Archive for the 'Advocacy' Category

Ann Armbrecht is the director of the Sustainable Herbs Program under the auspices of the American Botanical Council. She is also a writer and anthropologist (PhD, Harvard 1995) whose work explores the relationships between humans and the earth, most recently through her work with plants and plant medicine. She is the co-producer of the documentary Numen: The Nature of Plants and author of Thin Places: A Pilgrimage Home. Her latest book is The Business of Botanicals: Exploring the Healing Promise of Plant Medicines in a Global Industry (Chelsea Green Publishing, February 2021). She lives with her family in central Vermont.

Also featured on this episode is investigative journalist Carey Gillam. She joined us to talk about a recent study looking into the health effects of glyphosate.

Read Full Post »

Tom Philpott is the food and ag correspondent for Mother Jones. Before that, he covered the food system for Grist. His reporting has appeared in the New York Times, Newsweek and the Guardian. He’s worked as a bona fide farmer and now splits his time between Austin, Texas, and North Carolina. He has a new book out from Bloomsbury Publishing. It’s called Perilous Bounty: The Looming Collapse of American Farming and How We Can Prevent It. The book is the culmination of an impressive career spent holding industry and government accountable. Perilous Journey tells the story of two U.S. farming powerhouses — California’s Central Valley and the Corn Belt of the Midwest. Through this lens, Philpott makes the case that current agricultural practices and policies are leading us down the road to environmental ruin. And yet, there’s still hope on the horizon.

To find out more about Tom Philpott visit www.tomphilpott.net/

Tractor Time is brought to you by Acres U.S.A. and Barn2Door. Subscribe to our channel on YouTube, iTunes or anywhere podcasts are available. Also, find us at acresusa.com, ecofarmingdaily.com, and don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly magazine.

Read Full Post »

On this our 50th episode we welcome Dr. Vandana Shiva. A fearless advocate for peasant farmers throughout the world, Dr. Shiva is one of the most outspoken critics of industrial agriculture and its dire environmental and spiritual consequences. She is the founder of Navdanya, an India based organization that advocates for biodiversity, seed sovereignty and food independence. Navdanya runs an organic farm in the foothills of the Himalays and counts among its members millions of farmers across India, where the group has set up more than 100 seed banks. She is the recipient of many awards, including the Right Livelihood Award and the Sydney Peace Prize. She is also the author of several groundbreaking books, including Making Peace with the Earth, Soil Not Oil and Who Really Feeds the World?. Her latest book is called Oneness vs the 1%: Shattering Illusions, Seeding Freedom. In an age of growing economic inequality, globalization and relentless corporate propaganda, we need people like Dr. Shiva who are willing to stand up and speak the truth. Buy her books at acresusa.com. Use the coupon code FEBPOD for 10% off on all sales.

1 hour, 10 minutes

Read Full Post »

On this episode — the return of Doug Fine. Operating out the Funky Butte Ranch in southern New Mexico, Doug is a hemp farmer by day, journalist by night, entrepreneurial dynamo 24/7. His writing has appeared in places like Washington Post, Wired and Outside Magazine. He’s traveled all over the world, including to places like Burma, Rwanda, Laos, Guatemala and Tajikistan. He’s given TED Talks. He’s appeared on late-night talk shows. And he’s written several books, including Not Really An Alaskan Mountain Man, Farewell My Subaru, Too High To Fail: Cannabis and the New Green Economic Revolution, and Hemp Bound: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the Next Agricultural Revolution. His latest book, American Hemp Farmer, is a follow-up to Hemp Bound and it celebrates the men and women who are blazing a path in the regenerative, farmer-driven hemp industry. Doug also recently put out a brand new online course on growing and marketing regenerative hemp. For more on that, visit learn.acresusa.com.

This is Doug’s second time on the podcast and we’re grateful to have him back. This interview was recorded last year and it’s our first podcast of 2021. Doug’s a perfect guest to kick off a new season. He’s enthusiastic, he’s optimistic. He has a big vision for the future of regenerative hemp … and he’s in the trenches doing the work to bring it into reality.

Go buy Doug’s new book at the acresusa.com bookstore. Use the coupon code JANPOD for 10 % off on America Hemp Farmer and all other titles. And, if you’re interested in growing hemp yourself, Doug’s new course is a great place to start. Visit learn.acresusa.com to sign up.

1 hour, 40 minutes

 

Read Full Post »

On this live edition of Tractor Time — recorded on November 12 — we are joined by Jeff Moyer, CEO of the Rodale Institute. Jeff has a new book out from Acres U.S.A. It’s called Roller/Crimper No-Till: Advancing No-Till Agriculture — Crops, Soil & Equipment.

For nearly 30 years, Jeff has worked at the Rodale Institute in Southeastern Pennsylvania, where he’s designed equipment and techniques for organic no-till farming systems. Just last year, he was named CEO of Rodale. In addition, he has served as the chairman of the USDA’s National Organic Standards Board and was a founding board member of Pennsylvania Certified Organic.

