Exploring Regenerative Agriculture with Daniel Griffith of Commons Provisions

Exploring Regenerative Agriculture with Daniel Griffith of Commons Provisions

There are plenty of organizations who are working with farmers on systems that facilitate the sale of local food. Many of these entrepreneurial ventures are often a hybrid of several business models, with business owners wearing many hats. Daniel Griffith is no different.

Part food hub, part grocery store, part certification agency, the eCommerce brand Commons Provisions is designed to get more good food to more people while keeping operational costs low. This model of the business is to pay farmers well above market rates for meat and other produce.

Daniel shares how Commons Provisions works with certified regenerative farmers without alienating the best, sustainable practices, both in farming and distribution. Learn more about how you can be part of this community-centered approach that highlights regenerative agriculture as the foundation for healthy and truly sustainable food production.

Virginia Foodie Essentials:

  • Regeneration is different because we're not looking at practice. What we're looking at are outcomes. And those outcomes are biodiversity. - Daniel Griffith
  • Our mission is to rebuild the food system from the ground up in a way that is both good for consumers, the land, and the farmers. Because it's very easy to build a food system that degrades the environment by abusing this class of farmers. And it's very easy to help local farmers without building a food system that is scalable for local consumers to participate. - Daniel Griffith
  • How dare we think that a farmer could ever raise enough cows to have a consistent inventory or cows in a pasture all year round when it's very snowy outside? Or maybe it's a drought. It's a system problem. This isn't a farmer's problem. - Daniel Griffith
  • Farmer-first focus means if the farmers can't grow the food, we can't possibly eat it! - Daniel Griffith
  • Our mission is to build a nose-to-tail solution for scaling regeneration by buying the whole animal. Because it's very hard for a farm to raise anything but the whole animal. - Daniel Griffith
  • As we get bigger, we get smaller. As we rescale regeneration by feeding more people and having more regenerative farms, it only feels smaller, more local, and more entirely common. - Daniel Griffith

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Good Food brands need healthy, profitable farms to provide their raw ingredients
  • Farming has very thin margins and farmers often have their backs against the wall to keep healthy, ethical farming as the norm
  • The Certified Organic farming model can be costly
  • Organic farming without addressing soil health ultimately stops being sustainable.
  • Regenerative farming addresses soil health
  • Commons Provisions is a subscription model with a hyper-local footprint. They are setting up a series of distribution hubs to create very short distances for food to travel.
  • Commons Provisions is like an online grocery store — they don't add branding on top of the farms' regular packaging
  • Theirs is a transparent business model - the shopper always knows which farm provided the product

More About the Guest:

Daniel Firth Griffith is the Owner and President of Commons Provisions, an online marketplace that is redefining the relationship between producers and consumers. He is also the Director & Lead Educator at The Robinia Institute and 

Co-Owner & Emergent Conservationist at Timshel Wildland. He authored the book Wild Like Flowers, a 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awardee in Nature/Environmentalism.

Connect with Daniel Griffith/Commons Provisions:

Follow The Virginia Foodie here:

Subscribe to the VA Foodie Podcasts on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, RSS, or wherever you get your podcasts.


Full Transcript:

Note: We use AI transcription so there may be some inaccuracies

[00:00:00] Daniel Firth Griffith: We are not bringing abundance into the community. We're facilitating the emergence, the sprouting, and the wonderfully beautiful crown of this tree that we've so wonderfully nurtured, facilitated, and now watered to heal the community in which it already was. Growing.

[00:00:19] Georgiana Dearing: Welcome to the Virginia Foodie Podcast, where we lift the lid on the craft food industry and tell the stories behind the good food, good people, and good brands that you know and love. If you've ever come across a yummy food brand and wondered how did they do that? How did they turn that recipe into a successful business?

[00:00:38] Georgiana Dearing: Then we've got some stories for you.

[00:00:44] Georgiana Dearing: Hi there, foodie friends. Welcome to the podcast. If it's your first time listening, I'm glad you're here and if you're a regular then thank you. I really appreciate that you've come back for more. I'm George Steering, founder of VA Foodie, and I provide content marketing strategy and coaching for good food brands.

[00:01:02] Georgiana Dearing: Today I'm speaking with someone who is working at the very heart of the good food industry. Daniel Firth Griffith is the owner of Commons Provisions, an online marketplace that is redefining the relationship between producers and consumers. If you are in the food industry at any level, you know that margins are very low.

[00:01:23] Georgiana Dearing: And if you are a farmer, you know how close those thin margins can be When faced with critical weather, animal. And all the myriad things that impact life on a farm. Now, layer on all the steps between you and the consumer, the processing, packaging, marketing, and shipping. There are lots of costs that eat away at your profits.

[00:01:44] Georgiana Dearing: The business model at Commons provisions aims to cut most of the costs associated with getting farm products from the field to the fridge. Their goal is to put more money into the pockets of the farmers and producers they work with. Oh, and by the way, they're gonna save the planet while they're doing.

[00:02:00] Georgiana Dearing: Daniel describes himself as a storyteller among other things, and today's discussion is a long conversation, but a good one. He starts by explaining the difference between organic farming and regenerative agriculture and how those two practices can live side by side. In modern farming, he describes how his business commons provisions is attempting to change farming practices to support a network of smaller farms that can be managed with less invasive practices that are harmful to the.

[00:02:29] Georgiana Dearing: He calls this farming at human scale. Commons provisions works only with certified regenerative farms. They test the soil health of their farms regularly to be sure their partners will continue to thrive while not depleting their environment. And they pay their farmers multiple times over the industry standards for food.

[00:02:49] Georgiana Dearing: This means the farms can be profitable now and should stay profitable many years into the future. It's an interesting model and one that is worth watching over time. Listen in to learn how you might become part of this community centered approach that highlights regenerative agriculture as the foundation for healthy and truly sustainable food production.

[00:03:18] Georgiana Dearing: Hi Daniel. Thank you for joining me 

[00:03:19] Daniel Firth Griffith: today. Hey, thank you for having me. It's a, Well, 

[00:03:23] Georgiana Dearing: before we dive in, I always like to let my guests introduce themselves and explain a little bit about themselves. So could you tell our listeners who you are and what you're doing? Yeah, 

[00:03:33] Daniel Firth Griffith: so my name is Daniel Griffith. I am a farmer, an entrepreneur, an educator, an author.

[00:03:39] Daniel Firth Griffith: I'm, many things I usually just tell people I'm a storyteller, cuz somehow it seems to weave in there a bit somewhere some. I wear many hats, my wife and I, we own a 400 acre farm diversified regenerative livestock operation here in central Virginia, Nelson County, Virginia. We raise a whole plethora of things from veggies to fruits, to meats and everything in between.

[00:04:03] Daniel Firth Griffith: We also run an organization, it's called the Robia Institute. It's an educational land design and consulting organization that manages about 17,000 acres of farmland, regenerative, agricultural farmland in the mid. So from Pennsylvania down to North Carolina, over to Tennessee, Kentucky, there's the whole eastern mid region here of the coast train.

