Disney’s Role in the Food Revolution

Over spring break, I went to Florida to escape the 20-degree weather that Laramie has during spring. I really enjoyed it, obviously, because who doesnt enjoy 90-degree sunshine every day? But one thing I enjoyed most was visiting Disney World. It was pretty amazing, and Epcotwas by far my favorite park there. If youve ever been, you know that Epcot is less of a kid-amusement park, and more of a destination for adults, with science-themed rides and park areas, and several foreign countries and their culture showcased through 360-degree videos, shops, food, and beverages. It was super, super awesome. Disney, in recent years, has taken steps to emphasize sustainability and living abundantly without destroying the Earth. A clear example of this is the Living with the Land attraction.

living-with-the-land-gallery00.jpgA look inside Disney’s Living with the Landattraction

Epcot is an acronym for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow; and its pretty exciting that something that once was an experiment for Dr. Nate Storey is now revolutionizing the world of farming. To experience this experiment inside of Epcot was really inspiring, but to experience it in an everyday setting like in YOUR farm or the grocery store–thats real-life inspiration.

Why Disney?

Disney has a huge, global platform that extends far beyond the reaches of almost every other company, well, ever. Everyone has at least one fond Disney memory–whether it is your first trip to Disneyland, or how you watched Peter Pan a million times as a kid, we all have at least some connection to Disney. It makes sense that the folks at Disney are using the widespread influence their name connotes for positive change in all their parks, most obviously so at Epcot.

Epcot is the only Disney park that serves alcohol. This alone makes it a little more adult-friendly! But the main thing that adults can appreciate is the cultural and environmental emphasis Epcot creates. Like I said before, Disney has this enormous platform that theyre now using to promote awareness of the world itself, alongside Olaf and Queen Elsa, and this is totally awesome.

living-with-the-land-gallery01.jpgThis ride is meant to inspire everyone, big and small!

The Living with the Land ride is perhaps the best example of just how Disney has put sustainability at the forefront of their overall message at Epcot. You sit in a little boat and take a journey through time to see how farming has evolved throughout history (and you also get to see some alligators)! Perhaps the most interesting thing for me, obviously, was the segment of the ride in which we were actually inside Disneys farm. Aside from the Mickey-shaped pumpkins, I was most impressed with their wide array of farming experiments going on. Online, the description of this attraction includes: Many of your favorite foodstuffschocolate, coffee, vanilla, tomatoes and rice, to name a fewgrow on trees, vines and now even in soil-less environments. See firsthand how Disneys horticulturalists are using innovative growing techniques and cross-breeding high-yield crops with the goal of sustaining our growing global population. One of those innovative growing techniques started right here in Laramie, as a product of Dr. Nate Storeys dissertation.

Lets backtrack.

Now with Disney as a huge vessel for our mission here at Bright Agrotech, I want to take you back to the root of what started it all. I talked with Dr. Nate Storey about his vision in the beginning, which was a lot smaller initially. We didnt actually realize we could have that much of an impact. As we sold more towers, and built all of these solutions to problems that hadnt existed before, we slowly began to realize we had the ability to fundamentally impact the way food is grown, distributed, and consumed. We have a good vision, and good intentions, and we operate from a place of conviction that we can fundamentally impact these things.

So even a company like Bright Agrotech, now at the helm of the food revolution, started small. The past, filled with huge corporations and food distributors, is disappearing, and as Dr. Nate says, We are in the age of democratization, where lots of people networked can have a much larger effect than one huge entity. where big, monolithic industries begin to look tired and old, and incapable of keeping up with culture and people and the way people think. What we can do now, with equipment thats designed for small farmers, we can allow farmers to network…They can get excited about the market, they can build a business, they can feed their family, they can help their local economy.

Bigger is NOT always better

Disney is big, and we appreciate that this big company is showcasing the efforts of a small farmers like the one from teeny tiny Wyoming, Dr. Nate Storey himself. And theyre not just showcasing these farmers over at Disneys Epcot, they stand behind the movement they are a part of, and are proud to join them in the future of food production. The food revolution, as Ive said, starts with small farmers. Its not about a big industrial change, Nate says, What were talking about is a bottom-up revolution. Its not top-down, its not autocratic, its not particularly exciting or sexy. It doesnt appeal to power and big money. Its about small people doing small things, that aggregate to represent a very big thing. Ultimately, thats what were about: how do we take a lot of small people, and teach them how to have big effects by tying them together? Disney’s support for these small farmers is inspring, and powerful.

behind-the-seeds-00.jpgThe view from the middle of the Disney farm on the Behind the Seeds tour!

Where do I start?

You just have to start by doing. A lot of people get paralysis by analysis. Even if its just going out and starting a teeny tiny little garden, in your backyard if you dont have any money. When you start to do something, its hard to stop. Its much harder to start something than it is to stop. We are creatures of habit, of momentum. Just go do it.


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