When it comes to good food, Arabella Advisors founder Eric Kessler wants everyone to know at least this much: the demand is big, and it’s growing.
Speaking on the “Take Out with Ashley and Robyn” podcast this week, Kessler said driving that message home is critical—whether he’s speaking to members of Congress about protecting good food policies or potential impact investors about funneling capital to good food businesses.
“The demand for good food is off the charts,” he said. “Never mind politics; never mind industry lobbying. At the end of the day, it is consumers who drive our economy. …And the demand for a good food system [is] rich and poor, white and black, rural and urban, Republican and Democratic. Everybody wants access to good food.”
The episode of Take Out—a podcast and radio program hosted by Ashley Koff and Robyn O’Brien that features stories on food, health, politics, and related sectors—touched on everything from diversity in the food and investing sectors to how average consumers can influence legislation, such as the all-important farm bill.
The farm bill, Kessler noted, is critical because it affects all aspects of the food system, not just farming. He encouraged consumers to take an interest in the bill, and to reach out to policymakers or get involved in advocacy efforts.
But policy change alone won’t transform the food system, Kessler said. In addition to a culture that demands good food and public policies that support good food practices, we also need to build a good food marketplace (see “Arabella’s Recipe for Good Food”). Today, investment capital is badly needed to solve practical challenges, such as the expense of transitioning farmland to organic practices, and to support the many small-scale, nascent programs and ideas that are out there.
“What we need is scale,” he said.
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