[00:04:24] Daniel Firth Griffith: Thousands of students over the many years, very active on that side. And then most importantly, I think for this conversation, I'm the president and co-founder of Commons Provisions and online organization trying to get better meat in the bellies of families of our local community and a survivable environment in which local farmers can.

[00:04:44] Daniel Firth Griffith: So we'll talk so much more about that later. But short just on who 

[00:04:47] Georgiana Dearing: I am, there's a lot of hats to wear, but they're all interconnected. I mean, very active in bringing what you're doing on your own farm out so that it's attainable by other people, either through education or so people can eat. Is that right?

[00:05:01] Daniel Firth Griffith: Yeah, absolutely. This term, regenerative agriculture was born, really became the sustainable agriculture movement, which I think was born out of the organic or local food movement. But we have this phrase in regenerative agriculture that we can't just sustain. We have to regenerate. But I think it is also important that as we regenerate, it becomes sustainable, meaning adaptable and scalable, and can become a part of our civilization, our society as a whole, and not some tangent desire on the periphery.

[00:05:29] Daniel Firth Griffith: And so I think that's a very important aspect of our operation. 

[00:05:33] Georgiana Dearing: So can you explain just really briefly, the difference between organic and regenerative? 

[00:05:40] Daniel Firth Griffith: Yeah. I'm gonna go one step further if you don't mind. I'm gonna describe the difference between organic and verified regenerative farming, and I hope my definitions and explanation here will explain why I add the word verified there.

[00:05:52] Daniel Firth Griffith: So organic or certified organic under U S D A standards. This is a list of practices that you as a farmer must operate and obey, or you're not certified organic cuz you can't spray pesticides, synthetic pesticides, you can't spray synthetic herbicides or fungicides. You can't use these soil amending protocols instead, you have to do these things.

[00:06:18] Daniel Firth Griffith: So it's practice based. Mm-hmm. certified organic or organic as an idea. It's the eradication of bad practice focused obviously on. The thing there. I think the open opportunity, I don't think it's a hurdle or a negative thing, but it's an open opportunity. It's an entire side missing here. Imagine if you ask somebody like, Hey, are you a bad person?

[00:06:38] Daniel Firth Griffith: And they said, well, I don't do bad things. Well, do you do good things? Do you walk the old lady across the street or do you help your neighbor? Do you give charity? I mean, there's many of things that you could easily come up with that would be a good thing. And you're like, no, no, no. I don't do those things.

[00:06:51] Daniel Firth Griffith: I just don't do bad. In many ways, that's organic. It's a protocol of practices that you have to follow. By not doing things, it doesn't mean that your soil is healthy. It just means your soil is not chemically infused with glyphosate or two, four D or other herbicides that are potentially toxic to both wildlife and human health.

[00:07:09] Daniel Firth Griffith: I say the word potentially cuz I'm willing to keep the conversation open, although I come down on a hard line there. I think it's entirely toxic. Verified regeneration is different in the sense that we're not looking at practice in, in many ways it's practice agnostic. What we're looking at is outcomes.

[00:07:24] Daniel Firth Griffith: What is the landscape doing? And so in other words, it's the asking of a very different question. It's not if you're a good person, it's if you are a charitable person or a loving person or a caring person. These are actions. But they're also outcomes. If you're a loving person, the people around you feel loved.

[00:07:39] Daniel Firth Griffith: If you're a caring person, the people around you feel cared for. And so we're looking not at practice, but outcomes and those outcomes are biodiversity, so more butterflies, birds and bees and flowers, and all sorts of different grasses and trees. That's biodiversity. We're looking at soil health. Is our soil living and breathing and feeding itself with worms and ants and bugs and nematodes and bacterias and fungi, and produce all these things that are more or less scientific.

[00:08:06] Daniel Firth Griffith: The idea is, is our soil alive or dead? And I can continue on and on and on and on. These are 

[00:08:11] Georgiana Dearing: outcomes in a, my very lay person's idea of this, it's like you could be growing organic corn on the same patch of land for 20 years. But at some point you'll have leached all of the good things out of the soil by keeping that same crop over and over again on that same piece of land.

[00:08:32] Georgiana Dearing: Is that kind of like the first grade level understanding? 

[00:08:35] Daniel Firth Griffith: Yes. First grade it's, yes. Oh, absolutely. Oh, absolutely. Okay. We, we, we have to think about nature as a system as a whole, in which we are a part of. In the same sense, if you go outside, naked every single day, you're probably gonna get a sunburn, and you're gonna sunburn pretty consistently.

[00:08:51] Daniel Firth Griffith: If we just put a little bit of clothes on, or if we use sunscreen or whatever you want to call it, we're gonna cover that and we're gonna live a very different life. The same thing happens with the soil as we remove the soil vegetation, so grasses in weeds and everything else, and we expose that soil surface to sunlight excessively, I'm looking at one aspect of about a hundred examples I could give you to make this point, but I think the point is easy to make in this.

[00:09:13] Daniel Firth Griffith: We start to denude or to degenerate that soil, it becomes too hot. It becomes inhospitable to life. Or maybe we eradicated the life of pesticides or anything like that. But you're right, you're right. It's the outcome of a system regeneration that is, is the outcome of a system that is happy and functioning just like a happy and functioning human being is obviously a very good.

[00:09:34] Daniel Firth Griffith: The soil and grasses and birds and bugs and bees. These also desire a particular situation for their lives to live and live happily. This is what regeneration is looking for. 

[00:09:44] Georgiana Dearing: Well, I thought that was a pretty decent explanation there. So the reason that I asked you on today is I wanted to talk to you about one of your other hats tied to all of this, and that is the Business Commons Provisions.

[00:09:57] Georgiana Dearing: It's a mission-driven business connected to regenerative. Can you talk about that? Can you explain that to listeners and shoppers and people who would be interested? 

[00:10:08] Daniel Firth Griffith: Yeah, absolutely. So Commons provisions, were an organization here out of Virginia that is on a mission to not revitalize or to reinvigorate our local food system.

[00:10:18] Daniel Firth Griffith: It's to reinvent it. It's to rebuild it from the ground up in a way that is both good for consumers, good for the land, but also good for farmers. These three legs to our stool, if you will, is at least our focus on those three legs is really what, in my opinion and most people's opinion, what truly sets us apart.

[00:10:36] Daniel Firth Griffith: It's very easy to build a food system that degrades the environment. It's very easy to build a food system that degrades the environment by abusing this class of. And it's very easy to help local farmers without building a food system that is scalable for local consumers to participate with. These are all, it's kinda like if you want something fast, cheap enough, high quality, I think we can do that in our own way if we just rebuilt the system, good for the land, good for the local consumer, and also good for farmers.

