Archive for the 'nonprofit' Category

Hosted by Ryan Slabaugh & Ben Trollinger / Sponsored by BCS America

Good day and welcome to Tractor Time podcast, brought to you by Acres U.S.A., the Voice of Eco-Agriculture. I’m your host, Ryan Slabaugh, and as always, I want to say thank you to our sponsors, BCS America. Today’s theme is all about happy pigs, and profitable pig operations, and an interesting breed called Guinea Hogs. 

First, I’ve got someone to introduce to everyone this episode. It will be the new host of Tractor Time, which I’m proud to say is Ben Trollinger, the new editor at Acres USA. I’m not going too far, but will stay involved helping Ben produce and grow the podcast, while I get to go focus on getting a few new exciting projects up and running.

Ben will join before he interviews Cathy Payne, our guest on this episode. Cathy is the author of Saving the Guinea Hogs, a new book that is on sale in the Acres U.S.A. bookstore.

First, I recently took a trip to Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania, and got a chance to tour their hog operation. To make sure this episode is all pig-themed, I thought I’d share some audio I got from touring their operation. 

Thanks again to our listeners and our sponsor, BCS America. You can find this podcast at ecofarmingdaily.com, acresusa.com, or anywhere podcasts can be played. Thanks, and have a great week. 

If you want, shoot a note to Ben at btrollinger@acresusa.com. He’d love to hear from you.

Read Full Post »

Hosted by Ryan Slabaugh. Sponsored by Albert Lea Seed.

Good day and welcome to Tractor Time podcast brought to you by Acres U.S.A., the Voice of Eco-Agriculture. We are happy to be bringing you another episode, our 1st of season 3 starting this year, and 24th overall.

On today’s program, we’re going to honor our 2018 Eco-Ag Award winner, who we celebrated in December at our 43rd annual conference. Jeff Moyer, is a longtime organic farmer, author, lecturer. His work with Rodale Institute, both in hands-on farming and as executive director, is advancing the state of the art of organic agriculture and building bridges to bring these methods to mainstream, conventional farmers.

His talk at our conference was aimed at helping farmers see the future of the organic certification industry, and how words like “regenerative” and “sustainable” are already being fought about in the advertising board rooms across the world.

“Like it or not, we’re in a food fight,” he says. “Right now, organic is in the middle of that fight. So is the word regenerative. And sustainable. And sustainability.”

Other past winners who have showed up on the Tractor Time podcast have included Dr. Vandana Shiva, who won in 2017, Gary Zimmer in 2011, Ronnie Cummins in 2009, Joel Salatin in 2006, and Neal Kinsey in 2003.

Learn more about Rodale Institute here.  

Read Full Post »

Hosted by Ryan Slabaugh

This episode is a bit unique from the others, which are usually done in the comforts of my office back in Greeley, Colorado. For most recordings, it’s me, a microphone, an interview guest and my dog snoring in the corner. If you need the full picture, I even prop a sign up in my windowed door that says, “On Air.” But that’s really just for me – it makes me feel official.

But so does this scene where I am today. Today, we are broadcasting from Belize, specifically, Belmopan, Belize, at the inaugural Tropical Agriculture Festival. We first met one of the organizers, Beth Roberson, a Belizian farmer, in Columbus, Ohio, last year during our annual conference. Beth left inspired to start her own educational conference down here, picked our brains a bit, and recruited some of our speakers and former Tractor Time guests like regenerative poultry specialist Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin and Regeneration International’s André Leu, among others.

Let me set the stage a bit. Belize is a small country of about 350,000 people, just south of Mexico and east of Guatemala. It’s known for having the second largest reef in the world off its coast, and for being an English colony until the early 1980s. The country, very proud of its freedom, is still finding its feet. The Guatemalan president threatens them with invasion, and England still has a small standing army there as a reminder to their neighbors.

Belmopan is a small town of a few thousand, and wears a few scars. The main roads are paved, but most are not, but a fountain roundabout greets visitors on the Western Highway. A bar-restaurant called “Cheers” greets guests as they arrive into town before a roundabout — I met the owner, and she told me she also runs a “small” farm behind it that includes horses, sheep, cattle, goats and chickens, and yes, she composts from the restaurant. On the other side of the highway, the entrance to a national park. Inside the town, a large agriculture grounds with stages, test gardens and plenty of native trees. This is where the festival was held this week.

The event started with the national anthem, sung by an 8-year-old local schoolgirl. It’s clear from the anthem what the country does not want — tyrants and colonizers. And it’s clear that they want to be a free country, although they are still grappling with which economy will drive its future. The tourism economy, which favors hotels and airports and large ports, or a more local economy, where manufacturing, agriculture and other jobs will fill the gap.

Agriculture, though, will have some part. It has to. Or at least, it’d be silly not to. Pineapples, mangoes, bananas, jackfruits, etc. From any city, it doesn’t take long to be in the country, where anyone would be taken in by the variety of flora, fauna and wildlife, which range from toucans to jaguars to crocodiles. Our first hour in the country, as we pulled into our hotel, the sounds of howler monkeys greeted us. (You’ll have to listen to the podcast for the full effect.)

The next day, the conference began. We heard a resounding call to action from Ronnie Cummins, on the board with Regeneration International, which was followed by two days of educational speeches on five different stages, ranging from permaculture to seed saving to agritourism. All were rooted in how Belize can transform its agriculture into one of the world’s best. And no matter what, you have to give something to a country that starts its weekends on Thursday nights.

Here’s what clips you can find on the podcast. Also, you’ll hear some thumping in the background, and truck noise. I apologize for that recording issue – (I wasn’t counting on so much foot stomping on stage when I set up the microphone, nor could I do much about the nearby highway traffic.)

