547. Death-Free Diet Fantasies vs. Regenerative Farm-To-Fork Food of the Future

Mollie Engelhart

July 2, 2024

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

A second generation restaurateur, Mollie Engelhart leads two locations of her Sage Vegan Bistro in Southern California and has opened a sprawling homesteader/hosting/hospitality business here in Texas, Sovereignty Ranch. But the internet pitchforks are out over her shift to regenerative farming.

Mollie Engelhart, a mother of five, is one of America’s foremost advocates for regenerative farming and health freedom. Her commitment to people having healthy food has intertwined her two regenerative farms (in California and Texas) and her restaurants, formerly Sage Vegan Bistro. Recently, she has made the brave choice to transition her vegan restaurants to Sage: A Regenerative Kitchen, incorporating regenerative meat and dairy and moving away from the use of seed oils all together.

She hosted and co-produced two Confluence events at her Texas ranch and Sowing Sovereignty on her farm in California. These events focus on health freedom, common law, and natural medicine. As she has never been vaccinated, she is an advocate of health freedom and informed consent. She is dedicated to living and sharing a natural and practical earth-minded lifestyle. From her regenerative farms and restaurants to her deep concern for healthy eating and holistic family life (she delivered three home births), Mollie is showing a way forward for people who want to make a difference.

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

You may have heard, Mollie Engelhart’s name is in the news. 

A second generation restaurateur, chef Mollie Engelhart leads two locations of her Sage Regenerative Kitchen in Southern California and has opened a sprawling homesteader/hosting/hospitality business here in Texas, Sovereignty Ranch. But the internet pitchforks are out over her shift to regenerative farming.

A vegetarian herself, and longtime vegan, Mollie took it upon herself to learn the intricacies of farming – a practice made familiar by her father and a life spent in the food industry. In doing so, she realized the pitfalls of veganism and the potential benefits of regenerative farming.

Our conversation covers this shift in ideology – and in menu offerings – which has ignited fury among the staunch vegan community, how and why she was called to make such a change, working through protests at her restaurants, and what it could mean for her business in the future.

We also talk about her experience running brick-and-mortar restaurants in the epicenter of squashed rights, the red-pill moment which led to clashes with her own staff, and our shared pull to Texas, to freedom, and the differences in bureaucracy we’ve seen since relocating here.

Mollie is passionate and informed, a killer combo for anyone looking to shake up well-established norms and expectations. Her methods are the future, and her voice is one we’ll be hearing a lot more of in the coming months and years.

(00:00:08) Mollie Engelhart on Her Background in Veganism 

  • Mission and principles of Sovereignty Ranch
  • Poisons being sprayed in most mass grain farming operations
  • Living in awareness, not fear 
  • Growing up in an all-organic home
  • How she came to run Sage Regenerative Kitchen

(00:17:36) Revealing the Hard Truths Related to Farming

  • Graeme Sait at TEDx Noosa
  • Experiencing the brutality of death on the farm 
  • Why even the “organic” label isn’t what it seems 
  • Daniel Vitalis on The Life Stylist: #292, #245, #53, and #52
  • Different levels of food sourcing quality 
  • How to apply these learnings to your own diet

(00:31:53) Intro to the Wide Benefits of Regenerative Farming

  • Regenerative farming vs. rewilding 
  • Broken Arrow Ranch
  • Bring back beavers!
  • Luke gives credit to Joel Salatin (Wiki)
  • The REAL cycle of life – and why we need to mirror it 
  • Grazing strategies of regenerative farming
  • Reframing death for ourselves and the life around us 
  • Seeing the value in every waking moment   
  • Unifying under the demand for whole, clean foods 
  • Earthlings (IMDb)
  • Less suffering > less death 
  • Pitfalls and perils of hive mind thinking 
  • Cafe Gratitude in the news 

(01:02:42) Swift Blowback After Announcing a Reversal on Veganism 

(01:26:26) Issues & Opportunities in Modern Meat Processing

(01:41:50) Surviving as an LA Restaurant During the Plandemic

  • Why we can’t forget COVID’s impact on our rights 
  • Clashing with her employees over OSHA rules 
  • Pivots and positions needed to stay afloat 
  • Shifting food culture in Southern California 
  • Logistical challenges of a takeout-heavy food business 
  • How a lack of trust seeds government meddling 
  • Is this the Great Awakening?
  • Bureaucracy in California vs. Texas 

(02:14:38) Spreading the Good Word of Regenerative Farming

[00:00:01] Luke: So Mollie, I don't know how many months ago it was, but I think it was the first time I met you. It was out at your Sovereignty Ranch in Bandera, Texas, at the first Confluence event.

[00:00:14] Mollie: Yeah. We did a live. You did a podcast there live.

[00:00:18] Luke: Yeah, I recorded quite a few there actually in one of the little rooms, and miraculously, I was able to fit and not make it look like someone's bedroom, even though it was. We scooted the bed over and all that. But yeah, I didn't want to leave that property. I was just like, oh my God, you cracked the code. You figured it out.

[00:00:38] You're living the best life. And I know from the outside, if you have a working farm, as a visitor, it's a very different experience than being there. I'm sure it's way more work than it appears to be, but you have this amazing restaurant there, and all the food comes right from the farm. I was just like, this is how you live. What's changed since I was there last?

[00:01:00] Mollie: Well, that was our first event. We had to get everything ready for that. And so that was just the beginning. We built the restaurant, but since then we've paved the roads, and we've got 46 beds on the property now. So different configurations of tiny houses and manufactured homes and shipping container like casitas and all of that.

[00:01:25] And we really just want to be a place for people to come and gather anything from a wellness retreat to a conference or people building a family reunion where you don't have to have-- I've often been at a family reunion, and all I'm doing is cooking and everybody else is having a fun time. And I'm caught in the kitchen with a few other women.

[00:01:48] So I'd love to provide space for other people to come and have their family reunion and everybody can just visit and let us handle the food and let us handle activities and all of that for you. So anything like that, and we're really just want to be a hospitality ranch, but all regenerative, all organic and highest quality food. And we're also building a brewery right now, and so we will have organic regenerative beer and kombucha, and then all of the grain waste will go right to our dairy cattle, and it'll all be a closed loop situation.

[00:02:24] Luke: So cool. I wish I could drink beer. I would come try.

[00:02:29] Mollie: I don't really drink either.

[00:02:30] Luke: I'm allergic to alcohol. Yeah, I break out in handcuffs and track marks.

[00:02:37] Mollie: That's funny.

[00:02:38] Luke: But something I thought about. I haven't had a beer in 27 years, I think, or any alcohol, not by virtue, just by necessity. But I think about how much glyphosate I probably used to drink from that glyphosate-sprayed wheat. I think about this sometimes. I'll go to a gas station and just walk by the beer cooler, and it's like, Coors, Budweiser, yadda yadda. And there's obviously no regenerative, not even organic beer. And I think, oh my god, people that drink a lot of beer are drinking a lot of glyphosate.

[00:03:11] Mollie: Yeah, I actually woke up to the wheat being sprayed with glyphosate. I was aware of the problems with Roundup in our food, but I always imagined it as something that we spray below citrus trees, or avocado trees, or fruit trees. And when we opened our brewery in LA on Sunset Boulevard, people kept calling and saying, are you using all organic grain?

[00:03:33] And I was saying, yes, we are. And then people were telling me, oh, I'm super allergic to Roundup, and there's this many parts per million of Roundup in beer. And I said, they don't spray it on grain right before they harvest it. That would be crazy. And then I found out that, actually, in order to keep schedules and everything like that, because it kills any plant that you spray it on or anything that has a shikimate pathway, they are spraying it on the entire field so that they can harvest it on time.

[00:04:07] And so much of what people identify as a gluten allergy or an allergy to wheat, or even an allergy to grains and carbohydrates, it's truly, probably, they're not allergic to anything. They're just having a natural reaction to the poison that's been sprayed on the food. And we don't have a shikimate pathway, but all the microbiology that keeps us alive, our immune system, the foundation of our mental health and gut health all has a shikimate pathway. And so we're killing off and sterilizing our own immune systems when we consume food with lots of Roundup in it.

[00:04:51] Luke: So crazy. As we were talking about briefly before we started recording, it's an interesting time to be a human. It's like you can fortify your house. We were talking about blue light, and you can deal with the EMF. You can have organic food and natural cleaning products and stuff.

[00:05:11] I would say the vast majority of people don't even do that because they don't know how important it is, just formaldehyde in the furniture. It's like half the stuff inside your house is trying to kill you. But you can control most of that if you're interested in doing so. But the minute you walk out your door, it's like everything is designed to freaking kill you.

[00:05:29] And I often struggle with, I don't know, and it's an ethos of this podcast, is awareness, not fear. And it's not always easy to manage that because the more you educate yourself, the more you see all of the things in our environment that are antithetical to life and health.

[00:05:52] So again, like we were talking about with Alyson, the balance of surrender and letting go because there's so many things that you can't control. And I find in my own life, sometimes just living in such a contracted state of trying to control everything all the time is actually just maybe healthy physically, but not mentally. Because then I leave, and I'm in fight or flight. There's a cell tower there. There's a smart meter here. There's the chemtrails there. It's just like, ah, leave me alone.

[00:06:23] Mollie: Yeah, I have that in every area of my life, how to be committed to living the cleaner life and also how to surrender when my husband takes my kids to eat pizza. Do I want to sit there and just be in fear that they're just mowing down on all this glyphosate, or do I want to just enjoy the moment that they're having pizza with their dad?

[00:06:44] And that is a constant surrender and be committed to and then have the conversation with my husband. He comes from a place where in Mexico there was no road even there until 1991. It's very hard for him to understand that so much of our food could be bad for us. And it's almost too much for him to want to know about it.

[00:07:10] So inside the house, he lets me do the food and the cleaning products and everything, but he wants the freedom to take them to go get ice cream or take them to go get pizza. And I have to surrender to that and also just bless it. Like, okay, I'm just going to see all this in love and light because if I see it in fear, I'm just adding another layer of bad to this thing that I already view as that way.

[00:07:37] So that is, I think, to be in this world and especially to be a mom in this world, is to be committed to something and be willing to surrender when it makes sense because otherwise you'll just be angry, frustrated, scared all the time. And then that's detrimental to our own health.

[00:07:55] Luke: Yeah, that's always been one of my fears about having kids, is knowing the things I know, how am I going to not be a controlling freak parent? You know what I mean? When you're describing your husband taking him out for pizza, I'm like, just slip them each a charcoal capsule. You don't even have to tell their dad. Just make sure they drink a charcoal after eating all that glyphosate laden bread.

[00:08:17] Yeah. There's no answer to it. I think it's like, we each individually in this world, as we educate ourselves, have to find a way to just accept there are certain things we can't change and loosely build relationships with the things we can change. And I think inside your home and the way you're doing farming is really inspiring for people because you don't have to change everything at once either.

[00:08:42] I know when people come to this podcast, I get messages like, oh, it's just so overwhelming. Everything's trying to kill me. Just go for the lowest hanging fruit first. Deal with your water. Get out in the sun. Just do the basic stuff that doesn't even necessarily cost a lot of money.

[00:08:59] I want to take the time machine back a little bit. So I used to eat at your restaurants all the time back in LA, Sage at the time. I think I discovered them toward the tail end of my days as a vegetarian, but it was still one of the only places you could get organic food that actually tasted good.

[00:09:21] So I go to the one in Echo Park and the one in Culver City, and that was our hangout. And then I didn't realize until recently that your parents had Cafe Gratitude that I've been to in, I don't know, I think in San Francisco, Healdsburg.

[00:09:38] Mollie: Venice.

[00:09:41] Luke: Venice, Hollywood. That was one of the only other places you could get healthy food.

[00:09:45] Mollie: And Gracias Madre.

[00:09:45] Luke: And Gracias Madre, yeah. Now, after I stopped being a vegetarian, because it was just not serving my body, I found vegetarian food and vegan food was hard to digest for me. Digestion is just tough for me. So when we would go to Gracias Madre, which is fantastic food, I nicknamed it Gaseous Madre because my friends and I would go like, oh, give me a couple of hours, and I'm going to be really tooting out the homies here. But it's still really delicious food.

[00:10:17] So I know in your journey of growing up with a family that was very oriented around healthy food, and veganism, and stuff, you've had quite a shift in a journey, and now you're going to be making some changes to your location in LA. So take us back to your trajectory of the ethos of veganism and causing no harm, physical health, all the things that you believed in the beginning and how your evolution of knowledge and experience has changed over the years.

[00:10:47] Mollie: My mom read a book, I guess when she was 19 or 20 when she was pregnant with me about animal agriculture, and she decided she wanted to be vegan, and my dad was down for that except for he always ate fish as far as I can remember, and I think that makes sense. He's an O blood type, so I could see that a strictly vegetarian diet would be hard for him.

[00:11:12] So in our house growing up, we were vegan, and my mother made everything from scratch. She made her own tofu. She had a tempeh closet. She worked at an organic bakery. Everything was all whole foods and organic in our house growing up. And one time she was making us cookies, and she had margarine, and she melted it, and it turned into a plastic plate in the oven.

[00:11:38] She forgot about it and got distracted, and when she came back, it was a hard plastic thing that was not food like. And so growing up we were vegan, but we ate butter because my mom was like, I don't know what is in that. Sorry to the cows. We're just going to bless the butter. From five years old or something, we had butter in our household.

[00:12:01] And I grew up on a farm, and we had an apple orchard, and I think we raised-- we didn't raise cows. We housed cows for a neighbor, the babies, until they were a certain age. We did house baby dairy cows for a neighbor for some years, and we had apple orchards and peach orchards, and I grew up very much in the country and in the dirt and growing our own food.

[00:12:28] And my parents were very committed to us having nothing scented in the house, everything organic. And so my mom was way ahead of her time. No vaccinations. I barely ever went to the doctor. My mom believed that God had it handled, and we were going to be fine at home.