[00:11:01] Daniel Firth Griffith: And so at commons provisions, what we're trying to do is bring local food from local farms into the bellies of local families by keeping food local without sacrificing convenience. Growing up, we would go to the farmer's market and we would bring all these bags to buy from farms and we would show up and ah, the, you know, the one veggie farm doesn't have any green beans, and so that's the bus.

[00:11:22] Daniel Firth Griffith: We have to go to the grocery store. And then the other farm, we wanted beef, but they're out of beef This week only have chicken. Well, I didn't really want chicken. I wanted beef. So you go to the farmer's market and then you go to the grocery store afterwards. A couple years ago, I actually went to the Charlottesville City Farmer's Market.

[00:11:35] Daniel Firth Griffith: The farmers didn't have what we needed in stocks. We went to the grocery store and I ran into two different shoppers at the Whole Foods in Charlottesville that had previously been at the farmer's market. Right? . So this is not something that is just relative to me. I think we've all experienced this.

[00:11:48] Daniel Firth Griffith: It's not the farmer's fault. I mean, how dare we think that a farmer could ever raise enough cows to have consistent inventory or cows in a pasture all year around when it's very snowy outside? Or maybe it's a drought. It's a system problem. Mm-hmm. . This isn't a farmer problem. This is a system problem.

[00:12:03] Daniel Firth Griffith: And so really long story short, in keeping food local and bringing local food from local farms to local families, by recreating the food system, we're able to pay farmers more without forcing them into a model that doesn't work, doesn't fit, or by the way, just drives 'em out of business. In 2021, last year, the U S D A just released this data, 801 farms went out of.

[00:12:25] Daniel Firth Griffith: In the state of Virginia, in the state of Virginia, we lost 801 local mm-hmm. Farms last year alone. Just to highlight the need for this focus, we call it a farmer first focus. Mm-hmm. Farmer. First in the sense that if the farmers can't grow the food, we can't possibly eat it. Mm-hmm. . And so they have to be a pivotal member of our three-legged stool.

[00:12:43] Daniel Firth Griffith: So much to say, put me in a direction and I'll I Well, 

[00:12:46] Georgiana Dearing: I was gonna say though, there's so many people who are kind of tackling this local food issue, but you're very specific in that you're working with regenerative farmers. Is 

[00:12:56] Daniel Firth Griffith: that correct? Yes. We're very specific because of two things, and that's a great question.

[00:13:00] Daniel Firth Griffith: The first of which is that we're working with verified regenerative and local. The second thing is we're actually paying our farmers a thriving wage. Not a living wage, not a good wage, but a thriving wage. And wage is probably the wrong word, but it works in the sentence Good enough. I'll start at the first one.

[00:13:15] Daniel Firth Griffith: What is a verified regenerative family farm? And so at Commons at Common Provisions, about two years ago before ever building a food business, we wanted to build a c. I wrote a book last year. It's on Amazon, whatever. But one of the key phrases of that book that's repeated quite often is we must regenerate from the soul to the soil.

[00:13:33] Daniel Firth Griffith: It's very easy to regenerate the soil. It's quite a difficult task, but in the grand scheme of things, it's actually a decently achievable task. It's very hard to regenerate the soul of a community. And what I mean by that is instead of setting out to build a local food company that delivers meat to your door from local farmers, we first wanted to build a community of local farmers and empower that community to do good work.

[00:13:56] Daniel Firth Griffith: So we're not just finding local farms to buy from. We've spent the last two years building a network of verified regenerative and human scale family farms. Not just helping them, not just monitoring the works. We can call it verified regenerative, which I'll talk about in a minute, but empowering them financially.

[00:14:11] Daniel Firth Griffith: I mean, we've raised and deployed almost now $500,000 to these farmers so that they can increase their fencing infrastructure, buy more cattle, resolve issues, infrastructure issues on their farm, whatever it is. We empower them financially and we empower them. We provide free trainings and mentorship sessions for these farmers.

[00:14:28] Daniel Firth Griffith: So they're not just empowered to fight from an infrastructure perspective, but also from an intellectual. We help them with this calf donation system where we actually give them cows. Cows are so unbelievably expensive. The farmer has to arrive at this expense long before they ever make a revenue, let alone a profit on such a cow.

[00:14:44] Daniel Firth Griffith: And so we have actually built this really creative Cal Nation system that is giving literally hundreds of cows to these farmers over the last year and a half that it's been active. So we empower them physically, not just with infrastructure or financing, but physically with livestock, and then we provide a market.

[00:14:58] Daniel Firth Griffith: And so that's a very holistic solution. We're not just finding local farmers to buy from. We've created an intense community with intense relationship built very purposely to solve very holistic problems with very holistic solutions so that when we're selling meat online, we're not just selling local.

[00:15:16] Daniel Firth Griffith: We're not just selling local meat to local consumers. We are bringing the abundance from a very abundant and nurtured community and inoculating another community. The consumers community, your community with such an abundance. And so that's the first stage. A quick note on what verified regenerative is.

[00:15:33] Daniel Firth Griffith: So we use a system called Ecological Outcome Verification. This is a globally accepted, scientifically peer reviewed landscape monitoring protocol that could differentiate between a desired regeneration and a verifiable regeneration. So what does that mean When you go to the farmer's market and a farm says, we're a regenerative farm, well prove that if regeneration is about outcomes, it must be prov.

[00:15:56] Daniel Firth Griffith: All of our farmers, all 35 of them in our, it's called the Commonwealth Network. That's our community network of Farmers, the Commonwealth Network. All 35 of them undergo annual landscape monitoring so that we can say that this is verifiably, mathematically, scientifically, a regenerative. Farm. So they're demonstrating increased levels of biodiversity.

[00:16:17] Daniel Firth Griffith: Soil porosity. We basically can harbor more nutrients in the soil. Let's keep it with that. Greater soil health, increased carbon sequestration. We can tell you that for every pound of grass-fed ground beef you buy from us. It relates to a system responsible for sequestering 3.5 tons of carbon. That is amazing.

[00:16:34] Daniel Firth Griffith: From a climate change and carbon sequestration perspective, this is only achievable because of ecological outcome verification. This idea of verified regener. We're not just hoping that this meat is good meat. We've tested it and we've tested the landscape. This is verifiably regenerative meat. That's very important.

[00:16:51] Daniel Firth Griffith: The other importance is this idea of wage farmers. Today, if you go to Whole Foods and you buy a grass fed and finished pack of ground beef, one pound, I don't know what you'll pay for, not what it's worth, of course, but the farmer will only see about 14% of that dollar. So you go to Whole Foods, you spend a dollar on grass fed and finished ground beef.

[00:17:09] Daniel Firth Griffith: The farmer sees 14 cent. If you go on the ButcherBox online, get food delivered to your door. We've all seen ButcherBox. They're a big player in this industry. The farmer might get between 20 and 24 cents on the dollar. To be very clear, Airmark, the biggest food distributor in our region is buying local and sustainable grass fed beef for national distribution to of their outlets, institutions.

