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Good Life Revival: Permaculture, Rewilding, Homesteading
10 minutes | Aug 9, 2020
Finale. "The true state of all things is a waterfall"
Listen to Microphones in 2020 by The Microphones (Phil Elverum).
14 minutes | Nov 22, 2019
72. What are you doing with your life? Or; Angels and Demons at Play
What are you doing with your life? What are you trying to accomplish? Where is this all going? Do you even have a goal? Do you have a retirement plan? Do you have a savings account? What happens when you get sick? What are you going to do when your truck breaks down on the side of the road? When are you going to become a productive member of society?
66 minutes | Nov 19, 2019
71. The Art of Inner Tracking with Luke McLaughlin of Holistic Survival School
Luke McLaughlin doesn’t want to teach you wilderness survival skills. He wants to guide you through the process of remembering your ancestral human nature. Make no mistake — though he’ll tell you that the technology typically amounts to little more than “playing with bones and stones,” these rhythms and motions that our ancestors honed across countless millennia can show us what it really means to be a human animal — an integral participant in the ecological unfolding of a place. The beauty of this practice lies in its immediacy, and its universal applicability: whether your local jungle is composed primarily of plants or concrete, these primal living skills are accessible to all of us. For episode 71 of the Good Life Revival Podcast, I caught up with Luke to discuss his recent transition from rural woodland living to the mean city streets of Asheville, North Carolina. What does it mean to be a primitive skills instructor in the heart of the city? Though Luke’s work these days is primarily focused on the hard skills, he also brings to the table many years of experience in wilderness therapy, so he knows how potent wildcrafting can be as a tool for emotional and spiritual self-improvement. The main thread running through our conversation is the art of “inner tracking” — the mental and emotional skillset required to navigate through our own conscious experiences in a world that’s fundamentally misaligned with our animal nature. It’s always a pleasure to hear from Luke, and I really enjoyed our “cross-pollination” here, to borrow from his vocabulary. Stream and download episode 71 at the top of the page, or listen through iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play! Don’t forget to subscribe! NEW! To hear my final thoughts on our conversation, check out this bonus podcast episode exclusively for Patreon subscribers: 71.5 - A Self That Touches All Edges To learn more about Holistic Survival School and Luke’s immersive Deep Remembering program, click here. Check out my photo tutorial on eating acorns right here. Score a free audiobook today when you sign up for Libro.fm using my referral link! All music was created by Sam Sycamore, and can be downloaded by subscribers at any level over on Patreon. If you’d prefer to offer a one-time financial contribution, you can do so through PayPal. This show is made possible by listeners like you.
62 minutes | Oct 17, 2019
70. How and Why to Eat Acorns - A Step-by-Step Foraging Tutorial
The acorn is one of the most common and ubiquitous nuts you’re likely to encounter almost anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere in autumn. Somehow, tragically, the vast majority of people on Earth today think of acorns as little more than “squirrel food,” despite the fact that they are easily rendered edible for humans after some basic processing. In fact, if we lived in anything approaching a sane, rational culture, acorns would be a staple in our daily diets around the world, as ordinary as white bread. Thankfully, there’s no massive cultural paradigm shift required in order to reclaim this delicious and highly nutritious ancestral food in your own life. All you need is time, patience, and some basic guidance through the process. That’s where this podcast comes in: for episode 70 of the #GoodLifeRevival Podcast, we’re going to review everything you need to know to begin gathering and eating acorns this season! Along the way I will answer questions like: Why would anyone want to eat acorns? What’s the difference between white oaks and red/black oaks? What is the best method for gathering, and how can you tell if an acorn is no good? How do you remove the tannins in order to make acorns edible? What’s the best way to prepare acorns to eat? And much more! Nothing brings me greater joy than teaching others how to make use of the common wild foods found all around us throughout the seasons. I truly believe that sharing the knowledge of how to eat acorns is one of the most valuable things that I can do with my time, and I hope that this audio tutorial will turn you into an evangelist for the cause, too. This episode serves as a great example of the kind of tutoring I offer on a one-on-one basis through my Wild Food Mentorship — there’s still time to apply before the October 31 deadline, but spots are filling up quickly! Be sure to submit an application here if you are interested. Stream and download episode 70 at the top of the page, or listen through iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play! Don’t forget to subscribe! Score a free audiobook today when you sign up for Libro.fm using my referral link! All music was created by Sam Sycamore, and can be downloaded by subscribers at any level over on Patreon. If you’d prefer to offer a one-time financial contribution, you can do so through PayPal. This show is made possible by listeners like you.
