Wyoming Farm Table – Zach Buchel

 

Farm to table is happening all over the country even in a state like Wyoming with one of the most challenging growing seasons. Zach Buchel has found dozens of farms in the Cody Wyoming area who are up to the challenge and are growing to meet the needs of discerning consumers.  He owns and operates FarmTableWest, an online farmer’s market in Cody, Wyoming. They distribute food from area farms depending on the time of year and try to make local food accessible to people even in the toughest growing climates in the U.S. Zach says that what really gets him out of bed in the morning, is how food brings people together. That itch eventually led him to creating FarmTableWest, where they put a farmer’s face on the local food they distribute to retailers, farmers market and restaurants. Zach says what it is all about its “Connecting Good People. It’s why we do what we do. ….Getting Good Food, from Good People, to Good People is no walk in the park or get rich quick scheme. But, it’s a hell of an adventure that we hope has no finish line.”

Love Those Critters-Samantha Gasson, Bull City Farm

The Food Animal Concern Trust (FACT) has a “Fund A Farmer” program that provides financial awards to livestock farmers who have project needs that improve their humane farm animal production practices. FACT believes farm animals deserve adequate space, access to the outdoors, clean water and air, the opportunity to express their natural behaviors, and healthful feed.  One of the farms recently recognized by FACT is Bull City Farm, near Durham, North Carolina. Bull City Farm was started in response to Samantha and Scott Gasson’s desire to feed their family humanely raised meat that they knew had been treated with respect and thoughtfulness. As their kids grew so did the farm but it wasn’t until the purchase of  property in Northern Durham County in 2014 that they could really take off. Samantha has a degree in biology from VA tech and 20+ years of experience teaching. She especially enjoys teaching about animals and farming; so she is the director of their camps and runs the day-to-day on the farm including moving, loading and care of the animals. Scott has a full-time off farm job but works every weekend on the farm….no rest for the weary. All three of their kids work on the farm doing everything from being camp counselors, milking, feeding to filling waters. The whole family works hard to make the farm a success and fulfill its mission:  “to provide healthy, humanely raised meats and to educate the members of our community about sustainable small scale farming.” www.foodanimalconcernstrust.org

www.bullcityfarm.com

Got Your Goat — Karen and Dale Kopf

 

Today’s journeys that are taking people from farm to city and back to farm are many and varied.  One way or the other there are thousands who have invested in education, careers and commutes who have found there was still something missing–open space, outdoors, family time and the satisfaction of growing crops or livestock. Karen and Dale Kopf are on that journey. They grew up on a farm and ranch, respectively, then pursued education and subsequent careers. They have found the best of both worlds when they moved to their Kopf Canyon Ranch in Idaho where they are proud to call themselves “herdsmen”.  They believe that care of animals and land is a stewardship, a trust. Today they enjoy “goating” together, raising Kiko goats in northern Idaho and helping others become herdsmen. To equip and educate new herdsmen they founded the Palouse Goat Guild and host an annual Goat Academy in Moscow, Idaho. The Food Animal Concerns Trust’s Humane Farming Project awarded them a grant to cross fence a canyon for goats, laying hens and guardian animals. These herdsmen of goats and trainers of aspiring herdsmen, Karen and Dale Kopf, join Farm to Table to share their journey and to remind others who should consider goat, to consume or raise. www.kikogoats.org

Bipartisan Food System Solutions – Senator Debbie Stabenow

 

 

The Farm Bill is the primary food policy vehicle of the United States government and it affects every American citizen from commodity farmers, organic farmers, urban agriculture to citizens receiving supplemental nutritional assistance. Passage every 5 years requires bipartisan support that is sadly rare in Washington DC. Despite the acrimonious atmosphere in the Capitol, a Farm Bill has passed that has substantial improvements and none of the draconian changes that had been predicted. Much of the credit must go to the leadership of the Senate Agriculture Committee, republican Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas and democrat Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. 80,000 people attended the Natural Foods Expo where Senator Stabenow gave a Keynote address. She told a surprising and encouraging story of creation of the new Farm Bill and it’s substantial new initiatives. Because it is such an important story we share her speech and then follow it with some questions for the Senator about bipartisanship and the future of farming and food policies.