[00:17:31] Georgiana Dearing: They're like that canteen system. Yes. You 

[00:17:34] Daniel Firth Griffith: see a lot of places. Mm-hmm. . Yep. Yep. They're paying a dollar and 18 cents a pound for beef. To be very clear, when you go to the farmer's market, you're paying eight to nine to $10 a pound for that beef, so that's 10%. Whole Foods is 14. Then the National Wholesale System is about 10% of the dollar.

[00:17:53] Daniel Firth Griffith: Actually goes back to the. Not just have we cultivated a network of empowered farmers that are verifiably regenerative, but we we're also paying the farmers about 84 cents on the dollar. So not 10% or 10 cents, not 14, not 20, but 84, about four times even. Butcher box and about obviously eight times higher than the average wholesaler out there.

[00:18:14] Daniel Firth Griffith: With the mission that 

[00:18:16] Georgiana Dearing: that's an incredible difference. . 

[00:18:18] Daniel Firth Griffith: Yeah. Yeah. I think everything that I've said is very interesting, but this is the most interesting to me. The average farmer in the state of Virginia, doesn't matter if they farm 10 acres or a thousand acres. We've surveyed about 200, 250 farms in the last year or two.

[00:18:32] Daniel Firth Griffith: The average farmer. their annual salary. So right now, think about this. You're listening to this podcast. You work some full-time job, or maybe your spouse or husband or wife works some full-time job. Your mother listens, or father works a full-time job. Somebody around you works a full-time job. You think of their salary, what they get paid for that work.

[00:18:48] Daniel Firth Griffith: A farmer on average works 86 hours a week. Mm-hmm. to about twice as hard as the average, nine to five. And their average income, their salary is $20,000. This is First World. Mm-hmm. . This is in Virginia. Our farmers are making, I mean, if you do the math that's way below minimum wage, and they're working seven days a week, 80 hours a week, 365 days out of the year, they're moving the cows on Christmas.

[00:19:15] Daniel Firth Griffith: They're not going on vacations. These are a section of our society. That we have to take care of. Why? Because if regenerative agriculture means anything, or I should say needs anything, it needs people. It needs people. Mm-hmm. . In order to regenerate, we have to be able to manage that ecosystem, that landscape, that farm.

[00:19:33] Daniel Firth Griffith: This management is humans. Humans are doing this management. And so if the humans can't be on the scene, we have a serious problem. We don't have food. Humans are necessary for the production and harvest of food. And so although we're providing the best meats that Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic can offer, we have to build a system that supports the farmers.

[00:19:54] Daniel Firth Griffith: And so it's not 10%, it's not 14%, it's not 20%, it's 84%. Um, well, I have 

[00:19:59] Georgiana Dearing: to ask you, are you a for-profit business? 

[00:20:03] Daniel Firth Griffith: We are. I'm really glad you asked. I love this question. We are absolutely a for-profit business and the way we can do this. Cause I imagine that's your next question. How can you run an organization, although it be entirely online, how can you run an organization with 16% margins, especially in the food business?

[00:20:19] Daniel Firth Griffith: Yeah. Very simple. It costs very little money to go to your neighbor, pick up some meat and bring it to the other neighbor to have them eat. It costs a lot of money to go to New Zealand and say, hi, I'm ButcherBox. Give me your me. And then it puts in a cargo ship. It gets shipped 6,000 miles. It's in the port of New York and it sits there for a couple months due to tariffs and everything else.

[00:20:41] Daniel Firth Griffith: And then it finally comes over to ButcherBox and they're out of Oklahoma. I think you can question me on that, but it's Central United States and it's being shipped six to 8,000. This is very expensive. I don't even wanna go six to eight miles. Food shouldn't have to travel. Historically speaking, food has always been an internationally traded good nourishment has always been local.

[00:21:01] Daniel Firth Griffith: There's a key difference there. I'm not saying we shouldn't have an international food system. I'm saying for your daily needs when you have farmers just down the road, especially in the state of Virginia, we have farmers just down the road. There is no need to have your food go 8,000 miles. Let's go eight or 80 at the most.

[00:21:19] Daniel Firth Griffith: And so one of the ways we beat this system, I told you we're not interested in recreating or reinventing. We are completely descaling and rebuilding the entire system from the ground up. It's a new system. It's, it's by keeping food local. That's first. Second, we don't repackage the food. If you were to order ButcherBox, it arrives.

[00:21:37] Daniel Firth Griffith: There's ButcherBox in the box, there's ButcherBox in the insulation, there's ButcherBox, you know, flyers and stickers inside the box. You open it up, all the meat is packaged and ButcherBox packaging. That's very. And with all due respect to the consumer and the consumer's needs, you don't need that to enjoy good food.

[00:21:52] Daniel Firth Griffith: Nothing about butcher box's packaging makes your steak taste any better or be any better for your system as a human being. From a nourishment, nutrients, and macro micro minerals perspective, none of that matters. None of that matters, especially if we're just bringing it from one neighbor to another.

[00:22:07] Daniel Firth Griffith: Mm-hmm. , this idea of local food, and so all of the food that we purchase, all of the provisions that is we purchase from our farms, they stay in the original. For instance, we buy this. We just bought a cow from three Springs Farms or an Erota, Virginia Cal Pepper County. All of it came packaged in U S D A inspected packages and it says three springs farm on top.

[00:22:26] Daniel Firth Griffith: We don't take that package, take the meat out and repackage it in a commons provisions Ground beef package, that's very expensive. That's unbelievably expensive. We keep it in three springs packaging. Why? One? If we can operate at 16%, we can pay the farmer more without having the consumer pay more. We're actually online cheaper, or I should say as cheap as ButcherBox.

[00:22:49] Daniel Firth Griffith: We're as cheap as Whole Foods. I mean, you can go to Whole Foods in Charlottesville and we're just as cheap, but the farmer makes four times as much. Um, but it's also transparency. If I can put this one last bit in. When you open the box, commons, disappear. It's only three Springs Meat or Virgin Acres or Riff Farms or Hart Family Farms or running TB for, I could keep going.

[00:23:10] Daniel Firth Griffith: You have 35 of these guys. Mm-hmm. , unbelievable, unbelievable farms. And that's the idea, the transparency and the connection to your local community. We don't get in the way we facilitate it, we don't get in the way. So when you 

[00:23:22] Georgiana Dearing: are buying a whole cow from a farm, you're buying a whole processed cow. That's right.

[00:23:28] Georgiana Dearing: Right. So you That's right. It's, it's not being bought on the hoof taken somewhere and processed in plants that you own. You're buying it processed, and so the farm takes the cost of that, right. Processing 

[00:23:40] Daniel Firth Griffith: it. Yep. Yes and no. It depends on the species. If you allow me to wiggle around that question, , it depends on the species.