47 minutes | Sep 20, 2019
69. Climate Change Grief Pt. II - Visions, Wildfires, and the Children of Compost
Whether the status quo is prepared to admit it or not, climate change is not some mysterious future event looming on the horizon — it is already happening, here, now. So: how will you choose to respond? In this episode of the Good Life Revival Podcast, I revisit last week’s topic of climate change grief, and whether we ought to let go of the hope of salvation in favor of taking direct action to brace ourselves for what we know we can reasonably expect from a severely disrupted global climate. One crucial part of the process of preparing ourselves, I believe, is to reckon with our emotional reactions to what is unfolding in front of us. To deny the pain that we all feel when we observe the open wounds on the land that we walk upon is to numb ourselves to reality — to continue, in vain, to build a wall between ourselves and the natural world which sustains us. Acknowledging and confronting the seemingly insurmountable pain of a dying planet should only imbue our work with that much more urgency. Drawing from the writings of Steven Martyn, Kat Anderson, Trebbe Johnson and Donna Haraway, I make the case here that what we need now more than ever are visionary new myths to guide us towards novel ways and means of co-creation with the land. We do ourselves no favors by merely hoping for a better world, or praying that our leaders will miraculously change course — recognizing that top-down solutions have failed to materialize, the time has come for us to begin self-organizing in the interests of preserving and regenerating whatever is within our reach. All the while, we must not be afraid to stare down the very real existential fear that looms in the background. You are justified in your fear, but it is no excuse for inaction. You don’t get to choose what problems you face in life, but you can always decide how to feel about them. I hope you’ll join me in this difficult but necessary work. Score a free audiobook today when you sign up for Libro.fm using my referral link. Bibliography: Anderson, M. Kat. Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California’s Natural Resources Haraway, Donna J. Staying With the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene Johnson, Trebbe. Radical Joy For Hard Times: Finding Meaning and Making Beauty in Earth’s Broken Places Martyn, Steven Elliot. Sacred Gardening: Seeds for the Reemergence of Co-Creative Agriculture All music was created by Sam Sycamore, and can be downloaded by subscribers at any level over on Patreon. If you’d prefer to offer a one-time financial contribution, you can do so through PayPal. This show is made possible by listeners like you.
37 minutes | Sep 11, 2019
68. Coping With Climate Change Grief - What Comes After Acceptance?
We’ve analyzed the data. We’ve seen the models and the projections. The facts are grim, and the reality on the ground (for some, not all — yet) is even grimmer still: Global anthropogenic climate disruption is leading to social and political unrest as it causes ecological instability and begins to render regions of the planet inhospitable to humans. Worse yet, recent history tells us that scientists knew essentially everything we needed to know about the catastrophic severity of climate change by 1988, when corporate interests in the United States successfully waged a campaign to suppress the truth and ensure that no action would be taken. And still, thirty years later, no action is being taken, despite the fact that within this period — my lifetime — we’ve pumped more carbon into the atmosphere than in all centuries prior. Are we ready to begin seriously grappling with the notion that… …Maybe it’s too late? What happens when we allow ourselves to grieve over a war that’s already been lost? How does our perspective shift when we begin the difficult work of accepting that what’s done is done, and that there is perhaps no such thing as “saving the world” or “solving the climate crisis” after all? I mean; you’re not just going to like, give up, are you? Are you going to wait around for someone else to do something about it? What do you believe in? What is worth fighting for to you? When we begin to accept that our planetary trajectory has already been set by forces well beyond our control, and allow ourselves to grieve over what’s been lost and what will be lost, then a different sort of action becomes all the more critical. Far from engendering apathy, I believe that accepting the reality of our ongoing climate catastrophe is a resounding call for visionary creativity, and for radical, unconventional action at the individual and community level. Because what many people seem to miss is that the steps you could take to improve your life today — better caring for yourself, working to foster community resilience, regenerating land and treading lightly on the Earth — are the very same things that may enable you to weather the unforeseeable storms on the horizon. When we accept the reality that it’s too late, we begin to see the importance of radical, decentralized action. Not because we believe we’re going to save the world and solve the climate crisis; but because we have good reasons to believe that what’s bad will continue to get worse, and that every single one of us may potentially face a situation, or many situations, in the not-so-distant future when our resilience is challenged, whether randomly or routinely. Even if that day never arrives, we will still be better off for our efforts to rebuild, reconnect, and do whatever we can to protect what’s not yet lost — if for no other reason than the Earth is worth fighting for, to the very end.