[00:12:46] And so when I graduated from college and I was doing different things, growing marijuana mostly, my dad and Woody Harrelson were big on the raw food thing for a little while. They were doing a competition, who could be raw food the longest. And I started making raw ice cream for them during this raw food time.

[00:13:12] And I would drop it off, bring it over to Woody's house, or I would make it for my dad. And everybody loved my raw ice cream. So the first thing I did is I opened a raw ice cream shop in 2019 and realized pretty quickly that that is a very narrow market. Raw vegan ice cream made from cashews or coconut is very narrow.

[00:13:33] Luke: Is it called Kind Kreme or something?

[00:13:34] Mollie: Yeah.

[00:13:36] Luke: Was it in the valley?

[00:13:38] Mollie: Yeah, on Cahuenga Blvd, where Ventura turns to Cahuenga, Studio City-esque.

[00:13:45] Luke: I used to go there.

[00:13:47] Mollie: So me and my best friend opened that together, and that trajectoried into, one day these two guys came into the restaurant, very strange men, and they were like, we're opening a vegan restaurant. We want you to do the front area. And I was like, okay, what do you mean? They're like, coffee and ice cream. And I said, okay.

[00:14:13] And I was just always a yes for life. That was just my way of being. I said yes to things. And people were like, I don't know about these guys. They seem shady, blah, blah, blah. And I was like, no, it's going to be great. It's going to be great. And so after opening two ice cream shops, the one in Cahuenga and the one in Pasadena, we opened in the front of this restaurant called Sage on Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park.

[00:14:37] And I quickly realized these guys didn't have much integrity around the food, and they didn't really know what they were doing, but they didn't care whether the food was actually vegan or actually organic. And so I stepped in and bought into the business with them. And then as soon as I bought in, they left and went to their home country for, I don't know, an extended vacation, 45 days or something. And the chef quit during that time.

[00:15:04] And so I just redid the whole menu and became the chef while they were gone. And when they got back, the food cost was lower, the turn times were better, and we had better food. And that was how it started. And then I wanted to open in Culver City, and they didn't like that idea. And so I ended up buying them out fully. They didn't have a lot of integrity in how they handled our business.

[00:15:31] But I'm so grateful that they came that day and asked me to do that because my whole life, my husband, my family, my business, everything came out of saying yes to those guys coming in and saying, open a little coffee area in the front of our vegan restaurant. And so that's how I ended up with Sage. And I always just was vegetarian or vegan, and I thought that that was the best path forward, and I really thought to do no harm.

[00:15:56] And I didn't like the idea of killing anything, and it just always made sense. I grew up in that kind of household. And in 2013, I listened to a Graeme Sait TED Talk, my brother Ryland sent it to me, and it was like a light bulb went off in my head. And I realized that I'd been going through life apathetic and driving a hybrid and drinking my oat milk latte and bringing my reusable bags to the grocery store.

[00:16:27] But I really just still believed underneath it all that human beings were the problem. We were fucking up the planet. We were the problem. And in 15 minutes or 13 minutes of this TED Talk, I had the awareness that that's a psyop. We're meant to be here. We belong, and we have the power to do this totally differently, and that soil was the foundation of health of everything on the planet.

[00:16:53] And that was so inspiring because even though I thought I was doing the right thing, on some level, I just thought, oh, we're all just going to burn up in a fiery hell in the ice caps and whatever version I believed. And there was no inspiration in that. It was just like I was part of this parasite on the earth, this problem.

[00:17:16] And in that TED Talk, I realized we belong. And then I realized cow fats are not the problem. And I realized that food waste was a huge problem, and I knew I was creating a lot of food waste with my restaurants. So I got inspired to want to compost all the food waste from the restaurants. So I looked and looked for a farm, and my husband was actually undocumented, and we couldn't get a loan.

[00:17:40] And finally, 2018, we got a farm, and I started composting every single bit of food coming out of Sage. But then compost wasn't breaking down very good, and I was like, I need a cow. So I called my dad, and he gave me a cow. And so I had Una. I love Una, and she was pregnant when I got her, and she had a baby, and her poop is making the compost. Awesome.

[00:18:04] We're growing vegetables for the restaurant. We're growing avocados and citrus and everything for the restaurant. It's awesome. And she's got this huge udder, and it's filling up with milk, and the baby can't drink it all. And so we're milking Una off into the gutter, and I'm buying tetra packs of oat milk at Costco for my kid.

[00:18:23] And I'm going, somehow this doesn't make sense. And I'm breastfeeding at the same time. I've been breastfeeding the last, I don't know. I breastfeed two and a half years, so 10 years I've been breastfeeding nonstop. And I'm thinking, if my breast milk is perfect, divine love with all the microbiology for this area right here to give health to my children, doesn't the cow also living in the same environment that I'm living in and has all the health and microbiology-- why am I feeding my older kids seed oils and oats and probably Roundup, even though it says organic, when I could be feeding them that right there?

[00:19:08] And so I started milking the cows. Well, the chickens are just laying eggs everywhere. We were hard boiling them and giving them back to the chickens. My crazy ideas of a vegan farm. And so these little things started to have me shift my brain, is definitely I want to be eating raw milk. And then when I drank raw milk, I literally had the idea of, wow, that's healing. That's something really healing. And I felt that in my body.

[00:19:40] And then we had a tragedy. We had these sheep that graze in the orchards, and a neighbor dog killed all of them in one night, a whole herd of sheep, and didn't eat a single bite of any of them. Killed them all.

[00:19:55] Luke: Just for sport?

[00:19:56] Mollie: Just for sport.

[00:19:58] Luke: Practice?

[00:19:59] Mollie: Yeah, it was two German shepherds.

[00:20:01] Luke: Their wolf DNA was like, ah, we got to do

[00:20:04] Mollie: We got to it. And I was sad and crying, and my husband just sprang into action, and he harvested all that meat. I didn't have guns at the time. And so he ran to the neighbors, borrowed a gun, shot the ones that were still alive, peeled them, cut them all up, reached out to his whole Latino community, and family after family started showing up, getting buckets of meat.

[00:20:28] And I was thinking, wow, that was the right thing to do. I was going to put him in the compost pile or make a little grave and put a cross, and he's just jumped into service of the community and making their lives be valuable and mean and do something in a situation where this happened. And so that was that. And then situation where I never let anybody kill any ducks and the boy ducks killed all the girl ducks by raping them to death.

[00:20:58] Luke: How does that work?

[00:21:00] Mollie: There's just too many drakes.

[00:21:02] Luke: What's a drake?

[00:21:03] Mollie: A boy duck.

[00:21:04] Luke: Oh, okay.

[00:21:05] Mollie: You keep ducks or you would keep a couple of roosters, and all my girl chickens were bald on the backs because these roosters just kept having sex and having sex and having sex and ripping their feathers off their back. And I realized this is not okay. We have to cull some of the boys.

[00:21:24] And I had these girl ducks. They were young, and I brought them out and put them in the orchard, and the boy ducks just had sex with them until they were dead by the next morning. They were still mounting them, and I called my dad, and he goes, that's enough to bring a vegan to her knees. And I was like, somebody needs to do something.

[00:21:41] And my husband did at that point harvest those ducks and eat them and his community. Everybody says, oh, you can have a farm, and nothing can ever die. Well, you can't unless you sterilize everything and nothing can reproduce, not in a natural way. You can't have a farm and nothing dies. And I realized that the hard way, and I just realized we are part of nature.

[00:22:08] I had an avocado orchard. We put in thousands of trees, and all of a sudden the trees are getting taken out by the ground squirrels. And then I'm trapping ground squirrels, and then we're bringing them to the neighbor who has a falcon to eat. And then the neighbor's like, okay, enough. Three falcons eat one a day, and each trap is catching 10 a day.

[00:22:31] So we're killing 50 ground squirrels a day, and I'm thinking, avocados are not free of death. Lemons are not free of death. And I assume it goes for all fruit trees in their young ages, moles and voles. And then you just start to realize that there's nothing.

[00:22:49] We started dry farming wheat, and then I'm running through the wheat field to try to get all the stuff out before the combine comes and like, get out birds. Get out. Everybody, get out. And I'm realizing every bite of wheat, they're combining birds and rabbits, and foxes are getting chopped up in the combine.

[00:23:08] And so over the years, I've come to this realization that to be alive is the privilege of living on the death of other beings, not necessarily people, and there's no way to escape it. Everything we consume has death attached to it. A long time ago, a short time ago, and in between, all of our food, organic food, it's all blood meal and bone meal and poop and pee out of the consolidated feedlot system.

[00:23:44] Luke: That bit is a little concerning right there. So if you're growing organic kale that then people are later eating, thinking I'm being really healthy and good for the planet and all of that, and not to shit on people's intentions, but I think because many of us are uneducated, they won't be after this conversation. But if we're taking factory farm, animal waste, animal body parts, animal excrement, urine, etc., and putting that in organic food, aren't all the vaccines and antibiotics and all the shit that is going into those animals then going into your organic kale?

[00:24:25] Mollie: Yes. And I didn't understand any of-- I went into farming very naive. I grew up on a farm, and we grew apples and stuff, and there was cows, but I was very naive. And I love my father because he let me be that naive, even though he was farming and he knew. And I was like, I'm going to do it, but nobody's going to die.

[00:24:47] And he said, okay, great. Try that. Very supportive. And I love that he just let me come to it on my own. He didn't tell me how stupid of an idea that was. I first want to say before I clarify this, I'm not shitting on organic food. I still think it's better than the alternative.

[00:25:09] But the reality of organic food, coming out of what I call the degenerative organic system is it's 100% fertilized by blood meal, bone meal, shit coming out of the CAFO systems, the consolidated feedlot systems, or fermented cow blood coming out of the harvesting of beef.

[00:25:34] So same situation, and that's considered organic fertilizer. So if I was to right now go buy a 2,000-pound tote of organic fertilizer, it would likely be chicken shit, sawdust, and other things ground up together. And those chickens ate food coming out of the regular system. They got Meeks and all the other vaccines that the chickens got, and that's all in it.

[00:26:05] And that's why I have a really hard time with the certification system, because for example, my farm in California, everything was certified, regenerative, and organic, but my eggs couldn't be because every year I got free straw from this Halloween thing. They had a bunch of straw leftover, and it wasn't certified organic straw.

[00:26:28] So because the eggs were being laid onto bedding that was non-organic, they couldn't be certified organic. But then on the other side, I'm pouring chicken poop from this system that's filled with Roundup. There's even been situations where farmers have killed a field because the Roundup was so concentrated in the fertilizer, or where they've gotten a test from the organic certifiers come and test your food to make sure you're doing the right thing.

[00:27:04] They do random inspection tests at farmers markets or at packing houses. And so there's been situations where people have failed, and it came back to that there was that amount of chemicals in the byproduct from the feedlot.

[00:27:20] So why I think regenerative agriculture is so important and going back to a system where you have some cows and those cows are pooping and you're making compost on your land, and you are maybe buying some inputs as far as feeding your cows, maybe some hay that's organic, but that you get to see what the inputs are, and then you get to use your own fertilizer that you're making. And that's what we achieved in California. After two and a half years, we never bought any fertilizers because I realized that the organic fertilizers came out of a non-organic animal.

[00:28:04] Luke: So with food quality, like many things, when you're dealing with health, it's on a spectrum. And so maybe if we look at it from optimal best ever possible to worst case scenario, it gives us a little bit of breathing room back to that thing about just living in a relaxed way and just making the choices that are best for you.

[00:28:29] So I think everyone, whether they eat meat or not, can agree that factory farms are just a complete abomination and just downright evil, and super shitty for us to eat too, the animal welfare, the environmental impact, all of that. And then you go up into industrial organic food, and you're highlighting some of the problems there.

[00:28:50] And then maybe next in the hierarchy would be regenerative farming, which we're going to dive into more. Seems to me there's a level above that, which would be hunting and wild foraging, where just the planet and the animals and plants are making the food and you go out and get it.

[00:29:06] But there are very few people that have the time or skill set or desire to go live like that. Like my friend, Daniel Vitalis, I don't know if you know Daniel, he has a TV show called Wild Fed, and he's a big advocate for hunting and gathering, and most of his diet, last time I checked with him, I think it was 70% of what he eats is all not from any farm, not even a farmer's market, not a great regenerative farm, but literally just going out and hunting all over the world. Iguanas in Florida, you name it.

[00:29:34] Just every weird kind of animal you'd never think you want to eat, he eats them, and then seasonally forages. But that's a guy who has dedicated his life to that lifestyle, and that's his passion. And so good for him, but I'm not going to do that. So it seems like the next level down for me would be, and for people listening, and you can give your take on this, finding local farmers at your farmers market, getting to know them, asking them certain questions, which maybe you can illuminate for us.

[00:30:05] It seems like that's the most attainable for most people at the highest level in terms of stewardship of our great mother earth, the care for the animals, and them having the optimal life with the least amount of suffering. And then it goes downhill from there.

[00:30:22] Mollie: Yeah. And to be clear, the idea where Biden wants to just rewild 30% of the land by 2030, I actually think that that depends on the climate and that there's places where regenerative agriculture is actually better than just rewilding because without some support in very arid climates, you're not going to get very much healthy soil because there's very little rain every year.

[00:30:57] So you want to have man be the apex species in that area or make a difference in that area. So I used to see people are very big about rewilding things, and I would point out in California, if you look across the river where my farm was, it looks like a desert, and if you look at my farm, it's this oasis. That's through partnership of animals and man and plants to really create high, high-quality food and really healthy soil.

[00:31:25] And I think wild harvest is really good in areas that it makes sense. Like in Texas, there's tons of deer, and so there's a company that does Broken Arrow Ranch. They're doing wild harvested venison, and we're going to have that at Sage coming up here. So we will have wild harvest option for someone who that's the path that they're on.

