Minimalists Raising Sheep — Paul Rodgers, VA Farmer/Am Sheep Industry

Millions of people are now committed Minimalists, seeking a simpler, scaled down life style. They are discovering backyard chickens, so what about sheep? It turns out many have and are raising their own sheep in large back yards or small fields at city’s edge. Paul Rodgers, the Deputy Director of the American Sheep Industry, has been raising sheep on the side at his place in Virginia. Today there are inquiries from coast to coast about how to get started with sheep. In this Farm To Table Talk podcast Paul walks through the necessary steps and economics of raising. Transitioning Minimalists may find that sheep are rewarding in more ways than one.

Endless Summer Harvest — Stuart Woolf, Tomato Farmer

It’s harvest time for tomatoes and the journey to our plates begins here in the field. How are the delicious fresh flavors of summer produced and preserved? all the way from seed to our plates year round? Central Valley Tomato farmer, Stuart Woolf joins us in his family’s tomato field and explains the wonder of continuous improvement — sustainably growing more tomatoes with fewer inputs. Think of this story the next time you enjoy tomato products on your pizza, enchiladas, hamburgers, salad or this winter’s stews and soups. More information is available at www.tomatowellness.com

The Changing Face Of Farming–Javier Zamora, JSM Organics

Javier Zamora was born in Michoacan, Mexico. From age 7, Javier helped tend the family’s vegetable plot and worked in his school’s 5 acre garden. Javier came to the States at age 20 where he earned his landscaping degree from San Joaquin Delta College and his organic production degree from Cabrillo College, and trained at the Agriculture & Land-Based Training Association (ALBA) in Salinas. He is now the proud owner and operator of JSM Organics, cultivating berries and unique varieties of vegetables and flowers in Royal Oaks and Aromas, CA. He is a member of the Board of the Ecological Farming Association., sponsors of the annual Eco Farm.
Although he didn’t speak any English when he came to the US, you’ll hear that he has no problem today communicating exactly what he believes. Javier is passionate about farming and the opportunities it provides for thousands of farmers like him, who may also have been born across the border but have grown from farm work to management to ownership and becoming respected producers of high quality food. They are an important, major part of the changing face of farming in the USA.

Something’s Fishy — Hayley Nuetzel, At the Market

More people, eating more fish are more discerning about their choices; but is it really sustainably fished and is it the type of fish that it’s advertised to be? This isn’t a new question, but it is new that the ability to get honest answers is much more accessible. Hayley Nuetzel, is a PhD student, the daughter of a fisherman and already an experienced investigator–even engaging high school students in her surveys. Farm To Table Talk visits with Hayley at the WestSide Farmers Market about fish fraud, Seafood sustainability and why she is optimistic about a future where consumers care and get the fish they want.

Free Range, Sunny Side Up — Jesse LeFlamme, Pete & Gerry’s

Eggs are good for you and “Hens are Fun”! What more should we know? Well, more than you think. Jesse LeFlamme came back to the family farm and is leading the way to producing free range organic egss that meet the needs of today’s consumers who care about more than just nutrtion; they care about how animals are raised. Jesse’s family farm, today’s Pete & Gerry’s, has created a model of sustainably producing eggs and has helped other farmers join their journey, resulting in Pete & Gerry’s organic free range eggs being available in nearly every state in the country. In this Farm To Table Talk podcast we explore consumer demand, retail response and the journey being followed by progressive farmers, doing the right things for the right reasons. www.peteandgerrys.com @peteandgerrys

Food Is Medicine — Cathryn Couch, Ceres Community Project

60% of deaths in the US have poor diet as a contributing cause–we’re eating ourselves sick, says Cathryn Couch, the Founder and Executive Director of Ceres Community Project. If people just ate the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables, mortality would be reduced by 40%. A 3 year medically tailored meal pilot project is setting out to prove that providing poor people with healthy meals will save millions of dollars in health care costs and more importantly save lives. Cathryn says that we can provide meals for someone for a full year for the cost of one day in a hospital. The Food Is Medicine Coalition is engaged in supporting medically tailored meal programs across America. There is legitimate optimism about these projects because there is such an epidemic of chronic disease putting tremendous pressure on health care costs, providing good food options is ‘low hanging fruit’. If we invest in food, we save money and insurers will have reason to jump on the bandwagon. www.ceresproject.org #fimcoalition

Dicamba Bans: Weeds Win — Bob Scott, Arkansas Extension Weed Specialist

The front line for battling weeds may well be Arkansas, where weed resistance to Monsanto’s Round Up ready products has led to new GMO seeds that are resistant to applications of two or more additional pesticides, notably Dicamba. Dicamba helps control the toughest weeds, but it can drift on to other crops or Soybean fields that are not planted with the newest GMO variety. This has led to extreme, neighbor, public and political battles about the future for Dicamba and possibly other products as well. To set the stage of what’ happening from the farm level perspectives, we welcome Dr. Bob Scott, Extension Weed Specialist with the University of Arkansas for table talk: “weeds find a way”. Attention is focused on Arkansas now, but other states are expected to follow.

New Food Activism — Julie Guthman, Author & Professor

We are witnessing the birth of a new food activism that is both oppositional and collaborative. Dr. Julie Guthman teaches and writes to encourage budding agrarians and the rest of us to pick a battle, take stances, be political work on policy or simply just work on something that looks to be really wrong. Her students at the University of California at Santa Cruz have completely changed from somewhat passive in the past to feeing total outrage now about the political environment. Dr. Guthman has written extensively about food and agriculture including in her books: “Agrarian Dreams”, “Weighing Obesity, Food Justice and the Limits of Capitalism” and her soon to be published newest book, “The New Activism”. “These times cause us to be horrified and hopeful… Pick your battle.”

BPA — Steve Hentges, ACC

BPA or the absence of BPA is a new point of information on food and beverage container labels–confusing to some and welcomed by others. Mistrusting agencies, manufacturers, technology and chemistry has led to marketing and labeling strategies that have created label lists of what’s not in foods. BPA is one of those things that many don’t understand but feel pressured to take a position. This episode of Farm To Table Talk has a conversation with Steve Hentges the Executive Director of the Poly Carbonate/BPA Global Group at the American Chemistry Council. Yes, this is an Industry Association whose members manufacture BPA but they also manufacture the alternatives and have a good reputation for backing solid science. He explains what is BPA, how it is used, why it matters and the state of the science and regulations.