The Insidious Flaw in the “Less Meat” Argument — We Need Soil, Not Soy

Seth J. Itzkan
3 min readJan 6, 2020


The insidious flaw with the “less meat” argument is that it implies that meat is bad (when, of course, it isn’t) while looking the other way as it advances soil-depleting, GMO soy, faux meat products at the expense of nutritionally superior, regenerative beef and dairy alternatives that are essential for enhancing soil carbon, reviving pasture ecosystems, and just now gaining a foothold in supermarkets.

What Burger King and other franchises should do instead of carrying Impossible Foods paddies, is to insist that each region source at least 10% of their meats locally and via ecologically restorative production. That would jumpstart the food revolution genuinely poised to deliver a safe climate.

Holistic Planned Grazing in Zimbabwe — building soil, reversing desertification, sequestering soil carbon. Photo Copyright Seth J. Itzkan

Let’s look closer. Meat, as we know, is the most healthful food on earth and there would have been no human evolution nor higher order thinking without it. Nor, of course, would there be carbon-rich soil on two-thirds of the landed surface of the planet that depends on ruminants. The misplaced narrative shaming animal flesh allows for the promulgation of obscene Franken-foods like Impossible Burger. These aberrations of culinary sensibility increase, not lessen, our dependence on soy. They additionally concentrate the wealth generated by what we eat into the hands of a few high-tech entrepreneurs, who, like business vultures, use disingenuous arguments to simply make “lab meat” a vehicle for Intellectual property (IP) capitalization. What matters to them are the patents, not the “products” — 14 patents, in fact, in every bite of Pat Brown’s shameless fillet — with a war chest, at last count, of over two billion dollars. Were that money applied to regenerative grazing, we could end hunger and desertification in Africa.

Meat, as we know, is the most healthful food on earth and there would have been no human evolution nor higher order thinking without it.

The real problem, as most people in this group know, is the soy and corn used to support CAFOs. When the focus is on soil, it’s a no-brainer, we actually need many more animals and large parts of the country, such as practically the entire state of Iowa, that are in annual grain agriculture, will need to be converted back to tall-grass prairie with grazing. When the average citizen understands that, and when there are carbon markets to reward drawdown, this debate will be moot. Grass-fed meats will be cost competitive with CAFO products in the same way that solar is now competitive with fossil fuels. You don’t hear people saying “less energy.” You hear them say “clean energy,” “renewable energy,” etc. Those exact same sentiments will be applied to meat, not “less,” but “better.”

(This was originally posted in the Soil4Climate FB group.)