“This lifestyle is not about deprivation. It’s about living inspired.”
We are all born compassionate. And we carry this powerful, inherent trait through adulthood. But often this deeply ingrained impulse becomes repressed — quelled by childhood trauma; eroded by social constraints; overwhelmed by the harried gestalt of daily life and the denial that accompanies our compulsion for convenience and immediate gratification.
Today’s guest is a powerful reminder of who we really are. A call to action to better align this core value of compassion with the countless choices we make daily that dictate how we live our lives. To be more mindful about not only what we what eat, but what we do; the hows and whys behind our behavior; and the implications of personal choice on both ourselves and the world at large.
How to describe my friend Gene Baur? Hailed as the “conscience of the food movement” by TIME magazine, this is a guy who has spent the last 25 years traveling extensively around the country, campaigning to raise awareness about the abuses of industrialized factory farming and our current food system. Humanitarian, environmentalist, activist, undercover investigator and best-selling author, Gene is most well known as the president & co-founder of Farm Sanctuary. The first animal rescue organization dedicated to farmed animals, Farm Sanctuary shelters in New York and California provide rescue, refuge, and adoption for hundreds of farm animals each year, enabling visitors to connect with farm animals as emotional, intelligent individuals. Gene believes these animals stand as ambassadors for the billions on factory farms who have no voice, and he has dedicated his career to advocating on their behalf.
He’s so handsome it makes me jealous, yet I can’t help but love everything about this guy. He’s a beautiful soul. And he’s a darn good plant-based marathon runner & ironman athlete to boot.
Now for some context. This show is no stranger to people with strong points of view. But Gene was the first true animal rights activist I interviewed (in case you missed it, you can listen to our premier conversation from June 2013 here. I’m the first to admit that my original reasons for going vegan were far more selfish than ethical. Understanding that animal rights isn’t exactly everyone’s cup of tea, I admit to having some trepidation about publishing that interview.
But that was 2013. In truth, that conversation changed me. Gene really disarmed what I would consider willful blindness when it came to so many facets regarding how our world functions. Today I have a very different lens on the issues that spark Gene’s passion. Today, I can’t imagine not sharing Gene’s perspective.
For me this marks personal growth. The evolution-revolution that is the hallmark of this journey I undertook eight years ago. Because the more educated I become about how our food system actually functions to deliver meals to our plates, the more interested and outspoken I have become about advocating for change. And the more strident and diligent I have become about aligning my daily personal decisions and consumer choices with a more compassionate and communitarian set of core values.
Understand that I take no moral high ground. I’m deeply flawed. But as my awareness continues to broaden, I feel a certain imperative to cast light on the ills of factory farming; the powerfully deceptive marketing tactics that drive unhealthy and inhumane consumer habits; and the extraordinary lengths to which BigFood and their adjuncts on Capitol Hill will go to keep the public blind to the harsh systemic realities of industrialized animal agriculture.
Our current system is an environmental disaster. It’s a health care abomination. It’s inarguably unsustainable. And it’s exceedingly cruel to the animals with whom we share this planet.
There is a better way. And Gene is a great ambassador of a worthy message warranting our objective attention.
This is a great conversation that spans:
- Gene’s personal story beyond our first conversation;
- The hidden truths behind factory farming;
- the regulatory landscape that protects animal agriculture status quo;
- the aspirational aspects of living more compassionately; and
- Gene’s 5 tenets for living what he calls The Farm Sanctuary Life
Gene shares his experiences in his aptly titled new book, Living The Farm Sanctuary Life, a cookbook & lifestyle guide (sound familiar?) oriented around the aforementioned 5 tenets that advocates for a more principled, harmonious, mindful and compassionate approach to living and eating in harmony with nature and your values. It’s a beautiful book and I highly suggest you check it out.
If you come to this interview with a difference of opinion, that’s fine. I get it. I ask only that you please listen with an open mind.
I sincerely hope you enjoy the offering.
Peace + Plants,
P.S. – Don’t miss Gene on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Monday April, 6. Set the TiVo!
[UPDATE: On the podcast I misspoke and said Gene would be on The Daily Show on Wednesday April 7. That was an error. He is on Monday, April 6 – apologies!]
Production, music & sound design by Tyler Piatt. Additional production by Chris Swan. Graphic art by Shawn Patterson. Thanks boys!
Thank you to this week’s sponsor Casper: The #1 online retailer of premium mattresses for a fraction of the price. Get $50 toward any mattress purchase today by visiting www.casper.com/roll and using promo code roll at checkout.
CONTEST GIVEAWAY! This week two lucky listeners will win a Coco Jack Set (each valued at $36.95) from our friends at Coco-Jack.com (consider “liking” their Facebook Page and follow them on Twitter! ). It’s a safe, easy and fun way to open up your Young Thai coconuts, extract the juice and scoop out all the meat with one simple swoosh, no matter what your size or strength. It’s a gorgeous handy device. Our kids love using it. Here’s the deal:
To be eligible for this contest (and future contests we will be running each week through April 28), all you have to do is join our Thunderclap campaign. Much like Kickstarter, it’s a crowd sourcing platform oriented not around fund raising, but around a movement. We’re not asking for money; it’s a totally free online platform that requires only that you “pledge” a tweet or Facebook message in support of The Plantpower Way that will simultaneously unleash everyone’s social post at the same time on April 27. Our goal is 1000 supporters to join our campaign, so show us your support for the movement and let all our voices be heard all at once! To join, just click on the below banner and follow the simple instructions. It only takes a minute tops (did I say it’s free?). Thanks so much for the anticipated support. We will announce the Coco Jack winners on next week’s podcast!
No purchase necessary for eligibility. Shipping to winners restricted to US & Canada. Even if you don’t win this week’s prize, and as a thank you for joining our cause, we will add your name to the future free weekly raffles we will be conducting up to the launch of our Thunderclap on April 27th, 2015. All winners will be randomly drawn weekly (every Sunday at 12:00PM PST), contacted through their social media account and announced on the following week’s podcast.
- Check out Gene’s newly released book – Living the Farm Sanctuary Life: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Mindfully, Living Longer, and Feeling Better Every Day *
- TIME Magazine: “10 Questions with Gene Baur”
- Documentary film Cowspiracy * by Kip Andersen & Keegan Kuhn
- Runners World Magazine: I’m a Runner: Gene Baur
- “What Came Before” featuring Steve-O: The Truth About Meat and Modern Farms for Farm Sanctuary
- Listen to Rich’s first podcast with Gene Baur on the RRP #35
- The Huffington Post: Amendment To Farm Bill Could Be End To Humane Farming Standards, by Lydia O’Connor
- Listen to Rich Roll Podcast #136 with Beyond Meat’s CEO Ethan Brown
- More information on Josh Tetrick’s plant-based mayonnaise company Hampton Creek
- Forbes.com: Unilever Drops Mayo Lawsuit Against Egg-Replacing Startup Hampton Creek
Gene’s Five Tenets:
- Live In Alignment With Your Values
- Engage in a mindful connection with animals
- Engage in a mindful connection with your food
- Eat plants for your health
- Eat Plants for the health of your earth
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