[00:31:49] And then we're going to have regenerative grass-fed bison, and then we'll also have grass-fed beef. And so I think that both of those things have a place, and I think that that's very, very high level. But at the current population of the planet, I think we do need some people to steward and raise animal for both the earth and for human consumption. I don't know if we just want every random person hunting and gathering at the current population.

[00:32:24] Luke: That's not going to help rebuild the soil. If you look at North America, where there used to be millions of bison and millions of beaver-- people don't talk about the beaver a lot.

[00:32:35] Mollie: Beavers were a super important species.

[00:32:39] Luke: Foundational to the life of the soil and everything that goes downstream from that. It's really interesting. I have family in Colorado and live there, and there's still some beavers there, and you can see what they'll do to a valley. They move in, and they start basically irrigating it. And you get these beautiful, lush valleys that are really only that way because there's beavers there. It's crazy.

[00:33:05] Mollie: Yes. Beavers are unbelievable. And a lot of regenerative farmers are having the beavers come back, and they don't even know how they got them to come back. And there's a guy going to do a course on our farm in the fall, and he was just saying that they're super stoked cause there's a family of beavers, and they don't even know what they did except for to be taking care of the soil that had the beavers come back.

[00:33:27] But I think beavers are unbelievably important to our whole ecosystem. And I think, just like the beaver, man is also that important, and we get to say how we're going to do it. And I think how we want to do it is regenerative farming. How we want to do it is put the soil first and creating an ecosystem because we have the power, and we just have to move away from the psyop that we don't belong.

[00:33:56] That's the crazy. Everything you see on TV is -- my kids are allowed to watch TV after dinner, after dark, after vegetable, after bath. They get to watch something, and I swear, it doesn't matter what channel, what thing. Underneath, what they're telling us is we don't belong here, and even telling the kids. We have to move away. We belong here, and we have to take responsibility.

[00:34:24] We have dominion. We have to take responsibility for the soil and the earth. And that's really what I'm moved to do, and that's what I'm giving my life to. Starting over at 46 years old is not what I thought I would be doing, but here we are because I believe that soil is the foundation of everything, and it deserves to be saved.

[00:34:51] And we've been treating it like a hydroponic medium in a grow room where we're just going to keep pouring nutrients on it and hope for the best, but that is not going to work. And so here we are. I want everything that I'm committed to in life to be pushing us towards regenerative agriculture and pushing us towards rebuilding the soil and inspiring other people to be custodians because the average age of a farmer right now is 74, 72, something like that, and we're losing hundreds of farms every day. And we're losing family farms. It's all becoming this big, consolidated, centralized food system.

[00:35:34] Luke: That's something I wanted to ask you about. The first person I think I ever heard about regenerative agriculture from was Joel Salatin. He's an older guy. I tried to go to his farm once when I was up wherever he is, and I didn't make it out there. This is maybe--

[00:35:49] Mollie: He's coming to Bastrop.

[00:35:51] Luke: Oh, yeah. I saw that event. Yeah, yeah. I want to go check that event out. So I watched some videos of his operation there, and it was so interesting. And you could elaborate on this, but it seems, not just he, but people like you and him and other leaders in this space are observing the migration patterns of animals in nature.

[00:36:12] And as we talked about earlier, everything's eating everything all the time. That's just how energy works. It goes out of one thing and into another thing, whether it dies naturally or gets killed. And so in nature, you have these ruminant animals cruising around, pooping. That brings bugs to the poop and microbes, and then the birds come and follow the cattle around and eat those bugs.

[00:36:35] It's just crazy what can happen when you take that model from nature and then apply some technology, like moving your chicken coops around and moving your cattle around, and bison, whatever it is. It's basically just how things work in nature. But as you said, it's not practical for us to all go back to hunter-gatherer days of living.

[00:36:57] It's just not going to happen. So we have to take the model that God has created in the way the ecosystem operates and how it moves and regenerates itself with all of these animals eating each other all the time. Basically just mimic that in a contained area. Is that how you look at it, or how would you describe--

[00:37:16] Mollie: Exactly. There's always been herds of animals, and those herds of animals stay bundled together because of predator pressure. And rain and condition of grass push these herds every day to move somewhere else and move somewhere else, to fresher grass, get chased by cheetahs, whatever the different circumstances are that these herds get moved.

[00:37:43] But they in the wild stay very tight together as part of their defense against the predators. And so they're pooping, peeing, and putting their saliva down uniformly in this area where they all are together, and then they all move together, and they all move together. And that is how grasslands all over the world have been kept healthy forever.

[00:38:05] And we put up barbed wire fences all over the whole world, and we killed all the buffalo and started tilling the soil nonstop, till, till, till, till, till. And so we created all these desertified areas that are not productive anymore. But really what needs to happen is we just need to go back to this herd mob grazing, as what people call it, or holistic planned grazing. So for example, on our farm, we're moving the animals every single day. We have goats in the hillsides and sheep and cows down on the flat areas.

[00:38:42] Luke: How do you move them? Is it like the TV show Yellowstone where you have cowboys out there herding them around?

[00:38:49] Mollie: We have two horses, Jacob and Zachary, that love to move cows. But usually, we're just moving them a small area. We only the horses if we're moving them a large area. So we have a herd of cows, and it's electric fence, and then we move the electric fence, set up the next one.

[00:39:07] And we put them there, and then we take this one down, and we move it to the other side, and every day they're moving. And they're kept in a tight area. They eat down, and then they move, eat down and move, eat down and move. And you can't believe, when we got there, there was no life in the soil.

[00:39:21] This is just in 2022. We drilled all the holes for the fruit orchard. No roly-polies, no dung beetles, just nothing. And now the amount of life in the soil in just that much time, and we were only there part time until December, just by moving the animals and just by planting cover crops, there's been a huge influx of new life onto the land.

[00:39:48] But by doing this, we're replicating how nature already always was. But what we've been doing as farmers is we just have a huge pasture, big, with however many cows, whatever they say, this many cows per an acre. And they just sit there until they eat and eat and eat and eat, and there's nothing left. They move them to another pasture.

[00:40:08] Well, that is what's causing overgrazing, causing desertification, causing the cows to eat one thing, leave other things. It's not an ideal system. This other system that we're talking about really gives back to the soil. And then you don't let those cows come back to that spot for-- depends on the system.

[00:40:29] In very desert areas, it can be two years before they come back to that place. And in rainier places, it could be three months until they come back to that place, and that depends. And then you're building the soil up. And a lot of people say, oh, well, regenerative agriculture is not good because you need more grazing land.

[00:40:46] But the way they're doing the math is all off because you're moving them all the time and you're having much more herd in much smaller area. And the other thing is you're doing it in between things. So there's a bunch of cotton farmers in Texas that are switching to regenerative. And so they're grazing sheep or cows, are grazing a cover crop in between the cotton harvests, in between the corn harvests, in between the soy harvests.

[00:41:13] This is ways of integrating animals into other kinds of agriculture. And not all land is created equally. Sun, water, and grass can make a lot of protein in areas that you couldn't grow soy, or corn, or peas, or anything else that vegans want for their protein. It's not apples for apples. And then people throw at me deforestation.

[00:41:36] Well, nobody is saying we should deforest for grazing cows, just like we shouldn't deforest for our palm oil for vegan food. It's not the same. But what I'm saying is you can't say regenerative agriculture doesn't work because it needs more space because it's not the same space.

[00:41:53] I have goats on rocky ledges with tufts of grass coming out, and they're moving every day, and there's more soil getting built in these areas because they leave it for three months, and then we come back and there's new grasses and new stuff, and they're peeing and pooping.

[00:42:09] So this is not an area that you could till or grow anything else. And that's the beauty of the bovine, is they can really be in so many different areas. And if we can just keep moving them mimicking nature, it's better for all of us. And I still don't eat meat. I'm still a vegetarian. But if you look at the--

[00:42:30] Luke: Butterterian.

[00:42:31] Mollie: A butterterian, yeah.

[00:42:33] Luke: If you made me like, you got to be a vegan the rest of your life, you can have one thing; it would probably be butter, honestly. Look in India. They do the ghee. They're like, sacred cow and all that, but they're like, ah, we're keeping the ghee.

[00:42:46] Mollie: Keeping the ghee. I eat eggs, and I eat milk from our farm, and I feel really good about how my animals live and what I'm putting into them, and I could really trust the food that I'm feeding my family.

[00:43:02] Luke: I think at the core of this, there's a psychological issue that we humans have, and it's somehow rooted in the denial of death and this fantasy world that there's some utopian way that we can all sustain ourselves, wherein nothing dies and nothing suffers. And if you look at nature, going back to the hunting and gathering model, nature is brutal.

[00:43:27] You talked about the duck rapes. Sometimes I think about, okay, so you have a cow on your farm, and that cow is super stoked every time you move it. It's got brand new grass. It's probably doing jumping jacks in its cow way, super happy. It's being protected from predators. It's probably living a better life with less suffering than it would a deer out in the plains of Texas that's prone to predation by coyotes and whatever, mountain lions, right?

[00:43:56] Mollie: For sure, for sure.

[00:43:58] Luke: And the suffering that the predators cause for their prey, it's not only how they're killed, but they're chased around for their entire life. You look at deer. They're super sketchy. Look at squirrels. So many prey animals just live in a constant state of terror.

[00:44:18] It's like something is trying to kill it 24/7. I don't know. I think about things just from a psychological point of view. It seems healthy to me to face our own mortality first and foremost. I try to do that all the time. I think about, wow, do I really need to be on Twitter for the next 45 minutes? I only have a little bit of time here in this version of me.

[00:44:41] But it's like our denial of death creates this fear of death in us that makes us more greedy, and more rapacious, and selfish, self-centered, all of that, and then we look at how we produce and consume food. We're really denying the fact that death is a part of life and that there are ways to produce animal-based foods and plant-based foods that are actually inherently less harmful and cause less suffering than an animal would have in the wild if you just left it alone. It's an interesting thought experiment.

[00:45:19] Mollie: It's for sure true. And then the vegan conversation would be, well, we shouldn't breed to feed. And I have to say, again, as someone who's bottle-fed a baby many times a, baby goat, the end result would likely be-- for example, at Christmas time this year, my neighbor brought an Angus bull calf to my house that the mother rejected, and he didn't want to deal with the bottle baby feeding. And it was in my house on my fireplace, on a blanket for two weeks, bottle-feeding every two hours.

[00:45:59] And then I got one of my dairy cows, Mocha, to take him, and he's now with her. But the end result for an Angus bull calf, his value in the world-- I don't think there's any animal shelters that really want to take more Angus bulls. There's a bajillion of them. He was bred for food. That is the truth.

[00:46:22] And eventually, he will have a good life on my farm, but someday he will become food. And I still did everything in my power to have him live. I still got up every two hours through the night and bottle-fed him. And that is the dichotomy. That is what it is to be a farmer, is to love your animals and also know that one day they will die in the service of human consumption.

[00:46:50] But things are dying in the service of human consumption all the time. And I think that the reason we live in this fantasy world, we're so disconnected from death, and the powers that be or the world wants us to be that way so that we're okay basically wasting our time working too many hours at a job that we hate, spending too many hours on social media, being taxed in 50 different ways, and working to basically have our money debased.

[00:47:28] All of that is because we're not present to how precious life is in every moment. And that's all part of this weird psyop that we live in so that we can all just be dazed and confused. But if we can really confront, we're all going to die. It's part of the circle of life, and that the time we have here is precious, and we want to spend it being aware and conscious and connected, then I don't think we're so concerned about Ferdinand, the bull on my farm, that in 24 to 30 months, he would get harvested.

[00:48:09] We'd be more concerned that I spent every moment that I could with him as a child and connected with him, and pet him, and loved him, and that he's going to have a great life. And then yes, he will die in the service of humans that eat meat. But that's so much better than other situations out there in how meat is being produced.

[00:48:34] And so I think we can't be vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians, all these people fighting against, I'm carnivore, carnivore only, carnivore with fruit and maple syrup. There's all these versions. What if we're just like, I want whole foods that don't have poison in it, that were grown in the best possible way for humans and animals alike.

[00:49:05] We're a huge purchasing block, all of us, vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians. We're a huge group, but we're all fractionalized. But I just want to be the whole food mob. If we could just all say no more poison, I want to be the whole food purchasing block, and we're demanding better. We're demanding no atrazine in our water. And we're demanding no Roundup in our food. But we're distracted, and we're divided, and we're wasting our energy fighting each other when there's way more evil out there to be fought.

[00:49:48] Luke: It's so true. I even resist having people on the show that are specialists in veganism or carnivorism, whatever. Just like, you guys, come on. Stop identifying who you are with what fuel you put in your tank. It's like if I have a diesel Mercedes car, I don't run around going, I'm a diesel. I'm a diesel.

[00:50:12] Everyone needs to be a diesel. It's just the fuel you put in there. So that's one part of We're tribal creatures, and if we don't really know who we are, we're just going to glom on to any particular identity, even if it's something that seems so superficial as the type of food we prefer to eat.

[00:50:29] But to your point, there is a unification nexus there, where we can say, best quality food, how about we don't spray it with poison? It's just common sense. And how can we create sustenance with the least amount of suffering? And that's something I think in my vegetarian journey for 10 years or so as it was, what sparked that was this movie called Earthlings.

[00:50:53] I don't know if you've seen it. Just horrific movie about factory farming, hidden camera stuff of just pigs getting abused. I saw that movie. Literally, the next day, I didn't eat meat for years. I was like, I'm done. But I didn't know there was regenerative farms and things like that at the time, so I just threw the baby out with the bathwater.

[00:51:14] Something I started to tease apart was like, okay, I don't want an animal to be mistreated like that so that I can live. I just don't believe in that. I don't believe in causing undue harm. Then I started thinking about, all right, so I'm eating corn, and soy, and weed, and all of these monocrops. How many living creatures--

[00:51:33] Mollie: Untold numbers.