84 minutes | Sep 4, 2019
67. Uncovering America's Hidden Empire with Historian Daniel Immerwahr
Picture, in your mind’s eye, a map of the United States of America. What do you see? If you’re like most of us, you’re probably picturing an outline of the contiguous United States, the so-called “lower 48.” You might also be picturing Alaska up there in the top left corner, and Hawai’i somewhere out there in the Pacific. Now let me ask you: Why were you taught that this is an accurate representation of the United States? As the historian Daniel Immerwahr points out in his book How to Hide an Empire, this “logo map” really only accurately depicted the United States for a brief period of a few years around 1850. What that map hides speaks volumes about the history of the American Empire over the last 150 years. For episode 67 of The Good Life Revival Podcast, I had the pleasure of speaking with Daniel Immerwahr about some of the stranger-than-fiction stories that characterize America’s unique brand of imperialism. As you will hear, the term “empire” is both a description of a country’s shape and of its character — and we can learn a lot by observing how it treats land and people in places where its own laws and ethics don’t always apply. How do we characterize the American Empire? Well, how you feel about it probably comes down to how much you know about those stories that it doesn’t tell you. And if you are not counted among those who have been historically oppressed on the fringes of society, then it’s up to you to seek out these stories for yourself. I hope that this conversation, and the book How to Hide an Empire, will encourage you to do just that. Score a free audiobook today when you sign up for Libro.fm using my referral link!
14 minutes | Aug 22, 2019
66. Explaining Nothing, Defending Nothing - Behind the Scenes with Sam Sycamore
I dream of a quiet man who explains nothing and defends nothing, but only knows where the rarest wildflowers are blooming, and who goes, and finds that he is smiling not by his own will. "I Dream of a Quiet Man" by Wendell Berry, from Given.
60 minutes | Aug 1, 2019
65. Rainwater Harvesting for Adaptive Habitats with Rob Avis of Verge Permaculture
Rob Avis is a petroleum engineer-turned-permaculture designer with many years of boots-on-the-ground experience in developing regenerative living systems. He runs the Canadian design company Verge Permaculture, as well as the consulting firm Adaptive Habitat. For this installment of the show, Rob joins me to talk about Essential Rainwater Harvesting, the book that he co-authored with his wife Michelle, released earlier this year. If you're curious about getting started with rainwater harvesting, whether for irrigation, washing, drinking, or all of the above, I think this conversation will serve as a great primer! Among other things, Rob walks me through all of the basic components of a catchment system and how to approach the design process. We also talk about the importance of seeking out high-quality information in a world thoroughly saturated with poorly researched blog posts and YouTube videos and the like. I hope you find it as helpful as I did!
73 minutes | Jul 17, 2019
64. Partnering with Powerful Trees - How and Why with Akiva Silver of Twisted Tree Farm
Akiva Silver is the owner of Twisted Tree Farm in New York, where he raises over 20,000 individual trees annually — no small feat as a sole proprietor! Earlier this year, Akiva published Trees of Power: Ten Essential Arboreal Allies via Chelsea Green, and this is one of those books that, for me, strikes a perfect balance between the practical and the philosophical. You’ll learn not just how but why to foster co-creative relationships with some of the world’s most generous and abundant tree species, whether your desired outcome is fruit, nuts, fuel, timber, or medicine. Or: what if there was no desired outcome at all? What if the true value of working with trees was to be found simply in the daily unfolding of life in all its beautiful complexity? Understanding that “the good life” is located in the Here and Now, how do we fully embrace the present moment and eschew delaying gratification for years or decades as we wait for our tree crops to bear fruit? I think Akiva’s story offers us a lovely lesson in the art of contentment: working for today, not tomorrow.
