Robert Davis: CIO, Research & Development for Planet Based Foods
A Natural Food Innovator with a Heartful Purpose
As an innovator and entrepreneur, Robert Davis has a passion for natural foods—and an impressive roster of firsts. He created the first hot dog made from soy in 1979, and he further revolutionized the industry with the first organic soy and rice ice creams, the first hemp ice cream, and the first hemp cheese. Today, Davis is the CIO, Research & Development for Planet Based Foods. Having introduced many of the industry’s “first” products, including the tofu hot dog, hemp-based ice cream, almond-based yogurt, and hemp cheese to name a few, Robert has been at the forefront of evolutionary food entrepreneurship for the past 35 years.
Interview re-printed from www.daretobefabulous.com
You’re a natural food innovator who created the first soy hot dog and hemp ice cream, among many others. How and when did you become a food formulator?
My path was ignited by the logic for sustainability put forth in the 1960s and 1970s by such groups as the New Alchemy Institute, the Farallon Institute, the Rocky Mountain Institute, the World Watch Institute, and countless other individuals and groups that said we cannot continue to live on this amazing planet using the producer-consumer model. The Whole Earth Catalog was a constant reminder that we are part of the system we think we are separate from. I was drawn into this logic and wanted to help craft win/win growth models, so I went to the University of Maryland to get a Masters degree in urban planning. This transformed into a Masters from Goddard College on planetary development encompassing cosmogenesis (the origin and evolution of the universe), anthropogenesis (the origin and evolution of the human race), and spiritual evolution.
That degree was all I needed to start a tofu company, Light Foods, in St. Louis, Missouri. The company gifted me with an understanding of dharma, or one’s rightful path, and always reminds me of the times when my heart was in song. The art of tofu-making gave way to the wild call of larger market opportunities, and the Tofu hot dog was born. Even with the Trojan horse of introducing tofu to a wider market, my food career was afoot.
Food formulation comes through my mother Donna Davis’ wiles and knowings. She was an amazing cook and provided by example rich scrumptious what-nots that gave me a context for flavor and quality. I also have a clear sense of flavors, scents, and textures, and love food. The key to formulating now is how to feed people economically and qualitatively so that all may be fed.
You became known as a formulator of innovative natural foods after that. How did you find your next product to create?
I believe our path finds us and it was the same with food opportunities that appeared in front of me. At the early stages in my career, the spirit to feed people economically was strong, but during that period I acquired a family and with it the necessity to thrive within an existing paradigm of large margins and bottom lines. It was after years of being asked to cheapen products and cut corners for profit that my stomach fully turned and I came to the realization that I could no longer support programs and food companies that did not support qualitative planetary growth and the economic development of foods that would enrich the planet and the soul of the consumer. That is why I started the Hemp Food Company, a company that has had to endure many old -guard interests and misanthropic energies to stay afloat over the last three years. We are currently in the final stages of finalizing the first functional hemp burger without soy and gluten at our facility in Vancouver. My goal is to create a 50-pound bag of dried hemp-based nuggets for shelf-stable distribution that can be distributed to those in need around the world.
That fits in with the tagline for your Hemp Food Company: “May All Be Fed.” How are the hemp nuggets more practical and nutritious than other types of foods currently being distributed to those in need?
I have a patent-pending process on the most efficient direct way of processing hemp nut or seeds that allows for hemp’s integration into a host of end products, such as meat analogs, chips, breads, jerky, etc. The matrix system I created by combining brown rice, pea protein, and hemp is extremely cost-effective and illumines the potential for hemp to be grown and processed at the community scale. Hemp protein is the plant protein for a sustainable present future. It is time for sustainable community food systems because they make sense for a positive conscious future. A future that we have the choice to make, today.
Another project you’ve conceived is called Safe Space Inns. What are they?
I realized that my goal of feeding people had changed to encompass individual therapies that fed people energetically and spiritually. Re-patterning and transformational therapy is now at the core of my new career to help qualitatively feed people.
We find ourselves amidst a flurry of subconscious-to-conscious need of an intermediary facility for people in the throes of a transformational spiritual process. Primary is the grounding in love, compassion, and sacred safe space. I’ve developed an idea for an urban system geared to day-care emergency crisis treatment.
Based on your unique experiences, how would you advise others about finding their own rightful path and effecting positive change?
Everyone has a unique gift to offer the planet; everyone has the ability to feel deeply into their dreams and visions. One’s rightful path is intrinsic to each soul and is offered up via spirits’ whispers and/or cosmic bludgeonings till one heeds the celestial call to be thyself fully, honestly, and heartfully in all that one does. Your heartful purpose then becomes the positive change that illumines the grace and beauty of the new Earth to be.