Meetings of the MInds – Tara VanderDussen, Natalie Kovarik

It’s Meeting Season for farmers and others in the food chain when they gather to agree to disagree and ultimately find middle ground (or high ground). What’s decided when they put their heads together can impact public policy and public opinion.  To cover  this critical process Natalie Kovarik and Tara VanderDussen followed the American Farm Bureau to Puerto Rico where 5,000 farmers assembled to claim the high ground. Tara, an environmental scientist/dairy farmer and Natalie, a pharmacist/rancher, share lives and agriculture stories online as a way to build a community around Ag and contribute their voices to an in industry and lifestyle they are extremely passionate about. Their Discover Ag is a docuseries + podcast that pioneers conversation around relevant and trending topics is Agriculture.

Loving Land – Andy Breiter

Owning land isn’t a prerequisite to loving land, regenerating land and producing healthy food. Andy Breiter does not own a single acre of land since beginning in 2020 but has grown a land base to approximately 400 acres across 7 non contiguous parcels. It has been done through building partnerships with private and public land owners. The focus of the business is utilizing livestock to regenerate land and  working to create healthy land to produce healthy food. This approach provides unique sources of revenue to create ecosystem service contracts with landowners and grant projects with NGOs. Some contracts deal with grazing animals for noxious weeds, others for increased fertility, and fire mitigation contracts. Owning land is not required.

Climate, Justice and Deep Roots (Continued) – Liz Carlisle

Powerful movements are happening in our food system and Liz Carlisle, the author of Healing Grounds shares a glimpse of these movements at Eco Farm and on an earlier 2022 episode of Farm To Table.  Liz is an Assistant Professor in the Environmental Studies Program at UC Santa Barbara, where she teaches courses on food and farming. Born and raised in Montana, she got hooked on agriculture while working as an aide to organic farmer and U.S. Senator Jon Tester, which led to a decade of research and writing collaborations with farmers in her home state. She has written three books about regenerative farming and Agroecology: Lentil Underground (2015), Grain by Grain (2019, with co-author Bob Quinn), and most recently, Healing Grounds: Climate, Justice, and the Deep Roots of Regenerative Farming (2022). She holds a Ph.D. in Geography, from UC Berkeley, and a B.A. in Folklore and Mythology, from Harvard University. Prior to her career as a writer and academic, she spent several years touring rural America as a country singer.



Plant Based Steaks – Eric Miller

For holiday dinners, when your guests like both the idea of “plant based” and the taste of animal protein, there is a way to work-around. Vegan options may still need to be offered because this work-around is serving beef from cattle that were raised on a plant based diet. For the most part the plants the cattle consumed are largely cellulose such as grass that people can’t digest but when converted by ruminant animals it can be both nutritious and delicious. Since overeating through the holidays is often followed by going back to the gym, some animal protein can come in handy. Grass fed rib-eyes and filets are on the menu at our house, so for this episode of Farm To Table Talk we return to a podcast from last winter with East Sacramento Butcher, Eric Velman, V Miller Meats, who provided the conversion and connection between our holiday table and the plant based pastures where Christmas Eve Dinner began.

Buffalo Stone Woman – Latrice Tatsey

After near extinction, the in-nii (American Bison) are slowly returning to Native American tribes who have the resources to run reintroduction programs. Latrice Tatsey, Buffalo Stone Woman, is an ecologist and cattle producer who advocates for tribally-directed bison restoration and regenerative cattle grazing. Currently, she is a graduate student in Land Resources and Environmental Sciences studying how the reintroduction of in-nii (American Bison) contributes to changes in soil characteristics. Researching how the return of the in-nii (American Bison) will influence soil, plant, water, energy, and mineral cycles shows the relationship the in-nii (American Bison) have to the land. Latrice wants to continue to conduct research involving land and creating ways to be better land stewards so that we can protect Mother Earth for future generations. Buffalo Stone Woman shares the vision with Farm To Table Talk and Eco-Farm.

Hi Tech Hi Touch – Julie Guthman

‘High Tech High Touch’ is an early Silicon Valley term that implies a dynamic paradox.  It is still a paradox in today’s agriculture where “faster/bigger” and “slower/smaller” each have a wave.  In the wake of this wave, Social Scientists like Dr. Julie Guthman of the University of California in Santa Cruz are asking “how do you bring digital products to a biological production system?” The tried and true Silicon Valley ways don’t always work for the split personalities of today and tomorrow’s farms. Dr. Guthman is a geographer and professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she conducts research on the conditions of possibility for food system transformation in the US.

Slow Water Wins – Erica Gies

Slow water always wins however we can still thrive in this emerging age of climate change caused drought and deluges. Erica Gies has written a book,  about “Slow Water” innovations that are helping us adapt to the increasing water dilemmas. Respect for water’s winning ways is where it all begins as this Journalist/Author shares the ways we must work for smart and slow water systems at the Eco Farm. Erica is an award-winning independent journalist and National Geographic Explorer, writing about water, climate change, plants, and animals for Scientific American, the New York Times, Nature, National Geographic, the Guardian, and other outlets. She co-founded two environmental news startups, Climate Confidential and This Week in Earth.

Resource-fullness Required – Michael Kilpatrick

Farmers face challenges ranging from rising costs for them to low prices to them and seemingly endless regulations that need more time and attention than they have the ability to give. They need to be more resourceful than ever, whether they have been farming for generations or just coming in to it from a non-farming background, Michael Kilpatrick has been helping farmers make resourceful, sometimes ‘rogue’ adjustments in their plans, execution and results that yield desired incomes.  In podcasts and events including the  annual Rogue Food Conference, the attainable goal is Thriving Farmers.

Alexa, Got Pesticide? – Karen Morrison

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has reached a multimillion-dollar legal agreement with online retail giant Services, LLC. (Amazon) for the illegal sale of pesticides in California.Under the terms of the agreement, Amazon will pay DPR a total of $4.97 million – $3.69 million in unpaid pesticide sales assessment fees and related late penalties, and $1.28 million in civil penalties associated with retail sales of unregistered pesticides into California. Amazon also agreed to register as a pesticide broker, and report and pay the mill assessment associated with all future retail sales of registered pesticides into California. Karen Morrison, Chief Deputy Director and Science Advisor to the DPR explains how the regulation of crop protection materials is extending into cyber space boundaries to protect the public .

Angus Wright, Ramon Gonzales – Steve Gliessman

Thirty years ago “The Death of Ramon Gonzalez was published and subsequently began making an impression on thousands of people around the world with, as Wes Jackson of The Land Institute said,” a new way of looking at the tragic human and environmental consequences of chemical-dependent agriculture”. The author of this ground breaking book, Angus Wright recently passed away after a productive life.  For the author of a book that begins with a death from chemical agriculture in Mexico, it seems fitting that the death of the author Angus Wright should begin with a review of lessons learned, progress made and what more is needed for “modern agriculture.” To help with this journey I’m pleased to welcome, Steve Gliessman farmer, retired University of California Santa Cruz professor, one of the first guests on Farm to Table Talk and an author himself– he literally wrote the book on Agroecology.