41 minutes | Jun 18, 2019
63. The Collapse is Not Your Fault: Climate Change and Near-Term Human Extinction
There is no debate: our planet’s rapidly changing climate is now a fact of our everyday lives. Unpredictable and extreme weather events are becoming more common and more frequent worldwide, and both their unpredictability and their extreme nature is increasing over time. Flood waters rise higher, tropical storms blow harder, droughts last longer and wildfires burn with more intensity, and all of the above happens more frequently and in seasons when we would not expect any of it to occur. We know that we are currently witnessing what’s described as the earth’s sixth mass extinction event. The last time such an event occurred, to the best of our knowledge, was when the dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago. The last time the Earth experienced changes in climate as dramatic as what we are witnessing today coincided with an earlier mass extinction event, some 250 million years ago, which is believed to have essentially wiped the slate clean and killed off up to 97% of the Earth’s species at the time. Species are disappearing and ecosystems are collapsing as global weather events defy predictable patterns and the rise in average temperature accelerates. One of the key themes that I continuously explore through this podcast is the idea that human culture is a reflection of its environment. Thus, it is my belief that we are currently witnessing the collapse of human civilization due to rapid and catastrophic changes to the global ecosystem caused by civilization itself. Humans are responsible for our rapidly changing climate and our rapidly declining ecosystems. But not all humans, and not just any humans. A relatively small group of civilized humans who worship at the altar of the limitless free market did this. 100 corporations are responsible for over 70% of greenhouse gases emitted in my lifetime, since the mid-80s. More than half of all emissions can be traced back to just 25 corporate entities. So please, explain to me again why I personally should feel guilty for drinking out of a disposable coffee cup or using a plastic toothbrush or showering with hot water for more than 5 minutes. Your decision to drive an electric car or eat less meat has no effect on the system as a whole. Individual consumer choices are essentially irrelevant when stacked against the consumption of energy by corporations and governments. You did not cause climate change, or the sixth mass extinction event, and you will not solve them through your individual choices as a consumer. If consumption itself is the problem, then we are never going to solve it by consuming more stuff, even if that stuff is significantly less bad than the more conventional stuff. Will anthropogenic climate disruption inevitably lead to the extinction of Homo sapiens? Only time will tell. But for those of us who are tuned in, we can’t ignore the deafening silence from the canaries in the coal mine any longer.
51 minutes | Jun 5, 2019
62. The Pursuit of Irrelevance and Illegibility with Sam Sycamore
Early on in my journey back to nature, I realized that I was going to have to get creative in order to overcome the unique obstacles in my path. Knowing that I would never work towards a six-figure salary or a thirty-year mortgage, I had to seek out ways of working with the land that did not involve ownership. …But what does it even mean to “own” a piece of land, anyway? In what sense do space and time and ecosystems “belong” to you? Rather than working harder to increase my income over years or decades in the interest of a future life, I opted to downgrade over a period of several years, whittling away my lifestyle and my material needs down to the bare necessities, in order to maximize my personal freedom from day to day — in the present moment. I consider it an ethical imperative to minimize my participation in the forces of exploitation and oppression which fuel our modern culture. Understanding that there is no such thing as “opting out” of civilization, I prefer to focus my time and energy on work that is largely *irrelevant* and *illegible* to the dominant culture. Why pursue this path? Why swim upstream and create problems for oneself that can easily be solved through conventional means? It’s not for everyone, and what works for me may not necessarily work for you. But I hope my approach to lifestyle design in the context of irrelevance and illegibility might help you to better frame how you view your own goals and desires in life. The Powers That Be will never offer you an exit, so it’s up to you to seek out novel strategies for engaging on your own terms.
