Kyle and AC chat with Stephen Smith @ Onda
Onda is supporting regenerative agriculture with its regenerative, whole-plant, and full-spectrum hemp products that include oils, tinctures, capsules, and topicals.
In this episode, we learn about Stephen’s wild journey in regenerative agriculture that led to the creation of Onda, we get educated on the major differences between the vast majority of hemp cultivation and Onda’s regenerative model, and we talk about key drivers and tools for shifting our world to a regenerative paradigm long-term.
😍 AC’s obsession with Onda Body Balm
🧑🌾 Stephen’s learning journey on many regenerative farms
💭 The vision that spurred Onda’s origin
💘 Stephen’s long-time love affair with hemp
🤯 Onda’s regen production and artisanal infusion processing
🚫 Why we shouldn’t grow hemp indoors
🌟 The work of the Nutrient Density Alliance
💫 Letting go and transforming through adversity
🔥 Stephen’s experience in the reNourish Studio
💥 The power of the conscious consumer
ReGen Brands Recap #24 - Regenerative, Slow-Infusion Hemp Medicine - (RECAP LINK)
Disclaimer: This transcript was generated with AI and is not 100% accurate.
Kyle Krull - 0:00:16
Welcome to the ReGen Brands Podcast. This is a place for consumers, operators and investors to learn about the consumer brands supporting regenerative agriculture and how they're changing the world. This is your host, Kyle, joined by my cohost AC, who is going to take us into the episode.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:00:33
On this episode we have Stephen Smith who is the founder and CEO at Onda. Onda is supporting regenerative agriculture with its regenerative whole plant and full spectrum hemp products that include oils, tinctures, capsules and topicals. In this episode we learn about Stevens Wild Journey and regenerative agriculture that led him to the creation of Onda. We get educated on the major differences between the vast majority of hemp cultivation and Ondas regenerative model. And we talk about the key drivers and tools for shifting our world to a regenerative paradigm long-term. Without further ado, let's dive in. What's up everybody? Welcome back to another episode of the ReGen Brands Podcast. We are fired up today to have Stephen Smith from Onda with us. So welcome.
Stephen Smith - 0:01:18
Stephen, hey, thanks for having me, guys. Pleasure.
Kyle Krull - 0:01:21
Absolutely, absolutely no. I was looking up to meet Stephen for the first time at Expo West, Sadly cross from each other at a fantastic questo Mexican themed dinner. It was a great night. And yeah, man, we're super excited to have you on. You know, I, I am not super familiar with this space. So this is going to be a lot of learnings for me here personally and I hope we get to share those learnings with the audience. So for those who are unfamiliar with Onda, you know, just give us a quick lay of the land like what do you produce? Where can people buy your stuff? Just real quick overview.
Stephen Smith - 0:01:53
Sure. So we focus on producing nutrient dense, slow infusion hemp and herbal plant medicine from regenerative food farms. So we produce capsules, tinctures, topicals, and we really want to help folks with anxiety, sleep, immunity management and just using this traditional medicine to chill out. You can find firstname.lastname@example.org we sell in some select retailers, but happy to ship to your door.
Kyle Krull - 0:02:23
Heck yeah, I know that there's O ndawellness.com yeah, ONDOK and. Which is your favorite product? What do you like to use the most?
Stephen Smith - 0:02:34
You know it. Let's see. What do I use the most. It depends on the stage of my life. But I mean, I have a kit. Like I I created a kit, right. So that when I'm traveling, yeah, when I'm really pressed with work, if I'm really exerting a lot athletically, I have these, these, this plant medicine support. So it's it's actually more of the care kit, which is audio, say anxiety, solid sleep and innate immunity. So I used to, I used to use more of the capsules, but I'm really steering. Lot more towards those those 3 right now. So the audio anxiety is great for daytime stress and anxiety or like right now I'm in Los Angeles and I feel like whenever I get within like a 30 mile radius I start dosing just because the traffic and the energy and the people it's just it's a real spike for for this country mouse. So that's great and then you know last night I had the the solid sleep which has chamomile and California poppy and our own the hemp oil in it and. I woke up to the rain and it just. I just felt so regenerated, refreshed. Nice. So.
Stephen Smith - 0:03:33
And then of course I, I saw you guys at at Expo West and so I was you know, dosing up on the immunity, which feels like a nice shield. So yeah. That's that's kind of my flow.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:03:52
Hmm. Ohh. All amazing stuff. Stephen and I met a couple of years ago at the 2021 RF Forum and he he he sampled me up in the back of the room and I've been hooked. Ever.
Stephen Smith - 0:04:04
Since so something's gotta change.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:04:06
I used the full.
Stephen Smith - 0:04:07
Since high school.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:04:08
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I use the full spectrum oil every night when I go to sleep and my favorite product is actually the body balm. I've never been a big fan of like aloe for sunburns. I think it smells weird. It feels weird. I don't really think it works. So I'm I'm anti aloe. But the on the body balm is like my secret weapon and like going into spring and summer. I would tell everyone don't walk. Run to undowellness.com.
Stephen Smith - 0:04:35
And get you. That's brilliant. That's such a funny thing you brought up, because I never when we started making it years ago. I never thought about using it as like specifically a post sun. Product, right. Because people think oh I have aches and pains I wanna put on my joints. But yeah I mean if you're if you're out all day in the sun you forget a hat you know like you you've got the fair skin any of us you know it's like I get I get sunburn right here right. And you just you put a little bit of that on the oil on and and it's it's anti-inflammatory like not only in your joints but topically. So yeah I've never burned.
Stephen Smith - 0:04:45
There are blistered or whatever after being in the sun. So it's it's it's like always surprising me in its in its benefits. But that's a really solid product too and we don't we don't have 30 schools. We have a tight group of stuff we really love.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:05:23
Right. And I use it every time I shave because I have very sensitive skin. So I actually use it as an active shave, which itself I couldn't recommend enough as well after.
Stephen Smith - 0:05:34
Anthony Corsaro - 0:05:36
Cool. I love hearing that Stephen you've. You've been in the game for a while, my friend. You were doing this regenerative thing before. It was as cool as it is now. So take us back to when the hell this all started, why it started, and just how under.
Stephen Smith - 0:05:50
Yeah, it's really wild to to to see it kind of reaching you know broader groups of people. It's quite exciting I I'd say it goes back for me to 2010 and I I was kind of bouncing around South America traveling after I had saved up some cash and. And I came across well I was hanging out with my my college roommate and and he was in Argentina at the time and his current his now wife at the time was his girlfriend had worked in in Napa, CA for a winemaker. And I figured, well, that seems like a good next step. I'll go help someone, drive a tractor and, you know, haul grapes or do whatever just to.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:06:32
Stephen Smith - 0:06:33
Right. And and so I harassed this guy for a while until he said, yeah, come on up, I'll hire you. That was my strategy. And my 20s is just to be the squeakiest wheel. And it worked. Changed my life. Like this guy David Mahaffey, who actually saw a couple weeks ago. I mean, he he's such a he taught me these concepts of being a polymath and an auto didact, right? Like knowing a little bit about a lot of things, asking for help, teaching yourself, finding connections intellectually and bridging bridging knowledge. I mean, he just, he's he's a dear friend, he's a mentor. The guy used to hang out with Andy Warhol. He taught film and and photo at Harvard. He was in the Navy.
