The commoditization of agriculture has done great things for product consistency and price stabilization, but has frequently fractured regional food systems in its wake. For every ten bags of all-purpose flour I buy from a producer like Ardent Mills, all ten will taste stale, and yet the same. What the producer gains in sameness and shelf-stability, the farmer loses in revenue and product control; and the consumer loses in flavor, terroir, locality, and traceability.
Today we rely on a label to tell us that the food we are consuming is fresh and natural, and that when we buy ground beef at the store, that the animal that was treated humanely. In most cases, our connection to the food that we consume is through a smattering of labels, certifications, and nutritional facts. How have we, as a species, become so detached from our food, something so deeply fundamental to what it means to be a human?
In 1944, Paul Fagan acquired 14,000 acres of land in Hana and brought cattle from Molokaʻi to start Hana Ranch. Today, Hana Ranch is a working cattle ranch and diversified organic farm. Although some of our pastures are located on green rolling hillsides, other pastures run up the mountains cut with sharp lava rock, and other pastures slide into lush, coastal rainforests. Many of these landscapes are impassable by motorized vehicle and impractical to walk on foot. Here, the horse is a necessary tool and a trusted companion.
In 2018 Bio-Logical Capital grew our team, our projects, and our areas of expertise. We are continuing our work towards healthier landscapes and more vibrant communities in Hawaiʻi, Vermont, California, Colorado and beyond, while fostering the growth of an extraordinary team here at our office in Denver.
Every spring I walk through fields freshly planted with an array of diverse seeds. Every summer I watch those seeds become fruit and vegetables that feed families. And in the fall, as storage crops get put away and what is left becomes jams and pickles, I know that this food experience that I have is a tiny fraction of how most humans on the planet interact with and consume food.
We believe that there is a real opportunity to shift human development models from an “extract and move on” approach to one in which we “enrich, hold, and share” the land’s many resources. In an effort to inspire more individuals and organizations to take this holistic approach towards conservation and development, we’ve written a paper that captures what we mean by Stewardship Development.
Our team at Bio-Logical Capital believes in agritourism as an important form of diversification for farmers. Time and again, we’ve also found that agritourism provides powerful and transformative experiences.
Feeding ourselves accounts for 20% of total global greenhouse gas emissions, making agriculture one of the largest single industry contributors to climate change. The minor decisions we make in our eating habits each day compound into a force that is disrupting the entire global ecosystem.
A landscape architect, a chef, an urban planner, a farmer, and a soil scientist all walk into a room and sit down at a table. They are each given a piece of paper, and asked to draw or write out what their vision for a future planet looks like.
The Bio-Logical Capital team had the chance to visit one of the country’s fastest growing indoor farming projects earlier this year on a team trip to New York. Square Roots is a dual urban farming and entrepreneurship program. The early-stage venture uses re-purposed shipping containers to grow leafy greens and other vegetables throughout the year via a 13-month incubator program for individuals interested in learning about urban agriculture.
For more than 100 years, Larimer Square has been Denver's "main street" by offering a mix of cultivated retail, restaurants, office space and entertainment. Now it is poised to be a local destination for the next 100 years with a focus on being the first district to highlight urban agriculture at this scale and create a diverse and inclusive mix of retail and housing options.
When we hold powerful connections to place, the typical boundary between environment and self begins to blur, resulting in an acute feeling of wholeness, community and vitality. Establishing a primal connection to an outdoor landscape tends to make one feel small, inspired and alive. This raw connection has a name coined by the architectural philosophy Biophilic Design: ‘Spirit of Place’.
Bio-Logical Capital’s approach to agriculture relies heavily on integrated rotational management of animals and crops using principals from agroecology and other "beyond organic" practices. Bees are an often overlooked but essential part of this model. They are the connectors, the pollinators, and the silent workers on our farms.
Together with our partners both old and new, we seek to change the way communities think about regenerative agriculture, renewable energy, water stewardship, sustainable real estate, and agritourism. We hope you have a happy holiday season and we look forward to collaborating next year.
Our farm management goals are long-term diversity, health, and productivity. This approach results in a transformative impact on how people grow food and understand their relationship with the land. In the second part of this blog series, we will discuss how our approach ensures reliable returns and offers multiple benefits to people and the land.
Bio-Logical Capital’s agriculture business is a strong anchor for our projects and generates meaningful profits for our company and the farmers who work the land. We believe that for agriculture to be sustainable, it must be designed to build soil productivity and to produce a variety of nutrient-rich crops that produce strong revenues and sustain communities.
We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite and most recommended books. Several books on the below list are newly published in the last year, while others are slightly older, yet all have had lasting impact on Bio-Logical Capital’s Stewardship Development philosophy.
At Bio-Logical Capital, we believe communities can become net exporters of energy—creating all the power they need and deriving economic benefit by selling off the surplus. Energy can become part of thoughtfully integrated utility system.
One of our management projects, Philo Ridge Farm, recently got featured in Vermont's Seven Days as one of the farm stands to visit this summer! Learn about their story and why their farm stand is a beautiful road side destination.
We consider stewarding water from a sustainable source, to an appropriate use, to low impact treatment and reuse as an imperative cycle. We see the natural water resources on our land as a complete system. We identify the multiple uses, complementary uses, and natural tools available to purify water. Our practices return water to the aquifer, stream, or watershed from which it was harvested cleaner than when it was borrowed.
We are proud to share that Bio-Logical Capital just launched a new website, and we invite you to take a look and tell us what you think. We created this website as we felt that it was time to provide you – our partners, neighbors, clients, and friends – with new vibrant photos and inspiring stories about the work that has kept us so busy over the past several years.
As 2016 comes to an end, our team is reflecting on what a busy year it has been for the development of our projects. Bio-Logical Capital is a land management and investment company. We work with investors and landowners to design, build, and manage diverse land-based projects in urban and rural environments. We work with and within the natural environment to create vibrant and healthy communities. We hope you have a happy holiday season and we look forward to collaborating next year.
Steve’s work spanned more than 35 years and focused on understanding the connection between human and natural systems. He served on committees of the National Academy of Sciences and has won distinguished achievement awards from the Society of Conservation Biology, the National Wildlife Federation and the North American Association for Environmental Education.
Every Monday, The Urban Land Institute asks industry experts to weigh in on current directions in commercial real estate, as reflected in a metric. See why Bio-Logical Capital CEO and Founder, Grant McCargo, picked the number 18.
This year’s Western Places/Western Spaces conference will address the transformative land use legal and policy developments in the Rocky Mountain West that have influenced the shape of our communities today. We will also explore the trends and innovations—like demographic shifts, climate change, and economic forces—that are likely to affect the future of the West.
At Bio-Logical Capital, we believe in taking the time to fully understand the natural systems in which we work. As we are in awe of the elegance, resiliency and complexity of nature, we try our best to emulate the patterns, forms and processes that we observe. Nature is our model for sustainably producing food, cleaning water, supplying energy and shaping our built environment. We are testing these ideas on the ground at Hana Ranch in Hawaii.
Please take the time to read and share our story, Taking the Long View, written by Sara Tekula and photographed by Sue Hudelson. We are honored to be highlighted in this award-winning publication and hope to continue to grow and share food and stories with our community on Maui.
One of our projects, Philo Ridge Farm, made news this past year as the host of the annual Farm to Ballet performance in Vermont. Ticket sales from the performance were donated back to the Farm to Ballet Project to support their creative work in the arts. Many thanks to the 350 attendees and to Meg Boucher Wilson, who photographed the event!