anne Bikle on building soil health

Other Podcasts Featuring Nicolette’s Work:

Nicolette on Peak Human 
Nicolette on Mark Hyman

Current Discounts for GW listeners:

15% off Farm True ghee and body care products using code: KATEKAV15

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