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Down to Earth: The Planet to Plate Podcast
45 minutes | 13 days ago
Funding the science of regenerative ag
LaKisha Odom is Scientific Program Director (Soil Health) at The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. A non-profit organization funded by the Farm Bill, FFAR is helping to fund the scientific research behind healthy soil practices so that more farmers can make the transition to regenerative agriculture and long-term sustainability and resilience.
63 minutes | a month ago
Reclaiming the Commons
Dr. Vandana Shiva is an environmental leader, scientist, and activist. Author of over 20 books, she’s founder and leader of Navdanya, a non-governmental organization and movement that promotes biodiversity, organic farming, the rights of farmers, and seed saving. Her latest book is, Reclaiming the Commons: Biodiversity, Indigenous Knowledge, and the Rights of Mother Earth, published by Synergetic Press. She's delivering the keynote address at the Regenerate Conference.
51 minutes | a month ago
From art to agriculture: Emerald Gardens
Roberto Meza was a multi-media artist and MIT graduate student when he went encountered some health challenges. He found that eating healthy greens restored his health and spirit so powerfully that he started apprenticing with a farmer and then moved to Colorado to start Emerald Gardens, a greenhouse-based farm that delivers microgreens to customers in the Denver area—and which brings a focus to issues of food sovereignty, equity, and building a robust local food system.
43 minutes | 2 months ago
First nations food and agriculture
A-Dae Romero Briones is director of the Native Agriculture and Food Systems initiative at First Nations Development Institute. We talk about programs across the country that are helping native people build healthier food systems and to strengthen the traditions that have kept these systems alive even during the most devastating periods of colonization.
68 minutes | 2 months ago
Making ag finance work for farmers, not just for bankers
Zach Ducheneaux is a third generation family rancher on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, and he’s Executive Director Intertribal Agriculture Council. We spend the hour talking about how the current financing system for agriculture doesn't work for the people growing the food—especially in Indian country, where discrimination is still the norm—and how innovative new financing structures can provide a real alternative. Zach will be be speaking at Regenerate 2020.
60 minutes | 3 months ago
The Reindeer Chronicles: Stories of restoration from around the planet
Judith Schwartz is the author of several books, including Cows Save the Planet and Water in Plain Sight. Her new book, The Reindeer Chronicles: And Other Inspiring Stories of Working with Nature to Heal the Earth, is a riveting series of reports from all over the globe about people who are restoring landscapes and dealing with deeply entrenched conflicts that are exacerbated by their degraded ecosystems. She takes us to China, the Middle East, New Mexico, Mali, Hawaii, Spain, Norway, and other places where people are working with each other and working with nature--rather than against it. The results are extraordinary: healthy land, clean water, economic prosperity, and even climate change mitigation.
56 minutes | 3 months ago
For the birds: Audubon's conservation ranching work
The "Radical Center" concept says that food producers and conservationists have far more in common than not—and the Audubon Society's Conservation Ranching program is a prime example of this idea in action. Working in collaboration with prairie grassland ranchers, the Audubon Society is helping them to accommodate grassland birds, with the result that the land gets healthier, grazing animals benefit, and birds thrive. And they're driving "market-based conservation," in which consumers can choose certified bird-friendly meat. We talk to Marshall Johnson, Vice President of the National Audubon Society and Executive Director of Audubon Dakota and Audubon Conservation Ranching, who reminds us, "what's good for the bird is good for the herd."
31 minutes | 4 months ago
The risks and rewards facing young farmers
Vanessa García Polanco is from a farming family that emigrated to the US when she was a teenager. Now she works with the National Young Farmers Coalition advocating for policies that help young farmers, new farmers, and farmers of color--who are often ignored, as infrastructures tend to serve larger commodity producers--especially during the global pandemic.
45 minutes | 4 months ago
Bringing Buffalo back home
Jason Baldes is Tribal Buffalo Coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation. An Eastern Shoshone native, his people called themselves gweechoon deka, the Buffalo Eaters. But when the buffalo were killed by the US government, their way of life was badly damaged. Now Baldes is helping to restore buffalo to native lands and public lands as wild animals, and in so doing engaging the people to restore their relationship to them--as food, cultural icon, and keystone species on the landscape.
53 minutes | 5 months ago
The Rodale Institute
When the "green revolution" offered the promise of better agriculture through chemical-intensive farming, J.I. Rodale was skeptical. He started an organic farm and then an institute to study how farming could improve the land and human health. Now the Rodale Institute is doing agriculture research not only in their home farm in Pennsylvania, but also at new research centers in Iowa, California, and Georgia. We talk to Rodale's Diana Martin about the past and future of their research, about the impact of Covid-19 on both consumers and farmers, and about the resources available to those wishing to transition to organic/regenerative farming and food.