Stephen Smith - 0:06:46
I mean, the stories go on and on about this guy, yeah.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:07:19
Stephen Smith - 0:07:20
His, his, his Ansel Adams collection is is brilliant. He's a master woodworker. The guy could make a violin in three days. I mean, he's just a real, he's a genius in my opinion, and I adore him so. Spending time with him was was you know, beyond expansive. But what what I was seeing for the first time. Well maybe acknowledging for the first time was like living systems and the dynamic aspect of the interconnectedness between these systems. And so you know, he, he had some animals running around in the vineyard. The backyard was a permaculture garden, but without a label on it, it just was right. So he was, he was growing food. They were operating in these systems, him and his wife.
Stephen Smith - 0:07:34
Who was doing organic certifications in the 80s and was trying to set up nutrient density testing in grocery stores in 84? Talk about pioneers. Yeah, you should give them your podcast. Wow. So she and I don't want to digress too much, but nonetheless I found myself in this, this nest of of, you know, she was a Stanford pH. D like just brilliant people who who exposed me to kind of an aspect of regenerative permaculture, just dynamic eco farming.
Stephen Smith - 0:08:04
And then and then I worked in the wine business there in Napa for a for a bit and and really where things kind of took a big the next big step was when I went back to Colorado and I was the director of Business Development for Jackrabbit Hill Farm and Peak Spirits which is out in western Colorado. And that was a great story also happened on a motorcycle trip right. Oh, I was on a motorcycle trip in South America when I when I found this gig in Napa. So I'm I'm bouncing. I'm bouncing around western Colorado.
Stephen Smith - 0:08:35
Thinking like maybe there's some crazy person out here that's growing grapes at 6000 feet. And there was.
Kyle Krull - 0:09:14
Stephen Smith - 0:09:17
You know, I swear to God, I was like, I was like, I heard that there's a biodynamic farm in the middle of nowhere. So I roll up and the gate was closed. It said closed. You know, like, you don't who trespasses, right. But I just had this feeling and I went and I was like, hey, you know, I'm looking for Lance. And and I heard about it and he was just kind of taken aback. And actually he was quite annoyed. But but what was interesting is like by the time like we I I like turned the conversation organically I I had no motive I just was passionate to learn what the hell he was doing out there on that Mesa you know with with this bio diversified system and anyway Long story short he was like this guy could be in sales so he hired me to run business development and I learned about you know Rudolf Steiner and biodynamic farming and what to me at the time was kind of the. You know the original regen ag certification right not to say that this is all this is all old world farming right indigenous wisdom pre industrial farming right across the board but but Rudolf Steiner brought it together in a pretty interesting way and integrated a really lovely cosmic component which which I find pretty fun and fascinating and you know to to the. Point of Lance and Anna at Jack Rabbit Hill Farm. If you looked across the fence it was like tumbleweeds and sagebrush and here they are bees and and bugs and critters and it was just super vibrant place on Earth. So. So that really lit me up. So here I am. It was like 2013 or 2000. No, 2000, like 12 maybe. And I'm in like Denver talking about like, you know, putting cow poop in a horn and how it makes better gin.
Stephen Smith - 0:10:32
So that's a bit of a like you know a bit of a joke. But at the same time I I was trying to sell super high-end odyssey grappa spirits wine from a from the first biodynamic certified farm in in Colorado and from the countries first organic distillery that taught me a ton about business about sales, about storyline, about you know how to bring a value add product from a farm to market and be that kind of interlink that that chain. So, so that was super pivotal. And then I worked on a 90,000 acre cattle ranch as a ranch hand moving cows, fixing fences and. Yeah, and.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:11:44
Yeah, Colorado Rockies.
Stephen Smith - 0:11:45
Colorado and and then they they they knew that I had some business development skills and networking. So I I helped set up a locations program so that they could diversify their revenue from from film and video. And so we did did some, did some interesting things there and so I felt like I had that kind of that was rounding out an aspect of land stewardship and management from the animal husbandry side. I I never really did the veggie farming thing as much as I wanted to. Although I always had a garden and my family did as well. But anyway. So when I came in to Onda and I don't know how in depth you want to get into the kind of the early days there, but I was inspired by site specific ingredients, direct relationships, regenerative agriculture models where crops were in rotation, soil was being built by polycultures of animal impact. Responsible.
Stephen Smith - 0:12:12
Raising and rotation, all the stuff that lights us up but no one gave a shit about. And part of my language, you know, but no one. No one really. I mean, I got laughed at, like literally. I remember specifically I said, well, you know, are they are they running chickens through the hemp field or is there any sort of animal impact? And they laughed at me. I remember my, even my former business partner. I mean, she just was like what? Like, you know what? It's just no one could care less.
Stephen Smith - 0:12:42
Right. And that was 2016. So you know that the at the that the heart of my vision was. And I have to add, my Senior High School thesis paper in 1999 was about him. So I'd like to think that this has been in my my, my destiny, my stars, the chart like I was.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:13:36
Stephen Smith - 0:13:36
Yeah, some cannabis in the woods in North Carolina in the 90s. Like what a psycho, you know? But. I love the plant. You know the plant like just was just yeah in support this power, this this this generous like medicine crop that you know I wasn't drinking at the parties in high school. Right. I was the guy yes. I'll roll you another one. You know I was the guy that was really into these these plants. So anyway when when when hemp started to kind of these minor cannabinoids started to.
Stephen Smith - 0:13:43
You know gain some some buzz around medicinal benefits. The stars aligned and and we we started this experiment. It I don't know if that that's kind of the high levels. I wanted to not get too detailed, but it All in all I have to say this and I'll I'll shut up for a second. My grandmother introduced me. My grandmother introduced me as the grandson who doesn't know what he wants to be when he grows up one time. And that's some passive aggressive jump right there. And I love her, but I remember that vividly. And I thought to myself, you know what? It's all connected and I will string it together and every every one of those farm jobs, which maybe was like.
Stephen Smith - 0:14:17
Well, this guy's lost. He's interning, he's interning. Every one of those gave me the confidence, knowledge to be a foundational brick in in Uganda. So don't give up, kids. Trust yourself.
Kyle Krull - 0:15:01
Anthony Corsaro - 0:15:02
Kyle Krull - 0:15:03
Have the kids have been addressed on the podcast and I I appreciate that.
Stephen Smith - 0:15:07
That's the only hope we have.
Kyle Krull - 0:15:09
It's true. You you did a good job with kind of building this to like this start of Ondo so tell us about like you know why you know you mentioned Canada always getting a little bit more traction and like becoming commercially acceptable and a viable you know business you know so when you first wanted to start this venture what did that look like you mentioned you got laughed at by a few different pharmacy probably model crop like how did you find the right suppliers like walk us through that part of the.
Stephen Smith - 0:15:37
Sure. So, um, I was actually flying back to Colorado for for Christmas and I I someone had given me some CBD oil. This was 2016. And I was tired. I was hungover and I was kind of had a cold. And so I mixed together all the herbs and Wellness tinctures. And actually it wasn't tinctures. It was vitamins, herbs and some, some hemp oil. And by the time I got in the Uber and got on the plane and I was just like, oh, right. You know, I felt so good. I said I thought I was like, this is what I love in my body about cannabis. But I'm crystal clear. Yeah, I was. I would could read, I could.
