Here’s Our Bill – Sam Fromartz FERN

We all know of other times at other tables where we ask for the Bill.  This nation of farmers and consumers have a Bill coming due. It’s called the “Farm Bill”.  Since over 80% of the billions of dollars go to assist consumers rather than farmers, it’s probably mis-named. Every five years a new Farm/Food/Nutrition/Conservation law has to be re-created and passed by Congress. Like everything else political these days, it’s more partisan than ever–not just between Democrats and Republicans,r but also between City and Rural areas where increasingly needy families are as easy to find as are farm families.  The Farm Bill touches us all and confounds many of us. Fortunately there are still journalists helping sort through the myths and the facts.  Foremost among those producing  investigative  journalism about food and environmental issues is the Food and Environmental Reporting Network. Sam Fromartz is a veteran journalist and the editor-in-chief who joins Farm To Table Talk to explain pending policy issues and the role of Ag communicators in today’s partisan climate.


Feeding the World – Jessica Eise, Purdue




How do we get adequate and nutritious food to  billions of tables? We better figure it out because by 2050, there will be ten billion mouths to feed in a world seriously impacted by environmental change. How can we meet this challenge? A diverse group of experts from Purdue University break down this crucial question by tackling big issues one-by-one and cover it in a book entitled, appropriately, “How To Feed The World”. They cover population, water, land, climate change, technology, food systems, trade, food waste and loss, health, social buy-in, communication, and, critically, the ultimate challenge of achieving equal access to food. To help us through the key topics and  the  complex web of factors that must be addressed to assure global food security, the co-author, Jessica Eise is our guest on Farm To Table Talk . A doctoral candidate in Purdue’s Brian Lamb School of Communication, Jessica Eise is a former  guest on Farm To Table Talk when she talked about how Agriculture needs to improve it’s image and trust with better communications. “….these are not simple problems, yet we can overcome them. Doing so will require cooperation between farmers, scientists, policy makers, consumers, and many others.”

Food Tech Connects – Cam Sluggett

If consumers want to know what will be special at their Farmers Market this week and their Farmers want them to know, there out to be an App for that! Well there is, thanks to innovators like Cameron Sluggett, who saw a need and from a San Luis Obispo Incubator, created an App called “Arkitu”.  Farm vendors can be sure customers know where to find them and those customers learn instantly what’s new with their favorite farms.  Cameron is not your average Start Up founder.  He was diagnosed to have Cerebral Palsy as a child and some related issues. In his case the challenges led to an extraordinary computer technology aptitude. His unique journey continued through a stint in Nicaragua and even living in a converted Hawaiian shipping container with an ocean view. In this episode of Farm To Table Talk, Cam shares the story of his journey, his vision for the Arkitu App and why he’s optimistic about the Farm to Table future.

Turning Tables of Trade – Roland Fumasi

Do Trade Wars matter? Only if you farm, eat or do business with those who do. In other words: Absolutely.   There has long been legitimate trade issues with China regarding intellectual property and certain tariffs that they imposed on products including some agricultural commodities.  Many of these issues would have been addressed within the framework of the Trans Pacific Trade Partnership that the Trump administration withdrew from.  Now instead of trade talks the world is dealing with retaliatory tariffs that are a tax on everyone, both ways.   The Trump administration announced tariffs on China and China strikes back; then US retaliates with more and China doubles their hit list, including many US agricultural products.  It doesn’t stop with China, as Europe, Mexico and Canada have reacted to US threatened tariffs as well.  To talk about the turning tables of trade in this episode of Farm To Table Talk is Dr. Roland Fumasi,  Senior Global Analyst for Rabo Bank, a cooperative agricultural credit bank based in the Netherlands–where the world of trade has always been a priority. Roland focuses on fruit, vegetables and flowers sectors form the bank’s offices in Fresno, CA. He was raised on a dairy and farming operation in the Sacramento Valley, and served as the Californian State FFA President before attending Cal Poly, where he received both his BS and MS in Agribusiness, achieving his PhD in Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University.  Join trade talks at our table, Farm To Table Talk.

Rethink Recycle H2O – Randy Record

There is no good food without good water and good sources of water for food and all other necessities of life are harder and harder to come by. The challenges are especially acute where the Farm meets the City.  To meet the needs of a thirsty plants and people, recycling water is  important in some areas today and essential tomorrow.  Randy Record is a farmer and  the Chairman of the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California– a water district serving a population of 19 million people and hundreds of the most productive farms in the country.  At MWD he has been an industry leader in innovative agriculture water demand reduction projects in the Palo Verde Valley, and with other ag innovation. In addition, he is on the board of directors of , Eastern Municipal Water District.  At EMWD he has been a leader and advocate for using recycled water in agriculture.  In EMWD’s service they are doing innovative recycled  irrigation programs with Cal Poly and growers of strawberries, potatoes, Asian produce, and other products.  This episode of Farm To Table Talk includes the ‘silent partner’ in our food chain, water, increasingly recycled water.     