[00:51:37] Luke: Not even including bacteria and all that, but just insects, rodents, reptiles, amphibians, birds, foxes, whatever, gophers, all that.

[00:51:48] Mollie: It's 7.3 billion animals a year in the United States is the crop death estimate from harvesting.

[00:51:56] Luke: So then it's like, okay, how many calories can I get from an acre of kale versus one cow being killed? And can I place a valuation on the loss of one life versus how many lives had to be lost in order to eat all that kale for a year to get the same amount of calories, that kind of thing? Just doing rough math.

[00:52:21] And then that goes into another thought, which is, say, I don't have a problem of all these gophers and snakes and birds being killed so that I can eat my kale. Why do I place more value on the life of a cow that I won't eat because I don't want one cow to die than 10,000 gophers? It's like, if all life is of equal value, then it would actually ethically make more sense to eat one cow than it would the acre of kale. You know what I'm getting at?

[00:52:52] Mollie: It is. And for me, I think we have to say less suffering. So if something just gets combine harvested at the end, yeah, it was living there, and that's less suffering. If a cow's living a great life on grass and then one bad day, less suffering, consolidated pig production, where they live their entire life in a box that they could barely turn around, straight evil, straight evil.

[00:53:22] And that's where I feel like, as a vegan, I can take responsibility that I was missing the mark on this. And people right now are currently upset with me. It's not the same. The pigs on my farm living in the woods in this shaded area, wallows and eating all this organic food from the restaurant, is a totally different situation.

[00:53:50] No artificial insemination, just a boy pig, all the thing. It's a totally different situation. And so we have to have nuance. We have to have nuance. And then what you said about identifying as a vegan or a vegetarian or whatever, a pescatarian, a carnivore person, I think we don't want to identify with any tribe because then we stop critically thinking. And I've noticed this recently, is my pendulum swung from one tribe to maybe another tribe during COVID.

[00:54:23] And then that tribe I started, oh, interesting. I'm not with this tribe or that tribe. I'm me, and I believe things on all different sides. I'm a radical centrist. I want to be able to have views from many different tribes and not have to identify because once we're identified with something, we can't use our critical thinking skills anymore.

[00:54:51] We're just a talking head repeating things. And that's why it's so weird for me to have been a lifelong vegetarian and vegan and then come to this conclusion that I actually think animal protein is a better path-- not a better path. Animal protein in regenerative farming is a great path for humans, for the soil, for the farmer, for the planet.

[00:55:17] So I believe in that, and that was a full circle. So much evidence had to be presented to me for me to see outside of my goggles that were just vegan-colored goggles, and I couldn't see past it. But I think that's why it's so upsetting to people too, because if you identify as vegan, and then I was a card-carrying member and on your tribe, and now I've said, I feel like it's not adding up. We're not making any logical sense. That's very confronting to their identity. It's not confronting to whether it makes sense or not for them to eat vegan food. It's that they've identified with that as a personality.

[00:56:02] Luke: Right. So then everything is taken personally. It feels like a personal attack if somebody's questioning your life view or the way you--

[00:56:10] Mollie: And I used to feel that way when people would tell me stuff. I couldn't hear anything anybody was saying. Not like that, but that's how it was. I couldn't hear them. I couldn't hear it.

[00:56:21] Luke: Do I remember correctly that your dad in conjunction with Cafe Gratitude and him having a farm, that at a certain--

[00:56:32] Mollie: [Inaudible].

[00:56:33] Luke: Is that what it was? Yeah. I remember being in LA at a certain point. I don't know, it got leaked that he had cows on his farm, and then everyone went ballistic.

[00:56:41] Mollie: It's a funny story. It wasn't even leaked. It's just that my parents are older, and so they put it on Instagram. They thought Instagram was a thing for their grandchildren to see what was going on in life. And so my dad had a cow on his farm. She got sick. They took her to UC Davis.

[00:57:00] They said that she was not going to live. And he said, okay, let's put her down. And the vet was like, well, cows have a dual purpose. We haven't given her any antibiotics or anything. You might want to consider harvesting her. It's 1,000 pounds of meat. And he weighed it, and he saw, oh, well, I have a lot of employees at the farm that would enjoy that.

[00:57:22] And so they decided that they were going to do that. And they held her and put her down or shot her in the head while he held her. And it was traumatic for him. He had had that cow for seven years. He loved her, and they had it butchered and packaged, and they gave it away to their employees and other people that worked on the farm.

[00:57:46] And then my dad started to think, wait, I don't eat meat because I don't want to cause harm. This cow was going to die. She was my cow, no harm. I loved her, milked her every day for seven years. I'm going to eat a hamburger. I haven't had a hamburger in 40 years. And then my stepmother put it on Instagram.

[00:58:06] And the funny thing is 15 months went by and nobody saw it. Because, literally, she had 100 followers. Nobody knew the owners of Cafe Gratitude. It wasn't a thing. It really was just her grandchildren. And then somebody went back and found it. And it was literally just a video where she's videoing and says, look, funny grandpa's eating a hamburger for the first time in 40 years.

[00:58:32] And it just went crazy. Even Sage, which is not affiliated, had a 15% drop in business. There was a drop in business in all of our restaurants, the Cafe Gratitude, Gracias Madres. And my dad tried to tell the story, and people just couldn't hear it. And there was protesting, CNN outside the front of the farm. Huffington Post wrote a story. It was everywhere.

[00:59:02] Luke: That's so crazy because it's not like he was sneaking lard into the vegan foods at the restaurants.

[00:59:07] Mollie: No, it wasn't even like he was hiding it. Someone found it. It came out.

[00:59:12] Luke: But it was also just him and his life. It's not like it compromised the integrity of the menu or the promises made by the mission statement of the restaurant. It's like someone in their personal life making a choice for themselves, not using any deception to make that choice for other people.

[00:59:30] Mollie: No.

[00:59:31] Luke: That speaks to the psychosis of this tribal identification. That's nuts.

[00:59:38] Mollie: And we just made the announcement a week ago that we're going to start selling meat at Sage, regenerative meat, the highest quality, farmers that have been vetted by myself and my brother that are really deep roots in this community, and you would have thought that I said we're going to be factory farming pigs in the back of the restaurant.

[01:00:02] Luke: Really?

[01:00:02] Mollie: People are viscerally angry with me.

[01:00:07] Luke: I guess I'm out of that world, so I just think, well, everyone's come around now and they realize that--

[01:00:14] Mollie: 10,000 comments since Monday, and majority of them are murderer, disgusting, betrayal.

[01:00:23] Luke: Oh, wow.

[01:00:26] Mollie: I'm really holding them in love and light and saying they're committed to the animals, and they're passionate about something they believe in in the world. And I'm passionate about something I believe, and I'm doing what I think is right, and they're doing what they think is right, and only history will tell which was the path forward that made more sense. But I feel really confident that I'm making the right choice. But it's just what you said. There's no arguing because if an animal has to die, then it's bad.

[01:01:03] Luke: But animals are dying no matter what kind of food you eat.

[01:01:06] Mollie: No matter what kind of food you eat. 100%.

[01:01:09] Luke: Listen, if I go in my backyard here in Texas and I want to make some little garden boxes, snails are going to try to eat that shit. I'm going to have to kill the snails. We had a bird feeder back here. We bought organic seed. I'm like, I don't want to poison the birds. I put the seed back here.

[01:01:28] They start hitting our windows. We start killing birds trying to feed them. Then I'm weighing it out with my wife. I'm going like, okay. There's no way to know, but let's look at this. Are we creating more harm by a few birds dying, or are we feeding hundreds of birds in the neighborhood and really helping them, and we're losing a couple?

[01:01:46] So we took the feeder away because we don't want to have dead birds hitting the windows. But I actually thought about it. I was like, I don't know. I really, in my gut, believe we're probably helping the bird population of this neighborhood by providing them ample calories that are all organic.

[01:02:02] They're having the best time back here, and a couple of them run into the window and die. But my wife loves animals, and so we got rid of it, but it's back to that thing. It's like, there's a certain emotional and mental maturity, I think, that's required for us to move forward and to just acknowledge the reality of life. It's like, if you walk on the ground outside, you're killing things just with your feet.

[01:02:30] It's like, if you drive a car, the bugs are hitting your window. It's a self-hatred. It's back to that thing. I think you talked about this propaganda of humans are bad. We're this invasive species that are ruining the planet and all this stuff. I think some people have this weird guilt complex that they want to sacrifice their own wellbeing for some sense of virtue out of this self-loathing and then project themselves into a fantasy world where there's this way they think they can sustain their life where nothing suffers and nothing dies, but nature doesn't work that way.

[01:03:07] Mollie: Doesn't work that way. And I think everybody should eat whatever has their body run the best. I have watched people cure themselves from cancer with juice and raw food. I have watched people cure themselves from thyroid conditions with an all-carnivore diet. I have watched people heal themselves by listening to their intuition or some doctor or health expert from so many different conditions in so many different modalities.

[01:03:44] And so this idea, we just can have one, I don't think that makes sense. But we also can't think that if we're not eating animals, there's somehow less death or less virtue. That is the breakdown. There's just no truth in that. And people don't want to hear that, but there is no truth. There's no life without death.

[01:04:12] There's 100 comments right now on Instagram saying, you could do regenerative farming without killing anything. I don't think you could, but you could try. I did try. I tried for some years and went over this in the beginning of the podcast. I had to push up against brutal death for me to realize that my position was causing more harm than good.

[01:04:40] And so I think that we want to be vigorously committed to doing less harm. As people are to people not eating animals, I wish I could get people that committed to not putting poison in our food. Imagine if Whole Foods announced yesterday that they're going to have the Impossible Burger, then they had had a no GMO rule at Whole Foods, and they got rid of that now that John Mackey's not there. Now the Impossible Burger was not allowed at Whole Foods because of the genetically modified components and blah, blah, blah, blah. And now they're letting that in.

[01:05:25] Imagine 10,000 people flooding the comments standing up for us to not have poisonous food. But we're just somehow conditioned to think it's okay to slowly kill humanity, but it's a travesty to have any animals die. I want to get people fired up and passionate about, that I want my sons to have sperm by 2040.

[01:05:54] Luke: No, shit.

[01:05:55] Mollie: I want my children to be able to reproduce if they want to.

[01:05:59] Luke: What I want to see is people look up in the sky, and if you love animals, maybe raise some fuss about the fact that no animals, including human animals, can breathe air without aluminum and barium particles in it. You know what I mean? That's the thing that drives me nuts about some of the well-intentioned environmental movements.

[01:06:24] It's like people are really ignoring the main offenders that affect everyone universally, regardless of what kind of diet you are, where you live, what your religious beliefs are, political beliefs. It's like we're all being poisoned from above and sprayed like cockroaches and everyone just like--

[01:06:39] Mollie: I say this all the time.

[01:06:40] Luke: It's maddening.

[01:06:41] Mollie: People want to talk to me about the environment. I say, if we're not including geoengineering and chemtrails, then I'm not interested in having the conversation because it's a lie whatever we're talking about. If we're not talking about the crazy attack from above, that's clearly impacting our weather, then nothing else we're talking about makes any sense.

[01:07:01] I don't even want to engage in environmental conversations if geoengineering is not at the forefront. And people go, oh, we're not sure that's real. We're not sure it's real? Tennessee just made a law that they can't spray. I'm like, Tennessee's got a good--

[01:07:15] Luke: I know. I know.

[01:07:16] Mollie: I tagged Greg Abbott, like, what's up? Can we do this?

[01:07:20] Luke: I know. Yeah. That's the thing. I think it's like, what gets attention is what is emotionally charged. So if you take something like geoengineering, if you just Google it, it's like, oh, it's a conspiracy theory. Case closed for most people, when the empirical evidence and our logical mind can literally look up, if you're old enough, at least to remember when they weren't so prevalent, like I am--

[01:07:47] Mollie: I remember, for sure.

[01:07:48] Luke: I remember laying in the grass as a kid, looking up at the clouds and just daydreaming and watching normal puffy clouds. And then at some point, I think it was around mid-90s in LA, I started looking up and going, there's a tic tac toe game going on in the sky all day long every day.

[01:08:03] And then it would stop for a few days. And then the argument against it is just, oh, those are contrails. That's just condensation from regular commercial air travel. And I'm like, I live a few miles from LAX. You're telling me yesterday, there was 100 planes going back and forth across these skies and not in normal flight patterns. They're not going anywhere. They're just going back and forth. And then today there's no planes flying? What? Is LAX closed?

[01:08:28] Mollie: And then they'll say, oh, well, it depends on how much humidity's in the air. I'm like, have you lived in LA? The weather's the same nine months out of the year. It's literally the same weather. It's not like Texas where every hour is a different weather. LA is pretty consistent on the weather, and it will be going, going, going, and then gone, and then so much and then nothing for a few days.

[01:08:53] And it's obvious. I used to lay on the dock at the pond in our upstate New York home growing up and watch the contrails dissipate. And I can remember they would just disappear. The plane would be there, and it would be disappeared there. It was only a few inches in my view. It's not inches. And I remember that as a child, you never saw those tic tac toes across. I'm 46 years old, and that didn't exist when I was a kid.

[01:09:22] Luke: Yeah, and there was still humidity, and there were still airplanes.

[01:09:25] Mollie: Yes, both of those things were true.

[01:09:28] Luke: On that note, something I'm curious about, and we did a show recently with this guy Dane Wigington from Geoengineering Watch, and it was a really depressing episode. We'll link to it by the way, lukestorey.com/farmer, and we'll also link all of your websites and stuff.

[01:09:46] But the thing about the chemtrails that he was talking about that was even more terrifying, not just us breathing it, and anyone I know that tests for aluminum, if you do heavy metal testing, mine's off the charts. And everyone I know that does a hair test is like, high aluminum, high aluminum. It's like everyone's got it.