[00:23:45] Daniel Firth Griffith: What we do is we ask the farmer to work with the current U S D A processors that they already are working with. They already have relationships with that. They're ready, understand the processes with. That's it. Everything after them booking the slot, you know, so they're gonna take a couple cows into A U S D A processor on June 30th.

[00:24:01] Daniel Firth Griffith: After that, we do the rest. We hand it. We manage how the cow is processed and what ethical framework it's processed and what sort of packaging it's processed in. So like is the ground beef in one pound or two pounds? We control all of that. We pick it up, we warehouses it, we inventory it, we market it, we deliver it.

[00:24:18] Daniel Firth Griffith: All the farmer has to do is raise the animal and their processor when the animal's ready to be finished harvest. Oh, 

[00:24:25] Georgiana Dearing: okay. Okay. That's it. So then you guys, part of what you're doing is picking up a little bit of that processing 

[00:24:31] Daniel Firth Griffith: expense? Absolutely. Okay. And we're picking up a little bit of the processing expense and a lot of the time it takes five hours to go to a U S D A processor and pick up the package meat to bring it back to your freezer.

[00:24:43] Daniel Firth Griffith: Mm-hmm. . So if the farmer was paying themselves $5 an hour, which, you know, there were 50 times I. Come on. This is 2022. Now, even if they're paying themselves $5 an hour, that's still cost. Then you have the gas and the wear and tear in the vehicle. And by the way, an almost entire day spent away from the farm.

[00:25:00] Daniel Firth Griffith: Mm-hmm. , which now what? Now they're farming at midnight, which is, by the way, why tractors have lights. Farmers farm at midnight. And so all they have to do is book the slot and we take care of the. So 

[00:25:10] Georgiana Dearing: let's talk about from the consumer's point of view, what can they purchase from you and what's that 

[00:25:16] Daniel Firth Griffith: experience like?

[00:25:17] Daniel Firth Griffith: So currently commons provisions online site ecommerces.com we're, we are retailing bison. Mm-hmm. beef, pork, lamb, goat. Chickens as meat eggs, a whole wide array of other provisions. We call it the commons pantry. So for instance, this really amazing, handcrafted, raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar.

[00:25:41] Daniel Firth Griffith: Mm-hmm. , that one of our farm makes over in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. If you even appreciate apples cider vinegar, you will adore this product. It's absolutely unbelievable. Unbelievable. And a bunch of other provisions like. All of our herbivores, so bison, goat, lamb, and beef. So all of our animals that eat grass only eat grass.

[00:26:03] Daniel Firth Griffith: They're grass born, fed, and finished. What that means is they're born in the pasture. They're raised in the pasture, they eat the pasture, they're finished on the pasture, and then they have one bad day. There's no barns, there's no grains, there's no antibiotics or injections or hormone stimulants or anything like that.

[00:26:21] Daniel Firth Griffith: Absolutely nothing. This is grass born, fed and finished. Bison, beef, lamb and goat, the omnivores. So an omnivore is something with a little bit wider of a diet. So this would be pork. This would be chicken in both meat and. These are raised outdoors in the woods or the, or the pasture. If it's a chicken, it's more the pasture base.

[00:26:39] Daniel Firth Griffith: It's if it's a pig, it's more of that wood base in a regenerative fashion, and they have to be supplemented with additional feed stuffs. There's not enough there in the farmed environment to feed them sustainably or ethically. So we require that all of the meats that we purchase from these farms, they use certified organic, non GMO and soy free locally milked grains.

[00:26:58] Daniel Firth Griffith: Mm-hmm. . And so to repeat the herbivores, this is grass fed, or grass born, fed, and finished. And from the omnivores, the pork and the chicken. This is certified organic, non GMO and soy 

[00:27:08] Georgiana Dearing: free. I don't know how far we'll go with this one. Daniel . So I have a question about antibiotics and things. What do you do when the health of an animal needs help?

[00:27:18] Georgiana Dearing: Does it get cut from the herd and moved somewhere else? 

[00:27:21] Daniel Firth Griffith: That's a really good question. This comes down to ethical management. We don't have a hard and fast rule with our farmers. because I believe every situation is different, and I'm very afraid of rules. If we're looking at outcomes, our idea is so much further past rules.

[00:27:36] Daniel Firth Griffith: The idea is an ethical animal, husbandry. Mm-hmm. . How the farms achieve This is entirely up to them. Their context, their animals, and the diseases that we're talking about. Every disease, every ailment, every infection is different and requires a different paradigm, a different protocol. That said, I would speak for most of our farmers, if not all of them, and I can absolutely speak for myself.

[00:27:55] Daniel Firth Griffith: If an animal's. is in question and they need an antibiotic to get over it, and this is the only way forward. We've always given an antibiotic. It's absolutely, in my opinion, inhumane to have an animal suffer. When we have a solution, we will not then eat that animal. That animal is now a, we call it a brooded animal or a breeding.

[00:28:14] Daniel Firth Griffith: Mm-hmm. animal is just, it's a mom is gonna be a mom for the rest of its life. We, as a human being, when we. Antibiotics when we eat meat that has been given antibiotics during its life, we also receive those antibiotics. They're directly transferred over to us. I don't mind antibiotics. I don't take it for fun though, and I don't take antibiotics consistently.

[00:28:33] Daniel Firth Griffith: And so I definitely don't wanna be eating meat as antibiotics in it. And so what Most farms, definitely our farm, definitely the grand majority, if not all of the Commonwealth farms. We take 'em out, we help them, we bring them to an area where they can really recoup, recover, and heal, and then either re sell them to somebody who wants to raise them as a pet.

[00:28:51] Daniel Firth Griffith: Mm-hmm. , which is perfectly fine. Or we just transition their role in our farm to somewhere where they won't be. And therefore to keep the antibiotics out of the human, that would be the consumer. That's a great question. 

[00:29:02] Georgiana Dearing: It has come up before, and I just wanted to clarify since you mentioned that in part of your description.

[00:29:09] Georgiana Dearing: So you said that you carry this lovely apple cider vinegar. Do you see or expansion into value added products, things that are maybe mixed or blended or cooked or something based on the regenerative farming practiced ingredient. 

[00:29:25] Daniel Firth Griffith: Yeah, that was an awkward sentence. . No, no, you're You're perfectly fine.

[00:29:28] Daniel Firth Griffith: You're perfectly fine. Yeah. Our mission here at Commons Provisions is to build a nose to tail solution for scaling regeneration. By keeping it small. I wanna focus on the idea of nose to tail solution. It is very difficult as an organization to buy the entire animal. There is so much there to that animal that the consumer doesn't even know about.

[00:29:48] Daniel Firth Griffith: They don't even know about it. What's the difference between a top round roast and a bottom round roast? It's chefs here, the foodies among us, the true foodies that just spend time cooking and caring about the ingredients of their meals down to not just good ingredients, but these particular ingredients might know the difference.