Stephen Smith - 0:15:48
Journal, the seat was so comfortable says no one right like what I felt so relaxed and so when I landed in Colorado I thought and I was working as a photographer at the time kind of after I was doing those farm and ranch gigs I I had a agrarian photography business and I said this is it like this is a feeling this is something, this is a an experience that I think we can we can share and replicate. So the origin of Onda was and mind you this was pre Farm bill. So it was a schedule one drug.
Kyle Krull - 0:16:52
Stephen Smith - 0:16:53
Still, I mean, and then schedule 1 means no noted medicinal benefits, right? Right. How?
Kyle Krull - 0:17:01
Research is human allowed. Is that correct for the most part on schedule one?
Stephen Smith - 0:17:04
Pretty much. I mean how insane is that cannabis a medicine that we've been using? Probably arguably longer than any others, right? So anyway, asinine. So anyway, another aspect that I need to mention of the story, which is, which is near and dear to me that I don't we don't share publicly on at least on their branding, is that. I had a dear friend who passed of a seizure a year and a half before that kind of aha moment, and may was using cannabis successfully to to mitigate and manage her epileptic episodes. Um, her parents were cannabis. Had a cannabis dispensary in Colorado. I had a very, very strong dream message from her that I was going to go into business with her parents and I needed to just pay attention. That was it. And it was like, it was like bold letters type, like header, header, like, you know, just really clear. And I was like OK and I listened to these things. I've had some prophetic vision or dreams in the past and hopefully some of them don't happen. You know, some of them have.
Stephen Smith - 0:17:40
And so, so, so I called her parents and I said, hey, you know, I know y'all are in the space. Like, do you think that there's an opportunity for these other cannabinoids to evolve into medicinal products for people? She said. Well, we actually have a friend that's playing around with some formulas and some processes. And then it began and and we put in a couple 1000 bucks. I did all the concepting, the vision, the creative, the branding, the marketing, the sales like the website, all that kind of front end stuff. Annie was absolutely crucial in operations finance back end, you know, so we drafted up this experiment called it almanda and you know had an offshore bank account, right. Like I don't think people understand what we had to do to get clean healthy regenerative hemp medicine to people in the early days.
Stephen Smith - 0:18:30
And it it included some stuff that you know people do if they're selling guns or or other nefarious stuff. But we were on the other thing we and we felt like we were just trying to pioneer access to this medicine especially thinking about May and what how it helped her. And so that was at the heart of Ondo was hey if you can sleep better if you can manage your anxiety, avoid you know the high we didn't really care. I mean we THC is a fantastic you know cannabinoid. Which just wasn't our focus.
Stephen Smith - 0:19:31
And so my vision was to do these juice shots and it was going to be energy immunity, relax. And that was 2016. Right now you see that stuff everywhere. And part of me is kind of kicking myself for not having had the gusto to to pioneer that more aggressively. However, you know, HP and that kind of packaging and all those systems are more complex. And we literally started with like oil and a jar, right, oil and a dropper.
Kyle Krull - 0:20:00
Stephen Smith - 0:20:01
And so we just kind of. Put something up on Squarespace and then from then on it was running in hot sand uphill both ways for six years.
Kyle Krull - 0:20:15
Anthony Corsaro - 0:20:16
The question at the beginning though, Stephen, what like, so CBD products were available then obviously there were still some dispensaries even though a schedule one, you know, was the vision like hey the, the what's available on the market just isn't good enough and we want to make like something so much better because like that's my personal experience with the products. Or was it just, it was still so early that that wasn't a thing yet? Like take us back to like what were you making a CPG brand? Did you just not know like what were you setting out to do? At that point, really. And maybe you didn't.
Stephen Smith - 0:20:45
Know I didn't even really understand. I didn't even understand. No, no, no is the answer. I don't know. We there. There was no CPG vision, right? Like the last thing I wanted to do was to create more packaging junk, more buzzy bullshit. Like you go to Expo West and it's like fake this, fake that. It's just I the last thing I wanted was to be contributing to that. However, I did want to be a part of. I always believed in cannabis. I always I felt the effects of it and I wanted to create access and I wanted to put my energy into something that.
Stephen Smith - 0:20:53
Wasn't taking photos that I knew. I would never be able to buy a house one day, right? I mean that's debatable because people do get paid a lot of money to take pictures. But I was interested in a product that could be scaled and grown and and and feel what it was like to expand and contract and have a business that was different than a creative business. So there was no real specific goals of of outshining. I mean no one knew the difference between any of the products, right? We just got so lucky that the first people we started working with.
Stephen Smith - 0:21:23
Uh, you know, turned me on to the style of, I mean, we've evolved our own path since then, but turned us on to a style of of of harnessing those nutrients that was inevitably very different from anyone else still, that's doing it. So we, we, we started in like an old world. We started more of in the herbalist apothecary mindset, whereas most people came in from the pharmaceutical side, which was, you know, CO2 extractions, isolates, broad spectrum, and we were soaking hemp and oil and pressing it out and putting it in a jar.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:22:25
Well it I I want you to really explain that for the for the average consumer because that that's really important to this, right. As a former D1 athlete I had used CBD products a ton and they were tasteless smell unless clear you know liquids that weren't effective right. And your product when I use it, it is beautiful green. It has a beautiful smell and it actually works and the growing process is part of that, but also the production process. So just break that down for the common person that has no idea. Of any of.
Stephen Smith - 0:22:55
That, yeah. So see how green, I mean you can see this is not yellow, it's not clear, it's, it's super rich in phytonutrients, chlorophyll, polyphenols, fatty acid. So the short of it Anthony is that we're like fresh squeezed orange juice and other brands are like emergency powder or Tang. They're over processed, they're stripped, they're they're narrowly focused and that's a cultural phenomenon, right, like you know monocrops, individual isolation. Individuality this whole concept of like.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:23:28
Stephen Smith - 0:23:29
Yeah. It's not considering living systems thinking. It's not considering holistic models and paradigms. It's not considering biodiversity, diversity, all of it, right. So what we're embracing from a conceptual perspective, in a very literal perspective is the efficacy of retaining the natural array of constituents, right. We're the geeky natural wine makers, right? You farm on the highest level, Chris and Kate. Farm on the highest level, our farm. Partners. And then my job is to gently not screw it up on the way to the bottle because right because because it's easier to chop and break and and slice and dice and play play God with nutrients or food and then like reconstitute it in an effort to control margin. Maximize consistency. All these other values. But it's harder because you can't hide anything like it. This is this is.
Stephen Smith - 0:23:59
Literally just hemp, flower soaked, pressed, percolated my process, which I'll get into in a second and then put into a bottle. So you can't hide impurities, you can't hide lead, cadmium, toxins, any of that stuff because everything has got to be super clean and super legit. So. So the difference is, you know, old world, slow infusion, embrace all of the nutrients because we believe and anecdotally we consistently get the echo, the the response, the support. That Oh my God, I feel this. Like I've never felt any of this before. And I said yeah, cause we keep the whole plant together, we keep all the stuff. So if it's clear and it's yellow, it's already lost a lot of nutrients.
Kyle Krull - 0:25:12
So start, take us back to the actual agricultural process here. You mentioned your farming partners do it, right? So talk about how I, for lack of a better term, conventional hemp is grown versus regenerative hemp and why that's different and why that's important.
Stephen Smith - 0:25:30
Yeah, so when the farm bill passed, you saw a huge rush of people planting hemp, and it really spooked me because I knew. I knew what the market was able to take. I knew where the bottlenecks were, even for my little business. I had a feel for what was going on. And yet you could see hundreds of acres of hemp. And I thought, well, am I missing the boat here or am I completely out of the loop? Where is all this going? Sure enough, most of it died in the field, but what you would see is you would see. Rain. Uh, corn fields that were just converted to hemp and and a lot of plastic mulch, right? So monocropping lot of plastic mulch. I can't speak to fertilizers and whatnot, but presumably people were definitely boosting the soil.
Kyle Krull - 0:26:15
I've never heard the term plastic moles before. Is that literally like recycled plastics shredded up, put on top of the soil and used as mulch?
Stephen Smith - 0:26:23
It's a Little Miss misleading, but plastic mulch is just the rollout TARP. So it's a it's a mulch in the sense that it covers and is a weed suppressant, but it's not chopped up, thank God. Although, you know, what happens after the season or after the year is that stuff gets left in the soil, it blows across the field, ends up in someone else's field. It's it's it's a mess. So, so anyway, So what? What I was always excited about was integrating him kind of as the secondary, tertiary, wherever. Into a food system. So I'm not interested. Sure as hell don't believe in growing that stuff inside. That just makes my skin crawl, right? But. And I also am not interested in supporting monocropping. And I'm certainly not interested in the plastic weed cover. So when when Kate approached me a couple years ago, Kate Hafstad and Chris Kassad, I had been thinking like, God, I'd love it if they would grow for us. I wonder what that would look like. And then she called and she brought it up.
Stephen Smith - 0:26:56
And so, So what they're doing, which is so fascinating is that, you know, if they've got, well, I'll just talk in percentages, not acreages, but you know, we'll say they've got carrots, potatoes, corn, a pollinator, a couple rows of pollinator crops, some herbs next to, next to. Yeah, exactly next to polycultures of of there's pigs right there that was corn in the year before, there's cattle there, there's turkeys, chickens. I mean it's biodiversity at its best. And they're doing the best they can in an arid landscape to build soil health with the water restraints that they have. But if you think about it, hip is like our hemp because you know we're we're an artisan boutique brand. We don't need 100 acres of hemp. Our few acres of hemp is is you know, less than 10% of their their rotation right. But from an ecological and financial perspective our hope is that if if you can profit a couple $1000 per acre on on grass.
Stephen Smith - 0:27:55
Or whatever, hay or or corn, a multiplier of that if this whole system is working and granted it's rough and we haven't fine-tuned it, but you know we're seeing the model continue to evolve is that hemp can be both that ecological and financial bumper crop for a food farm. And of course as we scale and as we grow and as we find, you know slow success, we're not interested in saying grow less corn or grow less potatoes. We're interested in building a web of other regenerative biodynamic farmers. Across the country or near our processing where we can, we can integrate this model so it's really, it's a really a medicine crop on a food farm. Definitely with animals right really really outspoken about the impact of having animals in rotation for for growing medicine because we see we see the effects every year. So. So that's the regenerative model that that we are excited about being a part of and trying to pioneer is is medicine crop high value medicine crops integrated in with food and and livestock.
Kyle Krull - 0:29:30
Stephen Smith - 0:29:32
Yeah, it makes sense. It feels good.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:29:34
I so yeah couple couple things there. So Kate and Chris are awesome people. We'll link to their website. If you're in the Central Oregon area you should definitely connect with them. They have a great box program. Kate makes hats Kate's launching a regenerative leather business. So we'll we'll throw some links in the show notes and like Stephen said I mean Kyle lives in Ben full time in Central Oregon. I lived there part time and Stephen lives just north of there and it's it's a it's a challenging region. From a precipitation and a water rights situation. And those folks are one leading the way from a figuring out the hell out and still having success parameter. And then I know Kate's really really on the precipice of a lot of like legislation and advocacy around just protecting farmers and farmers rights to that water. And last thing I'll add is like the hemp problem and the hemp boom is like very real and like it usually to just give an example of how it trickles down to just like a regular person I went to look at a ranch in the bend area, absentee California. Owner bought it to plant hemp, planted hemp but all the plastic in all 90 acres at the ranch and then literally tilled the plastic.
Kyle Krull - 0:30:40
Into the soil.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:30:41
So the the place was totally degraded, there was no life, there was no plants, there was no animals. And it literally, the plastic is in every tillable acre, every arable acre of this place. And I mean, it was a beautiful piece of property, but I just looked at it and said, you know, I can't, I can't fix this. I'm not the person to fix it. But it's just sad that.
Stephen Smith - 0:31:02
In California now if you have his address.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:31:06
Stephen Smith - 0:31:08
It breaks my heart, man. Yeah, that's it. That's a that's a rough example, but it's a real one. So.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:31:16
What? What's the problem with growing indoors? Because, I mean, I feel like most of the cannabis that is smoked, at least today or even maybe even in the CBD world, is grown indoors, right? And like, why? Why is that an?
Stephen Smith - 0:31:26
Issue, it's super resource intensive, you know, like if we're working with a plan that can sequester 10 times on average, the amount of carbon per acre is trees. And we're looking not only, yeah, so there's a huge so that that we haven't even gotten to like the carbon aspect, right? Like, it's cool. Grow it in the food farm for all the reasons that we just touched on. But you know, if we're, if we're trying to restore grasslands because they're helping to put carbon back into the earth through responsible grazing and we want to grow more veggies and we want to do these things like hemp is a huge, huge carbon sequester. Not only is it great for depending on the genetics, fiber insulation, medicine and whatnot, but. Ohh yeah. So you know you see these people growing inside because they at one point we're getting top dollar for you know, smokable THC cannabis. But you know it takes it. They're in Southern California in a warehouse pumping lights. So you're running all the lights. So there's that energy suck. They're they're they're basically using soil, pumping it full of steroids and then dumping it and then restocking it. It's just it's.
Stephen Smith - 0:32:11
It's shitty. It's like we should be growing this stuff in the earth and you know sun and Earth which is a fantastic certification. We're friendly with them Chris and Kate's farm and son and Earth certified. It's all about getting folks on the smokable or injectable whatever the THC side of cannabis to to to go sun growth for so many reasons but you know it depends on who's running the show. I mean these these business only minds that don't give a shit about sorry that don't care about.
Stephen Smith - 0:32:40
Anything other than control, consistency, margin and all these very conventional industrial values. They love it, they love it. They put a timer, they put a computer system and it creates 28% THC and they have a really tight business. But they're not farmers, they're factory operators. They're factory managers and farming and ranching, as some of us know. It's like surfing. You are in reaction to you.
Stephen Smith - 0:33:10
They're in partnership with nature. You are, you are humbled by what we are a part of, not what we control. So it's a mindset shift and it's just purely in my opinion coming from, yeah, the industrial commodity, commercial mindset, which is killing the whole planet and us. So that's part of why I don't support inside growing. It's just a missed opportunity and it's lazy and it's selfish.
Kyle Krull - 0:34:09
Stephen, you are a master of metaphors, my friend. I love the orange juice metaphor earlier. I love the surfing metaphor you just brought up. You know, you mentioned that the 28% THC for the indoor grown crop computer system, etcetera. One of the things that we talked about a lot is the added nutritional density of food that is grown. And I'm curious from like a research perspective. Is there like measurements of cannabinoids in regeneratively grown hemp versus conventionally grown hemp? And if so, like what does that look like and how does that affect, you know, your end product so you get to, you know, use less to reach the same amount? Or is it just that much more loaded with these beneficial cannabinoids? Like thoughts, talk us through that.
