Podcast Ep 56: Anya Fernald, Co-founder & CEO of Belcampo Meat Co.

We had the pleasure of hosting Anya Fernald on the podcast this week. Anya is a Co-founder and the CEO of Belcampo, a vertically integrated meat company founded with the purpose to create meat that’s good for people, planet, and animals. Belcampo owns and operates its very own farm, processing facility, full-service butcher shops, and restaurants.

In this episode, Anya and Matt discussed things like their athletic careers, health and wellness interests, and cultural eating habits. The two also talked about how Belcampo got started, the differences between regenerative and industrial agriculture, and the economics of farming.

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Show Notes:

1:30 – Early Days of Running. “I have a certain set of smells that I really associate with the Crystal Springs Course. There is a certain like baked chaparral, sage smell. The heat coming off the ground and the feeling of being parched.”

4:30 – Health & Wellness Interests. “I love athleticism. And eating for performance is part of what motivated me to get into what I do.”

13:00 – Eating Habits & Culture. “I tend to think there is a strong agro-industrial mandate behind most of our eating patterns today. I think many of the trends that we are blindsided by now are merely reflections of agro-industrial priorities. It’s people creating opportunities in business. How do you create a need state for breakfast? Well, you create the mythology that you can’t move or your brain won’t work in the morning without breakfast.” 

20:00 – Belcampo’s Beginnings. “I built up a small consulting firm and through that, I met my business partner for Belcampo. He had bought some land in Northern California and was looking to make an investment in sustainable agriculture. So it was my idea for the business and it was on his land.”

30:00 – Regenerative Vs. Industrial Agriculture. “Regenerative agriculture is defined by attention to long term outcomes. We’re looking 15, 20, 30 years down the road. We’re spending less attention to near term yields.”

40:00 – Grazing & Raising Practices. “If you’re a chicken that lives the majority of its life outdoors, you move around. If you’re a chicken in confinement, you don’t move. So they’ll be in pens, they’ll barely be able to move, there will be excrement everywhere, they’ll be debeaked. So their beaks will actually be cut off because they’re under so much stress in these darkened, confined, toxic environments that they will, out of anxiety, peck the other chickens to death. So my costs are mostly for creating this open-air, non-toxic environment.”

54:00 – Economics & Farming. “There is not great leverage with scale with my type of operation. It’s a highly manual, non-automated system so you’re not going to get much scale.”

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