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Dr. Ray Goldberg – The Father of Agribusiness: 60+ Years of Catalyzing Progress in Global Food Systems

Apr 23, 2020

Dr. Ray Goldberg has served a critical role over the past half century in improving the global food system. He is considered by many to be the father of agribusiness and is credited with coining the term “agribusiness” in 1957.

Dr. Goldberg has been a professor of agriculture and business at Harvard since 1955. He recently published a book called Food Citizenship: Food System Advocates in an Era of Distrust. This book sums up some of the most insightful interviews he held with folks that put their ideological differences aside to work together on solving some of the most pressing issues in food and agriculture.

This week in Agriculture Adapts:

– Climate change’s impact on agriculture: a first person perspective from the dust bowl to now

– The pros and cons of GMOs without the stigmatization

– Food as medicine– it’s about time we gave food the credit it deserves

– Consumer brands are innovating to improve the profitability and financial resilience of their farmers in developing countries


Be sure to grab a copy of Ray’s book! All proceeds go to Harvard:

Food Citizenship: Food System Advocates in an Era of Distrust

00:00 / 00:00

Borna (ClimateAi) 0:03
This is Agriculture Adapts by ClimateAi. Every week we speak with industry leading executives, farmers and academics to get a 360 view how the agriculture sector is innovating to stay ahead of a changing climate. I’m your host Borna Poursheikhani, and I am your co host Himanshu Gupta. We’re a team of climate scientists and agriculture entrepreneurs trying to make farming more resilient, profitable and equitable as we transition to a new age of agriculture. This podcast is our journey as we explore the hurdles and opportunities that lie ahead for the industry to feed the world. Hello, and welcome to another exciting episode of agriculture adapts with us is Dr. Ray Goldberg. I could spend this entire podcast getting Dr. Goldberg’s introduction, but I’ll try to keep it brief. Dr. Goldberg is a professor of agriculture and business at Harvard Emeritus. He’s served a critical role over the past half century in understanding and improving the global food system and he’s considered by many to be the father of agribusiness and he’s actually The individual who coined the term agribusiness, Dr. Goldberg recently published a book summing up some of the most insightful interviews he held with folks solving problems and driving impact in various segments of the food system. And that book is called food citizenship food system advocates in an era of distress, we will link that book in the show notes so you guys can find that after raise a wealth of knowledge. And I’m extremely excited to dive into our discussion here about the book about Ray’s work in the agriculture sector and about how our food system has really evolved over the last 50 years. Ray, thanks for joining us.

Ray Goldberg 1:33
My pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Borna (ClimateAi) 1:35
So Ray would love to just start by kind of hearing your background as well as your connection to agriculture in general.

Ray Goldberg 1:41
I grew up in Fargo, North Dakota and my father was in the grain business and also we have a farm. So I have been involved in agriculture as a small child and I work in the grain elevator as I was growing Growing up, and from there, I graduated high school and then went to Harvard. At Harvard, I majored in government and history and economics. And from there, I went to Harvard Business School and there was only one caution Harvard University on agriculture and it was a postdoctoral course, by the late john D. Black or very famous agricultural economist. He was kind enough to let me join the group. And when I graduated, I was about to leave and go back to the family business. And he said to me, Ray, I would like you to get a PhD and I said, I don’t need a PhD. I’m going to a family business. They replied that, you know, I know you better than you know yourself, stop off at Minneapolis and see what the University of Minnesota has to offer. And much to my surprise, they were kind enough to a chapter in the doctoral program. And because of that, I wrote my thesis on the soybean industry, and the competitive position of the Minnesota producer and processor. And then I joined the family business. And three years later, I was going back to join an international firm to see all the family business related to the rest of the world. And on my way back, I stopped in Minneapolis and the head of the department was having a seminar and he told me that Harvard wanted me to come back to start a new course with John Davis, who was an assistant secretary of agriculture under Eisenhower. And the two of us had to develop not just a course, but our concept of what we wanted young men and women to teach and to learn from and we decided that everybody in the food system is partially in a business in order to survive, and we decided to call it agribusiness, back I’m a little disappointed because there was business to some people as a negative term. But really, it’s really looking at the whole food system that’s interactive, interdependent system.

