Today we’d like to introduce you to David Hauser.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
As a 20-year-old, I was really drawn to making our world healthier and more balanced. I saw a lot of pollution and disregard for our planet that seemed so unnecessary. I had this grandiose notion that I needed to save the world. So, I studied Environmental Science and getting out of school found myself measuring methane levels at an abandoned landfill. It was not what I expected and shortly was disenchanted and unfulfilled. I left that job and tried my hand at technology sales and have done that for the past 12 years.
Two years ago, I felt the tugging of those initial visions again, and I set an intention to transition to a more meaningful line of work by January 2019. After a lot of soul-searching, reading, trainings, coaching and mental shifts, the end of 2018 was soon upon me and so was my deadline. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a new career clearly defined. I decided to become a personal coach/consultant, specifically to help others gain confidence.
And then two months into this process, my wife introduced me to a podcast that changed everything for me. It was about Regenerative Agriculture. And it resonated SO deeply with me.
A shift to Regenerative Agriculture across the country will significantly counteract many of the biggest challenges we are facing today, like climate change, chronic disease, food security and farmer solvency. And there are good arguments that it could be a strong player in national security too.
At its core, Regenerative Agriculture focuses on growing soil (as rudimentary as that sounds, it has enormous impacts). Soils in the US and around the world are highly depleted, with 50% of the nutrient and carrying capacity gone. And that’s a result of our current farming practices, which are highly “degenerative.” When we focus on managing farmland to put those nutrients back in place and allow the subsoil ecosystem to thrive, we start growing much healthier food. Food that’s more nutrient dense and not covered with chemicals improves human health.
One component of better soils is more carbon, much of which comes from removing CO2 from the atmosphere (which is just basic photosynthesis, for those of us who forgot freshman biology). Turns out CO2 is the major Greenhouse Gas responsible for climate change. It’s estimated that 30 to 40% of the CO2 in the atmosphere today is a result of conventional farming practices which have released the gas while degrading the soils.
The basic practices that make up Regenerative Agriculture include no tilling (so you can leave the soil biome in place), high biodiversity of plants and animals (which adds lots of nutrients), a living soil (keeping plants on the field all year to fight weeds, encourage a healthy soil biome and buffer major weather events), no spraying (no more chemicals on your food) and incorporating livestock (churns in plant matter, adds nutrients).
So looking back, I feel that the process of shifting careers was a long and arduous one. And I think that time and challenge was needed. I had a lot of hang-ups, faulty definitions and world-views that I needed to let go of, that I needed to work through.
But I also think that once I had made that commitment last December to becoming a life coach, that something bigger happened. I think the universe saw my commitment and recognized that I was finally ready to stop playing small. And that’s when this fascinating and very promising concept of Regenerative Agriculture was dropped in my lap.
As I’ve dug into this work, I have been amazed at how it connects to so many other pieces and experiences from my life. From the Master’s degree in Environmental Science that I thought I would never use again, to Public Speaking work I had done years ago for St. Jude, to a number of coincidental and fortuitous conversations that have led to amazing connections and opportunities. Like the path was just waiting for me to start down and step by step, the connections were just there. It truly feels that all my past efforts and events have put me in a position to connect with and succeed in promoting this movement. And that is really inspiring.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has been anything but smooth. The past two years have been really challenging. I had been disengaged with my technology sales work for a long time. It was just a paycheck. As I started down this transitional path a couple of years ago, I ran into a lot of bumps in the road. From self-inflicted ones to relationship and self-identity issues to flat-out confusion and lack of direction.
Big picture though, I knew I had the ability to show up more than I was. And that’s why I started and continued down this path. And I will say, the path felt very opaque and ill-defined most of the time. But I had a number of things that really helped me along the way: my incredible wife, good friends who gave me their ear, lots of reading, exercising to clear my head and a renewed spiritual connection.
The spiritual piece was really a key part to making this change. It was a part of my life that lacked and I needed it to shift. Along this journey, I found a spiritual teaching that resonated with me. And it’s given me a deeper awareness of self, life and Higher Power. It’s given me perspective, humility, confidence and insight to really pursue a greater objective, without it being about me…and therefore, not getting trapped by my ego.
I’ve learned to tap into my intuition, set intentions related to these intuitions and trust that they will manifest. And a lot of them have. I truly feel that we all have this guiding system in ourselves, which we’ve lost touch with. We’re not tuned in to it. We’ve been drowning it out for years…by our ego, general busyness, technology, etc. It’s like all those dreams and intentions you had as a kid are squashed by practicality, judgment and the status quo. Those dreams came from somewhere and if you take some time to listen, you’ll find they’re still there.
And as I began to listen and trust my internal guidance system (even when it went against rational judgement and scared the crap out of me), the steps of the path forward were just kind of laid out in front of me, no joke. Some of the steps took a while to turn up, but over time, it all just started making sense and falling in to place.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about At The Epicenter – what should we know?
I’ve just recently taken a role as Director of Development for At The Epicenter. We operate a collaborative summit every year, the Regenerative Earth Summit, which brings major Regenerative Agriculture thinkers, leaders and doers together to create, share insights and drive meaningful connections and actions. It’s a hub, bringing together key people from all points of interest on the subject, many of whom would not have been connected without this event. This provides a multiplier for everyone’s individual efforts to push greater impact and adoption of Regenerative Agriculture. I’m extremely grateful to be working with this preeminent organization and leader in the space.
What role has luck (good luck or bad luck) played in your life and business?
I feel lucky to be working on a movement that means so much to me and that I truly believe will change and heal the world. I had cancer as a kid, and that wasn’t lucky in the slightest. But it gave me a perspective that I would not have otherwise, and I’m grateful for that. And oddly enough (or maybe not) it’s the same type of cancer that they are connecting to Roundup (which is used ubiquitously on most farms in the US), so there’s some seed that got planted in my life from that event that led me back to this work.
Another example, I got fired for not being a “good” employee when I worked measuring methane gas. Getting fired was no fun, but neither was the job. So, I’m thankful that it happened. Now I’ve come back to the environmental movement with more life experience and vision, and I can make a bigger impact than if I had continued measuring methane.
So, I guess life just happens. Some seem bad and some seem good. But over time our perspective of those events changes and that’s when we can really use those impactful events to inspire our next endeavors. They become the identity that gives us strength, vision and purpose moving forward.