By Spencer Feingold
In an effort to fight climate change, the founder of Blue Apron, Matthew Wadiak, is working to improve the factory farming conditions in the U.S. and is starting with the $95 billion poultry industry.
Last week, Wadiak launched his latest company, Cooks Venture, which focuses on using "regenerative agriculture" practices to raise chickens.
“Regenerative agriculture at its core is taking all of the carbon that is around us in the air everyday and using photosynthesis and healthy plant life to sequester it in the soil,” Wadiak told Cheddar on Monday.
In other words, the group will grow crops and plants in the chicken fields to help absorb carbon in the atmosphere and put it back into the soil.
“There is no longer the option to continue the status quo of industrial agriculture and combat climate change,” Wadiak added in a press release. “In order to feed the population and reverse climate change, we must move to regenerative systems.”
Cooks Venture’s will operate from an 800-acre farm in Arkansas and two processing facilities in Oklahoma. The company aims to produce 700,000 chickens by the end of next year.
Wadiak, who stepped down as co-founder and COO of the meal-delivery start-up Blue Apron in 2017, said that price of a Cooks Venture chicken is comparable to traditional birds, but added that “it's not really about the prices, it's about soil biology and using science to grow things in the right kind of way.”
Nonetheless, Wadiak hopes that consumers will vote with their dollar and support his initiative.
“Consumers are more and more willing to vote with their dollars,” Wadiak said, especially the younger generations who are “looking for foods that can be impactful.”
Wadiak added that the sustainable practice will create tastier and healthier chickens.
“You're not just eating a chicken, you are eating all of the food that that chicken eats,” Wadiak said.
Cooks Venture will supply chickens to grocery stores nationwide and sell directly to consumers. It also aims to expand its operations to raise cattle and produce grains.