Being successful at farming is hard enough without a Pandemic. Now on top of the regular challenges of planning, planting, growing, watering, harvesting and marketing crops, farmers today have to take extra steps to keep their family and workforce safe from the Covid-19 virus. Aaron Barcellos, partner in the family farm, A-Bar Ag Enterprise, knows that in addition to providing gloves, masks, staggered schedules and equipment modifications for protective barriers, the farm team still must be safe both at the farm and in their time away from the farm so they don’t catch and spread the virus. Cropping plans have also been disrupted as exports have dried up and food service has almost disappeared. Through all of this it is more important than ever to acknowledge food security and to care about how and where are food is grown.
What are we really hungry for? In Hungry, Eve Turow-Paul guides us through today’s global food and lifestyle culture and looks at the connections between top trends, how we find well-being, the impacts of the Digital Age and the COVID-19 Pandemic. How isthe Digital Age redefining people’s needs and desires? How does “foodie” culture, along with other lifestyle trends, provide an answer to our rising rates of stress, loneliness, anxiety, and depression? Why do so many wish they were farmers? An author, mother and thought leader on the food system, Eve Turow-Paul explains these trends and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to food, people and culture in her new book, Hungry and with Farm To Table Talk. www.eveturowpaul.com
“Left a good job in the City” is a familiar refrain to listeners of Farm To Table Talk. When a Pediatrician in Chicago moves to Vermont to start a grass fed beef farm, it’s a new verse to that song. Dr. Sheila Patinkin, runs a Wagyu cattle farm in Vermont where she sells to Michelin star restaurants, local steakhouses, pubs and ski resorts and – increasingly due to the pandemic demolishing most of those businesses – directly to the consumer via her year old online platform. She is a former doctor with a background in genetics who has spent a decade plus dedicated to growing and bettering the Wagyu beef cattle breed in the US. Her journey transcends medicine to running a 1790s Vermont Farm, focusing on genetics and the new frontier of high end marbling and selling Wagyu to breeders, restaurants and direct to consumers (with maple syrup on the side). Wagyu is an old breed of cattle and being raised by a new breed of E Farmers. Max Patinkin in San Francisco joins his Mom, Dr. Sheila Pantinkin in Vermont to take us down this important new road between consumers and the modern old farm.
The pandemic of 2020 has led to the closing of most restaurants, except for carry out and delivery. We do what we have to do, but we miss our favorite restaurants. Like most other restaurants Farm To Fork Restauant, Mulvaneys B&L had to close their doors and lay off their staff. Unlike most restaurants they almost immediately started looking for ways they could get back to what they do best, supporting local farmers and making meals for the public— especially for the needy, senior shut ins and school age kids who were missing meals because their school closed. Along with other like-minded leading Chefs they decided to get back in the kitchen and prepare meals for those most in need — creating “Family Meal”, a chef-driven initiative to mobilize restaurants as micro-commissaries to create meals for people in need. In a depressed restaurant industry, their action is encouraging. To share how they are again making family meals and making a difference in their community, we have table talk with Chef Patrick Mulvaney. To everyone who’s asks, “How can I help?” You can click here to donate to the Family Meal Initiative: https://bit.ly/2xzvOpY Every $20 raised through this campaign pays for one “Meal Kit” designed to feed up to four people or feed one person for up to four days. #saverestaurants #familymeals #SacramentoProud #SacramentoStrong
‘This aint normal’ is frequently said today and was the title of a 2011 book by the all-american farmer philosopher, Joel Salatin. It has led to the most popular question in the world today “when will we get back to normal?’ When it comes to our food system the answer is “maybe never” and that could be best. Joel Salatin, his family and team at Polyface Farm in Virginia are creating a new normal for themselves and their farmer partners. When their restaurant customers were forced to close in response to the Corona Virus pandemic, they created a local farm drive thru venture. Consumers place orders on line and then drive thru to pick up the locally produced animal protein and produce. Sales have skyrocketed as up to 300 cars line up to pick up customers’ prepaid orders. Joel Salatin sees this as a huge opportunity for farmers and consumers all over the country. It aint normal now but there can be better normals ahead. www.polfacefarms.com