Stephen Smith - 0:34:47
Yeah, it's a good question. So when I think about the hemp that comes from the farm and what we're seeing from kassad, I think this last year was for sure the best crop we've ever had and it's. Extremely expressive in all of the characteristics you're looking for from an actual flower from a plant. But what we're waiting for right now, which is interesting, you bring this up and I've been waiting three years to do this. Is we sent our product, so just this straight hemp infusion oil. A leading competitors brand and then some like.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:35:26
I was going to.
Stephen Smith - 0:35:27
Just say their.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:35:27
Stephen Smith - 0:35:29
And and then like a broad spectrum that you see somehow on the shelves that you know again premium retailers.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:35:38
Stephen Smith - 0:35:39
Have to be diplomatic. Ah, and we. He sent this stuff in because what's what's happening is people in in the hemp space are doing cannabinoid and terpene profiles and then they're saying it doesn't have all this junk in it, but they're not doing polyphenols, fatty acids, chlorophyll, plant steriles, and other phytonutrients testing because no one asked for it and no one cares and they don't have it. So what we're going to look at, and I talked to my graphic designer buddy yesterday, is. I hope and it might not, it might be negligible what we see, but I want to see that our green nutrient dense oil is this bouquet of naturally occurring nutrients, whereas the competitor stuff, that's the same price but it's yellow or clear is just like, you know, a a two person band and we're a damn orchestra. God, Kyle, you're right. I just realized I navigate life with metaphors.
Kyle Krull - 0:36:44
Naturally, you don't even know that you're doing it, but for me, I'm recognizing the poetry.
Stephen Smith - 0:36:49
Oh, it just helps me understand things and I think it's a way of communicating with others as well. So that's funny. I I don't think about it but so, so to answer your question, I I believe that the, the where the rubber hits the road for the consumers with regenerative whether it's tomatoes, potatoes or hemp is nutrient density and impact on land and community. But we haven't done the biomass testing, but we're doing the finished product testing right now. So that's a combination of, you know, the farming practices, which at the core of Vonda is super high level farming practices, really artisanal slow production. That's the Dream team combo, whether you're making wine or potato chips or hemp medicine. It's it's input farming and how you process it to get it to the consumer. To me that makes a product exceptional. So I hope to share that with you in coming weeks to see like wow, this is the difference between.
Stephen Smith - 0:37:19
Because everyone said Ohh, so it's CBD oil and I'm like well and I don't wanna make it complicated, but it's not just CBD oil, it's CBD.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:37:58
Stephen hates when I call it CBD. He's like no man well.
Stephen Smith - 0:38:01
He's right though, because people that want CBD products, you know, come to us. It's kind of like if you if you had a conventional spongy cardboard tasting strawberry next to a super tight backyard biodynamic strawberry and it's like, well, they're both strawberries. But holy moly, this one is so different. Right. So I, I have to figure out, I have to navigate that communication. I'm not great at it. I say it's it's it's it's whole hemp plant medicine rich in CBD, but I mean it's a CBD product it's just much more so anyway well I'm hoping this kind of testing will help us visually articulate that.
Kyle Krull - 0:38:39
Yeah. I think what you just touched on is something that, yeah, everyone on this podcast and then everybody in the regenerative movement is feeling, it's like we don't want to overcomplicate it, but it's so nuanced and it's so hard to effectively communicate in a synthesized message like the difference between, like you mentioned, those two different strawberries or those two different CBD oils. It's so complicated. Just naturally and something that we as a movement have to figure out like how do we get better at that, because we want consumers to recognize the difference. And until we reach that threshold in mass, it's going to be more difficult for regenerative brands, medicines, whatever to truly succeed and to demand either you know that that price premium or even price parity like how do you differentiate yourself when you can't effectively communicate through any selling points? Very difficult.
Stephen Smith - 0:39:25
Anthony Corsaro - 0:39:28
The the I wanna give a shout out to Tina Owens and the new the the nutrient that you're good. The nutrient density alliance. That's a new thing that Green America is kind of sponsoring and Tina is spearheading and they're basically trying to work with brands, philanthropists, you know, scientific bodies to do this nutrient density testing. Because like Kyle said it it's always going to be higher to take care of ourselves and our families and our nutrition than to take care of the planet no matter how eco conscious you are like. Just pavlovs or whatever that hierarchy is. I think it's that guy's mascot.
Kyle Krull - 0:40:03
Was a dog that's.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:40:05
In my. No, he's, he's he did the dog experiment. But anyway, so people should check out her work. And they had a they had a meeting at Expo W that I attended, and I thought something, I heard something crazy there, which was Stephen, it's really cool that you're testing the end product because what they shared at this meeting was that most nutrition panels we know are massively flawed. But they are also just the nutrition profile of the ingredients, right? They're not actually the nutrition of the products like Frosted Flakes. They just take the ingredient nutrition.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:40:07
And they put that on the box and like we have no idea what it actually is at the end product. So I think that's the other like thing we have to work towards is full transparency and traceability in the supply chain of the actual ingredient, nutrient density testing and then the end product. And that's how we value all these amazing production and processing techniques that all these regenerative brands like under are using and so many others have talked about on this podcast that are so important. But right now we don't have any way to quantifiably value them and and and drive that into the you know. To the commerce of.
Stephen Smith - 0:41:08
The and and that brings up two things. One, storytelling right super crucial and I love working with my my my dear friends at farmers footprint on some of that stuff where we're dreaming up some great stories which we have such an abundance of and the other is. The other is finished product. Ohh. So I see this in the hemp space where people are starting to say we're a whole plant and it's like, well yeah, maybe you started with the whole plant, but you sure as hell didn't keep it all the way through. And so this messaging is so funny. Like I saw this product at A at a store recently in San Diego and it says like it's like super High End packaging, Mesa like whatever bougie and it says whole plant. And I looked at it and I was like well where did it go?
Stephen Smith - 0:41:24
You know, cause it's not still here so the messaging can be misleading. Consumers. Oh my God what a time to be a consumer. Like we're deep in it right. So we have some insights into what's actually going on in the food space especially in the region spot. But I I just, I feel so bad for consumers who are just just being beaten over the head with just disingenuous marketing narratives all the time. So you know.
Stephen Smith - 0:41:54
I'm sorry folks but here we are you're doing the work to come come hang out with Kyle and Anthony and myself and hopefully that's empowering in some ways to make decisions because we can't do this without consumers. And then there's a there's a farm video we did in 2018 where we're talking about regenerative hemp. You know again before before it was kind of this thing and I just at the end of it as said it's the consumers you guys we need your support right and and we can talk about changing the world and healing soil all we want but if if you don't sleep. Better. And if you don't feel better and if you don't buy our products, then you know the the, the mechanism that we're a part of isn't empowered.
Stephen Smith - 0:42:50
Soapbox off soapbox.
Kyle Krull - 0:43:03
No, it's great to hear somebody else preach what I preach. You know, to me, the consumer link is the key. You know, if we don't, like you said, if we don't get that support. Then you know our share continues to remain nominal and insignificant, which means that the majority of the agricultural land is being used in a conventional extracted manner. And we continue to have the same problems that we have today. And I think the reason the three of us and everybody in the region movement is here is to try to solve these problems. And again, it's never going to happen unless we get consumer adoption.
Stephen Smith - 0:43:33
Yeah, yeah, and.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:43:36
I and I.