[00:30:04] Daniel Firth Griffith: But every cow has them and every cow has multiples of them. And the reason we are focused on nose to tail, that is to say the reason we are focused on buying the whole animal is because it's very hard for a farm to raise anything but the whole animal. It's very hard to raise a cow that is just a bunch of ribeye steaks and filets.

[00:30:22] Daniel Firth Griffith: I'm willing to bet that it's impossible, but the point is it's very hard to do it, and so we can't ask the farmers to raise half a cow. We can't just buy the half a cow. My point in bringing that up is to say there was a lot of potential value added products that may come out of buying nose to tail or buying the whole animal.

[00:30:40] Daniel Firth Griffith: We call it whole animal utilization in the industry. Mm-hmm. that we haven't yet experimented with at Commons. Some of the things we have, so we have a leather line, a organic tanned, local leather line where we've taken the hides, the skins of the animals, and creating leather products out of it. We actually use oak tree bark to do it.

[00:30:59] Daniel Firth Griffith: It's a very, very unique, completely toxin-free, really cool process. We're. The actual bark of an oak tree, chest oak, red oak, all sorts of things. Or use the tant. So that's a very really cool, I know you're not thinking totally of leathers, but that to us is a value add. Oh, sure. 

[00:31:15] Georgiana Dearing: No. So the question there is, are you selling the so hides or are you selling process 

[00:31:21] Daniel Firth Griffith: like belts processed.

[00:31:22] Daniel Firth Griffith: Processed belts and wallets and earrings and necklaces. Bracelets. Oh wow. I don't know many people who want like a cow hide on the. we're on the floor. Like it's cool to other 

[00:31:32] Georgiana Dearing: artisans. Other 

[00:31:33] Daniel Firth Griffith: craftsmen. Yeah. No, we wanna take it all the way through , because we wanna take this product all the way through because there's people in our community that are not farmers, or maybe by the way, they're the farmer's wives or the mm-hmm.

[00:31:44] Daniel Firth Griffith: farmer's husband, because that's not entirely untrue. We have a lot of that, and that's awesome. Whoever it is who are crafty, who would love to on the in the evening, make leather earrings and leather bracelets, we can empower the community. Mm-hmm. the artisans of the community doing that work, and so we like that.

[00:31:58] Daniel Firth Griffith: We also are working right now with a pottery organization outta Charlottesville that takes the bones from the cow. And they grind it up and they burn it, and it turns into bone ash, which they can then use as pottery or the inputs to pottery. So hand thrown bowls and mugs and cups and plates and serving wear.

[00:32:16] Daniel Firth Griffith: We can make these outta bones . We don't have to make this out of clay and other toxic ingredients. There's a lot of toxic ingredients to the pottery space. And so their role in this system is closing the loop so that when you're putting really good chemical free food on a chemically infused plate due to the toxic ingredients of the typical pottery that we're consuming off of, what is the really end product there?

[00:32:38] Daniel Firth Griffith: Right? We're not really creating a very holistic system, so we've been experimenting with that and having a lot of fun doing it. We're hoping to come out with that line later. This. We don't know at this time if we're gonna start to do value added food products. Because what that's gonna do is it's gonna denude our ability to pay the farmers at this time via the avenues that we have present to us.

[00:32:58] Daniel Firth Griffith: It's gonna, to our abilities to pay the 84 cents on the dollar. We're gonna have to take a little bit more money out of that in order to experiment, but also to sustain a value added products division. And so right now we're staying away. 

[00:33:10] Georgiana Dearing: That's fair. That's fair. Yeah. So you said you have 35 farms right now in your Commonwealth?

[00:33:15] Georgiana Dearing: I'm sorry 

[00:33:16] Daniel Firth Griffith: if I, yeah, no, you're perfectly fine. There's so many different names. Commonwealth Network is the community of farmers. So in 

[00:33:21] Georgiana Dearing: that community of 35 farmers, you talk about keeping delivery local. Can you talk about that a little bit? Like if I go online and I place an order, where is 

[00:33:32] Daniel Firth Griffith: the food coming?

[00:33:33] Daniel Firth Griffith: Amazing question. It is our mission at Commons that when you experience joining our community, which is how we would say if you went on our site, you bought food, we would say, you joined our community. Welcome. It is our mission that when you experience this community, you can sit back or you, you're more or less forced to sit back and you say, wow, that felt so entirely and wonderfully.

[00:33:55] Daniel Firth Griffith: Common is the word we want you to use. It's like common sense. Mm-hmm. , like local food from local farms, nourishing the local bellies of local families. It is not just, you know, not more expensive or not more cumbersome for the consumer. It's common sensical. Mm-hmm. . And so common sense is the foundation of how this system works.

[00:34:11] Daniel Firth Griffith: Very simply, it's this. We call them internet fulfillment centers. That is an official term for something that looks so entirely, not official, but works at an official capacity. We have internet fulfillment centers stationed around producers and processors. So let's say we have 10 farmers in Northern Virginia and we also have a processor, U S D A inspected processor in Northern Virginia.

[00:34:30] Daniel Firth Griffith: We then build a internet fulfillment center in Northern Virginia so that when these farms sell their animals, their provisions to commons. We use that processor and that internet fulfillment center. Our site is then built with this really cool software so that when you go to our site, it automatically filters where you're coming from and it also perfects that filter by also just your shipping address or billing address.

[00:34:52] Daniel Firth Griffith: You use a checkout. Mm-hmm. , when that order goes through, you are placing an order not in. So I'm saying you're coming from Northern Virginia here and this example. When that order goes through, it doesn't go to the Central Virginia Internet Fulfillment Center. It doesn't go to our Charlotte, North Carolina Internet Fulfillment Center.

[00:35:07] Daniel Firth Griffith: It goes to our Northern Virginia Internet fulfillment center. And so our Northern Virginia Internet Fulfillment Center fulfills that order. So they put the local foods from those local farmers that are local to Northern Virginia in a box. They give it to our local Northern Virginia delivery drivers and they bring it to your door and you open the box and you say, wow, Earth's Echo Farm, verdant acres, Rockbridge farm, trying to throw Northern Virginia farms at you

[00:35:32] Georgiana Dearing: So when you say local, define local radius. 

[00:35:36] Daniel Firth Griffith: Ideally, it's our mission by 2025 for that to be a number 30, 30 miles. The food, the provisions are farmed, harvested, stored, warehouse, marketed, delivered, and consumed within a 30 mile radius. That's by 2025. Right now it's about 150 total miles as we're building the system.

[00:35:54] Daniel Firth Griffith: Another really cool aspect of this, I'm kind of letting you get into the business backend cuz there's nothing to hide. I think it's really actually Oh, am all about energizing. Yeah. No, it's, it's really. As our company gets bigger, we get smaller, so we're scaling by keeping it small. What I mean by that is right now we're bringing meat from Southwest Virginia to Central Virginia because we don't yet have enough producers, and we don't yet have a big enough market in Southwestern Virginia to support those producers.

