Down to Earth

Cole Mannix comes from a long line of ranchers, and his family ranch has been operating since the 1860s. He works with the Old Salt Coop, which is pioneering vertically integrated models for regenerative, sustainable, and humane meat production––including meat processing, direct to consumer and retail sales, and restaurants––and all the while focusing on landscape health, fair labor practices, and community building.
They’re sponsoring a music and food festival on the ranch, June 23-25, which will feature local food, great chefs, poetry and story-telling, music, and conversations about sustainability and regeneration.

2’32 the opportunity of ranching to cultivate habitat and ecological wholeness through good stewardship
3’40 hallmarks of good stewardship
4’44 the Blackfoot Challenge
6’23 the role of conservation easements and zoning
8’07 consensus on good stewardship
9’10 how his ranch is dealing with large carnivores like wolves and bears
11’36 economics of the meat industry and the challenges ranchers are facing
13’16 “eyes per acre” i.e. having people observing the land and doing long term stewardship
15’34 the importance of good work out on the land
17’05 the wholesale and retail markets for meat
17’22 farmers market not a big solution
18’22 the fragility of very large meat producing systems–and what happens when disruptions like Covid happen
19’44 the losses of no longer having a local butcher and personal relationships
20’58 efficiencies don’t measure human or ecological costs
22’09 the loss of control when ranchers start selling to large wholesalers
23’08 selling directly to consumers is a more resilient market and is based on direct relationships
27’49 a cooperative model that didn’t work out, and why
31’13 Old Salt Cooperative, with a unique management structure
32’49 developing vertical integration
34’43 how they’re building their business and their relationships
37’46 if the US enforced anti-trust law it would go a long way
40’04 the role of his philosophy and theology studies in thinking about food businesses, and the idea of having “enough” and doing good stewardship rather than getting rich
42’46 “social justice” with food often means cleaning up our own act. we need to look after our own soil and watersheds
44’05 minimizing greenhouse gases is not a big enough frame, we need to think about the whole system, including soil
46’34 goal: produce as much good food as possible without draining our ecological bank account
48’05 ultimately building back resilient, local systems is the only way forward
49’09 food and music festival at the Mannix family ranch in Helmville, Montana