Omnivore’s Dilemma, Delusion or Delight — Blake Hurst

Do omnivores face a dilemma as Michael Pollan famously proposed in his popular book over a decade ago or is the dilemma a delusion? Farmer Blake Hurst who just completed 10 years as President of the Missouri Farm Bureau has practiced what he’s preached about farmer’s need to communicate. A dozen years ago when the Omnivore’s Dilemma brought global attention to modern farming methods, Blake responded with an article titled the Omnivore’s Delusion. https://www.aei.org/articles/the-omnivores-delusion-against-the-agri-intellectuals/ This led to the farmer from Missouri appearing with Michael Pollan on NPR’s Face of the Nation where they respectfully engaged in a too seldom heard consequential conversation. https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113619474        Now a dozen years later Blake Hurst visits with us on why it is still important for farmers to resist their nature and instead speak up about what they do and why they do it.

On Wednesdays at noon Pacific Time Farm To Table Talk will host conversations, including guests such as Blake in the new on-line audio chat for iPhone, Clubhouse. You can find us there and also find more information at our website FarmToTableTalk.com where you can also subscribe to receive our weekly podcasts. Thanks, Rodger Wasson

Tools To End Hunger – Katie Martin

COVID-19 has exacerbated food insecurity and laid bare systemic inequalities that contribute to hunger. One in six Americans—54 million—are food insecure, with the largest increases seen in communities of color. For a country that wastes 30-40 percent of its food supply, how can we understand this rate of food insecurity? Katie Martin is Executive Director of the Foodshare Institute for Hunger Research & Solutions and author of Reinventing Food Banks and Pantries: New Tools to End Hunger. On Farm To Table Talk Katie distills over 25 years of expertise developing creative solutions to hunger for tackling food insecurity.  Pervasive food insecurity is not due to a lack of food: it is a matter of access and power.  Reinventing Food Banks and Pantries: New Tools to End Hunger  shares a new vision of food banks and pantries as empowering community hubs where clients receive more than food, including job training and connection to community resources.

 

 

Linking The Food Chain- Rob Neenan

It might be appealing to imagine all food going straight from ‘Old McDonald’s Farm” to our tables, but it’s not realistic.  Because of seasons, climates, soils, water (quality and availabilty) research and grower education, most harvested crops need to be cleaned, cooked, canned, frozen or dried to move on up the food chain to tables around the world. In California alone, the companies that do these essential tasks employ over 750,000 workers with  several million family members and thousands of dependent local businesses–directly adding $25.2 billion to the economy.  This link in the chain is represented by the California Food Producers.  As CEO and President of the association, Rob Neenan with staff and committees is engaged in promoting and defending policy and public opinion that effects processing food distribution and sales.  Those policies today extend from new issues like the pandemic to long term issues related to water–where new groundwater regulations may result in millions of acres being fallowed and less food produced. www.clfp.com

Changing Farm Ways – Emily Newman, Rodale Institute

A lot of people want to farm and some farmers want to change the way they farm.  Emily Newman is helping those folks in her role as Program Manager for Rodale Institute’s Organic Crop Consulting Service. They provide  one-on-one mentorship and assistance to farmers looking to transition to organic. Consultants meet farmers where they are—each plan is individualized for best outcome for that particular farmer, no agenda or pressure.In under two years of operation, they already have over 150 farmer clients and over 50,000 acres in transition. Emily holds a B.S. in Environmental Resource Management, focusing in Soil Science, from Pennsylvania State University and is currently pursuing an M.B.A. in Food and Agribusiness. www.rodaleinstitute.org

Sustainability Is A Happy Family – JoBeth Evans and Maggie Davidson

 

Sisters JoBeth Evans and Maggie Davidson have been farming since they were old enough to feed the cows but just recently  (officially) went in business with their parents to form Williams Angus Beef. The girls grew up, graduated from college, got jobs, married farmers, had two kids each and are now reconnecting with their parents. They are practicing a basic premise of  sustainability:  keeping farming a live for generations to come. JoBeth and Maggie explain why this is important, how they are doing it and how other farmers can make this possible for their children and grandchildren. www.WilliamsAngusBeef.com

Smart Label Down Under – Paul Ryan and Rob Mackenzie

Food fraud and political tensions have heavily impacted Australian farmers exporting products to international markets. Traceability and provenance are essential to fighting food fraud and opening new export markets for  farmers, producers, processors and consumers who deserve to know they’re getting exactly what they purchased. Fourth generation Black Angus beef farmer, Rob Mackenzie, has been getting his hands dirty, working to strengthen Australia’s supply-chain visibility by implementing Aglive’s  paddock-to-plate platform.  Paul Ryan the Managing Director of AgLive and Rob Mackenzie join Farm To Table Talk to explain how new technology fights food fraud with stories in smart labels that traces provenance and production practices from the table back to the farm. www.australianangusbeef.com.au  www.aglive.com

Which Came First – Josh Balk

 

Consumers, Restaurants, Supermarkets and Farmers are finding common ground on animal production and marketing animal products. Here it can be argued that “the egg came first.” Josh Balk leads the Humane Society of the United States’ work in shifting the egg industry from predominantly cage production to cage-free housing instead. He’s successfully worked with virtually every major food company—including McDonald’s, IHOP, Denny’s, Kroger, Nestle, etc.—to enact a policy to switch to exclusively using cage-free eggs. He’s also waged successful ballot measures and legislative campaigns passing numerous state laws to ban the confinement of laying hens in cages and ensuring that all eggs sold in the state would be cage-free. When this work began, less than 5% of laying hens were cage-free. Now it’s up to ~30% cage-free representing nearly 90 million hens. Lessons being learned about this shift have implications for the future, up and down the food chain. @joshbalk www.humanesociety.org

Science and Solutions – Diego Angelo

 

Scientific advances are credited (or blamed) for food system progress (or problems) depending on food philosophies and perspectives.  Yet new knowledge  that comes from new scientific findings can lead to more sustainable systems that reduce waste, limit production of green house gases and feed more hungry people world wide.  Some of the necessary research for these advances will come from government agencies and most of it will come from companies who seek to profit, and to do the right thing. The Chief Business Officer with Biotalis, Diego Angelo is adamant that nature provides the key to solving the food waste (30%) problem.  www.biotalys.com

 

 

Healing Earth Heals Us – Rupa Marya, MD

 

From farms to citizens of the world of the world inflammation causes disease and makes health impossible. Global transformation will need recognition that farming is medicine for the health of all life and of earth itself.  That’s a theme for a KeyNote presentation at EcoFarm by Dr. Rupa Marya: physician, writer, musician, mother, farmer’s wife and Associate Professor of Medicine at UC San Francisco. Her forthcoming book, authored with Raj Patel, is “Inflamed: Deep Medicine and the anatomy of Injustice.” In addition to her extensive engagement in support of indigenous communities, she is the lead singer and composer of a globe circling band, Rupa and the April Fishes.  info@eco-farm.org

Dietary Guidelines – Barbara Schneeman, DGC Chair

Every five years the US Government develops and publishes “Dietary Guidelines For Americans”.  The Guidelines for 2020 – 20225 have now been  released by the two responsible agencies, USDA and HHS.  New approaches have been taken to identify diet patterns for various life stages.  The report follows the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines Committee of experts, except for two areas. The Committee recommended that “added sugar” limits should be reduced from 10% to 6% and that if men drink alcohol it should be limited to no more than one drink per day as it is currently for women and not two drinks as has been the guidance for men. Chair of the Committee, Dr. Barbara Schneeman (UC Davis, USDA, FDA) explains the process, the findings and significance of the new guidelines.  MyPlate.org