76 minutes | May 22, 2019
61. Bearing Witness to Wounded Landscapes with Trebbe Johnson, author of Radical Joy For Hard Times
How can we create beauty and discover joy in a world so badly wounded by the machinations of our modern culture? This is a question that Trebbe Johnson strives to answer, both philosophically and in practice, through her work with the organization she founded ten years ago, called Radical Joy For Hard Times. I was so moved by Trebbe's book — also called Radical Joy For Hard Times — when I read it last fall that I ended up joining the Board of Directors for Rad Joy, because I felt that the organization's mission lined up quite neatly with my own: to learn how to deal with and heal with damaged and degraded landscapes, and to encourage others to do the same. In this conversation, Trebbe and I talk about: how she came to start the organization; how we, as individuals, and as a culture, might come to terms with the wounded places that surround us; how and why to practice radical joy; the role of activism in the face of overwhelming obstacles; and why, according to Albert Camus, "one must imagine Sisyphus happy" even as he absurdly pushes a boulder up a mountain for eternity. Don’t forget to subscribe if you dig the show! To learn more about Radical Joy For Hard Times and the upcoming Global Earth Exchange, click here. To pick up a copy of Radical Joy For Hard Times: Finding Meaning and Making Beauty in Earth’s Broken Places, follow this link. To sign up for the Foraging North America online course, click here. To check out the brand new Good Life Revival t-shirts, head this way. Today’s theme song is called “Clear Mind Canine”, written and recorded by me especially for this episode. Subscribers who pledge $5 or more on Patreon can download this tune along with all the others in my ever-growing podcast music archive, including my most recent full-length album, Bliss, released in April 2019.
6 minutes | May 4, 2019
60. You Do Not Exist
You do not exist. I do not exist. Ask your I: "What are you?" And your I will reply, "I am not."
141 minutes | Apr 18, 2019
59. Home is Where the Truck is Parked with Kelly Moody of the Ground Shots Podcast
If your life came to an end tomorrow — would you feel like you’d made the most of it? For episode 59 of the Good Life Revival Podcast, I met up with Kelly Moody, creator of the Ground Shots Podcast and companion blog, Of Sedge and Salt. Since we're both pretty unconventional podcasters who currently reside in California and like to talk about plants & people, we thought it'd be fun to do a kind of joint interview to get to know each other better. Though originally from the deep south, for the last several years Kelly has been based on the west coast while rambling 'round the country in the vintage camper-adorned Ford truck that she calls home. Like me, she's fascinated by the ways that humans relate to their environments, and she is equally passionate about sharing big, challenging ideas. In the end I think our chat serves as a great introduction to both of us, and we covered a lot of fertile ground at the intersections of our common interests. Among other things, we discuss the age-old question of whether to stay where you’re needed or relocate where you fit in; the challenges of working with the land when you lack a permanent residence; the romance versus the reality of #vanlife; and the importance of keeping an eye on Death looming in your rearview mirror as you voyage through life. I left Kelly's camper that day with so much food for thought echoing through my head, and I hope you'll walk away from this conversation in the same state of mind! To learn more about my upcoming Foraging North America online course, click here. If you want to stream my latest album Bliss, you can do that right over here. Today’s theme song is called “Natural Bridges,” written and recorded by yours truly especially for this episode. Subscribers at any tier on Patreon can download this tune along with all the others in my vast podcast music archive!