Borna (ClimateAi) 4:21
And when was that? When did you guys create that kind of concept and coursework at Harvard?

Ray Goldberg 4:26
We both joined the faculty in 1955. And we published a book in 1957 called a concept because I agree business.

Borna (ClimateAi) 4:37
Yeah, and it’s extremely interesting reading some of your older work because a lot of the problems are very similar. Some are pretty much the same, but others are very similar and just have a modern twist to them. So it’s interesting to see how things have evolved. on this topic of food systems. Tell us a little bit more about your book.

Ray Goldberg 4:55
The food system is a quayside public utility, whether we like it or not. Because what people get paid for producing food and what people pay for consuming food are political questions, as well as economic questions. Secondly, food is so important to the nutrition of people, plants and animals, that it’s essential for society in order to go forward. And then thirdly, food is so important to health and to economic development. Most of our poverty and most of our malnutrition is in the developing world. And we have a huge problem of obesity on one side and under nourishment on the other. So the food system is here as the basic of life itself,

Borna (ClimateAi) 5:52
and what can people expect if they go out and buy this book? What can they expect to find in it?

Ray Goldberg 5:56
First of all, I tried to make sure the most conscientious constructive critics in the food system were in the book early on, so that people understood what others outside the food system felt was what is wrong with it, and what needs to be corrected. And secondly, I wanted someone who, who was not only adamant in that, as a nonprofit, but also somebody in the government who was equally adamant about it, so that people could choose consumer advocate and government officials. were anxious, let the food system do the right thing for our society, not just for our country, but for the world.

Borna (ClimateAi) 6:45
And you touched on this idea of the food system being critically important for health medicine and nutrition. And last time, we chatted, you kind of mentioned a little bit about the disconnect there the disconnect between nutrition health, medicine and the future. That are studying that. And that people who are studying agriculture systems and food production, can you speak a little bit more about that disconnect there?

Ray Goldberg 7:07
Well, it’s not so much a disconnect. It’s more of a realization, the pills are not as important as food in terms of human health. And once you recognize that, then you realize that you are determining the physical health of humans, plants and animals. And in the ability to do that, and do it in an environmentally sound way affects all of us. So that if you really want a productive society, and if you really want a productive essential world, then you really have to get the private public and not for profit sectors to work together. And 26 years ago, people People were yelling and screaming at each other in all three of those areas. And I felt that there was no neutral territory left. Nobody trusted the private sector. Nobody trusted the public sector. So I thought, maybe just the academic sector could have a neutral territory and bring these people together. And I went to my dean at the business school and told him what I wanted to do. And I showed that picture multi discipline problem. So we need the medical school, went into School of Public Health, we need the government school and renamed the business school. And I said, We need all these people in one room. Will you give me permission to do that? And he said, Sure, as long as you get the other three Dean’s the President and the Provost to approve it, then I’ll do it. I was fortunate that they understood that so the whole university for the first time decided to work together.

Borna (ClimateAi) 9:01
Got it. So this book, in a way is kind of the people who have been going to these these conferences and these meetups and have been a part of these discussions. It’s what they’ve taken out into their career and how they’ve made it impactful in the world today. Even more importantly, and I think this point cannot be made more stronger than I can say it. These people now work together.

Ray Goldberg 9:22
Yeah. So these problems were before they didn’t. These people now realize that they have to work together, they want to work together. And they’re proud of their accomplishments in doing so. And I don’t think the world really knows that. And I’m sure we’re anxious to have this book read not just by my academic people who are well served by Oxford University Press, but by the general public and I know it’s hard for someone to go down and sit and read a book like this, but in addition to that, I the back of the book Put an icon so that if you wanted to actually see and listen to these people on your computer, you can do that as well. And that’s awesome. All the proceeds go to Harvard, not to me and I, I just feel so strongly that I wish I was a salesman and a book salesman. It’s in the hands of every person, not only in this country, but around the world. I just feel that we have so much hatred In our world today to have some, the biggest industry in the world is now working together to solve the biggest problems we have in terms of climate in terms of health, nutrition, economic development, obesity, malnutrition, you name it, and here, each of these men and women are dedicating their lives to it and more importantly, they’re working together to get the job done. I know we’re an election year and people’s tempers are higher. People are yelling and screaming at each other. This book shows you how people can actually come together and work together and make a huge difference.

Borna (ClimateAi) 11:11
That’s really interesting. And I want to kind of dive into the climate change component which, which you do touch on in the book a fair amount. Before I do that, I would be remiss not to kind of discuss some of the agriculture trends that we’ve seen shaped the industry up until today. And, and some of those are viewed as some of the biggest tools that we have for combating climate change, namely genetically modified organisms. And then, in a 1989 book that I believe you co authored was called new technologies in the future of food and nutrition. You kind of lay out the problems and opportunities at the forefront of Agriculture and Food Innovation at the time and one of them was the biological revolution or the rise of genetically modified organisms. I’m extremely curious to hear from you what it was like in the ag space when we first started. Kind of commercializing and learning about GMOs in the early 90s. And, and what was expected and how did the results kind of compare to the initial expectations there, because this is now viewed as one of the big tools that we have to deal with the growing population as well as climate change.

Ray Goldberg 12:15
The genetic modifications that were developed were to create both efforts to increase the productivity of plants, and, at the same time, improve the nutrition of clients. And sometimes it was one or the other, and not necessarily both. And, unfortunately, genetically modified foods got a bad rap because the ingredients that was used to enable weed control cake a place so that the productivity would increase. People were concerned that it would ever affect their health. The World Health Organization felt that that might be the case. But the Food and Drug Administration and the EPA are decided from their chest that it wouldn’t. And that controversy, you know, still exists today. new kinds of technology, I think, will begin to eliminate people’s fear. And that’s CRISPR. You can take a particular cell in a particular park of a biological plant, or animal or insect, that dangerous and take it out and leave what’s good in and I think that that’s just an infantry and I think that that will make a difference in how people see the science.

Borna (ClimateAi) 14:03
Yeah, and it’s, I mean, genetically modified organisms definitely have to a lot of people a very negative connotation, particularly people in Europe. But it is a very broad category and, and a ton of research shows that certain types of GMOs are extremely helpful, especially in the developing world. And there’s, of course, very contentious debates about whether or not we should be using them in the US here as well as in Europe. But some people do believe that GMOs along with the chemicals that are used on the GMOs poses an outsize threat to public health. So how do we reconcile this potential danger with the need for more resilient and nutritious foods moving forward?

Ray Goldberg 14:45
Why do we finally enable it to be more acceptable is to take that portion of that element, of that genetic modification that people think is harmful out, right particular genetic element. And that’s why the fact that you can take out a single part, I mean, it’s like taking a mosquito that gives you malaria. But taking that element out of that mosquito, and putting something in that will kill the malaria rather than give it to you. In other words, it can be a huge plus plus rather than a minus minus, right. And with CRISPR, it’s much more targeted. It’s a very small chunk of the DNA that they’re taking out and putting in the new organisms. So it’s much less invasive. Right, and if there are any elements of it, that are harmful to humans or animals or other plant life, you can begin to identify what those portions are, that are harmful and take it out.

Borna (ClimateAi) 15:50
Yeah, it seems like like the GMO crops are kind of a more contentious issue, but it seems like most people are primarily afraid of a lot of the chemicals that are used in the sprays and Not necessarily the actual crops themselves?

Ray Goldberg 16:02
Absolutely, no, that’s true. But the same people who produce those kinds of crops are also out world working in trying to help the developing world with other kinds of genetically modifications that don’t even use chemicals. So,

Borna (ClimateAi) 16:21
Yeah, and I guess, I guess, in your opinion, are GMOs like a critical tool in our tool belt for tackling some of the larger?

