Patagonia Provisions

Solving the Food Paradox

At its most elementary, a paradox is a statement that is self-contradictory because it contains two statements that are both true, but in general, cannot both be true at the same time. Examples are legion, from the most basic example of a “jumbo shrimp”, to Shakespeare’s Hamlet declaring that he “must be cruel to be kind.”

In the 21st Century, paradoxes abound no less than in the past. The “social media paradox”, for example, states that “the more connected and integrated technology seems to bring us, the further apart, and more isolated we become.” That arguable paradoxical statement is applicable to much larger issues than social media, as it were.

Patagonia, the pioneering outdoor clothing and gear brand, is far more philosophical than you might realize, and they’ve set out to solve a paradox of our time following the same basic principle as the social media paradox, that of “modern technology, chemistry and transportation combin[ing] to put more distance between people and their food than ever before” …a situation that on the surface should be a good thing, but that in reality, is not.

Patagonia Provisions “is about finding solutions to repair the [food] chain”, from its broken paradoxical present state, to that order in which it was meant to be: local, natural and sustainable.

The concept behind Patagonia Provisions is nicely delivered in an essay by their current CEO, Rose Marcario, who herself is on record as having lived another paradox:

As Marcario became more successful, she says, “I felt myself more and more divided from my values.” Via

Marcario’s transformation from private equity vice-president to Ganges River nomad to CEO of Patagonia and impetus behind Provisions is itself a captivating story, one perhaps for another day. But the essay that she penned on ‘Regenerative organic agriculture’ is the blueprint for Patagonia Provisions and its main argument is summed up as thus:

Regenerative organic agriculture includes any agricultural practice that increases soil organic matter from baseline levels over time, provides long-term economic stability for farmers and ranchers, and creates resilient ecosystems and communities. Put simply, this approach presents an opportunity to reclaim our farming system on behalf of the planet and human health—while fulfilling the obvious need to feed and clothe billions of people around the world. We can produce what we need and revitalize soil at the same time, thereby sequestering carbon currently polluting the atmosphere and warming our planet. Via

That. And this. Davines might be a tad too tiny to reinvent and redevelop interstate or international agricultural supply chains, we nonetheless aspire to do that which we can to aid a growing international community of individuals, businesses and groups working together, even if we don’t know it yet, to return food to its local, natural and sustainable state.

Our “Beauty Harvest – Davines Cookbook” contest and resulting publication was conceived precisely for this reason. A simple concept-one paling in scope to Patagonia Provisions but directly in line with the goal-hairdressers and Davines customers from dozens of states and Canadian provinces across North America submitted hundreds of recipes, each containing at least one ingredient produced by a family or small-batch farm in their local community.

Solving age-old but modern paradoxes with a combination of ancient techniques and contemporary technology, if you think about it, is quite possibly solving a paradox with a paradox.

Funny how things work out.


Click the Image below to watch the trailer for “Unbroken Ground”

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