Stephen Smith - 0:43:37
Ohh, I just was gonna say very quickly. For years we were so excited about the the Onda as a mechanism for change, as a mechanism to support and interact with regenerative food systems. And I realized in the last couple of years, it's like that's great and it will always be a big part of the foundation of our our structure, but. People are looking out for themselves and that's OK like to your point right they wanna sleep better they want less anxiety they wanna relax. So if it does those things and it's supporting regener but I was leading with that so that's something that comes up with other brand conversations. It's like you can lead with your ethos your mission your do good but if you don't have a an effective delicious fun whatever your goals are product it it's it's not going to work so we're we're we're really focusing on that that you know. Round up like we're playing around with some taglines, but it's like whole plant, full life, whole plant all you like. It's all about your highest expression of your potential with plant support. And we're regenerative, you know, and that hierarchy of messaging is important right now for us.
Stephen Smith - 0:44:30
Anthony Corsaro - 0:44:49
Yeah, we we talked about it a lot with other brands and it really is a situation where it has to be a lagging value prop and you have to link the leading value props that are the most important to regen and be and and tell educate the consumer on why it's causing that benefit. Ride Region is the you know the behind the curtain of that benefit. The the thing I wanna ask you about and this is not gonna be a super button up question so bear with me a little bit and I just want to hear you riff on it, Stephen is. You're the first hemp brand that we have on this podcast. There is a legislation, you know issue with that. There's a totally different route to market and retail and channel distribution that comes with that product. I mean there's all these different intangibles and you've been on this journey now for a long time. And I'm just super kind of curious for you I guess to like take us on that journey or riff on like how all those variables have impacted like your commercial strategy and like where does that sit today? Like I, I kind of have a, I kind of have a behind the scenes.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:45:18
Two of that, but I'd like you to educate the people that listen to this on, you know, what that looks like for a business like yours and with the ingredients and and the products.
Stephen Smith - 0:45:56
That you sell the kind of ever growing and immense list of restraining factors in what would look like kind of a CPG growth trajectory, at least what people project on you whether it's investors or the market or culture that those. Those restraints are stress inducing. But the character building and have led me down a entrepreneurial journey that I think is very unique. I am banned for life from PayPal and Venmo. I can't get a conventional mainstream credit line of credit. Never have I am shadow banned on Instagram, my Facebook. I can't advertise on Facebook or Google or Instagram. So from a DC perspective, I am deeply handicapped and I think that.
Stephen Smith - 0:46:36
You know, truthfully, I had a bit of a ego death. Breakdown, crisis, evolution, Phoenix rising, whatever the hell you wanna call it, I mean.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:47:11
The phoenix was.
Stephen Smith - 0:47:12
Like my backdrop for months I was like, I got this, I got this, but, but, but, but last summer I just crashed, right? And it was just this perfect storm of like a couple of my contractors because I'm the only full time employee and I have five contractors that are very, very supportive and and have specific roles. But they're not full time. My team like was going through independently some really wild family crises like. Don't need to get into them but it was it was unrelated to Onda and and I lost some support and then we we ran out of product and then things started to spiral and and and the boat really started taking on water and so I had multiple come to Jesus moments where I was like. Is it just are you that stubborn is it just not gonna work or do you have to evolve your capacity to rewire, reimagine your narrative timeline, arc expectations, workflow. Yeah. And I got, I let go of so much I let go of of this perfect ramp of growth that you know VC investor people like want to see and can you flip it in five.
Stephen Smith - 0:47:55
This was like, I am done with all of that, and I am holding on like an oak tree and a hurricane, just like swaying in the wind. But I'm like, I'm rooted right? And like the tallest trees have the deepest roots. I consolidated aspects of my life. I brought my infusion equipment in House, I make the oil. I I made these decisions, and I'm I made a decision to deeply commit to this business in a way that I had never felt before.
Stephen Smith - 0:48:25
And I let go of this masculine, suspician, forced grind work ethic that had gotten me really far, but I think was also contributing to my burnout. And yeah, I guess I am ranting on this, but it's to say that. In, in, in and and it's not just me, but in pioneering. A new market. This was illegal for a long time, right? So. So people have to realize, like, you can't, you can't project a growth trajectory. You can't project a strategy from a from a A, a wine company or a chips brand or anything where people like, oh, I know what potato chips are, I know what wine is. What the hell is regenerative hemp oil, CBD oil, right. So we're in a completely different ballpark, on a completely different trail with completely different rules.
Stephen Smith - 0:49:18
And so I've had to dig into, you know, aspects of my life I didn't know or myself that I didn't know I had and either quit or decide to be here. And if I decide to be here I better damn well be in it for the long haul and do whatever I need to do to you know, create a narrative and a story that I want to read in 10 years that that wasn't like ohh it got uncomfortable when I quit. Like it's it's it's like that. It's it's trickier than some of the most profound psychedelic journeys I've been on. And I mean that.
Stephen Smith - 0:49:48
With the most integrity and and sincerity because yeah. It's like if your heart and your soul is not deeply into something that's, you know, business and entrepreneurial and you go through these kind of restraints and obstacles, you're out, right? You just, you just bail. And the community that I'm a part of, whether it's Renourish studio or my friends and family, the contractors and teammates I work with. No way in hell I could have done this on my own. That's like I have to acknowledge that almost above anything else, but in in in collaboration with this community.
Stephen Smith - 0:50:45
I I we're finding a way right and and and at the core of it it's like it's rock'n'roll like screw the man like I don't want to be suppressed and crippled and crushed by a system that's made for all the to fail it's made for me to go you know pivot to broad spectrum you know strip strip down increase efficiency increase margin all these things and. You know we'll see what happens. I'm not making any promises, but I'd like to believe that we can collectively rewrite a new path, a new way of doing business. It's not only applicable to him but could be applicable to other value add products that that believe in going anti commodity, anti industrial and so on. So I don't know I could go into various restraints that we are navigating really a lot of mindset shifts you know to to to just to ride this this process through and you know.
Stephen Smith - 0:51:20
Arguably some, you know, level of insanity. Self deprecating.
Kyle Krull - 0:51:59
For asking very open, free flowing riffing conversation. Stephen, your answer was beautiful and inspiring. It also really reminded me of the book I read. It's called 1,000,000 miles in the 1000 years. It talks about that aspect of story and living your life in such a manner that it would be an interesting story that somebody wants to read. I think it's Donald Miller, I can't remember for sure but highly recommend that book. I think you'd really enjoy it based on everything you shared. One of the things that was really struck me and you sharing all of that was when things got. Hard. What you were and what you weren't willing to sacrifice and what you were not willing to sacrifice was exactly like the opposite of all those conventional models of business that you were kind of like mirroring against, right? You were not willing to sacrifice the quality of your product and the processing. You know, to try to make it easier to be like everybody else, you know, we're just focusing on margin dollars and creating a successful business model instead. You've sacrificed aspects of your life and convenience to ensure that whatever it is that you're making is the best possible product for consumption and impact on the planning, which I think is inspiring and just really, really awesome. I appreciate you sharing all that.
Stephen Smith - 0:53:11
Thanks, man. Thanks for saying so. It's like, it's like if you had to protect this egg, you know, going through this gnarly storm and you're just getting hit with stuff you like, it's cool. I can take it, you know, because you're holding something that you just, you know, like you don't want to taint that just because you get hit in the arm with a branch or I don't know. Again, sorry for not really conscious of my metaphors.