[00:36:21] Daniel Firth Griffith: And so instead of letting them just be neglected down there, we bring their meat to Central Virginia so that they still are financially secure and are present. They're not one of the 801 farmers in Virginia last year that went out of business. We keep them in business and then as we spend more time, we develop them as farmers, we develop them as a local community, we develop them as a market, and we can build an internet for film and center there.

[00:36:43] Daniel Firth Griffith: And so Common has just got. But Commons also just got smaller. We became more decentralized. We see ourselves as a decentralized, nodal network of farmers operating within communities, which is really what the word commons is all about. Mm-hmm. in the 1830s and forties, this guy, Alexis Frenchman, he was, Alexis de Tocqueville, came to America.

[00:37:03] Daniel Firth Griffith: He wrote this amazing book, it's called Democracy in America. What he was wanting to do really only a couple decades into our nationhood as an American nation, independent nation, he wanted to know what makes America. What makes it unique? What makes American democracy different than Roman democracy or Greek democracy?

[00:37:18] Daniel Firth Griffith: And he writes many things. It's like an 800 page book. It's gargantuan size. It's a very good book, and I would encourage you to read it in your spare time whenever you make good time. It's a no, it's a seriously good book. But he writes one of the more foundational characteristics of American democracy.

[00:37:33] Daniel Firth Griffith: It's not freedom or all these other things. Those things are important, but it's not the foundational way. He said it's the emphasis that the citizens place in the town. The emphasis the citizens place in the township, otherwise said it's the community. Mm-hmm. . It's the neighborhood. It's the front porch society that we used to have where neighbors, new neighbors, neighbors, took care of neighbors.

[00:37:53] Daniel Firth Griffith: This is according to 1830s Frenchmen philosophy, political philosophy, the foundation of American political and societal and economic and ecological greatness. This is what makes freedom. It's being free. It's the community, it's commons. It's the township. And so we're focused that as we get bigger, we get smaller.

[00:38:13] Daniel Firth Griffith: We focus that as we rescale regeneration by feeding more people and having more regenerative farms. It only feels smaller, more local, more entirely common. Well, I'll tell you where 

[00:38:23] Georgiana Dearing: my business brain goes is when you say 30 miles and then you also say Southwest Virginia, I immediately think of population density.

[00:38:32] Georgiana Dearing: Do you have enough shoppers who will purchase within 30 miles of the farms that are in southwest 

[00:38:40] Daniel Firth Griffith: Virginia? It's a great question. What we're trying to do is build a system that obviously pays farmers without having to increase prices. We truly believe one of our company's, one of our organization's, founding tenants, is that food must be financially accessible for everyone.

[00:38:56] Daniel Firth Griffith: And we're currently in the process of probably five plus different experiments on how we can actually make that even a more potent truth in the present. How can we actually decrease our prices while running the organization so that more people can afford really good verified regenerative and chemically free certified organic Jibos way free foods.

[00:39:14] Daniel Firth Griffith: from their local farmers without having to pay their local farmers less. Mm-hmm. . I mean, we're spending half of our days trying to solve this issue, not build the business. How do we have more good food in the hands of more people? Not just rich people. Rich people. They're great people. Mm-hmm. . But we have so many more people than that.

[00:39:29] Daniel Firth Griffith: We have to be feeding everybody. And so as long as there's a thousand people living in southwest Virginia, we can easily support 10 farms as long as it's convenient and accessible financially and economically. What I mean by economically is, is socially, as long as there's road systems and as long as there's farmers and as long as there's U S D A processor and we have electricity to plug in a massive walk-in freezer and turn the lights on to our internet fulfillment center, we don't need that many people.

[00:39:53] Daniel Firth Griffith: Mm-hmm. , I think your question, although is not negative. I think your question is, it shows how much potential we have. Let's go that way. It's hopeful. There are so many, like if you're listening to this, when I'm thinking of an organization, when I'm thinking with my business hat on, like you, I see Charlottesville, I see Richmond, I see the Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake region.

[00:40:13] Daniel Firth Griffith: I see Alexandria. I see these organ or these cities, and I can say, wow, let's put some marketing dollars there. And at the same time, if I'm listening to this podcast and I'm from Southwestern Virginia, I'm like, oh my God, my belly's empty. I need really good. And I live here and I have some neighbors. I can find a thousand people.

[00:40:29] Daniel Firth Griffith: This is no problem. There's enough people there. But why can an organization, or I should say, how can an organization feed Southwest Virginia without losing their shirt from a marketing perspective? Cause it's very easy to market to a big city. Not easy. It's much cheaper than to go door to door. In some rural backwood, southwest Virginia community trying to find consumers, we are not bringing abundance into the c.

[00:40:51] Daniel Firth Griffith: We're facilitating the emergence, the sprouting, and the wonderfully beautiful crown of this tree that we've so wonderfully nurtured, facilitated, and now watered to heal the community in which it already was. Mm-hmm. growing in, we are empowering community function. This is the idea of soul to soil. We started the community level and all we're doing facilitating Southwest Virginia to feed Southwest.

[00:41:14] Daniel Firth Griffith: Does that make 

[00:41:14] Georgiana Dearing: sense? I think so. I mean, I think it makes sense. It's that the people are there. You need the community to pay attention to what you're doing and participate, 

[00:41:24] Daniel Firth Griffith: and the farmers need help. You asked in the very beginning, you know, everybody's trying to solve this local food issue. What's the difference?

[00:41:29] Daniel Firth Griffith: And if I didn't make this clear, then let me make it so abundantly and truly clear. Now, simply creating an organization that buys meat from farmers at a decent price and resells it to the national or even local, grand old Central Virginia or Virginia or Mid-Atlantic. That's really good, but I'm not interested in that because there's so many issues we didn't tackle.

[00:41:48] Daniel Firth Griffith: We just stepped over. Do the farms in southwest Virginia have enough finances available to them to fix up their fencing line so they can actually put cattle on it? Mm-hmm. , maybe not. Maybe they need financing. Do the farmers in southwest Virginia understand how to manage animals on pastures, regeneratively and rotational?

[00:42:05] Daniel Firth Griffith: Maybe if you need some mentorship, do the farmers have cows? Let's give them. , there's so many ways that we have to attack this problem, and none of them are bringing in abundance from outside of the region. Just to inoculate that region with the abundance that was already there by watering it, facilitating it, nurturing it, and connecting it.

[00:42:23] Daniel Firth Griffith: Mm-hmm. , and then stepping back and letting the community feed itself. Without having farmers spending 30 to 40 hours a week. Marketing. 

[00:42:31] Georgiana Dearing: Mm-hmm. , it's so big. It kind of hurts my head a little bit, but at the same level, it's very, very simple. . 

[00:42:39] Daniel Firth Griffith: It's exactly, this is wonderfully and marvelously common, but wow, this is overwhelming.

