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Artisans of the Grasslands Day 2

Artisans of the Grasslands is truly unique from other conferences I’ve attended (and not in the ComicCon way, like the other conference going on here at the same time as the Savory Institute conference. What a contrast by the way: Artisans on the land and fantasy fans.) Today the keynote speech was written by the audience. Imagine that. Allan Savory said this movement is about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. And the conference puts ordinary people in the spotlight. All of us. In terms of the sessions, today I attended Nora Gedgaudas’s talk on the Paleo diet. This was more of a reinforcement of ideas and beliefs I already held (although new facts are always fun). The other session I attended with Birju Pandya about empathy in investment and the true forms of wealth was one of those moments that change the way the world looks. When some of the layers are peeled back and concepts that always bumped into each other over and over finally fall into place.

Fat supplies our brain

I learned in Nora Gedgada’s session that humans in the paleolithic era were high-level carnivores, which meant we ate large, terrestrial, herbivores. We were designed to get protein from animal foods.

Some fun facts:

  • Paleolithic people were leaner that we were now not because of energy expenditure ( the hunter, gatherer communities worked about 3 hours a day) bu tbecause of their diet compared to the modern diet.
  •  We are all Ice Age beings. Dietary fat is critical to survival. Fat supplies our brain. Twenty to 30 percent of our calories go to feeding our brain.
  • Grains are an inferior nutrient source to animal and other food sources. Nora said we became addicted to grains which is why we chose to cultivate them (and perhaps because they created beer and other alcohol).

Collaboration builds wealth

In Birju’s session we talked about the over-emphasis on finances in the general discussion of wealth. He said that the investment world is dominated by fear. And when we are in fear we are in the fight or flight mode. Our financial decisions are driven by fear. What happens when we could broaden our perspective of wealth to include other forms (community, acceptance, belonging, family, peace, gratitude)? Note that Birju works for an impact investment firm that originally invested in the Savory Institute. We sat in a circle and began the session with 30 seconds of silence to reflect on our intention and reason for being in the session. How does that compare to the usual slide show presentation? It’s much more meaningful, I promise. Everyone shared their story. Birju asked questions and others shared. Instead of learning from one person, I learned from 15. And not just rambling opinions and facts (?) spouted from strangers. People shared their stories–their hopes, dreams and love. I remember all of them. I was moved by all of them. I learned of businesses that pay it forward, that trust their customers to pay what they believe the service or product is worth. We asked, what if we practice gratitude and love instead of self-preservation and fear? When we trust people, we observed, they act trustworthy. Giving actually generates more money. It makes people feel good to give. It opens us up. To new messages, to new friends, to new experiences and new ways of viewing the world. It, perhaps, rewires us to be positive people.