Kyle Krull - 0:53:33
But it's like going.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:53:34
Dude, it's awesome. Don't you don't apologize for it. I think it's amazing. I think it's your superpowers. We we just had Juan from artisan Tropic, who's also participating in the renourish.
Stephen Smith - 0:53:46
Anthony Corsaro - 0:53:46
Amazing. And we got some really cool. Yeah, we, we got some really cool testament and feedback from him on that program. Love Lauren, love what she's doing there and just, you know, give you opportunity to speak to I guess, more about how that's been and how that shaped some of those things. You just.
Stephen Smith - 0:53:59
Touched on. Yeah. I mean, in this constant journey of expansion discomfort, right? Like that's another thing I'll touch on to lead into renourish is like. I think we all we're all programmed naturally to avoid discomfort, right? You go away from discomfort, but with a certain level of intellectual override. There's comfort in discomfort. Like it's a weird trip that I just did to last summer where like I settled into this discomfort. I'm like ohh, yeah, yeah, that's that's fucked. That's really bad. But I'm OK with it and it's gonna be fine there. There's this concept and so that discomfort in that questioning, a lot of people just run away and some people are learning to really go into it with curiosity. And so when Lauren, a year ago, and I were talking at Expo about this program and also to reference.
Stephen Smith - 0:54:20
The concept of not wanting to be overly reductive and honor the complexity of living systems and some of the things we're working on. But also it's like OK cool, I have a minute. Like tell me what it is. You know she, she was explaining this sounds like OK well I I think I know what you're saying. It's this group and and but at the end of it, it was her, right? I trusted her. I trust people and I trust feeling and I trust intuition. And I said you know if she's invited me to come sit in in this thing.
Stephen Smith - 0:54:50
I'm gonna do it right. And that's another thing I was taught 12 years ago. I had a mentor who said there's a door open. Just go through it like like, you know, you know when not to go through a door. But my point is like just go into an opportunity and and I started that studio.
Stephen Smith - 0:55:21
Kind of right before this burnout crash that I was referring to and I was highly resistant, I was in these two hour zoom sessions thinking like who, who here has a job? Like can you get like go get a job?
Anthony Corsaro - 0:55:50
Like what are you?
Stephen Smith - 0:55:52
Talking about I'm just being totally honest, right? Because because I was, I was just like blue sky cool, sounds great. I need to go sell some oil. I'll talk to y'all later. And I have this resentment and I had this internal battle with what was going on. I knew what they were talking about was fascinating. I just felt like it was a luxury to even be discussing it. That was my shit, right? That they they were on track. But what came out of it was fascinating. And now I'm a year in almost. And not only was it just straight up community support during a crisis, as a solo entrepreneur, it was a challenge for me to explore frameworks and models to overcome.
Stephen Smith - 0:56:08
Obstacles to see things differently to consider value. For example, 5 capitals like I might look at my bank account some months in the business and be like ohh God and sometimes it's just yes it's great but it's more than financial capital, man. It's social capital. It's our community. It's environmental capital. It's it's it's allowed me. Renner Studio has allowed me to expand the way I see the potential of my business and simultaneously.
Stephen Smith - 0:56:36
Encourage me to build my internal and personal right, because there's when I came into it, I was like, is this a personal workshop thing or is this a business thing and it's like. And so letting go of those boundaries and there's structured boundaries in a positive way to realize like. Who do I need to be as a man, as a human, as a, as a, as a Stephen to be the best leader for on the to be the best it can be. So it's again, I would I would sum it up as like a three-year regenerative business incubator of sorts. Right. That's the short pitch for me. I don't know if that's what they would say, but it's been highly expansive, supportive and empowering for me personally and the business in ways that I I didn't hadn't imagined before.
Stephen Smith - 0:57:44
Yeah. Yeah, so I'm super grateful to be in it. I'm surrounded by. Family, I mean you know in in in the past three years of so many of us looking at screens you know which we which we do every year but we get together in person and those in person meetings with other people that are super passionate about regenerative business and and personal development. It's powerful. Yeah, so I I'm a big supporter and encourage anyone to check it out if if if it's of interest. It's been kind of like right on time.
Kyle Krull - 0:58:39
That's incredible. I'm a I'm very interested in learning more. I think you know I've had a couple of conversations. Lauren she seems fantastic love what we heard from Juan. So yeah curious to to to dig in more and to to figure out you know how this is gonna affect. Everybody who's participating, you know what I mean? Like everybody we talked to who's involved has nothing but incredible things to say, including that it's really hard. You know? Nobody does this because it's easy and it's challenging, but in the best way. Again, based on what I've heard, I'm not a participant.
Stephen Smith - 0:59:09
No, there are a lot of times you just leave really confused, you know, and and but, but but in a, it doesn't feel disruptive just for the sake of being disruptive, right? There's a lot of like and then and there's a lot of openness that that leaves you thinking about it all week, right? So. Again, I can't really sum it up. I can't put my finger on it other than what I've said, but I feel good and it feels good for Onda. So I'm I'm gonna stick with it and we've got two more years in our in this first cohort. Yeah, at the very least, they get to hang out with Juan. I mean, he's he's amazing.
Kyle Krull - 0:59:46
Stephen Smith - 0:59:47
Anthony Corsaro - 0:59:51
Stephen taking us, taking us home with our final couple questions. The first one is, is on the focus which is what does the future hold? You know what's the future vision what do you want people to be aware of? What do you wanna ask for from the community what's what's coming down the?
Stephen Smith - 1:00:02
Pipeline, yeah, I mean really it comes back to first thing that comes to mind I should say is the consumers and spread the word. You know if you like what we do, buy our products, subscribe, we'll we'll, we'll reciprocate big discounts, we'll do the best we can. Committing to Onda, integrating that into your life, committing to yourself and spreading the word is huge because we're really restricted in how we can reach new customers and communicate at the moment although we're getting clever but but really we're focusing on some really exciting bulk and white label opportunities right now internationally and domestically so. You know our products may not resonate with the masses and I have no interest in it being a Pepsi or a or a a large corporation. But the people that really understand what we do are some of the the leaders in skin care and and Wellness and so they're they're looking to own the to be a super ingredient because it is, it's it's like the Intel inside it's the gortex it's it's this kind of you know super boosted nutrient ingredient that makes skin care products more anti-inflammatory. It helps your sleep product you know so that's something that's been great as I sink a little bit deeper into the the production and growing some herbs this summer to use in our products is is partnerships with folks that want to use on that as an ingredient still launching new products, slow and steady probably recovery product. Next we're looking at like a Pate defi which is a high end culinary gummy with site specific ingredients and maybe a smoke blend just because people I send people.
Stephen Smith - 1:01:11
You know flower to smoke and they they like it. So maybe that although that's a bit of a deviation, but really not looking to to to launch too many more products anytime soon, maybe some soft gels for our herbal blends. And I mean I'd say if we really take some steps way out into the future because I'm I'm a dreamer. I I've had this idea for for many years to you know partner with other hemp manufacturers outside of the medicine space. So when we look at our partnership with young man and these are both hemp you know shirts or whatever or insulation, fiber all of these other uses that I wrote about in my Senior High School thesis paper. I I also consider you know the the silo that organic and regenerative.