[01:10:02] But what he was explaining to me is how detrimental it is to soil health and soil pH. Have you run into any issues with soil not performing in the way that you would hope because of that, or can you directly attribute it--

[01:10:15] Mollie: I haven't been able to directly attribute it to that. But for sure, spraying aluminum on soil will for sure cause issues. If you have a well that has a lot of heavy metals in it, like I have one well that has a lot of iron in it, if you water the plants, you can see that the plants are struggling.

[01:10:36] So if we're spraying heavy metals everywhere, it stands to reason that it is completely detrimental to the soil. All the more reason that we should be actively growing the microbiology in the soil, actively growing more healthy soil, because just bare soil with no microbiology in it and then spray aluminum on it, and then you left it fallow for six months with no living root, and then you try to come back to it, it's going to be 10 times worse because the microbes in soil live on a living root.

[01:11:10] So every system where you have uncovered ground for any length of time with no living root, we're just desecrating the microbiology. And then we're spraying on top of that. So you think about corn farming and soy farming, and cotton farming, and milo, and all these things where you see once they harvest and the field is just left tilled up and empty for six months, everything's being sprayed on that, and then it's all coming down in the rain, and it's terrible.

[01:11:39] My mom lives in Hawaii on the Hana side in the super jungle, off grid, everything, and my cousin had her hair tested, and it had crazy amounts of aluminum, and they're drinking spring water. They're off grid. Everything you could do to be isolating yourself, and it just basically doesn't matter because it's falling from the sky on them.

[01:12:08] Luke: So annoying.

[01:12:10] Mollie: So annoying.

[01:12:11] Luke: I just made this line of t-shirts. This one here I wore for you because I want to talk about your experience in LA owning a business during the pandemic. It says I survived the pandemic, and all I got was this stupid t-shirt.

[01:12:23] Mollie: I like that.

[01:12:24] Luke: But I made another one to this point that says this is climate change, and it has a big 5G tower and a bunch of chemtrails behind it. I'm just like, let's start going to environmentalist conventions and going, you guys, hello. Elephant in the room. Wake up. But I get it. Everyone's doing the best they can. What do you expect the reaction to be with Sage back in LA of you going from a vegan establishment to regenerative?

[01:12:49] I think, based on my ecosystem of friends there, we would all love to have something like that. And by the way, if it doesn't work out there, please open one here in Hill Country. We live in a GMO food desert out here. Despite some of the backlash you're getting, obviously, you feel your intuition has guided you to make some really great decisions in life that you've shared here today. Do you think your intuition on this is going to pan out as a viable business move, aside from just your personal ethics?

[01:13:20] Mollie: I don't know. I feel that I've brought congruency to my life, and that is really important. There was this disconnect as I'm doing regenerative farming over here, and we're integrating animals into the system, and I'm having these vegan restaurants over there. There was a big disconnect and a low-level fear all the time that someone was going to feel like what I was doing was wrong, and then it was going to impact-- and I should have done it 18 months ago.

[01:13:51] I had the intuition. I had the feeling, and I didn't. I was afraid, to be honest. And so people are saying, oh, you're just doing this for greed or for the money. And the funny thing is maybe I didn't do it for greed or for the money because I was scared. And that is the opposite of what people think. But when we were closing Agora Hills, I thought, why don't we just try to do this instead? And my husband was like, let's do it, honey.

[01:14:23] And at that moment, I didn't feel emotionally strong enough. I was just about to give birth to a baby at almost 45 years old, and I had three young kids at home. I just didn't quite feel strong enough to take the vitriol and the upset and also just the physical work it was going to take to do all the work.

[01:14:44] And at the time, to try to just pull that off and I'm about to have a baby in a month just seemed really scary. So I would say to the people that are saying, oh, you're doing this for the money, maybe I didn't do it sooner because of the money. And the vegans who want there to be all vegan restaurants, I recommend that they fully go and support all vegan restaurants. Some of Cafe Gratitudes have gone out of business. Flore went out of business. Nic's On Beverly went out of business.

[01:15:16] A couple of vegan bakeries went out of business. It's a long list of businesses that are not surviving, and restaurants on a whole are suffering in Los Angeles post pandemic. The policies that were made during the pandemic were crazy for brick and mortar businesses. But to answer your question, I think there's more people that want to eat a healthy kind of meat or a meat that they can feel good about than there is vegans.

[01:15:49] There's zero regenerative restaurants. I'm saying there will be no protein on my menu that's not regenerative or wild caught. So that's the commitment I'm giving. There's nowhere you can go that has that commitment in LA. So right now, every restaurant in LA has a vegan option. Every single restaurant has a vegan option.

[01:16:08] These are my two commitments. Every bit of protein on the menu is regenerative, and no seed oils. To me, that's a wider audience, it's a healthier option, and I think that it's the only way to survive.

[01:16:26] And if I don't survive, I at least did what I thought was having the most integrity. And I've already lost two stores. Speaking of identify, I identified as a successful chef. I identified as someone who has restaurants that do $7 million a year or whatever. That was my personality. But I've already lost two restaurants.

[01:16:47] I've already failed some degree in the public eye. And I don't identify with my restaurants anymore, but I've put a lot of work, a lot of years, a lot missed weddings and birthday parties, and other people put my children to sleep. So I am passionate that this does work, and I hope that it works.

[01:17:10] And it doesn't mean anything about me as an individual. I'm not identified with those restaurants anymore. But I do believe that there's more people that want that than want vegan food.

[01:17:22] Luke: I agree. Even if you just had no seed oils, you already went-- that's a really hard thing to avoid no matter what kind of food you eat. Just finding restaurants that are really, truly organic, whether they are plant-based, or meat, or whatever, that don't use seed. Thankfully, there's a few popping up, but I think that you're going to do really well.

[01:17:44] Mollie: We're going to have fryers, one with this oil that's made from sugar cane for the vegan option and then a tallow fryer for the--

[01:17:53] Luke: Oh yeah. Is that the Zero Acre? Yeah. They sent me some of that. It's nice.

[01:17:57] Mollie: Yeah. So we're going to do that in one fryer and tallow in the other fryer. And so if you were to order a buffalo cauliflower, and you're Luke Storey, you could say, I'd like it in the tallow. And if you're me, you could say, I'd like it in the other fryer. And then we're trying to serve everybody's choices for themselves and not be didactic or not, we're only going to serve tallow. We were vegan, and now you have to eat beef fat.

[01:18:22] That doesn't work either. And we stripped all the sauces on our menu that have seed oil in them, and we're doing new sauces, and so there'll be some nut-based sauces for vegans, and then there'll be dairy-based sauces, but no, we're not going to have any seed oils, and no fake cheeses.

[01:18:49] I never resonated with them. We never did any fake meats, but fake cheeses and stuff, it's just all seed oils. So we're moving away from that, and we're really just going to have whole foods, hyperlocal, where I know the farmer, or I've been to the farm and I trust them, or certified organic, and then the grains will all be regenerative, or certified organic and all the meat will be regenerative, or wild-caught, like I was talking about, Broken Arrow.

[01:19:20] And then as far as the dairy, we're going with origins, and they're out of Ohio, but all their farms are small. Some of their farms only have 38 cows or whatever, and they're a really mindful dairy operation. And then all the whey is going to a high-quality baby formula for people that can't breastfeed.

[01:19:43] And so they're trying to create two revenue streams for the farmers, the cheese and then the whey, in order to help the farmers maintain having a smaller herd, making it financially viable to have a smaller herd. And a lot of people saying this all sounds expensive, to be honest, it is. And I can't apologize for serving food that's not subsidized. And I will ask that people pay what food costs.

[01:20:11] And I don't know how to have that equity brought into the world, but how it is currently is the food that's subsidized is killing us, and the food that's life-giving is not subsidized. And so I can't make life-giving food cost the same as subsidized food. It's just not possible.

[01:20:34] Luke: Well, one thing that you are doing is creating more demand through building awareness.

[01:20:41] Mollie: And bringing stuff in. Cisco is now going to have this regenerative flour from Oatman Flats, and now every chef in LA, if they want to have the T-55 Sonora Wheat organic regenerative flour from Yadi Wang, then they will be able to have that. But I made that system, made those connections, so now it's available. So it's creating demand and also creating accessibility.

[01:21:14] Luke: Yeah. If we want it to be equitable in terms of the food supply, somebody's got to be the tip of the spear, and it might be people that have a little more disposable income or higher income, but there's no way to just roll out to where everyone of every economic strata can afford this kind of food because it's still too expensive to produce it. But if there were more farmers onboarding this model, then there would be more of that food. Therefore, there would be less cost.

[01:21:41] Mollie: I don't really believe in the government and that they have much to offer, but if Thomas Massie's Prime Act could get passed, which would let custom cut and slaughter places everywhere without USDA do small farmers meat, and then they would be able to sell it, it would cause so much less harm, because the local Bernhards in Kerrville, I could bring a cow there, and then they could harvest it, and it's a 20-minute ride for the cow.

[01:22:15] And then we would be able to sell that, let's say, to people rather than having to go to a USDA facility. It would be one of the most impactful things at decentralizing the food system. And everything that's centralized is bad. The medical system centralized is bad. The banking system centralized is bad. We do not want all of our food coming from four big companies. It doesn't work for anybody. And we're almost there with meat in this country.

[01:22:42] 80% of the meat in this country is from four major meatpackers processing it. So to have that Prime Act pass, where these custom cut-- these are places where if you had a cow in your backyard, you could go and they could cut it for you and your family, but you would not be allowed to sell it. The Prime Act would make it so that you would be allowed to sell that.

[01:23:07] Luke: Oh, wow.

[01:23:08] Mollie: Without having to take it to a USDA facility. And there's thousands of these small butchers around the country in every small town that they're primarily just harvesting cows for families or people but not for sale. Have you ever seen where someone's saying buy a half a cow or buy a full cow?

[01:23:31] Luke: Yeah, I've done that.

[01:23:32] Mollie: So those people are able to go to those butchers because you're buying the cow when it's alive. And then once you buy the cow, they bring it to the butcher, and then the butcher can still stamp not for sale because you bought it.

[01:23:49] Luke: When the plandemic happened and I was living in LA, I was really concerned about the end of the world. I was getting into the prepper zone, and I went and bought, I think half a cow up in Bakersfield or something. And that's how it happened. And every little pack said not for sale. And I was like, wait, is this okay to eat?

[01:24:08] But now I understand the legality of it. I felt so good about doing that to the point that when we moved here, I put it all in my little chest freezer, put the freezer in the back of my freaking SUV, and then every time we stopped at a hotel on the way here, I got an extension cord and plugged it in.

[01:24:26] House was being renovated for a year and a half. I kept it plugged in the garage in all the construction and eventually got through most of the meat. Because we didn't live in this house yet, some of it ended up being a little old, and we fed it to the dog, and it was fine for her, I think. She's still alive. But I really like that idea, if you have space for a freezer, of just buying a whole cow or half a cow or whatever and just stocking up--

[01:24:55] Mollie: It's also very related to how much calories a cow is.

[01:25:01] Luke: Yeah.

[01:25:01] Mollie: If you bring home a cow from the custom slaughter place and it fills a whole chest freezer, wow, that's a lot of food.

[01:25:16] Luke: Way cheaper than going and buying--

[01:25:18] Mollie: Way cheaper than going to the grocery store.

[01:25:19] Luke: Even lesser quality meat from Whole Foods or something. Just organic beef or something. I don't know what it was, pound for pound, but it was a few hundred dollars, and it was enough food. We could have only eaten that freaking cow for a year, the two of us. Alyson doesn't eat as much meat as I do, but I thought about that. I was like, wow, people think eating healthy is so expensive. But not if you did it that way. If you're someone that likes to eat meat, you're stocked.

[01:25:44] Mollie: I think that that is a great way to do it. And I think that also eating the whole cow, and it's weird for me to talk about this because I don't eat meat, but my husband grew up very-- he was, if he grew up poor in America is totally different than poor in Mexico. So he doesn't want anything to go to waste.

[01:26:08] And so when he takes a cow to be harvested, he gets all the guts, he gets all the organs, and he gets the head. And he does tacos de Cabeza, which is where they boil the whole head, and then you take all the meat off and you chop it up. And my brother and Sarah were like, ew.

[01:26:34] But this is a lot of calories that in his world could not be-- and all of the people in his community love tacos de Cabeza. It has special memories for them because usually it was the beginning of an abundance of meat after the harvest of an animal. And so it's always the first thing that gets eaten on a cow or a goat.

[01:27:03] Luke: As a chef, and I know you don't eat meat yourself, but have you figured out a way to make organ meats taste palatable? If you're not testing the taste of it yourself you wouldn't know.

[01:27:16] Mollie: But I'm going to tell you what, my husband made buffalo liver the other night, and he got [Inaudible] to eat it, so he must have made it palatable because my son has a crazy gag reflex. He was a vacuumed out. My first child was in the hospital after I tried to have a baby at home, and they had to break my coccyx bone, and it was so many hours, and they vacuumed it out.

[01:27:43] And what the doctors are saying it's like cranial sacral that he has this crazy gag vomit reflex from so many different foods. And so it's been a whole surrender and be committed that I don't want to force him to vomit, but I also want him to introduce new foods. And so the other day I came home, and he said, mom, I ate buffalo liver. And I was like, okay, great. And he was like, and it wasn't disgusting. So my husband must be figuring out ways to--

[01:28:09] Luke: I would love to know that because there's two foods my body really responds to, oysters. The other day, we're out of town. I sat down. I just had a dozen oysters. I felt so freaking alive. It's just incredible. It's like I was eating electricity. It's just crazy. And I get the same thing from eating raw liver, but I have to hold my nose and wash it down like a vitamin. And so I've had people like, oh, I know how to cook it and make it taste good.

[01:28:34] I go, oh, I'll keep an open mind. I try it. I'm like, it's disgusting. I just can't get past the taste. And I wish I could. The only exception is my friend Aleks Rybchinskiy. His name's tough. He's Ukrainian. He's been on the show. I guess I can talk about it. I don't know what his brand's called yet, but he makes regenerative farmed liver that's like jerky and testicles and all kinds of stuff.

[01:29:00] And he actually found a way to dehydrate it with the right organic spices, and it actually tastes really good. It's super soft and melts in your mouth. And I'm like, he's the only one that I've ever seen who can make organ meats taste palatable. We actually enjoy eating them.

[01:29:14] Mollie: Have you eaten the testicles?

[01:29:15] Luke: I have not eaten the testicles yet. I can vouch for his liver, but not the testes.

[01:29:20] Mollie: Oh no, I've seen my husband eat testicles after harvesting an animal, and it's like a drug, that level of testosterone. I can see in his eyes that it's almost like he's high.

[01:29:36] Luke: That's what my friend Aleks says. He goes, dude, you have no idea what you're missing. I'm like, oh, wait till you get the flavoring down, and I'm willing to try.

[01:29:45] Mollie: No, yeah, my husband did a course for some people that wanted to learn about homesteading, and he butchered a goat, and then someone said, have you ever eaten the testicles? He's like, oh, of course I've eaten the testicles. And then all the men that were there for this course, he sliced it up, and everybody took a piece, and everybody kept being like, are you feeling what I'm feeling?

[01:30:08] I didn't try it, so I don't know what it was like. And I don't even know that I need that level of testosterone in me. But all the men were like, oh my. And you could see that they were definitely all experiencing something that was very real.

[01:30:22] Luke: Yeah, quasi psychedelic.

[01:30:25] Mollie: Yeah, quasi. And three or four people including my husband and Nicholas who does my social media and stuff said the next morning that they could still feel it.

[01:30:34] Luke: Wow. Epic.

[01:30:36] Mollie: It's really interesting, but I'm just interested to see people's reaction to that. But I bet if he gets that going, people will want that. People get addicted to testosterone in other ways, so for sure.

[01:30:51] Luke: I'm looking forward to it. Here's the thing. When you look at predators and you look at indigenous cultures, the organs are always the first thing they eat. It's the most prized part of the animal. And then the muscle meat's like, eh, well, we have it. It's got calories. We'll eat it.

[01:31:09] But everyone's really into the organ meats. I think there's a bodily intuition where you just know the minerals and the nutrition that you're going for is most concentrated in those. It's just, for some reason, I don't know, us American kids born in the '70s, like myself, just didn't develop that palate.

[01:31:27] I think if you're feeding your infants, I don't know if they can eat oysters, but if you're feeding them a little bit of liver or something, they probably get used to that taste and it becomes part of their adult palate, and it doesn't taste gross to them.

[01:31:42] Mollie: Well, it's like, I don't think coffee tastes delicious, but I sure want coffee first thing in the morning. But I think that we develop a palate because we know what that drug feels like in our body. So I think that probably if we gave the small amount. But my husband eats liver soup, and he takes all the organs and cleans them with lime or calcium carbonate and cleans all the organs out and stomps on them with boots because you have to clean them and then run a hose through them, and cleans him and he makes--

[01:32:16] Luke: Oh, to eat the intestines and stuff?

[01:32:17] Mollie: Yeah. And then he makes menudo or some kind of soup with--

[01:32:22] Luke: Latin cultures do seem to have that figured out. I remember going to little Latino markets in LA, and they would have jars of pickled tongue and brains and all this stuff.

[01:32:32] Mollie: Tacos de lengua.

[01:32:33] Luke: Yeah. And I'd always be like, really guys? I don't think I ever tried it, but there's something to that. Again, it's like people that are maintaining the heritage more so than us of just erasing all the heritage of North America.

[01:32:46] Mollie: It's funny. Some people have been attacking my husband. I'd lied about indigenous people cause no harm, and my husband was writing back, and he stopped arguing after a while, but he was like, there's not a single vegan or indigenous tribe. It does not exist. There's vegetarians from India, but there is no indigenous cultures that were vegan. Nobody self-selected for that, and that says something.

[01:33:16] And then people attacked him like, you're riding a horse, and a horse is brought by the colonizer. And he's just like, I don't know what you-- and he's there. People were telling him, you should eat what your indigenous ancestors ate. And he was like, turtle eggs? Because I think turtles are an endangered species. His tribe, from where they are, Huatulco, Oaxaca, ate turtle eggs. It was a huge portion of--

[01:33:43] Luke: So he eats turtle eggs?

[01:33:45] Mollie: Yeah.

[01:33:45] Luke: Oh yeah. Very NPC nowadays.

[01:33:47] Mollie: Very NPC. And even when he was a child, they would sneak past soldiers with AK 47s to get them. The government was protecting the turtles, and the tribe, that was their culture and continued to want to have turtle eggs in their diet. And that's what he said. So you prefer me to eat turtle eggs over a cow because a cow is the food of my colonizer? That doesn't make much sense to me.

[01:34:15] Luke: Well, again, back to developing a point of view using your emotions rather than some critical thinking and logic, everyone wants to feel like you're doing the right thing. It feels good to be virtuous and to be kind. So I understand. I'm sure I do a lot of hypocritical shit that I'm not even aware of just because it feels like the right thing to do. And I haven't really thought it through and played the end game with it. If this, then that, if this, then that. Oh shit, actually, my position is flawed, but it feels good, so I want to hang on to it.

[01:34:47] Mollie: But I think everybody should try to be virtuous. I don't want people to not want to be virtuous. I just don't want people to be virtuous and putting that desire to be virtuous above any logic. But I do think that virtue is important, and in this world that we're in, I want to encourage people to be virtuous. But also, wisdom, I think, is believing something and being committed to it. But when something else makes more sense, be willing to believe that new thing.

[01:35:27] Luke: Tell me what it was like to have a brick-and-mortar business in Los Angeles, one of the epicenters of insanity during the pandemic. I really felt for business owners as I started to drive around and see people boarding up and restaurants like yours trying to make some funky ass outdoors eating with--

[01:35:47] Mollie: Selling toilet paper.

[01:35:48] Luke: Plastic bubbles around the tables. It was insane to watch. So I didn't last long, obviously. I got the hell out of there as quickly as I could, but to me, two things. One, I'm sick of talking about the freaking plandemic, a. B, I feel like we have to start talking about it, otherwise we'll all just go into amnesia and forget the shit that happened, and it'll happen again in some other form.

[01:36:15] It's not like the powers that be that facilitated that madness just gave up and crawled back under their rock. They're just taking a pause and planning whatever next thing they're going to do to decimate our rights and ability to make a living and to be free. It's just like they're taking a pause until the next thing comes up is the way I look at it.

[01:36:40] Not to be pessimistic, but if you look at history, once rights are taken away by the state, there's never a point at which they're like, okay, everything's calmed down now. Here's your rights

[01:36:51] Mollie: Never. How come I'm still having to take my shoes off to get on an airplane?

[01:36:56] Luke: Thank you.

[01:36:58] Mollie: This is totally digressing, but TSA threw away the honey mustard for my son. Had got a pretzel at Sage to bring on the airplane because he's picky eater, as I said earlier, and they made him throw away his honey mustard because it was too watery and it could be-- and I was like, look, I'll eat it. Can you just let him keep it? And I'm like, thanks 9/11. I still don't have a right to bring honey mustard on a plane.

[01:37:26] Luke: I have an entrepreneurial idea for flying. A, if one can afford to fly private, then you're stoked, but how about there's different choices at the airlines where you sign a waiver and you're like, I'm willing to be on an exploding plane to just have no security. And there's different planes for people that are like, eh, if you're going to go, you're going to go, whatever. And then people that are concerned can go through the whole millimeter wave, X ray machine, or get molested by the TSA agent or whatever, but it'd be great to have a choice.

[01:37:58] Mollie: It'd would be great to have a choice. Back to your question, the pandemic, brick and mortar, it was literally insanity, and it was a big red pill moment for me of just how we've given away so much authority to people that shouldn't have any authority. And I'd say the first thing was like, two weeks, we're going to slow the spread.

[01:38:25] So I'm thinking we're going to close the restaurants for two weeks. We're just doing to-go only. And we have all this food that we've purchased that now I'm giving it away to my employees. I'm trying to navigate. I have a three-month old baby at the time that I'm wearing every day, going to the restaurants, and I'm trying to be mindful of this scary thing, I guess, in the first two weeks.

[01:38:49] And I started seeing these clips of the president that this and that, and I'm like, that doesn't make any sense. So I started reading transcripts of what the whole conversation was, and my first realization was Trump is an idiot, but what they are saying about him constantly is not true.

[01:39:11] What he's actually saying is nothing like what they're-- because it was not making any sense. These clips they were saying was like, how could that be what he's saying? How could that be what the press conference was? So that had me investigate and realize that he was much more thoughtful and thorough than I ever thought that he was from my Los Angeles perspective.

[01:39:37] And then my mind started to just realize two weeks, three weeks, it just kept going. And one day I came home and I was like, oh wait, I was taking my clothes off when I got home because I have these young children. And I was going in the laundry room, take my clothes off before I hugged my kids.

[01:39:56] And I had a voice, basically a God download or whatever, just say, stop being afraid. There's nothing to be afraid of. And from that moment forward, I walked in. There's nothing to be afraid of. I didn't worry about changing my clothes or wearing a mask or anything. I just knew there was nothing to be afraid of, and I wasn't going to walk in fear. I've never been vaccinated.

[01:40:22] My mom was a hippie. I had my children at home with the exception of the emergency with Rio, and there was just no way I was going to-- I've never gotten a flu shot, and no way there was going to be any of that. So I very early on became almost at odds with my own employees, which was the first challenge.

[01:40:46] So I was put in this predicament where I had to try to figure out how to make these restaurants work and pay the bills, take care of these employees, and my employees were terrified of me. I wasn't committed to wearing a mask, and I wasn't scared, and I wasn't buying into any of the conversations. And so my employees were calling the health department. My boss is sitting at a booth doing work and doesn't have a mask on.

[01:41:13] Luke: Really? Wow.

[01:41:15] Mollie: And then I started to realize that they weren't real laws because they were-- so they'd call OSHA because it's an OSHA rule that I have to keep track of everybody's vaccination status. And they'd call OSHA and say, my boss is not keeping track. I just sent out a letter like, if you have a vaccine card and you want me to have a copy of it per OSHA, feel free to give it to me. If you don't have one, I'm going to assume that you have a good reason and I'm not going to violate your HIPAA rights, and you don't have to show it to me.

[01:41:45] That's the way I was managing it. And so they'd send that to OSHA and said, my boss is not following the rules. And then OSHA would send me a letter. It says like, you should follow the rules basically. In other things with OSHA, I've had a injury in the brewery where someone got hurt, and we reported it within 24 hours because we believe that was the rule, and it was eight hours, and then we had to pay a fine.

[01:42:10] You can pay it with payments with no interest. So I obviously took that option. If they want to let the money depreciate, I'll let them do that. But I pay still $300 a month for not reporting an injury within 8 hours and reporting it within 24 hours.

[01:42:24] So that's a real thing, that they have some power. They didn't have any power to force me to do anything about all these ordinances that were just going on. So that was the one thing to navigate. But the other thing that to navigate was the rules were changing all the time, and it was always at midnight on Friday.

[01:42:43] And it'd be like, on midnight at Friday, no more dining in. At midnight on Friday, no more dining outside. At midnight on Friday, you can sit in booths if they're back-to-back, if at least eight feet tall. Oh, never mind about the booths. Six feet apart for the tables. Never mind about six feet apart. Eight feet apart because chairs come out from the tables.

[01:43:04] And it just was constantly changing about every rule. It was a constant. We're just sitting there like acrobats. You'd get the whole outdoor patio redone and put the plastic in this and spend thousands of dollars, and then there'll be no outdoor dining.

[01:43:21] And then the lady who said no outdoor dining went out to eat one last time before it was so dangerous. And she's elderly and heavyset and has three metabolic conditions, and she's eating outside. So if it was so dangerous, why is she eating an Italian restaurant right after she makes the announcement?

[01:43:39] And if it's so dangerous, why is it midnight on Friday? Why isn't it right now that we're changing the rules? And so it was just a constant trying to navigate what to do and losing money, losing money. And the government's giving you this free money, which is not really free. They just diluted all of our money.

[01:44:03] But then the first PPP, they told you you only had eight weeks to spend it or you had to pay it all back. I'm not going to pay back this money. So we bonused all my employees because everybody else was getting $600 a week to stay home and do drugs and watch Netflix, extra $600 a week. And my employees are showing up to work.

[01:44:25] So then you spent all the money, and then they're like, just kidding. That eight-week thing didn't make sense. So actually, you have 24 weeks to spend the money. I'm like, great. Well, that would have been good information to have before I just bonused everybody and spent the money in eight weeks like you told me I had to. And you can only spend it on rent and this and that.

[01:44:45] So I did everything I was supposed to do the whole time, or not. No masks or vaccines, but as far as trying to get my business back on track, we sold fresh fruit when there was no fresh vegetables and stuff at the grocery stores because there was supply chain issues. I set up a farmer's market.

[01:45:02] We sold toilet paper and paper towels. We were bringing CSA boxes from the farm and delivering them to our customers that couldn't get vegetables at the grocery store. I tried to pivot so many different ways, and it was just a sinking ship. And the sales after 10 years of year over year growth, quarter over quarter, year over year growth, which is very hard to do in the restaurant industry, it's literally just been the opposite after the first quarter of 2020.

[01:45:33] Even right now, today, I'm 16% down from last year, which was 12% down from the year before, and so on and so forth. And so the damage that's been done to restaurants, and not vegan restaurants or whatever, it's unfixable, at least I think in LA in some ways because everything that used to be cool is not cool. Echo Park restaurant, it's tight, and there's a bar and a brewery, and now everybody wants to be spread apart and nobody come close to me. Don't invade my personal space. Don't sneeze on me. And so it's like people just got used to eating at home, cooking for themselves, which I think is good.