Ronnie Cummins, Board Member of Regeneration International

Here’s that talk from Ronnie that opened up the conference. It’s about 16 minutes, and full of fire and fury. 

Taylor Walker, Biodiverse Systems Designer

Next, a highlight I recorded from Taylor Walker. A jack-of-all trades who designs gardens and permaculture environments, including Naples Botanical Gardens, Inland ecology Research Group, Sanibel Sea School and others. In Belize, he is managing Tropical Agro-Forestry farms.

I’ll play a few minutes of his talk, as he walks about 50-60 people in his class through specific plants that grow well in Belize, like bread fruit. 

Christopher Nesbitt, Regenerative Agriculturist

Christopher Nesbitt, a regenerative agriculturist, has spent 30 years restoring a piece of damaged land in the Maya foothills. His land is now filled with more than 500 species of plants, all of which are harvestable. His talk was about his work. Here’s just a piece about that biodiversity. 

Santiago Juan, Agritourism in Belize

Santiago Juan, born and raised in Cayo District Belize, owns and operates a resort farm in the country. He spoke about agritourism, and how Belize can use its organic lands, pristine wilderness, and local food production to create a unique, authentic experience. One side note: his talk was not without some controversy, as some Belizian farmers weren’t too sure they wanted hoards of camera-toting Westerners posing with their pigs. But alas, the discussion assuaged some fears, and again showed what is to be gained, or lost, in such a wonderful country, one that is still building itself into an autonomous, self-sustained citizen of the world. (And sorry for the popping on this audio. It was lunch time, and the nearby passing trucks’s jake brakes kept blowing out the microphone.)

That’s it — and a few rambles from me. Thanks for reading and listening.

Find the Tractor Time podcast in the iTunes store, or at www.acresusa.com, or at ecofarmingdaily.com. It’s a bunch of other places too. Thanks for helping grow our food   – have a great week.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Welcome to our 16th episode of Tractor Time podcast, brought to you by Acres U.S.A., the voice of eco-agriculture. My name is Ryan Slabaugh, and we are fired up to bring you another hour of conversation about ecology, agriculture, and this hour, we’re even talking about saving the world.

We have two guests on our show today. One is Mary Battjes, and I have the pleasure of working every day with Mary. She’s our project manager, and recently wrapped up a survey of young farmers around the country and world. We spoke with a lot of them, and found their look at the world and their role in the world so inspiring. Speaking generally, they want the same things most of us want — safety, security, family and a healthy environment. Yet, they see the obstacles very clearly. Climate change. Technology disruption. And an economy that favors the big devouring the small.

Yet, there is hope. And it comes in the form of our second guest, Douglass DeCandia, a young farmer from New York. He grows food using natural methods, but he does so with an even greater purpose – to serve those who are forgotten by our food system, who are systematically discriminated against because of who they are, where they are from or where they live. His “farm,” and he uses quotation marks around that so I will ask him about that later, serves youth and adults who are incarcerated, students at a school for the deaf, and young adults who are part of a residential treatment program. He also supports a number of his area’s food growing products, and when we talked to him today, he was wandering around the gardens at the school for the deaf.

Read Full Post »

Welcome to another great episode of Tractor Time. We’re coming off a high from our 42nd annual Eco-Ag Conference & Trade Show in Columbus, Ohio, and wanted to use this podcast to help us celebrate the highlights.

There were many. They included the 1,100 people who attended from 15 different countries, who gathered to hear diverse and interesting viewpoints on ecology and agriculture. Not only did we learn about the finer points of soil nutrition, micronutrients, microbiology, micro fungi, but we also learned about the larger picture, and how ecologically based agricultural practices can benefit all of our global systems, from climate change to world peace.

If that’s a lot to get your head around, we feel you. Many of our conferencegoers came up to us and asked, “Now what?” They left feeling empowered and knowledgeable and motivated.

And that’s what made our plenary panel stand out, and why we are going to feature it on this podcast. On Friday morning, we were lucky to have Acres U.S.A.’s Fred Walters lead a discussion between Dr. Vandana Shiva, a peace and food health advocate who came all the way from India, and André Leu, president of IFOAM, who came from Australia, and Ronnie Cummings, founder of the Organic Consumers Association, an international group focused on real change in our food supply.

Each took 20 minutes to discuss their take on what is happening in agriculture, in the organic and sustainability movements, and why they remain so positive despite all the challenges and hurdles we have to overcome. I can’t wait for you to hear from our panel, and will let you get right to it.

One side note before we begin: you can find free video of this event at www.acresusa.com, and you can also order or purchase audio any of our other classes to help your eco-education. 

Anyway, this is our last podcast of 2017, and we wanted to also say thanks for a great year, and here’s to an even better 2018.

Learn more at www.acresusa.com.

 

Read Full Post »

In this week's episode, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Susan Sink, vice president of development and external relations at American Farmland Trust, a nonprofit organization who collaborates with farmers around the world to help save farmland from development, among many other things. 

Susan and the team are based in Washington D.C., and work with policymakers as well to craft major legislation like the Farm Bill, which affects almost every farmer in the country. She and her cohorts travel around and talk with farmers, both conventional and organic, and see how different environments — both political and geographic — affect the agriculture industry across the country.

Susan is also a farmer who has diversified her cattle farm in hopes of finding a way to keep her farm going in a very challenging environment for cattle farmers. She speaks to her own experience, and provides words of wisdom and hope that every farmer out there can hear and appreciate.

Hosted by Ryan Slabaugh.

Read Full Post »