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Washburn Part I: Making Mill City (EP005) - The Food Disruptors

Cadwallader Washburn (1818-1882) was born one of seven kids on a hard-scrabble farm in Livermore, Maine. When he was ten, he was farmed-out to pay his family's way out of bankruptcy. Nevertheless OR therefore, he played a leading role in a remarkable family of American leaders -- Congressmen, a Secretary of State, ambassadors, governors -- and in C.C. Washburn's case, Food Disruptor. He had a penchant for big operations, big risks, and other people's money. Together with Oliver Evans and...


McCormick Part 2 — Cyrus Scales the Reaper Business (EP004) - The Food Disruptors

Cyrus McCormick left a legacy as one of the most visible, vocal, forceful, and materially successful capitalists of the Industrial Revolution. Even though he fashioned a starring role for himself in the "McCormick legend" as the inventor of the mechanical reaper who rescued all of mankind from Malthusian starvation, he actually wasn't much of an inventor. McCormick was an INNOVATOR of the first order, and he had the outsized ego to match. Today, a reaper sounds so prosaic. But McCormick...


Cyrus McCormick: How to Monetize This Reaper (Ep.003) - The Food Disruptors

In the 1830s, wheat was still cut by scythes. A young food disruptor, Cyrus McCormick, designed a mechanical reaper that met wheat farmer's real needs in harvesting an unwieldy crop. His first act of genius was to earn farmer-to-farmer endorsements by focusing on product quality -- one hand-made reaper at a time. Notably, to demo his reaper, he lit out for the Western Territories, a prescient step that led to one of the greatest enterprises of America's Industrial (and Agricultural)...


Oliver Evans Founding Father of Food Disruptors (Ep.002) - The Food Disruptors

The Food Disruptors, Episode 2 finds Ruddick and Theresa hovering in their virtual TARDIS over the Delaware Valley, circa 1790. Colonial engineering nerd, Oliver Evans, gets a break -- capital backing to build a commercial grist mill based on his revolutionary design. And so he does, and it works great! But the entrenched competitors pooh-pooh his unfamiliar approach of continuous automated processing, which at once disheartens and embitters our prototypical innovator. Those skeptical...


S01E01: Oliver Evans Founding Father of Food Disruptors - The Food Disruptors

The Food Disruptors launches with a deep-dive into wheat and its multi-faceted role in American foodways. Even you gluten-intolerants should listen up, because we're going to learn why and how white bread became a cultural thing -- first a positive, then decidedly déclassé. Wheat in history also reveals how continuous industrial processing was born in America — it started at a small grist mill in the Delaware Valley and from that humble beginning unfurled America's industrial dominion for...


The Food Disruptors Trailer - The Food Disruptors

The Food Disruptors brings you the innovators, entrepreneurs, and geniuses who have completely disrupted America's food system. Co-hosts Theresa Brown and Ruddick Lawrence tell the stories of the big personalities who innovated fundamental changes in America's agriculture, transportation, food processing, distribution, and culture. Theresa writes on social history and food. Ruddick is an engineer, a cocktail connoisseur, a savoir-faire in the world of honest, delicious food, and also a...