Food trends continue, even as consumers respond to crises like a global pandemic by skipping meetings, grocery delivery and carry out. According to Suzy Badarucco, the President of global food forecaster, Culinary Tides, food and drink trends have been in a “slide” that began even before the Corona virus outbreak. Fires, mass shootings, floods, impeachment, trade wars, etc. have created a level of fear and anxiety that causes us to crave foods that calms and grounds us. Additionally the predictable economic recession dampens demand for premium products, until good times return. Yet in these times, foods with a good farmer story calms and permits consumers to be a hero by rewarding responsible farming practices with their purchases. www.culinarytides.com
The real dirt to common ground is found “Beyond Your Table”. It’s a new podcast launched at the 2020 World Ag Expo in Tulare CA. Leading voices in the agriculture and food space found common ground on the future of agriculture from diverse perspectives. Podcasters and co-hosts, Michael R. Dimock of Flipping the Table and the advocacy group Roots of Change and Rodger Wasson of Farm to Table Talk engaged two of California’s most important farmers in a roundtable dialogue. Don Cameron President of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture and VP and General Manager of TerraNova Ranch joined Judith Redmond, Co Owner and Co Founder of Capay Valley’s Full Belly Farms. Don is a diversified large-scale grower, producing 25 conventional, organic and biotech field crops on over 9,000 acres in Fresno County. Full Belly Farms produces over 80 crops on 400 organically certified acres. Since global and domestic challenges appear larger than ever to farmers and ranchers with battles over trade, falling prices, regulatory burdens, labor shortages and extreme weather events, running an agricultural operation is hugely challenging. Is the real dirt inevitable conflict or is there common ground? This is the inaugural episode of a the new podcast launching in 2020 from the host of Flipping the Table, Michael Reid Dimock and the host of Farm To Table Talk, Rodger Wasson. The World Ag Expo graciously hosted this first live podcast event. The underwriters of this podcast are the Environmental Defense Fund and the Agricultural Council of CA.
Today when many large food companies claim to be committed to sustainability and climate friendly regenerative agriculture, skeptics are quick to question. Is it real or is it “greenwashing”? A little on-line research or even better, a strategic conversation with the person responsible for corporate sustainability programs can answer those questions. Kelloggs has answers and their Senior Director of Global Sustainability Amy Senter explains the extensive range and progress of Kellogg’s sustainability initiatives. Kellogg’s’ Origins projects are helping more than 300,000 farmers implement sustainable agriculture practices, including more than 20,000 smallholders and 10,000 women farmers. ‘Origins’ projects in the U.S. are advancing practices across 250,000 acres to protect soil health, including crop rotation and cover crops. Table Talk guest Amy Senter serves as co-chair to the US Ag Systems focused Midwest Row Crop Collaborative and she also co-chairs the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Climate Smart Agriculture group. Prior to joining Kellogg’s, Amy led the National Environmental Policy Act compliance for the USDA. She has degrees in Environmental Science from the University of Michigan.
Joel Salatin, calls himself a “Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic farmer. Others who like him call him the most famous farmer in the world, the high priest of the pasture, and the most eclectic thinker from Virginia since Thomas Jefferson. Those who don’t like him call him a bio-terrorist, Typhoid Mary, charlatan, and starvation advocate. “He is also one of the most popular guests on Farm to Table Talk where wide-ranging conversations include nitty-gritty how-to for profitable regenerative farming as well as cultural philosophy like orthodoxy vs. heresy. Weather, markets and politics have been somewhat depressing so it seemed a perfect time to reach in to our Farm To Table Talk archives to re-publish an up-lifting, common-sense conversation we had a few years ago with Joel Salatin. He co-owns, with his family, Polyface Farm in Swoope, Virginia. “When he’s not on the road speaking, he’s at home on the farm, keeping the callouses on his hands and dirt under his fingernails, mentoring young people, inspiring visitors, and promoting local, regenerative food and farming systems.” Learn more about the farm, his books, speaking schedule at www.polyface. com and listen to him on Farm To Table Talk.
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