Ray Goldberg 16:27
I’m saying that science is the most critical element of our food system. The word genetically modification has become a dirty word. Yeah. I think that what we have just begun to discover is that science has more creativity than we saw it in making plants, animals and human beings better than we ever thought possible and also over tracking the disease. that affect us in a more effective way. So I think that the scientific revolution is just in its infancy, and we’re just beginning to see the positive results. There’s going to be mistakes, and there’ll be problems. But I think the biggest thing I know, for example, in the book, George church talks about the future of the science. And what he says is that our biggest challenge is to make sure that we spend as much time on safety as we do on the science itself. Yeah. I think that’s very reassuring to the public. Yeah, definitely. And so yeah, we’d love to kind of dig into this climate change component. I think we’ve kind of laid down the framework here. So you teach a class on climate and its impact in the global food system, and from your lens, the lens of an agriculture, business, academic expert, and a primary witness as well to the changes that we’ve In the world, what does climate change mean for the agriculture and sewage systems? Well, the biggest custodians of our land and water resources are the farmers. So if we don’t work with the farming community, we can manage our land and water resources. We’re all in trouble. I grew up in the Dust Bowl, and I saw what happened. And I saw when the Soil Conservation Service came and made every farmer change. It was all based on science. And it changed the landscape in my part of the world and the rest of the United States.

Borna (ClimateAi) 18:37
Yeah, and kind of in the same vein, they’re one of I think, in the in the dust bowl to kind of overcome it. There’s a lot of practices and policy regulation that to go in place to kind of rebuild the soil carbon. And today, a kind of a term that’s used around the movement towards that is this idea of regenerative agriculture and a lot of climate change. Folks, are huge proponents of it. A lot of functional medicine. Professionals promote it as a nutritious source of food. But it’s oftentimes pinned against conventional AG, which I don’t necessarily think is correct.

Ray Goldberg 19:08
I think we’re too much we got too much lost in labels. I think regenerative agriculture has been part of agriculture from the beginning. And we had a president Rankin, who created land grant colleges in every state of our union to help agriculture. And when he created the Farm Credit administration, in order to help the economy of agriculture, these people weren’t creating government programs to take over the private sector. Right they were creating government programs to improve the environment and the climate and the soil of our world and I get really upset when I people fighting the scientists as if they’re evil. Yeah, cool putting in testers and about We destroy them. These people care more about humanity than any group of men and women I know.

Borna (ClimateAi) 20:06
Yeah. And that’s and that’s definitely a commonality that I’ve observed in all these conversations is that the scientists are just they just care about getting to a point of truth. And it’s a shame that a lot of the science is kind of being suppressed and sometimes defunded in today’s day and age. We just spoke with Louis, this guy who used to work for the USDA, and he was having some of his research being blocked by the administration because he was studying carbon dioxide emissions. I know,

Ray Goldberg 20:32
it’s worse, they just put a budget out. It’s 27%. Cut, again in agriculturally common sense.

Yeah. All right. Research show. This is not just the Research Service of the United States. It’s the Research Service of the world. Exactly. The rest of the world is dependent on our research just as we are. It’s an amazing, amazing wash of great men and women who have done nothing except trying to improve the world. They don’t understand it. It’s not a Democratic or Republican problem. It’s a humanitarian problem.

Borna (ClimateAi) 21:10
Yeah, absolutely. And just just to go back to this question of kind of these regenerative practices, the claims that are being made about regenerative agriculture and biodynamic farming, it doesn’t seem scalable to you like, do you think that’s a way that we can? If we were to spread out across all of our farm systems in the world? Do you think it would work?

Ray Goldberg 21:28
I think it’s very scalable, one of the people in our group as a scientific company working on bacteria, and he had a soybean seed that had bacteria around it. And he thought, well, maybe if he took the bacteria away, the seed would be more productive. Well wouldn’t even germinate when you took the bacteria away. So he decided, well, maybe if I add more bacteria might make it more productive. And he was shocked to see that both Plant structure and the root structure of that plant became much stronger because of the bacteria. And again, we’re in its infancy to understand the good bacteria from the bad bacteria. And again, science is essential for us to do it. And people finally discovered that the bacteria in our brain and the bacteria in our gut are the same. So if you have a gut feeling, I guess you really never could.

Borna (ClimateAi) 22:28
Yeah, that makes sense. And just to touch on this, this issue of productivity, it brings up an interesting question for me that I that I want to make sure we address before I let you go here. But the question of productivity and how it pertains to profitability for farmers, because it seems that over the last 2030 years, there’s been a significant amount of efficiency gains that we’ve seen from all the new data that we gather and we analyze the academic research on the physiology, new crop management techniques, precision agriculture, but farmers are not necessarily in a much better spot than we were 20 or 30 years ago. Why is that? And what are the ways that we can kind of return some of that value to the farmers moving forward?

Ray Goldberg 23:05
Well, there was a columnist at the University of Minnesota called Willard Cochran. And he called that the treadmill problem of agriculture. That’s no matter how fast you read, you’re never gotten off of the treadmill. But I think what’s happened, and I think this is very important for your audience to understand that companies finally recognize that the farmer is on the treadmill, a futures market isn’t going to save him market access, and improving their opportunity to market access and improving their opportunity and improve the product for the consumer are much greater say the farmer. So these companies finally finally realized that unless they give market access and then Sort of market assurance to the farmer, we’re all in trouble. And what’s happening is something so important. Companies like Unilever, who are very active in the developing world and places for cocoa growers, and so on, they have recognized that problem that the better the farmers work, the harder they work, the less money they make. From now on, what they are doing is giving them a cost plus contract, that if they started to improve all the kinds of things they do and increase the costs, they’re not putting the burden on the farmer, they’re putting the burden on themselves, and they will guarantee a cost plus arrangement to the farmer. And if the market goes higher than the plus they’ll give that to the farmer as well. And I think that the changes is coming in. That is a huge revolution. Also our insurance programs and other programs that we have for the farmer are badly needed and they should be taken advantage by the farmer. We have to have a safety net under the farmer around the world and we need a safety net under the consumer around the world. And I think that the food system understands that finally understand that, and many of these examples are in the book. In the case of drain irrigation, when they were improving the productivity, the investment by that small farmer was huge. And they said that they would make sure whatever they produced, would have a profit and guaranteed a specific price for what they produce. And if the price went higher, they got the highest price. I think that is happening all over the world and our our farmers are going to have to become partners. With the process. There’s become part Shares themselves in many cases they have. So I think we’re in the beginning, a new relationship between the farmer and the buyer. And again, if you look at the cooperatives in this book, you’ll find that same thing. When john Johnson, the head of the biggest cooperatives in the United States, got to become president, the first thing he did was to talk to the biggest enemy at that time of the farmer that he thought was current. We’re both in the flour milling business, and we’re both in the wheat business, maybe we can find a way to help the farmer by working together. So they created a company to do just that. It’s now the biggest flour milling company in the United States. So I think slowly, but surely, people understand what’s going on and are trying to help each other rather than trying to manipulate each other. And I hate the food system can be congratulated, and I’m trying to do that. And again, I feel like I’m a book salesman rather than I really think that if people buy this book or just listen to the people in the book, I think they will find a new kind of food system that they don’t realize now exists.

Borna (ClimateAi) 27:20
Your book does a really good job of outlining some of those different business models that people are pursuing to kind of share the risks with the farmer. And I guess, in the same vein, there’s also the issue or the issue, but rather, kind of the trend of transparency that’s coming about and kind of connecting farmers directly to the consumer, and thus giving a lot of understanding of where the food’s coming from. So people can kind of increase that trust component as well. But on this note of kind of the direct access to farmers and on the cost sharing, is that being inhibited in any way by crops that are commoditized? Because with commoditized crops, it’s hard to have that transparency.

Ray Goldberg 27:57
Well, I think that’s right. And what’s happening is we are deep commoditizing example of Harris Teeter, and the cow calf operator and the people in between feeding the cattle all working together to improve the quality and guarantee a safer and more tender piece of meat all working up and down together in the book shows me that Jim herring, putting all these people together and Harris Jeter coming up with a guaranteed tender steak make a huge difference all the way back to the thousands and thousands of calca. Yeah, well, originally when we talked about this in the case and all the rest, they wanted no part of it and that’s not the way my dad he did it. That’s not the way my granddad But finally, they realize that the world A change, they could profit by that change, rather than fighting against that change. And I think that all these examples in the book are finally finding that even in the labor situation where my friend, Baltimore moleska, and my colleague john Dunlop, work together with another colleague of mine in Campbell Soup to enable the migrant worker in their farm worker to have a labor union, the Robinson patman act exempted farmers from reactive letting people working together. So they created their own commission to settle disputes between the workers and the processor. And that commission today is housed in the Harvard Law School. Well, instead of fighting each other, there’s finally ways of actually improving the livelihood Of these migrant laborers and doing it in a way that benefits the company as well. I can’t tell you how much has been accomplished and how much more is being accomplished worldwide. I have a young man who is a Teaching Fellow at Harvard, and he was working for a nonprofit trying to help small farmers in the developing world. And he was asked to join a company and do one of these genetic companies. And he said, Ray, I don’t know if I should do that. I should try to see if they can actually help. Joe, he decided to join them on a trial basis. He won’t be back just a few days ago, telling me how excited he was to see these people actually fulfilling all the promises they made to make a difference to English farmers. I think we’re on the beginning stages are we world revolution ship of partnering up and down that food system that people have never seen before. And I think that in this kind of world will breed these horrible headlines day after day after day. This book should give people hope, because of the biggest industry in the world can tackle problems and do it together. It’s wonderful. And also, we have the biggest problems health wise. Yeah, he’s got people 44% of the world’s population is obese. Would you believe that? Just came out a few days ago. And we’ve got so many more people malnourished, it’s critical that we find a way of relating diet to help in a much better way. And I think the farmer is finally getting the help. She deserves actually other thing, the women in agriculture The second class when too long and even especially in the developing world, that’s changing. And that’s going to make a huge difference. I guess growing up when it’s, you know, 50 or 60, below zero in the winter in North Dakota, and you ended up being an optimist. I do think that I really wanted this book to give people an uplift as to what can be done, but more importantly, what is being done for a better place. And nobody’s asking whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, you’re just asking you what kind of a good human being you are.

Borna (ClimateAi) 32:43
Yeah, and I love that approach that you take just just focusing on the science of it and really trying to talk about the opportunities and not really focus so much on the doom and gloom. Curious to get I don’t want to get I don’t want you to give away too much of your of the bread and butter of your book here but

Ray Goldberg 32:58
I don’t care if you give away the bread and butter, there is nothing new that I can say that isn’t said better by these people themselves.

Borna (ClimateAi) 33:12
Yeah, no, definitely I wanted to touch on the issue of you kind of mentioned the malnutrition question. And I wanted to talk about that in 2016. We reverse about a decade’s worth of food security progress for the first time and some uptick in the percentage of people worldwide that are undernourished and was curious to get your view on what some of these folks in the book have been talking about in terms of addressing this issue of what what are we seeing Why, why is this happening? And what are some of the innovations that people are making to try to address this,

Ray Goldberg 33:41
two or three things are happening First of all, more people are fed by our school lunch program than by any other food in our country. And there’s an article by Susan Collins, a rancher in Texas became Commissioner of Agriculture, a conservative Republican. And she went to improve the food lunch program in her state of Texas. And she fought against business. She fought against the school authority. She fought against the soft drink industry. There’s a very conservative lady, but she got can change that food lunch program. So it became not just a lunch, but a nutrition program. And that was so important to the health of that state. That is not a rabid living white person from a Democratic Party. This is a conservative rancher from a republican party. Yeah, forcing people to change. All I’m saying is I don’t care what your stripes are. I don’t care what your political denomination is. These people who care are from all over and from all backgrounds in this book, and they know how to get the job done. I asked her, What kind of help Did you get from industry? She said, zero. And she went on to explain. Now I think that we’ve got changemakers in our country that care in this industry more than any are there and in the book, I tried to show two Republican senators and two democratic senators putting together a bill to address food deserts that we have in this country, both political parties working to get the job done. You know, we’re going through a political process right now but and people are yelling and screaming per usual but I’m saying here we have the biggest industry in the world. Realize realizing it’s important realizing it, try it realizing your opportunity, realizing your challenges, finally deciding they have to work together can make it a win win relationship rather than I win, you lose. And that message comes true so loud and clear. I think we need something like that. In a world where the headlines are just the opposite.

Borna (ClimateAi) 36:24
Yeah, absolutely. That is

Ray Goldberg 36:26
preaching but I’m really trying to tell you what that really means. I spent my whole life in this industry, praying that some days something like this would take place. 93 I’m so glad finally is taking place.

Borna (ClimateAi) 36:44
That must be an amazing feeling to finally see it come to fruition.

Ray Goldberg 36:47
It is an amazing feeling. It’s a good feeling. And what’s more amazing is to see these men and women come together every year and realize how much they spend. talking to each other a whole year around and working together the whole year round. It’s just not an annual meeting. It’s, it’s a way of life for these people. And I’m grateful that Ireland was kind enough to enable that to take place. I just wanted to share it with people.

Borna (ClimateAi) 37:19
Yeah. And I hope that this podcast kind of helps spread the word. I’m not a salesman for books. I don’t know how to sell. No, I mean, I think that you aren’t extremely genuine person. And I think that comes across in the podcast. And actually, I think the best salespeople are the people who don’t even try to sell you anything. So I’m sure you’ll get a few people reading this book. And it’s important to remember that, that all this money is going to Harvard. So it’s a purely altruistic act on your part, so it’s not like you’re trying to sell it to make a bunch of money. No, no, no.

Ray Goldberg 37:49
Yeah. It’s too late for me to get rich.

Borna (ClimateAi) 37:54
Ray, is there anything else you would like to kind of add to this conversation?

Ray Goldberg 37:58
Yeah, I think The world is brought together by men and women who work together to make it a better place. Most people don’t realize that our people in the Department of Agriculture, work with people at the United Nations work with people with food and agricultural organizations to help them develop programs of their own on a worldwide basis. Our country cares very much about an interrelated integrated global food system and cares about making sure that every other country works and tries to develop the same safety measures that we do so that we can be sure that our food is safe. They want to make sure that their populations and improve and are healthy. They want this to be a win win world, not just a win and win food system and I I know I guess I’m prejudiced. But I kind of think that the men and women in the food system are very special people. And I think they chose that. Because they thought they could make a difference. And frankly, I think they are making a difference. And I’m so proud of what these men and women have done. I’m so proud of a new generation of students who care more about each other and more about our world than any other generation. I just think this is an uplifting kind of system we have that isn’t really understood very well. And I think that what makes headlines are things that people yell and scream at each other. What doesn’t make headlines what people do to help each other and I think this book tries to do that. Yeah, it’s probably boring but I think it’s worthwhile.

Borna (ClimateAi) 39:57
Yeah, I think in an era of distress like like this As mentioned in your new book title in an era of distrust an ideological divide. I think your book does an extremely good job of reminding us that people are working together. And we have come a long way in terms of the solutions that we’re developing. This has been an extremely insightful learning opportunity, and I really appreciate you taking the time. Ready. Thanks so much.

Ray Goldberg 40:19
Well, thank you for the opportunity. And I’m very grateful for it. Thank you so much.

Borna (ClimateAi) 40:26
Hey, everybody, thanks for listening. If you have any feedback, or you’d like to add your own two cents on the topic discussed today, or if you’ve just got your own ideas about someone that we should discuss in the future, please feel free to shoot me an email at At its core, this podcast is just a way for us to learn and we want to share our learnings as we go. So we’re always open to building on these conversations and hearing new perspectives. Thanks for your support and see you next time.


Dr. Ray Goldberg

Professor Emeritus at Harvard University



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