Welcoming Diversity — Karen Washington

If more diversity in the food system is desired, why isn’t it accomplished? Karen Washington, food system activist and partner in Rise and Root farm, says that the reason is that no one asked, invited and welcomed others to a farming, gardening, school garden or other food and farming related event or organization. Karen resides in the Bronx and also in the country at her Rise and Root Farm. She is a co-founder of Black Urban Growers, an organization of volunteers committed to building networks and community support for growers in both urban and rural settings. She has been recognized as one of the 100 most influential African Americans in the country, has been awarded the James Beard Leadership Award and was a keynote speaker at EcoFarm where she visited with Farm To Table Talk about diversity and the power and dignity that comes from growing your own food. www.riseandrootfarm.com

 

 

Permaculture Creation – Natalie Bogwalker NC

Permaculture is about creating a permanent culture- a way of living that is completely sustainable.  Natalie Bogwalker lives and teaches this web of life system in the country near Asheville, North Carolina. She is described as a “badass permaculture practitioner, homesteader, businesswoman, and momma.”  Her five years of experience living primitively at the remote Wild Roots Community in Western North Carolina inspired her to start the Firefly Gathering (the premier Southeast skill sharing festival) and Wild Abundance, a homesteading and permaculture school near Asheville, NC.  Wild Abundance is also a thriving homestead itself, and home to Natalie, her partner Frank and their daughter Hazel, plus a handful of apprentices, work-traders, and Fox, the cat. Natalie joins Farm To Table Talk to share her journey, the recognition of necessary interdependence and path for  others  who share a  permaculture passion and a determination to not just let life happen.

 

 

 

Microbe My Goodness — Pam Marrone

There may be nothing more important to the health of our soil, our food, ourselves and ultimately the future of the planet than the microbes beneath our feet and in our bodies.  Yet most of the public, from farmers to consumers, are unaware of this microbial magic and when they learn: “My goodness!”  Dr. Pam Marrone tracks microbes down all over the world and explains why they matter. The founder and CEO of Marrone Bio Innovations Inc.  she was honored by the Ecological Farming Association  at the EcoFarm Awards. where she was presented with the Steward of Sustainable Agriculture Award – or “Sustie” – which “recognizes those who have been actively and critically involved in ecologically sustainable agriculture, and have demonstrated their long-term, significant contributions to the wellbeing of agriculture and the planet.” Dr. Marrone joins Farm To Table Talk to give us a glimpse of the microscopic ‘critters’  beneath our feet that are foundational for sustainability and the future of food.  https://marronebioinnovations.com/bio-bites/

Healthy First Nation Food – Denisa Livingston

 

Food deserts with a shortage of affordable healthy foods are not just found in inner cites but also throughout the country in rural and remote areas where the choices are “fat, cheap and easy” foods leading to an epidemic of diabetes and related health issues. The first place in America to address this with a Healthy Food Act and a tax on unhealthy foods was not Brooklyn or Berkeley but the Navajo Nation. This is where Denisa Livingston is working to empower Navajo communities to take control of food policy and lead a movement toward food sovereignty and social change. Through the Dine` Community Advocacy Alliance Act she helped create a 2% additional sales tax for unhealthy foods with the revenue going to fund community based and community directed health and wellness programs.   Passing laws in the Navajo Nation faces the same challenges from lobbyists for national food brands as in Washington DC or State Legislatures. It’s hard, but the advocates for healthier food choices have persevered. Denisa is also the Slow Food International Indigenous Councilor of the Global North. Indigenous people around the globe are addressing similar challenges and the Internet is allowing them to form a global community to share stories and strategies from New Mexico to Kenya. Denisa Livingston shares the journey on Farm To Talk.  Facebook: @dineadvocacy Twitter: @princessedenisa

Eco Farming Frontier – Jack Whetham, Hidden Acres Farm

 

EcoFarm is an annual gathering of farmers, want to be Farmers, their friends, suppliers, customers and fellow dreamers sponsored by the Ecological Farming Association. While the Annual Eco Farm takes place in Pacific Grove California on the Coast of Monterey Bay there are similar gatherings taking place all over where one finds inspiring stories of people who dream of being farmers and with persistence, support and some luck often  realize those dreams.  At last year’s EcoFarm we spoke to  Melissa Phillips who with her husband Jack Whetham moved to California from Texas to be WOOFers on the Kern Family Farms in the Sierras. At the recent EcoFarm Melissa was at home on the Kern Family farm with their toddler, Phoenix and we had the chance to catch up with her husband Jack Whetham about the family’s journey and the pursuit of their dream to their new farm in New York’s Hudson River Valley.

www.eco-farm.org

 

 

When Growing and Eating Is Voting – Josh Tickell, Kiss the Ground

 

Imagine if you approached your meals with the same consideration you give to the choices you make in an election. Well, when we choose what we eat, in important ways we are also voting for the type of food and farming system we want.  Not only are we to wonder if the food will taste good, be safe and be affordable, but also whether we are choosing food that has been sustainably produced, in an earth friendly way that still pays enough back to the farmer and all the hands that touch it from farm to table. Farm To Table Talk is back for a second episode with Josh Tickell, the author of  Kiss The Ground. In our first conversation we discovered the lessons he found on regenerative agriculture as he traveled around the globe to speak with farm families making a difference. In this episode he explains what farmers, consumers, food retailers and policymakers can do to protect and build our most precious resource our soil. Farmers vote on being regnerative and those of us who are lucky enough to eat three times a day,  vote three times a day. www.kisstheground.com