[01:46:14] Women got used to not having to put makeup on, not having to get dressed up, and that it was totally appropriate to just order out and not have to go out on a date. The culture has just changed. And so this change we're doing at Sage, I hope, is enough to bring in customers, but it's a totally different world, a totally different culture. And it doesn't feel as safe on the streets anymore. We used to have two good solid hours between 9:00 and 10:00 and 10:00 and 11:00, and now they roll up the streets. People don't want to be out at that time.

[01:46:48] Luke: Yeah, the times I've been back to LA, which I think is twice since we moved, I don't know that I don't feel safe, but I certainly don't feel as safe as I did when I lived there. It reminds me, when I moved there it was '89, and Hollywood was sketchy. There was a lot of gangs at that time. People don't realize that back in the days of the LAPD rampart, the cops were beating the shit out of everyone.

[01:47:14] You didn't know whether to be more scared of the gangbangers or the police, and you're caught in the middle. But it was fun when you're in your early 20s. It was edgy. But I'm older now. I don't dig edginess in that capacity. But the thing that you describe of all the rules changing and all this chaos and just total insanity, I'm conspiratorial minded, so I don't know that I'm correct here, but I get the sense, and I had the sense during that whole fiasco, and even looking back, that that chaos wasn't organic.

[01:47:51] The institutions aren't that inept to create that much chaos. It seemed like all of those changes in terms of the regulations were done intentionally just to make people insane. It was done to just make no sense to break people's minds.

[01:48:09] Mollie: And they paid us all off. Whether you're businesses, you got PPP, you got ERC, you got whatever, and everybody else got $600. They paid us off to let the insanity happen. Under any other circumstances, if people weren't getting paid, and I did say, but across the board, everybody would have said, this is ridiculous. Stop it.

[01:48:31] And the second time that they tried to close everything, I went to the city council meeting. It was on Zoom, and there was 13,000 comments saying, please don't close down the restaurants again. Please don't go to no indoor dining. And it was 1,100 pages or something like that, and there was just 12 people saying that they didn't feel safe and that we should keep the restaurants closed or whatever in this public comment.

[01:49:01] And then everybody who spoke at the city council meeting was business owners saying, this will break me. Please do not do this. Please do not do this. And they still voted to close all the restaurants again on, whatever, two years in to go back to no indoor dining. I went right to Mitchell Farewell's office, my councilman, and said, please.

[01:49:25] And they essentially told me, this train has already left the station. You might as well get on board. Except that's the exact words of his rep. That wasn't him himself, but his representative. And I said, I don't know. I feel like I'm your constituent, but who is the one who wants this?

[01:49:49] I didn't understand who wants this. But it didn't matter how many voices said, you're going to put me out of business. And 30 something percent of restaurants in California are out of business. It might be higher than that, the last time I saw the statistic. 50% of my restaurants are out of business.

[01:50:08] And many people that I know that worked very hard for many years are out of business. And other people I know have sold their house, have drained their retirement accounts. People might not know it's your favorite restaurant [Inaudible], but that these people are literally just on borrowed time. All of our rents went up. Minimum wage went up three times during the pandemic.

[01:50:34] And people are saying, oh, she doesn't want to pay people fair wage. That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying you can't just put up minimum wage and think that that fixes the inequity in the world. It doesn't. And it just pushes everything else up. And so we had supply chain issues. We had huge increases in prices to-go ware and all that stuff. And also, the other thing that people don't talk about is Uber Eats, and Postmates, and all of them, take 25%.

[01:51:02] Luke: Oh, really?

[01:51:02] Mollie: A sit-down restaurant doing perfect is getting 15% profit. And so when I was doing $7 million a year in Culver City, and it's 12% of my business and they're taking that higher percent, I saw it as advertising. Yeah, sure. It's advertising. What's the cost to me? They're going to come in. I believe in my food. My food tastes delicious. They're going to come back for it.

[01:51:28] But when it's 50% in Echo Park, during times of the pandemic, 60% to-go, and they're taking 25%, and there's this huge extra increased cost of all the to-go ware. How can you sustain that? The government can't print enough money and give it out enough to make that work.

[01:51:50] Luke: Crazy. So when they try some shit like this again, it seems to me, there has to be a critical mass of people that just say no. It's literally that simple, I think.

[01:52:05] Mollie: But is there a critical mass? And I think you and me, we've transported here to Texas. It's actually our job to notice when things are happening here and say, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Because what I've noticed is people here have no idea about how bad it could get quickly, that they are okay with more regulations coming in, because it's not a thing here.

[01:52:32] There hasn't been a lot of regulations. And so I think we have to hold the line here because I notice, with different things in Bandera, people are very, oh, I don't know. That might be regulated. Should we call and find out? No, we shouldn't call. No, we don't know. Oh, let's just call and find out.

[01:52:56] But they don't know what it is like to be harassed by a municipality for years and not have any sense. One example, the outdoor seating where we had all those seats, the outdoor, the parklets, they called them, which was just parking places that you could put chairs and tables in, you weren't allowed to put umbrellas or heaters.

[01:53:19] And so we were all getting fined for having umbrellas and heaters because it was just for tables and chairs. So California, in all its wisdom, gave us this space that we had to pay for, mind you. There was a cost associated with this permit to have this outdoor seating area.

[01:53:34] And then they didn't approve it for umbrellas and heaters. And so not everybody was getting fined, but whoever it came to attention that you had heaters and umbrellas outside on this sidewalk or on the street area because it was a hazard, did they make you take them away?

[01:53:56] No, they just fined you ongoingly for your heaters. And so it's just another form of tax, this other way. California loves to take a per some part of your business, make it illegal, and then make you pay for it. And it's everywhere. They go to the farmer's market, and they go scour my list of things that I say that I grow when they came and inspected my farm.

[01:54:17] And then, oh my goodness, eggplant is not on this list, but I have eggplant. So then they come to your farm and they inspect that you have eggplant. You do have eggplant. You still have to pay a fine for selling eggplant without disclosing to the Ventura County Agricultural Commission that you're selling eggplant.

[01:54:33] They measure the eggplant on your farm and the eggplant at the farmer's market to make sure it's the same. And you're still fined $150. It's less of a fine because you were selling something that you did grow that you didn't disclose than you were selling somebody else's produce. But that level of government interference in our lives is crazy.

[01:54:51] But we also have to remember as human beings, we have to learn to trust each other and relate and do business with each other in a way that there's trust, because we've invited in this level of needing the government between every interaction that we have, because we have a lack of trust.

[01:55:08] Luke: Mommy, daddy complex. It's like we don't believe we can be self-governed.

[01:55:12] Mollie: But we can.

[01:55:14] Luke: Yeah. Just that level of racketeering and extortion is unfathomable. And I think the only way it goes away is just from people creating a unified front of just saying, oh no, thank you. We were opting out of your services. Thank you for the offer. Thank you for the contract in front of me. I don't agree to the terms. Have a nice day.

[01:55:39] But it's like, if you're the one restaurateur that says no, and then you're taking the beating with all the extortion and fines and all that, then you're not able to make the change. And so there has to be a unified front of people all saying this time we're just peacefully saying no, thank you. We're just not doing it.

[01:55:59] Mollie: But how do we get people to do that? And my mom has been way ahead of the curve. My mom didn't vaccinate me as a child, ate all organic food, everything. I swear, every five years, she's like, I think this is the big awakening. Everybody's going to say enough is enough. And it's not ever happened.

[01:56:20] My mom went and lived off grid 20 something years ago, and every year, she thinks--and so she was sure with the pandemic. She sent me all these pamphlets that she had made. She wanted me to staple them to every bag. And I was like, mom, you don't understand. Literally, I have employees.

[01:56:37] I had a sign up that said, if you're not wearing a mask, I assume you have a good reason, and we're not going to ask you about it. I thought that was good. I put up the sign that said the government says you're required to wear a mask. And then I put up a sign from us that said, and if you're not wearing a mask, we assume that you have a reason for that. And that was it.

[01:56:57] And my employees would take it down, would scribble on it, would rip it up. And I'm like, you think my employees are going to staple-- my mom made this whole thing, the harm of the mask, the harm of this, the government, 5G. She made this whole thing she wanted me to staple to every back.

[01:57:11] Luke: I love your mom already.

[01:57:12] Mollie: But this is her dream, that everybody just wakes up and says, no, enough is enough. We're not going to pay the IRS, and we're not going to fund your wars. And we're not going to participate in this slavery system anymore. And every year she thinks this is the year. And she's on Maui.

[01:57:30] She's like, if this Maui fire doesn't wake them up, for sure, this is the thing. I don't know what it is, but I really, really hope that we as humanity can save ourselves because right now it seems like we're going in a really slippery slope fast. And we have to have some awakening together, and I don't know how to facilitate that.

[01:58:01] Luke: I don't want to be Pollyanna, but I truly believe in my heart that we are in the midst of one, but we might not see the manifestation of it for a while. Maybe not even in our lifetime. But I really feel like the system played their cards so freaking hard and so recklessly over the past four years that there are enough moderate, logical people in the middle category of not conspiracy theorists, paranoid nuts, and not just bootlicking statists.

[01:58:39] The biggest group is the people in the middle. And I think because it's been so obvious what is happening, that there's a certain group that's always just going to stay asleep, and they just have trust issues, and they just don't trust themselves and their own intuition, so they just need the state.

[01:58:58] Leave them behind. God bless them. You're never going to convert them. But the middle group is going-- they're on YouTube looking at chemtrail videos and flat earth shit. And I think locking people indoors too and just giving people access even despite the censorship, people that started asking questions about the narrative of the pandemic started going down rabbit holes and asking other, maybe even more important questions about the origins of this whole thing, like, where did this system come from? Who built it? Who's in charge? People are learning that the United States is a for profit corporation.

[01:59:34] Mollie: I knew those things because my mom would just say them, but did I really understand that it's for-profit corporation on top of the constitution on top of the republic that it was supposed to be? And each thing was a sovereign state, and they just declared it to be the United States of America. It wasn't actually the United States.

[01:59:56] Luke: It was like Europe.

[01:59:57] Mollie: Yeah, it was like Europe.

[01:59:58] Luke: Every state was a country. It's crazy.

[01:59:59] Mollie: And do you know that Texas is the only state that hasn't given its land up to the corporation?

[02:00:04] Luke: No, I didn't know.

[02:00:05] Mollie: Yeah. And so only Texas hasn't given its land up to the corporation and also has its own power grid.

[02:00:13] Luke: Interesting. Well, I guess all of our intuition was on point. We're refugees, Texifornians that fled California.

[02:00:21] Mollie: But I think the Texafornians are going to be the ones that are even harder standing up against any pushing in Texas than in other places. And I don't think you're Pollyanna. If I didn't think that that was happening, I'd be making money a much easier way, trading meme coins or whatever, and trying to TEDx my buddy on the next bull run.

[02:00:49] Farming and restaurants are not the easiest way to make a living, but I do think that I'm making a difference, and I do think that bringing a conversation forth into the world that makes a difference. And so I 100% have a Pollyanna view, and I have small children, and I want that to be true. So I'm going to play full out like we can make a difference, and if we lose, then I played full out, and that's what I'm willing to say.

[02:01:21] I don't want to be like, oh, I tried, and then I gave up. And then the terminator's coming to tear our house down. And I'm like, well, I probably should have stood up whatever when they said I couldn't have a driver's license if I didn't do this or that. So yeah, that's what I'm going to stand up the best that I can for my children. And I agree that there's awakening, and I agree we're on a slippery slope.

[02:01:46] Luke: What has been different about trying to operate a farm and a restaurant in California or Commiefornia in this case, and God bless all my friends back in California. I love that state. I just despise the government.

[02:01:58] Mollie: I love the weather and hate the government.

[02:02:00] Luke: Yeah, it's California.

[02:02:02] Mollie: And my community there, I love. Awesome community there.

[02:02:05] Luke: Me too. So I'm going to call it Commiefornia with all due respect. It has nothing to do with the residents of the state, but what's been different about doing a similar operation out in the boonies in Texas, just in terms of paperwork, regulations, code, and statutes?

[02:02:19] Mollie: Totally different. You need a permit for everything in California. Four years me trying to get just an electrical box for my greenhouse in California. And in Texas, we installed a restaurant, three modular homes, and wells, and tidy houses, and the only thing that they regulate is septic tanks and wells.

[02:02:46] And so the only little bit of regulations that I've come into is right now trying to figure out the wastewater for the brewery. And I was all like, there's a regulation about this? One regulation out here. Can't believe that. It's been super refreshing. And there's still permits.

[02:03:06] I got a health permit for the kitchen, for the restaurant, and I was like, okay, I don't want to serve food if I'm not allowed to, or if I'm going to do have people sign a paper, and then I just want to make sure what the deal is. And they were like, oh, we don't inspect prior to opening. We sent you your permit. I'm like, oh. You could just build a restaurant here and start serving food, and we're going to trust you that you know what to do, and then if someone gets sick, we'll be out to check about it.

[02:03:31] Luke: Wow. What about permitting alcohol?

[02:03:34] Mollie: I have a liquor license there.

[02:03:36] Luke: Was that easier here than in California?

[02:03:38] Mollie: Easier, cheaper, everything. There's different taxes here, so I did mess up and not pay. I don't even know what it is for. There's a bond that you have to buy on the sales tax of your liquor license. I think it's some way that you're insuring that you're going to pay for your sales tax, I guess, that the bond would pay if you don't pay for your sales tax or something. Something you don't have in California.

[02:04:03] So I all of a sudden had these notices on my gate. I was like, what did I do wrong? But no, everything is so much easier. And even I got declined for this permit, this grant I applied for small local food systems. I was trying to upgrade our dairy situation, and I applied for this grant.

