We chat with Silvi and Ezequiel, owners of Pastizales Nativos and true regenerative pioneers, and Christian, creative director, to learn more about regenerative agriculture in Argentina.
Pastizales Nativos is based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in The Pampas. It has three operations spread throughout the country, in three different states: Chubut in Patagonia, Santa Fe in Bajos Submeridionales, and Santiago del Estero in the region of Native Forests. We sit down with Silvi and Ezequiel, owners of Pastizales Nativos and true regenerative pioneers, and Christian, creative director.
Tell us about how you became regenerative pioneers.
Silvi: We started with these activities a long time ago. From the beginning, we knew the importance of the impact that all decisions have on the community and the environment. We formally started with EOV in 2016. At that moment, it was called GRASS, and in some way, we had been working with these drivers since the beginning (30 years ago). But with the verification, by implementing this method (based on holistic management), we’ve reinforced/enhanced/ improved the perspective of our farm, resources, and circle of life. (the impact of our decision when you handle natural resources).
Because of the changes that the meat industry has been undergoing in the last 30 years, we have seen an explosion of feedlots, resulting in deterioration in the food quality, treatment of animals, and environmental impact. Now, being responsible for communication as a brand, it is essential to tell our audiences that we're coming back to a natural and better meat for everyone and also for our planet.
We also are part of a foundation called Vida Silvestre, a worldwide conservation organization that works with WWF (World Wildlife Foundation). The regenerative management of our grasslands where the cows graze and live is very important regarding how it develops and how healthy its meat is. This management also aids all the natural processes of the ecosystem healthily. Argentina is a vast country: we have different types of soils, weathers, and regions, and a huge diversity of grassland. So, we must be conscious of these differences to raise animals properly, take care of our planet, and, in turn, provide quality products to our customers.
Ezequiel: We work as partners with nature. We didn’t want to fight nature. We didn’t want to continue the philosophy of demanding resources from nature. We understood from the beginning that consuming more resources and looking for excessive productivity has consequences, and we didn’t want to run our business that way.
Tell us about your current philosophy.
Ezequiel: We are pioneers of regenerative farming, and for us, all parts of the process are interconnected because they coexist in a delicate balance. That’s why the treatment of the soil, the natural resources, and the impact of our decisions are very important to our personal mission and brand philosophy.
Within each region, we are trying not to harm the land. We do not use the available genetics to fatten our cows. Rather than modifying the environment to suit our animals, we choose ¨biomimic¨; we choose to raise animals that can live in each specific region easily in their natural way. However, it is difficult to convey to urban consumers how we’re doing things differently to grow their food naturally.
Christian: We are pioneers in that kind of treatment of the soil, the amount of consciousness that we put into the in terms of which animal is the best for different regions of the country. We are trying to teach people to compare and to know what they are bringing to their homes to feed their families.
Ezequiel: While we want to raise awareness and social consciousness among consumers, it’s difficult to land on a message that gives confidence to the consumer because of a lot of confusion and subjective points of view. We focus on the benefits of raising meat this way, from the taste and quality to more concrete aspects like environmental and human health.
We are producing meat that makes animals, humans, and our planet healthier, and it has a higher price point. It’s healthier in every way, but we need to find the best way to communicate this to consumers because, without animals, the whole ecosystem will disappear.
Silvi: We found a big opportunity to contribute to the global challenges as a planet. When you are conscious about the impact of your actions and decisions, you need to do something. In our case, we are regenerative cattle breeders and meat producers, and we want to bring more consciousness to the marketplace.
Who are your primary customers?
Silvi: We sell mainly directly to consumers via our website, high-end restaurants and hotels, resellers, and some schools. We use our website and social media tools to keep in touch with our customers, representing a big opportunity to share information.
Consumers are the key to making a real change. Argentinians are starting to shift their mindset and talk more about what they are eating. But the world still isn’t demanding enough of this meat produced sustainably and consciously. The challenge we find ourselves in, in this country that is so reverent of meat, is to improve this perspective within an industry in which Argentinians have a huge tradition and are considered experts.
There are questions we must consider as producers, especially how we treat our animals, and then we must convey our practices to consumers so they understand what we’re doing.
As consumers, we need to ask “ourselves” where all the things we need are coming from.
In this primary and fundamental case, we must ask ourselves (as we are both food producers and consumers): where does our food come from? What does our food eat? What's the difference between this kind of food and others? What makes this food healthier? How do we improve the health of our soils? Through our work, regenerative farming, we need to generate a link between the countryside and cities...We need to raise social awareness, a responsibility which, in the long term, will give us the social license to improve the meat industry.
We not only have to produce meat and breed cattle, but we need to tell people why it’s so important to reconnect with nature, where food production starts.