Building Belcampo, Carbon Impact Positive Farming, and the Ability to Pivot in a World Where Industrial Meat Can’t
Anya Fernald is the co-founder of Belcampo, a farm-to-table supply chain complete with regenerative farm, full service butcher shops, and restaurants. She is an entrepreneur, chef, and agriculture expert. And when we say “entrepreneur” there isn’t enough time in the day to go over all of the incredible things Anya had founded and done in her career prior to Belcampo. From founding a cheese co-op in Italy that led to micro-financing and investing in small family businesses, to founding Live Culture, Eat Real, Slow Food, to being asked by Alice Waters to serve as the Executive Director of Slow Food Nation in the bay area.
She also managed to write a cookbook called Home Cooked, and serve as a judge and sustainable food expert on Iron Chef from 2009-2015. She was named Food and Wine 40 Under 40, and one of the top 100 female founders in INC Magazine. She also runs “Meat Camp”. Which might be the single greatest thing we have ever heard.
We get into all the details of Anya’s past that have led up to her success today, proving that Belcampo and regenerative farming is a model that can work and even thrive in our world of industrial meat and confinement farming.
People, Meat, and Grottos mentioned in the episode:
05:24 The Starretts met Anya through a mutual friend, Dr. Andrew Huberman, who has also been interviewed on The Ready State Podcast
05:57 The Starretts aren’t just fans of Belcampo, they’re users
06:53 Covid has exposed the fragility of the modern supply chain. Example: Chicken shortage
09:32 Pew Charitable Trust Study on effects of industrial farming, including effects on the workers and those living near the facilities
11:25 Anya’s childhood: moving around, living in Europe, starting first business at 12
14:35 After college, Anya moved to Italy and started a cheese making co-op, funded by the European Union to help family-owned, rural cheesemakers do business. Her boss may have been in a cheese mafia of sorts.
16:26 Anya home in Sicily was next to a grotto, which Juliet can. not. get. over.
18:30 Living in Sicily may have come with a lot of corruption and missing pinkies, but it is also where she learned to cook over open fire, butcher and take apart animals, milking and making cheese
19:30 Anya noticed a huge improvement in health living on a whole animal, full fat, real food diet which was in great opposition to the low fat mania of the 90s
24:45 After Italy, Anya ran a meat distribution co-op out of her van
27:08 Anne Lamont, Bird by Bird
28:34 Belcampo: origin, restaurants, retail, and ecommerce
31:30 Belcampo started with 13 species including the first USDA certified organic and free-range rabbit program, otherwise known as a “predator snackbar”
32:30 The concept of the brand has been “full supply chain to guarantee optimal taste quality”
33:09 Belcampo is renowned for tasting amazing and is 3rd party certified to be “carbon impact positive” meaning they sequester far more carbon than they emit
33:37 Diane Rodgers was on The Ready State Podcast and brought up the idea that we have scapegoated meat
34:24 Lardo was the Starrett’s gateway drug to Belcampo and forcing Anya into a friendship
35:00 Meat doesn’t HAVE to be bad for the environment
35:51 Belcampo is third-party certified as “carbon impact positive” meaning they sequester more carbon than they produce. Which is a big deal when a major argument against meat consumption is that cattle farming is terrible for the environment. Turns out, doesn’t have to be.
37:32 Anya challenges the claim that hyper-processed soy and grain based foods are nutritionally a better choice than high quality meat
39:10 Working theory: People are understanding that processed foods are bad and the current move away from meat to processed grains and legumes is the industry grasping at ways to keep people eating processed foods
45:34 Cooking over an open fire
49:53 The Ranch/Meat Camp
54:25 On kids eating good food, “hunger is the best seasoning”
56:41 Anya has stepped down as CEO of Belcampo and is now Board Chair
57:55 Anya’s is a master of cooking beautiful foods and photographing them
60:33 Kelly + Pork: A Complicated Epic
62:32 Belcampo meat just tastes better
63:27 Anya’s Socials
This episode of The Ready State Podcast is sponsored by Paleovalley Beef Sticks. Made from 100% organic grass-fed beef and organic spices, these are hands down our favorite on-the-go protein snack. They are naturally fermented making them shelf stable without chemicals or questionable ingredients, for when you find one in a backpack you haven’t used since last summer. For more info and 15% off, click HERE!
This episode of The Ready State Podcast is sponsored by Kabuki Strength. Kabuki designs, engineers, and manufactures novel strength equipment, provides research-based education,