[02:04:24] We got denied, but I just want to say that every time I called to ask a question, somebody answered the phone. Every time I sent an email, someone emailed me back. In California, I often feel like the government is literally just trying to inhibit my progression forward.

[02:04:44] And in Texas, sometimes I'm like, whoa, we didn't need to ingroup all these people. They're like, I'm CC'ing so and so from the da da da, and this and da da da, and this person. If you don't have enough money, she's a resource blah blah blah to help people that don't-- and they just bring everybody in, and people answer the phone, and respond, and try to help you.

[02:05:03] I left a message about my health permit for the restaurant, and then someone called me back and said, I'm the weekend person, and I saw your message. Has anybody gotten back to you? I'm like, oh, no. Oh, don't worry about it. It was before Confluence. I don't have my health permit yet.

[02:05:16] Can we still sell food? And they were like, oh, you already have it. It's in the mail. And the chances of someone coming out there and checking during this weekend when there's an eclipse going on are not going to happen. Don't worry about it. Have a good weekend.

[02:05:31] Luke: I love it.

[02:05:32] Mollie: And the water guy coming out, I'm a small government guy. You're doing the right thing out here. Great. Thank you.

[02:05:40] Luke: I'm not doing any large-scale operation like you are, but I have noticed just dealing with the municipalities and so on here, it's like, yeah. The other day I got an email from Bob at the little local waste whatever, and he's like, hey, I'm just giving you a warning. You guys left your trash bins out. They have to be in within 48 hours, whatever. And I was like, oh, I didn't know that. Thanks for not fining me. Emailed him back. Thanks, Bob. Good to know.

[02:06:06] But I know if I were to call there and just say, hey, I have a question about this or that, a human will pick up the phone, call me back. They'll shoot me an email. I don't know there's a less dense bureaucracy here in general. There's just not so many layers of resistance to just get something done.

[02:06:21] Mollie: Doing anything. And it's real humans. I got my kids passports renewed the other day, and I went into the office, and they were like, whose turn is it for passports? And then one lady was like, it's my turn, and she was like, okay. Really kind and helped us get through all the paperwork. And it's not how it is at the passport office in Los Angeles. We were in and out of there in 10 minutes.

[02:06:48] Luke: It's certainly not.

[02:06:49] Mollie: And so it's very, very different, and there's more humanity in the bureaucracy. There's still bureaucracy here. There's bureaucracy everywhere, but there's more humanity in it. And there's more real connection. And I think that that's part of what was lost during the pandemic, is human connection.

[02:07:13] And when we're disconnected, it's easy for someone to call me a murdering whore, blah, blah, blah, on the internet. Nobody's come into the restaurants and told the manager or myself last week when I was there that I'm a murdering whore or whatever. It's much easier when there's lines between you.

[02:07:32] And so the bureaucracy in California is constantly telling us stuff that makes no sense, and that's easier to do when you don't have to look at anybody. And so I hope if we can keep it human and keep it connected here that it will not get as crazy as it was in California.

[02:07:50] Do a trust, do a PMA. I love all that. But if you have a restaurant and somebody wants to order on Uber Eats, you can't have them sign a memorandum of understanding before they get their buffalo cauliflower. It means completely changing my entire model of life. And so that was an idea of people would come to me with, oh, just do a PMA. It's like everybody orders their food to go. I don't even know how I would facilitate that.

[02:08:18] Luke: If the majority of farmers in this country are 65, 70 years old and are on their way to the other side sooner than later, how can we encourage younger people to get into regenerative agriculture? What's the incentive there other than just wanting to create a better system that's more efficient and causes less harm and destruction to the environment, and the animals, and all that?

[02:08:46] It seems like a lot of work. It seems like it's a tough way to make a living. So you have the restaurant side of it out at Sovereignty Ranch, which I'm assuming is helping you in terms of making it viable. And renting it out for events and things like that. Maybe that's a model that people could follow. It's like, cool, let's have a farm, and we sell the food to vendors or farmers markets, but also have some restaurant and events, hospitality and event space and stuff. What do you think is an incentive for farmers to transition?

[02:09:21] Mollie: It's a hard sell. It's a hard sell to get-- most kids of farmers are moving to the city because their parents don't want them to have to work so hard for so little money. And so it is a hard sell, but I think that we have to create demand. And so I think we have to demand that we want cleaner food, better food options.

[02:09:41] And so to fill that demand, people will fill into it. Yes, there's going to have to be different models, but I think holistic planned grazing, beef, and other bovine is a viable business model, but it's hard work. And we have raised a generation of people that don't want to work that much, to be honest.

[02:10:09] I'm an employer of 200 and something people in Los Angeles. People graduated high school during the pandemic, graduated high school. They just were graduated. They didn't have to push through. And so they don't have the push. There's zero ability to push through to do anything.

[02:10:35] So I don't know what we can do about creating a demand, but the idea of farming, it's hard. It's not an easy life. And based on the employees that come into my restaurant and want to be hired, there's so many people that-- the power goes out, and then they'll call me, and I'll say, did you check the breaker? Oh, let me go check that. The most basic of taking care of one's own needs has not been instilled in this newest generation, as far as I can tell.

[02:11:12] And so to convince someone that looks at people making tons of money selling affiliate products on Instagram and say, you know what would be great? If you just moved sheep every single day, moved electric fencing every single day, or grew vegetables in the hot sun, it's a hard sell. But I think that what we can do is create demand and be in the conversation of being led and listening to that divine intuition and hope that those of us that are out there that are meant to be farmers will hear the call.

[02:11:55] Luke: There seems to be a positive trend toward homesteading and people being self-sufficient, even if they're not turning that into a business per se.

[02:12:04] Mollie: But I think that will raise kids that know how to have the skill set.

[02:12:07] Luke: Right. And also, just raise kids that have that connection to nature and the natural cycles of life. It would be probably more prone to hanging out instead of running off to the city and becoming an Instagram model or whatever.

[02:12:21] Mollie: For sure. Somebody said at the last conference to one of my kids-- I don't know what was happening, but someone drove up, and they said, he's 10. Pretty soon, you'll get to drive a vehicle. And he looked over. He said, I can drive a bobcat with forks or an auger. I can drive my little golf cart, and I can drive my mini jeep that dad bought me for Christmas.

[02:12:42] That's three vehicles. I'm 10. And then he goes, oh, and I can drive a tractor, but not without an adult because my legs are too short. He can drive the skids steer because you don't need to reach the pedals, and he can lift pallets and do everything. And so I think parents that are raising their kids in a homesteading environment, those kids are going to get exposed to that kind of stuff.

[02:13:06] And I think the more we're off of the screens and the Instagram and all that-- my kids love to be out. We were in LA for a couple of weeks, and they were like, where are all the plants? I don't like it here. I like to have plants on plants on plants outside. And I said, great, me too. I'm glad you feel that way. I feel that way too.

[02:13:27] We're all indoctrinating our children to one way or another, so I'm indoctrinating them to hopefully want to be farmers and eat cleaner food. My four-year-old said last night. I went to the freezer mom. There's no strawberries from our farm, but these ones have the organic symbol on them, so can you make me a smoothie? I don't know why you would think we wouldn't have organic, but the point is he's four, and he's already prone to like, we don't eat stuff that don't have organic symbol on them.

[02:13:55] Luke: What can people do to support your ventures? You have Sage in LA and Echo Park, of course, and then you have your Sovereignty Ranch here in Texas. If people listening are like, wow, she's super cool, doing amazing things, how can they support or get involved with either of those ventures?

[02:14:16] Mollie: Well, with Echo Park and Pasadena--

[02:14:19] Luke: Pasadena too.

[02:14:19] Mollie: Go out, eat food, book parties there, however you can support. Making awareness that we now have meat on the menu as of May 29th, and we'll be able to serve your whole community, not just the vegan portion of your community. And then as far as Sovereignty Ranch, we are set up with 46 beds, so you can bring any type of group to the ranch and book out the whole ranch or part of the ranch, and me and my husband will cook for you, and you'll have food from the ranch, and that will be awesome.

[02:14:53] And we're in the end of raising money, but we haven't quite finished. So if there's anybody that's like, hey, I want to be a stakeholder in that ranch, that's still a possibility. And I tell my investors, it's a good business model for now, and it's a good prep for later because I'm a little bit of a prepper, and I wanted to come up with a business model that was something that was contributing to the world right now, but also everything that we were investing in would be a prep for later.

[02:15:24] We invested in housing for renting, tiny houses and all of that. We're investing in a commercial kitchen. We're investing in animals, and greenhouses, and all of that. So it is of great business for right now, and it is also--

[02:15:41] Luke: I like that idea. I should invest, man, because I'm so unprepared here. I'm like, we live in suburbia basically.

[02:15:48] Mollie: And you're close by. A zombie apocalypse, you could make it there.

[02:15:53] Luke: Sometimes I think about that. It's like, I got a generator. We have some food in the freezer in the garage. I have it figured out, but not really.

[02:16:02] Mollie: You're probably figured out for a short period of time.

[02:16:06] Luke: A couple of weeks, and then it's not going to go well. And I'm pretty heavily armed too, if it went--

[02:16:12] Mollie: We're pretty heavily armed too.

[02:16:13] Luke: Super crazy, we got that on lock. But if I'm honest with myself, just knowing how fast things can unravel, if there's civil unrest and that kind of thing. And anytime that's ever happened anywhere, no one thinks that's going to happen.

[02:16:28] Mollie: Nobody ever thinks it's going to happen. My chiropractor in LA, he moved next door to me. He was bummed when I sold the farm there and moved here, but he bought a farm next to me. He grew up in a country, and he had a farm, and he had everything, and the government basically seized everybody's assets.

[02:16:49] He's Armenian and everything was taken from him, and basically, he became a refugee and came here as a refugee. He said, one day everything was fine. We had a farm. We had a business. We had a pretty abundant life, and the next minute we were refugees. And he's been seeing what's going on here like, we have to wake up. This is serious. Just like I'm saying, we need to be like that in Texas.

[02:17:17] People that have gone through that full on collapse or something like that, or communism, or any of this is really present, and stuff is not looking good right here. So he always is trying to tell me like, you're only as prepared as your neighbors are too, because if your neighbors are not prepared, then it becomes a fighting thing. So that's what I really wanted to create, this whole valley. And we have housing, and we have food production and all of that so that we have a defendable position.

[02:17:51] Luke: Epic. Who have been three teachers or teachings in your life that have influenced you?

[02:17:59] Mollie: I have been blessed to have Matthew Engelhardt as my father, and we were not very close when I was growing up, but when him and my mom got divorced, we got pretty close, and he's probably my best friend. I talk to my father every day, and he's really a wise man human being and always willing to change his mind and change his ideas, and he never takes my side.

[02:18:26] I could call him and be like, my husband was drunk and was not being nice. When I married him when he was 23, that was a reality. I married a 23-year-old. And my father never, ever takes my side. He always asks me to see the other person's perspective, and he always calls me to be more generous. How can I stay with my heart open? And I attribute so much of my ability to make my relationship work with my husband and all of that, having a father that never said, I can't believe he did that.

[02:19:02] He always said, how could you acknowledge him more? Well, obviously, he's not feeling appreciated. And sometimes I want him to take my side or something like that. And when I was younger, my parents were big into this teacher. Her name was Jan Kinney, and her philosophy was essentially that your thoughts, speech, beliefs, actions, and attitudes are constantly creating your life.

[02:19:27] And so from a young age, I was going to these seminars and training myself on how to have some power and facility over controlling my thoughts, speech, belief, actions, and attitudes, and realizing that those are really out-picturing how you experience life and possibly actually out-picturing what shows up in your life. And so I was lucky enough to be sent to a bunch of seminars with that teacher at a young age and really practice that. And so I would say Jan Kinney.

[02:20:04] And then I think there's a little book called the four agreements that originally was in Spanish, and it's escaping me the guy's name. But those four agreements, I think, in any kind of community situation or any place where people may not have all the same skill sets around relationships, if you can just implement those four agreements, it can make a huge difference in just having the communication. And when I was younger, I did all the landmark stuff, and I'm sure that that has had a profound.

[02:20:42] Luke: Awesome. Thank you. Appreciate you coming by. I can't wait to come back out to the ranch and see what's happened. I know that things in your model progress much more quickly than they do if just someone buys some dirt in Texas and sits on it and builds a house. So it was already starting to look pretty cool, and I could see the future of it, so I'm looking forward to coming back.

[02:21:06] I missed this last Confluence. We were so close to being able to come, and we just kept meeting resistance in different ways and finally just threw our hands up and said, all right, we'll have to wait for the next one. But I was bummed that I couldn't come out there because so many great people.

[02:21:20] The community that have this gravitational pull for the kind of people that were there last time are my kind of people. Everyone's real low key, conscious, cool, very diverse, but also aligned in values, which I think is a really great way to build a little micro nation, micro culture where everyone is adhering to things like the four agreements.

[02:21:42] And you have fundamental guiding principles, but can be wildly different in every other way, and it still creates cohesion. It's really cool. So I can't wait to come out and check it out and get in that damn magnesium water pond. That is the coolest thing ever.

[02:21:59] Mollie: That's really great.

[02:22:00] Luke: Yeah. What is it? 2,000 parts per million?

[02:22:02] Mollie: 2,000 parts per a million. Yeah.

[02:22:03] Luke: It's like a giant float tank basically. It's just freaking epic.

[02:22:07] Mollie: And it makes you so relaxed. You almost feel like you took a small hit of pot or something. My kids sleep so good after they swim in it, and then they like fall asleep on the couch.

[02:22:19] Luke: That's so cool.

[02:22:20] Mollie: So much magnesium going in.

[02:22:22] Luke: That's badass. All right. Well, thanks again for coming out, and I'll see you out on the farm soon.

[02:22:27] Mollie: Out on the ranch. Thank you.


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