112 minutes | Apr 4, 2019
58. Disrupting Racism Using Deep Connection with Aaron Johnson, Porsha Beed and Jennie Pearl of Holistic Resistance
When your neighbor comes to you in a panic and tells you that her house is burning — how will you respond? For episode 58 of the Good Life Revival Podcast, I ventured up to Oakland, CA to meet with Aaron Johnson, Porsha Beed, and Jennie Pearl, three of the individuals who form the core of a group called Holistic Resistance, which aims to combat racism by fostering deep personal connections. Their work is at once profound and subversive, both in its goals and in the methods they employ in their efforts to meaningfully reach out to people. Though they are of African heritage, Aaron and Porsha make it a point to specifically focus much of their efforts with HR on reaching white folks, and helping white people come together to hash out some of the more difficult and painful questions they might have about race in an atmosphere of mutual honesty, vulnerability, and trust — where you don't have to be afraid of saying the wrong thing or making the wrong move in your genuine efforts to better understand your place in the world relative to the lived experiences of people of color. This is of course extremely exhausting work, involving an enormous amount of emotional labor, but all three of them shine with a level of confidence and satisfaction that makes it clear that there's nothing else they'd rather invest their energy in. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to sit down with these three in person for an immensely insightful discussion about: how and why they do what they do; the power of intimacy to combat racism; the need to replace internet conversations with direct action; and how nature connection plays into the broader struggle for compassion, trust, and understanding across (perceived) divisions of race, class, gender, and all the rest. This serves as an excellent followup, I think, to the conversation that Ev'Yan Whitney and I had last time around about sexuality and sexual liberation as a means of dismantling oppression. In this case the question is not about sex, but about intimacy in all its forms: how do we foster deep connections and build trust with individuals whose life experiences might dramatically differ from our own? And why is not okay to simply "opt out" of the struggle by deciding that "we" (you) have moved "beyond" race, or by concluding that focusing on issues of race only serves to perpetuate racism? Ultimately, as you'll hear Aaron describe, we will *all* (yes, white people included) continue to suffer as long as white folks don't put in the work on themselves to examine these questions. I hope this conversation encourages you to do just that, and I hope that the example set by the folks here at Holistic Resistance will empower you not to shy away from whatever painful, shameful, or otherwise difficult answers that arise as you venture down the path of dismantling all of the racism you inherited from the dominant Culture of No-Place — whether you wanted to or not. And stick around after our conversation where I take some time to examine my own whiteness and how it relates to my heritage as the great-grandchild of Sicilian immigrants in the United States. Don’t miss Reaching For Blackness, the three-day workshop hosted by Holistic Resistance in Chico, CA, taking place from May 18 - 20, 2019.
76 minutes | Mar 18, 2019
57. Sexual Liberation and the Question of Masculinity with Ev'Yan Whitney, Sexuality Doula
When all we’ve ever known is unhealthy, imbalanced examples of sexuality, how can we even begin to step into our power as self-actualized, sexually liberated individuals? For episode 57 of the Good Life Revival Podcast, I invited Ev’Yan Whitney of Portland, Oregon, to join me for a conversation about how we might start to heal as a culture from the toxic and repressive social norms we’ve inherited about sex and gender. Ev’Yan describes herself as a sexuality doula, which is to say that she offers holistic guidance for women as they navigate the difficult transitional process of owning and defining their sexuality, on their own terms. I shouldn’t have to tell you that this is very radical work, and Ev’Yan knows better than most just how dangerous it can be to stand up to the patriarchy and boldly proclaim your truth. Although Ev’Yan’s work is focused on individuals who identify as female, I asked her to come on the show specifically in the hopes of opening up this conversation about sexual liberation to men. I think our culture, and especially my generation, is ready to begin unpacking some of the more “toxic” elements of this rather nebulous thing we call “masculinity,” and I firmly believe that men like me really need to learn from women educators like Ev’Yan if we have any hope of defining a healthy, balanced sexuality for ourselves. Believe me when I say you’re not going to like what you find as you unpack the baggage you inherited from civilization regarding sex, but I hope that Ev’Yan’s example will inspire you to ask these hard questions of yourself anyway, and not shy away from the especially ugly, painful, or embarrassing answers that you might find tucked deep down in the darkest corners of your psyche. Ev’Yan has documented many of her stories and experiences with women over the years through her excellent podcast, The Sexually Liberated Woman. You can find out more about her and the services she offers through her website, EvYanWhitney.com. Stream and download episode 57 at the top of the page, or listen through iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play. Don’t forget to subscribe through your podcast app, and leave a review & rating if you dig it! All music you hear on the podcast was created by me, Sam Sycamore. “Alameda”, the theme of this episode, was written and recorded specifically for this installment of the show. The tune at the end is called “Hummingbird Drinks Jewelweed Nectar”, and was recorded in September 2018. It will be featured on my forthcoming album Bliss, set for release later this year. Stream and download it for free over on Patreon. As always, if you get some value out of the work that I put into this podcast, and you’re able to translate that value into financial capital — as little as $1/month — I hope you will consider becoming a supporter over on Patreon! Your contributions allow me to devote quite a lot of my time and energy to this work. I would love to do even more, with your help.
