Tue, 7 July 2020
This week, I'm excited to welcome Ryland Engelhart. He is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Kiss the Ground. He is also a co-creator of the award-winning, transformational documentary film, “May I Be Frank.” He is an entrepreneur and activist, and works to inspire more "gratitude" into our culture. He speaks on sacred commerce, tools for building community, and regeneration and is the host of Kiss the Ground's "We Can Do This Podcast."
Questions asked during our conversation:
This week, I'm excited to welcome Ryland Engelhart. Ryland is an entrepreneur, a restaurateur and social activist who co-owns the super popular plant-based restaurants Cafe Gratitude and Gracias Madre. He's also co-founder of Kiss the Ground, a nonprofit increasing social awareness and educating millions of people about the extraordinary benefits of healthy soil. In this episode, we discuss the fundamentals of regenerative agriculture and discover what we can all do at a community level to cultivate global regeneration. Over to Ryland.
Hey guys, this is Stu from 180 Nutrition, and I am delighted to welcome Ryland Engelhart to the podcast, Ryland, how are you?
I'm feeling great. Thank you so much. It's been great to get to know you a little bit before we jumped in here. And yeah, grateful to share love and information. That was kind of my mom's declaration of what there was to do in life, was to share love and information. And so it's always a delight to be invited to speak on a podcast, to share with new audience about what I've learned over my life that could potentially be helpful for others.
That is awesome. Well, that is what we are super excited about diving into today. But first up, for all of our listeners that might not be familiar with you or your work, I would love it if you could just tell us a little bit about yourself and your background, please.
Okay, beautiful. So professionally over the last 15 years, I've been working within a family business, a restaurant business on the West Coast of the United States called Love Serve Remember. It is a management company that oversees two different restaurant chains. One is called Gracias Madre, which is organic plant-based Mexican food. And one is called Cafe Gratitude, which I know many Australians who have come and visited California have come to Cafe Gratitude. You guys have been a big international group that has been big fans of Cafe Gratitude. And really, yeah, we've been a family of, I would say, entrepreneurs really driving health and wellness and plant-based lifestyle.
15 years ago when we started the Cafe Gratitude, there was no such thing in the general lexicon of understanding of what cold brewed coffee was. No one was eating kale. Quinoa was not pronounceable. And almond milk, there wasn't almond milk on the shelf. It was just a completely different time. And we had the amazing opportunity of understanding as a family. We had been vegetarian for most of our lives and really got into healthy, organic food, and wanted to provide that for people through our restaurants. But I would say the bigger mission of our restaurant company was about spreading the consciousness of gratitude and really, how do we create a public domain, a business, a commercial venture, where we invite people in to that space, and we not only nourish them with healthy food, but we actually also curate healthy or meaningful or purposeful or grateful conversations. And so really, the food was the kind of carrot to get people in the door, but really we were more after having people be centered in a grateful place.
What we saw was when you're grateful, you are more present and you're also more loving and kind. When you're full of great, you're not trying to get stuff from the world. You're not trying to be a consumer, more and more and more for me, me, me, because you're in gratefulness. You're in the spirit of gratitude. So that was a a long intro, but yeah, the Cafe Gratitude's been around for 15 years. We have restaurants in the Bay Area on San Diego and in Los Angeles. So that's kind of been my professional world for the last 15 years.
And then I ventured out about seven years ago actually to start my own nonprofit called Kiss the Ground, which is kind of my current passion and focus. And really, that's focused on education advocacy for healthy soil and regenerative agriculture as the basis of a healthy civilization. And that if we really trace back a lot of the problems that humanity faces, it comes back to a destruction of the ecology that serves all of life coming from that earth, and that if we could get our relationship to soil, right and if we could heal our soils, we could actually heal a lot of our human health challenges. We could heal a lot of our ecological degradation. The big kind of aha moment was, oh my God, there's actually a solution to how we can reverse and bring the carbon out of the atmosphere that's causing climate change. We can actually draw enough carbon down into the soil, such that it actually provides something of value in soil so it makes a problem into a solution when that carbon comes out of the air into the soil, and that everyone who eats could be potentially catalyzing that movement.
So I started a nonprofit called Kiss the Ground to really advocate and educate around regenerative agriculture so that we could scale that up to what the new norm in agriculture. Because looking long and hard at the future of humanity on planet earth, I didn't really see how the current sustainability framework or model could actually make a difference. It just seemed like kind of ideas that were less harmful that made us feel good in the now moment, but really weren't actually going to make the difference that makes the difference, and that we were just going to slowly drive off a cliff. Now I have a son who's two, and so it makes me even more passionate about how we can heal and regenerate this beautiful, precious one of a kind planet in the universe.
For full interview and transcript: