What’s new down on the farm? Hemp. Farmers are trying to grow industrial hemp all over instead of food crops that have been providing insufficient returns. Consumers are starting to notice this strange new crop as they drive down country roads. Industrial hemp is not recreational marijuana; it’s the non-intoxicating low-THC, oilseed and fiber variety of Cannabis, with no use as a recreational drug. As of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp is no longer a controlled substance, but growers must follow the regulations and processes required in their state. Kris Corter, the Managing Director of HempWave explains the phenomenal ‘green rush’ to hemp production that is taking place on America’s farms. This Table Talk touches on what hemp means to farmers, consumers and this brand new industry. hempwave.com
There are some great tastes you just can’t grow locally. Take coffee for example. At the Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasting and Coffee shop in Sacramento, Coffee Farmer Juan Luis Barrios has come from his farm in Guatemala to see see what Edie and Andy’s customers think of his coffee. The next stop on his trip will be Scandinavia the other major area their coffees are enjoyed. (By the way, his coffee is delicious.) Juan Luis takes us through the steps to produce coffee in a sustainable fashion that works for the farmer, the workers, the roasters and those of us who just can’t think of getting our caffeine in any other way. After listening to this podcast we recommend downloading the Audible Original audio book “Caffeine” by Michael Pollan for a full appreciation of the addiction we love and would have a hard time living without.” www.chocolatefishcoffee.com
Farming progress can mean climate progress as processing tomato growers are proving in California. Since the tomato growers shifted almost totally to buried drip irrigation, water use became more efficient, yields increased, fertilizer was more precisely applied through the drip system, and, surprisingly the emission of one of the most potent green house gases, nitrous oxide, was virtually eliminated. Of the three primary green house gases, carbon and methane are best known, but nitrous oxide will stay in the atmosphere for 300 years. Agriculture produces 7% of all green house gases but 70% of all nitrous oxide comes from agriculture. To combat climate change green house gas emissions must be assessed, mitigated and reversed where possible. To explain how progress is being made, Dr. Will Horwath, the Chairman and Professor of Soil Biogeochemistry of the Department of Land air and Waster Resources of UC Davis visits Farm To Table Talk.
Where better to celebrate a Bacon Fest than at Mulvaney’s B&L in Sacramento, the Farm to Fork Capital of America. Delicious and innovative pork dishes are served as specials on menus all week, throughout the city, culminating in a competition to show what top chefs can do when provided half a hog to prepare their best pork dishes, and bacon. The 2020 BaconFest Champion is Matt Brown of The Golden Bear! with a winning serving of pork dim sum: a pork and mushroom shumai and a pork bao. The real winners were everyone that got to try all the wonderful dishes from outstanding Chefs. The pork was straight from the farm of Rancho Llano Seco near Chico. Lindsay Barrett and Jamie Salyer of Yano Seco join Farm To Table Talk to tell what today’s consumer wants to know: beyond just tasting good, how the pigs are raised, fed and treated, before they become the star attraction of a proud chef’s menu. www.llanoseco.com
For forty years EcoFarm has convened leaders, researchers, farmers and fans of organic food and farming at the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove California. At the 2020 Vision event over 1,000 attendees came to discuss the opportunities and challenges for the future of organic food and farming. Recent Farm To Table Talk and keynote speaker Bob Quinn offered 5 big solutions to becoming “chemical free in 43”. Two other keynote presentations that also earned standing ovations were by Dr. Jonathan Lundgren on transforming science for a regenerative agricultural revolution and Leah Penniman the author of Farming While Black. Both have agreed to be guests on Farm To Table Talk. The workshop on mending broken parts of the Organic program featured Anne Ross, the Director of International Policy for the Cornucopia Institute. At EcoFarm we speak with Anne about addressing dishonesty in global sourcing, when “organic” grain isn’t really organic. www.cornucopia.org www.eco-farm.org
It is becoming common to hear celebrities tell the public that they must cut back on meat and dairy consumption for the good of the planet. Whether consumers believe the “expert” advice of their favorite performer, the majority of the public does believe that climate change is deadly serious, but are livestock raised for our meat and dairy products to blame? While ruminant animals (beef, dairy, sheep, and goats) do produce green house gases, the amount produced varies greatly depending on production practices. It’s another reason to know where and how your food is produced. Dr. Frank Mitloehner is the Director of the AgAir Quality Center at the Department of Animal Science at UC Davis. Farm to Table Talk returns to this previously published podcast with Dr. Mitloehner because he so clearly explains what we should consider in making diet choices based on climate impact assumptions. Additionally Dr. Mitloehner reminds us that a very small fraction of the earth is suitable for Agriculture and only a fraction of that is good for anything but livestock grazing. It’s one of a number of key facts we have to keep in mind as the Earth gets hotter and more crowded.
Accompanied by occasional sounds of moos, oinks, clucks and baas , a big old barn in Ohio is the surprising base for cooking classes and state of the art learning experiences where chefs and other food and wellness educators make sustainability and mindfulness into a delicious and edifying experience. The Teaching Kitchen at Turner Farm was built in consultation with the Culinary Institute of American for cooking classes geared toward using fresh-grown ingredients in such a way that promotes bodily health and mental well-being. The Barn kitchen also hosts the University of Cincinnati Center for Integrative Health and Wellness to teach medical students and other health professionals valuable nutrition information, culinary skills and self-care practices. Providing the link between those who want to learn about nutrition and stewardship of the land is Stephanie White, Turner Farm’s Chef and Culinary Manager. Stephanie grew up in Connecticut, experienced organic farming in Maine and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in New York and studied food cultures in Germany, India and Ireland. From a loft above the kitchen in the barn Stephanie explains the ways to truly connect consumers with their food, literally farm to table.
Will we preserve the Agrarian way that Wendell Berry calls “the given life”? Farms and non-profits throughout the Country are stepping up to that challenge. In the Ohio River Valley, Turner Farm is all in to preserve the way of life of a certain kind of agriculture. Appropriately located on “Given Road” in Indian Hills on the outskirts of Cincinnati, Turner Farm teaches responsibility to the earth and to the land we have stewardship over–existing to take care of what we’ve been given and to educate consumers and aspiring farmers. Their work assures that there will be a place for people to connect to their food and to the land for perpetuity. Danny Losekamp started thinking about these needs while he was still a soldier serving in Iraq. Abby Lundrigan was an art history major who decided her best future would be on a farm. Today Danny is Turner Farm’s Manager of Livestock and Pastures and Abby is Crop Production Manager. They join us for Farm To Table Talk. www.turnerfarm.org
Could goats provide solutions to challenges such as: extra income, a new livelihood, chores for the kids, lower carbon foot print, poison ivy, forrest fire risks and even climate remedies, a bite at a time? In Central Iowa, Aaron Steele has become a believer and then a founder of a new business based on these beliefs. When Aaron and his family moved in to a new home with 3 and half acres, he had no experience with animal agriculture. Facing noxious weeds on the perimeter of his property, he decided to try a few goats. Besides it would be good for his boys to have outside chores to do. Inspired by the their experience with goats the idea of a targeted goat grazing business took hold and soon Goats On The Go became a reality. Aaron shares the journey from hobby, to supplemental income, to a new business with affiliates in 10 states. Along the way they have learned that there is hardly anywhere that goats wouldn’t help. www.GoatsOnTheGo.com
“Cheap food comes at a high cost” says Bob Quinn, a progressive leader in promoting organic and sustainable agriculture throughout the state of Montana, United States, and world. He grew up on the family farm in Montana when no one thought twice about what he now calls “chemical agriculture”. Today he challenges us to be “Chemical Free by 2043”. His journey and commitment to this goal is inspiring. After finishing a PhD in plant biochemistry, Bob Quinn took over his family’s conventional grain and cattle farm in 1978, started experimenting with organic production in 1986, used the last chemical application on the farm in 1988, and was 100% certified organic by 1991. As demand for organics grew, Bob discovered that with time-tested practices like cover cropping and crop rotation, he can produce successful yields—without pesticides. With his company Montana Flour & Grains, he introduced the domestic natural food industry to an ancient Egyptian wheat called khorasan which is similar to durum wheat and marketed under his own brand name, KAMUT®. The brand name helps to preserve the ancient grain and guarantee it is not genetically modified or altered. Bob recently co-authored the book Grain by Grain: A Quest to Revive Ancient Wheat, Rural Jobs, and Healthy Food. Bob’s challenge to the next generation is to walk through the door that the pioneers of organic opened and reintroduce the world to healthy, flavorful eating–CHEMICAL FREE BY ’43! www.eco-farm.org