#EMWD #recycledwater #agriculture


Love the Buzz — Billy Synk


We have all heard that we should care about the health of Bees in our environment, but why? And what can and should be done from farm to table? It turns out that a large percentage of what we eat every day is dependent on bees doing their job  pollinating crops from fields to our own gardens.  This episode’s table talk is with the Director of Pollination Programs for Project Apis m Billy Synk who manages the Seeds for Bees Project. Billy is an Ohio native who worked with noted bee breeder-geneticist Sue Coby at Ohio State University  and graduated with a degree in Environmental Policy and Management. He has managed bees and participated in bee research projects at UC Davis. The Seeds for Bees program provides free cover crop seed and technical assistance to orchardists  who wish to increase their soil health and pollination efficiency. Project Apis m. a non-profit that is committed to enhancing honey bee health while improving crop production.  It funds and directs research and manages habitat projects that support a diversity of pollinators and wildlife including, honey bees, native bees, monarch butterflies, grouse, pheasants, and songbirds. Love the buzz! 

Cuban Farm To Table — Ellen Farmer



Farm to table is a unique journey in Cuba, where for decades the Communist Government ran the farms and food was rationed to the people.  Now small independent farmers are getting re-established ringing the cities of Cuba with small farms and participating in farmer’s markets. They still don’t have ownership per se, but are now able to get something like 99 year leases to raise, pigs, chickens, goats, cattle and produce and a suggestion of entreprenuerial independence. The large industrial farms are still government controlled to raise tobacco and sugar, the major commodities for export. Starting with a clean slate these farms are practicing agroecology and forming as members of cooperatives.  The winners are the farmers and the consumers they can supply.  Ellen Farmer, an experienced farm to table organizer, shares the stories we learn from visits to Cuba on Farm to Table Talk.


Facing FarmHers – Marji Guyler-Alaniz

The journey from farm to table begins with farmers, or perhaps FarmHers. When most people imagine the farmer behind their food they automatically picture men; but what about those unknown faces of Women? Marji Guyler-Alaniz recognized that women in Agriculture are overlooked and decided to do something about it. Today she is sharing the faces and the stories of the Women who too often are out of sight and out of mind. She has created FarmHer to spotlight these women of agriculture through her FarmHer TV series (Friday at 9:30 pm ET on RFD-TV), website, blogs, seminars, speaking engagements, social media and incredible photographs.  She joins Farm to Table Talk to share her own journey and what she is learning from the feminine faces of farming.  First we need to recognize that FarmHers are there and then support them as they grow and prosper in what has been too long perceived as a man’s world in Agriculture.

Shifting Sands — Suzy Badaracco, Culinary Tides

If your favorite food truck switches from kimchee tacos to meat loaf and mashed potatoes, maybe you should talk to your stock broker about divesting. Even when the economy looks rosy, consumers trending back to comfort foods is a sign of “fearfulness” says Suzy Badaracco, the President of Culinary Tides. She spots trends on the distant horizon, a swell in the ocean before the tide breaks, that will be clear to all in two years.  Trends change what we order, what is on the menu or in the stores, what farmers grow and how they grow it. The big trends are reflected in the behavior of all generations, but the pre-millennial Generation Z will be profoundly  impacted by Sustainability. This is the first generation that is born in to Sustainability; it’s all they have ever known. Their household has always recycled in big blue tubs on the curb, filled with recyclable containers for the Organic foods they grew up with.  Older, Millennial or Gen Y generations bought food with a story when they could afford it but these kids will cut back somewhere else rather than make tradeoffs on their food.  A close look at the Trends Shaping the Food Industry ( is in the “Shifting Sands Forecast”  and discussed in this episode with Suzy Badaracco on Farm To Table Talk.

Shopping For Change – Mike Teel, 5-one-5


In the middle space between the farmers and the plates on our table, are stores where we shop to find tasty foods that are nutritious and sustainably produced.  Unfortunately, the aisles may be also cluttered with less healthy and less sustainable products.  Mike Teel wants to see that change; in fact Mike Teel wants to change the world one plate at a time.  He is the owner  and CEO of Raley’s, a supermarket chain of over 120 stores in Northern California. Change in existing supermarkets takes time so with Mike’s lead Raley’s is opening a brand new healthy, sustainably focused retail concept, Market 5-one-5.  In this smaller scale store consumers will find a concentrated assortment of organic, healthy, local foods that are earth friendly.  Proving that consumers really want this ‘better for you and the earth’ approach will lead to more of these stores by Raley’s and their competitors.  On this Farm to Table Talk, Mike explains why it matters to farmers and consumers to “change the world, one plate at a time.”