Stephen Smith - 1:01:56
Is in and how do we get more, more producers to transition. Hemp would be a fantastic mechanism there because it's a fighter remediator. So if we could build up the infrastructure on manufacturing of insulation, fibre and all these other hemp value add products, we could be growing hemp convert, cleaning up soil, assuming there's no off gas or any issue there. And we could be converting conventional land to organic through those types of hemp and then we could be putting you know. Growing more hip medicine where it needs to happen. So I like the idea of Onda being a regenerative hemp company expanding laterally into other types of hemp.
Stephen Smith - 1:02:57
That's that's fun to dream about. And then, yeah, I don't know. Just partnerships and making the best damn product we can make. I would love to shift to more of a A a farming kind of you know Land Management visionary role and I mean I was an art student. I don't know how they gave me a CEO title. Well I did. I think that my card no one argued right. But I don't know that I'm.
Stephen Smith - 1:03:14
Make jokes about that, because I I would imagine there's a someone who's who's maybe more suited for a CEO role in the long run, but I sure do enjoy it at the moment. So yeah, just trying to enjoy the ride, have some fun, rest when I need to rest. Be grateful that when I go to sleep at night, I'm not only sleeping great because of my product, but I I have a full heart knowing that we never cut corners and we hold the line that's important to us so.
Anthony Corsaro - 1:04:03
Love that man, let that, let that be your North star. Ohh, I think I think you just kind of answered this question a little bit there. But the the last question we always wrap with and we get, we get tons of different answers and I don't think there's a right one for this one right is look let's look macro, let's back out and let's say how do we really scale return of agriculture. Maybe scale is not the right word but whatever that whatever that right word is and the direct quantifiable is how do we get regen brands that 50% market share by 25.
Stephen Smith - 1:04:41
Consumers. Um, you know it's that's that's that's a complex thing. I nothing's really. I mean there's not it's not 1 answer right. And we don't want to be overly reductive but one thing that just came to mind is is and I hate to think like this but you know real change sadly in this culture happens with trauma. And if, if, if we if we see systems collapse, if we see infrastructure fail, if we see supply chains crumble. And I'm just riffing, right? I'm not saying this is what it'll take.
Stephen Smith - 1:05:03
And I hope to God this isn't what it takes. But I mean, come on, we know the world we live in. We might see region biodynamic foods as a viable solution to battle the crumbling of this fragile House of Cards that we've built. And if if we look at region biodynamic foods and medicines as more resilient bioregional options. Maybe it's gonna resonate. I mean, look what happened during COVID. All of a sudden everyone bakes bread and has a garden. I'm not mad, you know, I'm not mad at that. But that's what it took. I mean, you couldn't get seeds, right? That's scary. So.
Stephen Smith - 1:05:45
I I I think the other side, the brighter side of of that kind of path of that conversation is is. People feeling better, people feeling happier, people, people feeling healthier, people saying, wow, something is different and hopefully they can correlate it to a healthier, more nutrient dense diet from healthy and clean soil and that that's enough. Now we're going to have to look at, you know, cost and how we can do that. But it's a snowball. The more people that support on the the more people that support our artists entropic, the more impact we can make and the more farmers are incentivized.
Stephen Smith - 1:06:07
To transition their farming practices because the consumers are voting for it. So I think we have to meet our consumers in the middle. We need to not be greedy and we need to encourage them to step up and, you know, maybe have one less $20 Apple martini and vote for some healthy food. That was a really random thing to say, but my point is like, we all spend money, we all spend money on stuff that, you know, if we took like one or two things out a month or we pivoted our budget a little bit, we could be supporting regenerative brands.
Kyle Krull - 1:07:10
One at the same time reporting ourselves as as individuals and as healthy entities, right? So it's like this is mutually beneficial support. It's taking care of yourself is also taking care of the planet in like the weirdest way. But it makes so much sense when you really think about it. But again, totally, totally aligned with your consumer answer. Again, not to be too reductionist, but I do think that's the linchpin.
Stephen Smith - 1:07:34
Anthony Corsaro - 1:07:35
Yeah, it's. It's about responsibility, right. And it's about acknowledging and the realization that we're part of all these systems and right now we we step back from them and we give and take mainly take from whatever we want. And we think this the thing just spins around and it hasn't changed at all from from that interaction because it's so big that we don't see it, but it has and it is. And you know my biggest concern is we're going to get to some of those failures that you, you mentioned Stephen and we're not going to have the ability to recover from them.
Stephen Smith - 1:08:05
That's, that's yeah I I think that's a reasonable. Concern. But you know, I I don't have kids. But I think about if I was a parent, I'd wanna show up for my kids on the highest level possible. And that's investing in yourself, and that's eating good food and teaching teaching children these ways. I think the younger generation is super hip to this. Like at Expo, I was hanging out with, with someone who's just was blowing my socks off with with what she's interested in, what she's studying, what she's working on, and she's 24. And I was thinking, Oh my God, when I was 24, I was just, you know, rate, you know?
Stephen Smith - 1:08:08
Racing mountain bikes and bartending and having fun and so I'm I'm really optimistic about some of the folks that are coming into this space bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to ready to throw down and All in all the right ways. So yeah I mean all we can do is hope I mean even if you think that the environment and that the the the boats gone too far like at least have fun you know and be a healthy person so you can your kids can be happy and healthy like the environment and and and and that's a that's a bigger conversation. But just on the personal level, you know, invest in in your body and your health.
Kyle Krull - 1:09:14
Anthony Corsaro - 1:09:15
Yeah, I understand the truth of the current reality, but be very helpful. I mean, I feel like that's where I'm at and I feel like that's what we're trying to to.
Stephen Smith - 1:09:22
Convince. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. It just feels awesome. Human. Yeah.
Kyle Krull - 1:09:26
Yeah, you know, yeah. Feeling human is we have to be connected to our food system. We have to understand the impacts of the choices that we make, what we choose to support, what we vote with with our dollar like you mentioned. But maybe just thank you for the time. Thank you for sharing everything you shared. This has been an incredible episode. So yeah, just just want to say. Yeah.
Stephen Smith - 1:09:46
Man, I could no, thank you. I mean you guys are putting in the time to connect the mycelium the web of of people and you know a lot of entrepreneurs and a lot of people in this space. We might live in this like rural corner of Northeast Oregon for example, or anywhere. And and to know that there's community out there and that that we're together and this is is is really inspiring. So thanks for all your hard work.
Kyle Krull - 1:10:10
We get the easy job. We let we. We showcase the hard work that everybody else is doing.
Stephen Smith - 1:10:16
Well, it just makes it that much more worthwhile. So thank you.
Anthony Corsaro - 1:10:20
Alright brother. Appreciate you man. Thank you.
Stephen Smith - 1:10:22
We'll talk soon.
Anthony Corsaro - 1:10:26
For show notes, episode transcripts, and more information on our guests and what we discuss on the show, check out our website regen-brands.com. That is regen-brands.com. You can also find our regen recaps on the website. Regen recaps take less than 5 minutes to read and cover all the.
Anthony Corsaro - 1:10:45
Key points of the full hour long.
Anthony Corsaro - 1:10:46
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Anthony Corsaro - 1:11:02
Anthony Corsaro - 1:11:03
Thanks for tuning into the Region Brands Podcast, brought to you by the region coalition and Outlaw Ventures. We hope you learned something new in this episode, and it empowers you to use your voice, your time, and your dollars to help us build a better and more regenerative.
Anthony Corsaro - 1:11:16
Food system. Love you guys.