80 minutes | Feb 27, 2019
56. Seaweed Foraging on the California Coast with Heidi Herrmann of Strong Arm Farm
Where ocean meets land: that’s where you’ll find Heidi Herrmann of Strong Arm Farm, who spends the better part of each summer meticulously hand-harvesting wild seaweed along the California coastline. For episode 56 of the Good Life Revival Podcast, I traveled to Santa Rosa, CA to meet with Heidi and pick her brain about the ins and outs of seaweed foraging, and find out how this pursuit came to be such an integral element of her annual workflow. As you’ll hear in our conversation, the California coastline boasts over 600 (!!) native species of seaweed, many of which are edible and some of which are highly sought after by chefs and health-conscious consumers who value the nutrient density and that inimitable local marine terroir. (Can you call it ‘terroir’ if it comes from the sea?) But beyond her collection of wonderful macroalgae, I really enjoyed getting to know Heidi and learning how she makes ends meet in the remaining nine months out of the year when she isn’t solely focused on seaweed. Heidi’s story as an educator who practices what she preaches is a great example, I think, of what’s possible when you’re willing to dive headfirst into sharky waters — so to speak :) — and work through the trial and error process of determining what niches you might be able to fill in your local community. You never know where this might take you!
71 minutes | Feb 15, 2019
55. Reading Your Body, Reading the Land with Adam Haritan of Learn Your Land
Personal health is not just an extension of environmental health — they are one and the same. For episode 55 of the Good Life Revival Podcast, I was fortunate enough to speak with Adam Haritan, creator of Learn Your Land. Nowadays he’s best known as a forager, naturalist, and educator, but these pursuits came after a sea change in Adam’s life which began when he woke up to how he’d been neglecting his health as a touring heavy metal drummer. “My body was kind of slowly falling apart on the inside. Nothing too serious — other people would look at me and think I was fine — but I didn’t feel fine inside.” As his interest in playing with the band was waning, Adam decided to pursue studies in nutritional science, and although he found the conventional academic approach somewhat lacking, he was lucky enough to connect with mentors who helped him discover the holistic health benefits of foraging for wild foods. Because gathering wild edible plants and fungi is about so much more than mere nutrition: it is physical and spiritual sustenance for the whole human animal, which cannot be summed up in terms of macronutrient content or calories burned. Adam and I had a great conversation about his background and his work; the health benefits of nature connection; and the kinds of perspectives we can take on when we learn how to read the landscapes that we inhabit.
80 minutes | Feb 5, 2019
54. Ecological Awareness and the Wildlife Web with Thomas J. Elpel
How can we reestablish our fundamental connection with nature, in the context of a culture so thoroughly disconnected from the ecosystems that sustain it? According to Thomas J. Elpel, founder of Green University and the Outdoor Wilderness Living School, it starts by empowering people of all ages to learn to read the external signals and cues we receive from our environment; to discover how to tune in to the frequency of Mother Nature, always buzzing all around us no matter what kind of landscape we find ourselves moving through. For episode 54 of the Good Life Revival Podcast, I had the pleasure of chatting with Tom to learn more about his latest project, the “dynamic ecology card game” called Wildlife Web. “Wildlife Web simulates the dynamics of a real world ecosystem with astonishing accuracy. With fifty animals to choose from, players can become anything from a mouse to a moose or a bird to a bear, each foraging or hunting for food to mate and reproduce while trying not to become food themselves. The game is fun, competitive, and addictive!” Beyond this latest project, Tom is also the author of more than half a dozen books on topics ranging from botany and plant ecology, to natural building, to wilderness survival skills and more. He is perhaps best known for his indispensable Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification, a book that I cannot recommend highly enough. We had a great conversation about the card game and the challenges of teaching ecological literacy; we explore some of Tom’s experiences as a wilderness living instructor; and we also touch upon some other common threads of interest, like frugal living and how and why to try to escape the rat race of modern society. If you think Wildlife Web sounds as cool as I do, I hope you’ll join me in backing it on Kickstarter so that it will become a reality! EDIT: I just got word that the project has been fully funded! Still, you can and should preorder a copy today!
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