Into the Bunkhouse
In that moment of clarity, I laid the seeds of The Beef Initiative.
July 2021, North Dakota, middle of nowhere. I was living in a 42-foot bumper pull trailer we called our bunkhouse. It was long and too narrow. Just enough space for a tiny bed, in which it was hard to sleep anyway because every time somebody went to the bathroom, that bunkhouse, well, it shifted. Eight of us squeezed in there. That was our base for three months during the harvest season.
We drove with the convoy——flatbed trailers for seven combines, a couple John Deere tractors, two fuel trucks, eight semis——all the way up from Kansas to North Dakota. It was a family-owned harvesting company with home base in Kansas. We had our staging area in a small town next to the grain elevator. At the camp we were completely isolated: no reception, no internet, no means of transportation available to us except a fuel truck.
There I was: I cut off access to most of my life that I’d known. I just recovered from being sick. Doctors told me I was going south very fast, that I didn’t have much time left. I had come back from a death sentence of six weeks to live. I pretty much burned all the boats. I set out on a quest to leverage myself deeper into the food industry that I was already researching. I embarked on the harvest journey, searching for something I couldn’t quite put my finger on yet. But my instincts were still intact and, as I know now, they were already leaning into something.
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