37 minutes | 5 months ago
Hopi farming: a 2000-year-long agriculture experiment
Hopi farmers were practicing regenerative agriculture before it was named. Working with the soil, the weather, the water cycle, seeds, and cultural practices, they fed themselves in the dry land of northern Arizona for millennia. Now the industrial food system has challenged their way of living and farming. We talk to traditional Hopi farmer Dr. Michael Kotutwa Johnson; he's a research associate with the Native American Agriculture Fund and has a doctorate in natural resources management.
45 minutes | 6 months ago
American Zion: Religion and rebellion on Western public lands
Cliven Bundy is a rancher who's refused for decades to pay his grazing fees for public lands. But where did his ideas about public lands come from? We talk to author Betsy Gaines Quammen about her new book, American Zion: Cliven Bundy, God and Public Lands in the West.
62 minutes | 6 months ago
Why the biggest reservoirs in the west are running low--and what to do about it
Lake Powell and Lake Mead are two massive man-made lakes and they're reservoirs for water used all over the West--for agriculture, residences, industry, electricity, and wildlife. And they're running low on water--we're taking out more than they're being replenished. Brian Richter, president of Sustainable Waters, and author of the book, Chasing Water: A Guide for Moving from Scarcity to Sustainability, talks about the roots of the problem, and what we can do about it.
40 minutes | 7 months ago
Food, farmers, and the virus
The Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic has touched all parts of our lives--including the food system. While farms are considered essential businesses, farmers and farm workers are facing huge challenges, including getting food where it needs to go in a changing world, dealing with illness and unemployment, and much more. Rachel Armstrong is founder and executive director of Farm Commons, and she walks us through the many problems--and some solutions--in today's food system.
57 minutes | 7 months ago
Restoring public lands through grazing
Gregory Horner is co-author of a series called, Profiles in Land and Management. He tells us about places all over the country where grazing is being used to improve land health--which may come as a surprise to many who have seen the land degradation caused by overgrazing. But when it's done properly, public agencies are seeing the return of native plants and wildlife--and they're saving money by letting animals do the work.
55 minutes | 8 months ago
Health, profit, and beauty on the farm in Minnesota
Grant and Dawn Breitkreutz converted from "conventional" agriculture to a regenerative system involving holistic management of livestock, cover cropping, and soil-health techniques. Over the last fifteen years they have seen their farm thrive, their own health improve, and their land become more lush, resilient, and hospitable to wildlife. They tell their story, with its challenges and learning experiences.
39 minutes | 8 months ago
A small New Mexico garlic farmer takes on a Chinese ag giant
Stanley Crawford is a farmer—he's owner of El Bosque Garlic farm in Dixon, New Mexico. And he's a writer—he's author of more than a dozen books of fiction and non fiction. His latest book, The Garlic Papers: A Small Garlic Farm in the Age of Global Vampires, is a fascinating portrait of a quiet life on a small farm, and at the same time about the legal battles between small new Mexico garlic farmers and a gigantic Chinese garlic conglomerate—and the surprising role of the US Commerce Department. It's also the subject of an episode ("Garlic Breath") of a Netflix series called Rotten, which is about the dark side of our food system.
56 minutes | 8 months ago
Ronnie Cummins grew up in a toxic part of Texas so toxic that there are no longer enough classmates to have a high school reunion. He became a human rights activist, and then a food and farming activist. In his new book, Grassroots Rising: A Call to Action on Climate, Farming, Food, and a Green New Deal, he looks at how the food system contributes to climate disruption, and how that can be turned around so that food, health, climate, and communities are improved by healthy agriculture practices.
60 minutes | 9 months ago
Growing food for healthy communities in Indian Country
Kelsey Ducheneaux is natural resources director with the Intertribal Agriculture Council in Eagle Butte, SD--and she's a fourth generation regenerative beef cattle rancher. We talk about the strengths and traditions of native food producers, the many challenges of producing food in the current financial system, and the ways that agriculture can heal land and people.
56 minutes | 9 months ago
Organic and sustainable agriculture in the Southern US
Brennan Washington worked in information technology and gardened with his wife just for fun and relaxation. When they moved to Georgia, they produced so much food that they got involved with farmers markets and CSAs--and started seeing the problems as well as the strengths of these outlets. Washington now works with Southern SARE, where he goes all over the Southern US and the Caribbean, talking to farmers and sharing knowledge to promote sustainable and profitable agricultural practices, as well as cultural sensitivity and understanding.
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