[00:42:44] Daniel Firth Griffith: I taught a course over the weekend. We teach a lot of courses in the Rabbi Institute, if I can put that hat on. And I asked one of the students who actually came from Ontario, Canada, drove here to get to the course. It was, couldn't believe he drove so far, and I asked, I said, how has this course been? And he said, at first I was fearful and now I'm overwhelmed.

[00:43:00] Daniel Firth Griffith: And I said, that's kind of it. . That's kind of it, right? To start fearful and to end overwhelmed. You're only overwhelmed if you have hope. You can't be overwhelmed if there's no hope. Cuz if there's no hope, why be overwhelmed? It's pointless. There's no cause. We often use the word overwhelm. We are completely overwhelmed with the potential abundance that we truly believe this could have on our entire food system.

[00:43:22] Daniel Firth Griffith: From consumers to processors, to farmers, to the bellies of our consumers all over again. What 

[00:43:29] Georgiana Dearing: is the very next step for this vision? What's the next thing that's gonna happen in this year for commons provisions? You've got 35 farms, you've got some distribution centers. 

[00:43:40] Daniel Firth Griffith: What's next? Right now we're working on scaling the market.

[00:43:43] Daniel Firth Griffith: Mm-hmm. . And so we're building more delivery zones. We're adding a new zip codes, expanding our delivery radiuses, expanding our farmer network. We're focused right now as we're doing such with some improvement to a lot of these farms. We're about to step into E O V season. This is ecological outcome verification where we'll be traveling all over the region, visiting all of the farms, looking at their farms, working with them on their farms, understanding what are they doing well, what are they not doing well?

[00:44:09] Daniel Firth Griffith: How can we help 'em do what they're not doing well? How can we help them do what they're doing very well? Much better. Mm-hmm. , right? So we're spending a lot of time with our farms in June and July, which is very exciting cause we get to spend time in person with them on their farms, ranches, homesteads, whatever it is.

[00:44:24] Daniel Firth Griffith: And that's a really good point. By the way. We buy meat from farms that are five acres. I think this is really important. When I say verified generative small holder and family farms, I mean, We buy meat from a five acre little homestead and we buy meat from a 800 acre regenerative ranch. And everything in between.

[00:44:42] Daniel Firth Griffith: Everything in between. That's a huge other differentiator for this Commonwealth Network. All are welcome. All are welcome. This kind of a sounding, 

[00:44:50] Georgiana Dearing: can't stress it enough. That's, uh, kind of astounding. The five acre farm. I don't know 

[00:44:54] Daniel Firth Griffith: why. It's because our entire food system is built, I think on the backs of large farmers.

[00:45:00] Daniel Firth Griffith: How can we feed the world if we're not a large farmer? Mm-hmm. ? Well, the issue is this large, big ag big distribution system. The New York Times, they did a study, I think it was back in 2017, they concluded that 47. Of every food item harvested or picked will spoil in the distribution system in the United States.

[00:45:19] Daniel Firth Griffith: The thing that we always get, people always ask us, well, how can regenerative farming save the world? How can we even feed the world? And I say, well, your system wastes 47% for whatever gets to the consumer's grocery store. Mm-hmm. , 47% is how much is spoiled and wasted in the distribution. The point is we can't replicate that system, and one of the ways that we get away from that system is realizing that all farmers matter just in the same way.

[00:45:42] Daniel Firth Griffith: If I can go there, we realize that all people matter, and now we're in a very comfortable and uncomfortable place. Comfortable for some which is great, uncomfortable for some, which is negative. But the point being we have to create a food system that is built on the back of everyone. Mm-hmm. , not just the big farmers, not just the wealthy landowners, et cetera.

[00:46:02] Daniel Firth Griffith: That's very important. I am lost in that thought. I don't even remember what I said. That was an aside. Maybe that's a good thing, but you can get me back on track if you'd like. Oh, I don't even 

[00:46:12] Georgiana Dearing: remember where we started. I'm just so taken with your passion and your story is so interesting, but I think we do need to wrap it up.

[00:46:20] Georgiana Dearing: And so where can people find commons provisions? Where can they go? 

[00:46:24] Daniel Firth Griffith: Yes. So if you don't mind, I'm gonna put everybody listening to this in two different buckets. If you live in Virginia, you're in bucket one. If you live in Virginia and you're interested in learning more about us, go to eat commons.com.

[00:46:37] Daniel Firth Griffith: Eat commons C O M m o n s.com. You can learn so much more about us. You can meet all of our farmers. They're all listed there with profiles. You can say hi to all of them. They would love it. You can explore. You can also purchase meats. All you have to do, add the meat to your cart, check out. It comes in a box a couple days later to your door.

[00:46:54] Daniel Firth Griffith: You get to have fun. You get to be nourished. You still get the same convenience. , but it's from local farms, and so if you live in Virginia, that option is open to you. Right now, all of our internet fulfillment centers, all of our focus is in Virginia. Mm-hmm. , and we're doing that on purpose so that our efforts are focused and scalable.

[00:47:09] Daniel Firth Griffith: We can fail fast, if you will. Mm-hmm. , while we're working here before we expand, and we're gonna be expanding into the West Virginia, Maryland in the North Carolina region. Very soon. Just not. And so if you're in Virginia, you're in bucket one. Go to ecommerces.com. Learn more purchase meat. We'd love to have you join the community.

[00:47:25] Daniel Firth Griffith: If you're outside of Virginia and you're listening to this podcast, I'll put you in bucket two. It's still an amazing bucket. I promise. So much hope for you in the coming months or years. But you can go to ecommerces, you can learn all this stuff. You can shop our products. You can come to Central Virginia and pick 'em up.

[00:47:40] Daniel Firth Griffith: We'd love to meet. We would absolutely love to meet you, but more importantly, if you want to contact us to let us know of some really good farms in your region, you wanna contact us to get on our mailing list, you have the opportunity there to do so. We'd love to meet you. We're just not yet equipped to serve you without overextending ourselves or our farmers.

[00:47:59] Daniel Firth Griffith: And so reach out. We'd love to meet. 

[00:48:01] Georgiana Dearing: Well, thank you so much. I really enjoyed this and I appreciate you taking time to tell me sort of the backstory to commons 

[00:48:09] Daniel Firth Griffith: provisions. No thank you. Thank you for having me on. I thank you for handling my passion. As you can tell, it's there. It's oozing out of me. I can't control it.

[00:48:17] Daniel Firth Griffith: I truly believe that this system provides hope. Really good food, the best food that you can possibly get locally while helping farmers do it, and so I am extremely passionate about it. So thank you for handling that. Sure. I'm hopeful too, so thank you. Absolutely. Thank you. 

[00:48:35] Georgiana Dearing: Thanks for listening. And if you wanna learn more about how to grow your own food brand, then click on Grow My brand@vafoodie.com.

[00:48:44] Georgiana Dearing: If you're a lover of local food, then be sure to follow us. We are at VA Foodie on Instagram, Facebook, and. Join the conversation and tell us about your adventures with good food, good people, and good brands.