Alternative Meat

Prime Future 109: Without vision, the people perish.

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We’ve talked about reasons the plant-based meat mania party seems to be winding down, but let’s talk about why the party even started, let alone turned into a full blown Great Gatsby style rager.

(RIP, plant-based meat mania.)

I attribute plant-based momentum to the clarity of vision of Pat Brown, founder of Impossible Foods:

“Plant-based products are going to completely replace the animal-based products in the food world within the next 15 years. That’s our mission. That transformation is inevitable.”

We can disagree with the quality of that end game, but we cannot deny that Pat cast a crystal clear vision.

He painted a picture of a future state that he could see; a potential reality that invited people into its journey. His vision created energy; it rallied investors, employees, and early customers.

And that stands out because it feels like an increasingly rare skill. Because it seems like there’s an absolutely stunning lack of leadership in a lot of places right now <gestures vaguely at the world>.

Lack of leadership shows up in government leaders more concerned about winning votes today than the long-term health of an economy, in corporate leaders more concerned about their next promotion than long-term value creation for customers, in community leaders more concerned about gaining power than building a future, in institutions more concerned with survival than executing on their purpose.

Lack of leadership seems to almost always have a selfishness to it, a cowardice about it. Did they not know the right decision to make? Or did they not have the backbone to make the hard decisions? Is it a lack of imagination or a lack of courage?

Most leadership books are trash, IMO; normally when I read about leadership I go to biographies of great leaders. But I’m currently reading the book 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership – it has some juice to it.

One of the big ideas is to face the world as it is, not as we want it to be:

“As long as we believe that there is a way the world should be and a way the world shouldn’t be, life won’t work according to our beliefs. What if there is no way the world should be? What if the world just shows up the way the world shows up? What if the great opportunity of life isn’t in trying to get the world to be a certain way, but rather in learning from whatever the world gives us? What if curiosity and learning are really the big game, not being right about how things should be?”

The solution proposed by the author is taking radical responsibility. “I am responsible for my circumstances.

We see radical responsibility in every great leader we can name, right? (Should we all just get “I am responsible for my circumstances” tattooed on our right arms?)

I think all of this is why I’m so drawn to the Lunatic Farmers who are casting a vision in their own organizations and bringing those visions to life, because in a world with a dearth of leadership….in what sometimes feels like an industry with a dearth of leadership, Lunatic Farmers are a complete breath of fresh air.

In an industry that does a lot of pearl-clutching and fear-mongering from within, Lunatic Farmers stand out because they’re busy turning that thing everyone else is freaking out about into a new market, a new customer, or a competitive advantage.

Sarah Nolet of Tenacious Ventures made the astute observation that while other industries talk about the futuremuch of agriculture tends to talk about the past. Not that we shouldn’t learn from the past but yikes if that’s where we get stuck instead of looking forward.

Yikes if leaders are talking more about the past than creating a vision for the future.

Without vision, the people look back.

Much of the livestock, meat, and dairy industry needs some inspiration, needs a vision. A vision for a future that is good for, and creates energy for, producers and their customers, all the way to consumers.

And it’s not “thank a farmer / educate consumers” or “feed the world.” That ain’t it.

Without vision, the people perish.

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