What is Patagonia Provisions? Fixing the Broken Food Chain

Derek Ma Aug 30, 2023
15 People Read

When most people hear that Patagonia is selling food products, they probably think to themselves “aren’t they a clothing/outdoor apparel company?”

At least, that was exactly what I first thought.  Nevertheless, I considered myself intrigued and decided to check them out.  

Patagonia Provisions sell a variety of different food products. They have seafood, buffalo jerky, soup and chili, grains, and other various snacks and meals.

Although I haven’t been able to try all their different food products yet, the ones that I have tried have all been delicious and nutritious.  

Since my main focus of this article is on how socially responsible/environmentally sustainable these products are, I won’t go into too much detail about the taste.  Particularly, since taste can be fairly subjective.

Patagonia Provisions sees their food products as a tool for positive change.  

Part of their mission is to offer food that addresses environmental issues, encourage support of local food producers, and encourage people to eat nutritious, healthy, and sustainable foods.

As stated on their website, “We’re in business to save our home planet.”

Patagonia Provisions strives to make a difference by helping fix the food chain.  One way they are doing this is through regenerative agriculture.

There are three pillars for regenerative organic certification.

  • Soil health - This includes organic practices, meaning no GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and no synthetic inputs (fertilizers and pesticides).  However, this pillar goes beyond that and also includes conservation tillage, rotational grazing, cover crops, crop rotations, soilless system, building soil organic matter, and the promotion of biodiversity.

  • Social fairness - This includes capacity building, democratic organizations, fair payments for farmers, freedom for association, good working conditions, living wages, long term commitments, no forced labor, and transparency and accountability.

  • Animal welfare - This includes the five freedoms: freedom from discomfort, freedom from fear and distress, freedom from hunger, and freedom from pain, injury, disease. As stewards of this planet, these freedoms should be at the very least the bare minimum. Animal welfare also includes grass fed/pasture-raised, limited transport, no CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operation), and suitable shelter.

Patagonia Provisions requires every product to reflect a commitment to regenerative organic practices, animal welfare, and/or sustainable fishing practices.  

We can see this commitment throughout all of the food products that this company offers.

Buffalo Jerky

Patagonia Provisions have turned their buffalo jerky business into a tool for conserving buffalos and the grassland/prairie ecosystem.  

The ecosystem that once covered much of Central North America, from the Rocky Mountains to Lake Michigan. 

These grasslands and prairies are now only a small fraction of what they once were.  

Tall grasses used to be dominant in the eastern United States, however, only less than one percent still exist today.

Certain states such as Illinois and Iowa, contain only 0.1% of their original prairies, with the majority of these ecosystems converted into farmland.  

To make matters even worse, the remaining grasslands are under further threat by invasive species and fire suppression (prairies need fire to suppress trees and burn dead vegetation so its nutrients can return to the soil).

How Patagonia Provisions is helping

Patagonia Provisions is partnered with Dan O’Brien’s Wild Idea Buffalo Co. ranches on the Great Plains.

They are helping restore and conserve the grasslands through buffalo grazing techniques.  

Buffalo are an important part of the grassland ecosystem and help keep the grass and soil healthy.  

Studies have found that grasslands that have been grazed by cattle tend to be invaded by Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) trees.  

The buffalo’s grazing habits have a noticeable effect on the composition of prairie species and help balance the competition between forbs and dominant grasses.  

Additionally, buffalos help plant new seeds by chopping the ground up with their hooves.  

The buffalo meat is a byproduct of these conservation efforts and is produced using a holistic and humane approach.

There are no CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operation), instead the buffalo roam across thousands of acres of their native grassland habitat.

Patagonia Provisions has partnered with several great organizations, like Dan O’Brien’s Wild Idea Buffalo Co, that are committed to fixing our broken food system and finding alternatives to an industrialized food system.

Organizations that are equally driven to “leave this land better than we found it.”  

I recommend watching Patagonia Provision’s Unbroken Ground video to learn more about their various partners and products.

Each of their products, like the buffalo jerky, has a unique story and sustainable and environmentally friendly aspects.  Patagonia Provisions now boast over thirty food products that are available thru their website or outdoor retailers and natural grocers.

We vote through what we buy, and I am voting for Patagonia Provisions.  Voting to fix our broken food chain.  

I hope that you check out their products as well and vote for Patagonia Provisions too.