Read Full Post »

Ken Roseboro, the editor and publisher of The Organic and Non-GMO Report, has been called “the nation’s reporter on all issues surrounding genetically modified foods” by Acres USA magazine. Ken’s articles have appeared in leading food and agriculture publications and websites such as Civil Eats, Sustainable Food NewsPrepared Foods, Natural Foods MerchandiserFood Processing, and World Grain as well as Harvest Public MediaThe Huffington Post, Yahoo NewsMother Earth News, and others. He is a contributing editor to EcoWatch, Organic Connections and New Hope 360. Ken is author of Genetically Altered Foods and Your Health and The Organic Food Handbook both published by Basic Health Publications. He has spoken at many conferences including Natural Products Expo West, All Things Organic, Acres USA Conference, The Organic Farming Conference, National Heirloom Seed Expo, and others. Ken is a member of the design team of the Non-GMO Supply Working Group and a founding member of the board of directors of the Iowa Organic Association. Ken also serves on the board of directors of Soil Technologies Corporation. He appears in the award-winning documentary film, GMO OMG. In 2006, Ken received an Award of Merit from Seed Savers Exchange for his efforts to preserve genetic diversity through his publications.

1 hour, 3 minutes

Read Full Post »

When you think about recycling, what do you see — plastic containers piling up in the garage maybe? The overflowing bin of clinking wine bottles you’re more than a little embarrassed by on pickup day? Do you just see waste? Out of mind once it’s out of sight.

Or … do you see a farm?

Today, we’re talking with Gerry Gillespie. When he thinks about recycling, he sees healthy soil and nutritious food. He sees communities coming together to claim the rightful value of what most of us think of as trash.

In his native Australia, Gillespie saw two big problems he wanted to fix: farmland that had been degraded by years of chemical agriculture and overstuffed landfills that were belching methane into the atmosphere.

The answer to both problems would be to harness a largely untapped resource hiding in plain sight — the massive amounts of organic matter being discarded every day. We’re talking about yard waste, cardboard and newspaper. We’re talking about kitchen scraps — the potato peels, the coffee grounds, the eggshells. What if we could capture these nutrient-rich resources and funnel them into regenerative farming systems?

An internationally recognized recycling expert, Gerry Gillespie wants to challenge our preconceptions about waste. And he’s been doing this kind of work for decades. He’s a pioneer in the Zero Waste movement and the mastermind behind the City to Soil project, which connects household organic matter with farmers. He is the author of a new book from Acres U.S.A. called The Waste Between Our Ears: The Missing Ingredient to Disrupt Climate Change is in the Trash. He’s traveled all over the world to spread the word, but he calls New South Wales home.

 

Read Full Post »

Hosted by Ryan Slabaugh

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 am your host, Ryan Slabaugh, and we are humbled to bring you the 30th episode. Today’s topic is one we have to talk about, but it’s not a whole lot of fun – Monsanto.

Our guest today, Carey Gillam, is a veteran reporter who has been covering corporate America for 25 years, including Monsanto and most recently, Bayer. This year, she’s been busy covering the Monsanto trials, suing agencies under the Freedom of Information Act, and discovering an amazing array of corruption that is fueling the more than 11,000 lawsuits against the company.

Mainly, she’s uncovered the fact that Monsanto has lied to and tricked farmers, land managers, growers, ranchers and city managers for 50 years about RoundUp. That as they tell their employees to behave differently around the product than they do consumers. And that they paid for fake science, paid off reporters, and got especially cozy with politicians around the world. France’s Parliament is exploring charges that they kept a list of politicians they liked and disliked. That’s nothing new to us here in the U.S., but that level of targeted lobbying does not go over so well elsewhere in the world. But the bottom line is, it’s toxic to human and animal health, and juries around the world that have heard their defenses do not see any redemption in them – in fact, it is quite the opposite. The lying has only added to their penalties, and their liabilities now range in the trillions, and Bayer’s stock price is 40% declined from where it was at the time they purchased Monsanto.’

Here’s a clip from the Canadian Public Broadcasting Channel’s recent coverage, which summarized the issue:

To be clear, we are talking about the specific formulation Monsanto uses in its RoundUp product that includes glyphosate – that’s an important distinction. Monsanto’s spokespersons deny all this and say there is no proof their product is unhealthy or shouldn’t be used. You can still find it everywhere, and even though towns and ciiteis are starting to make it illegal to use, it’s use is still prolific.

And who is fueling this worldwide coverage? Our guest today, Carey Gillam. She wrote a book called Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer & the Corruption of Science, published by Island Press, in 2017. The way she threads her reporting in with current events paints a damning picture of Roundup, even garnering praise from Erin Brockovich.

And our guest today makes the strong point that banning RoundUp or glyphosate, or suing for billions, does not solve the real problem we are facing: an agriculture and food supply dependent on the lies that Monsanto has been giving farmers, and the safety nets are a bit too far down to feel comfortable leaping.

It’s our listeners who will really be solving this problem, but taking the information Carey gives us today to educate us on the forces at work in the herbicide world, and how we can make informed, healthy choices. You can make a difference by how you grow food, the food you buy at the store, and by the manner in which we defend eco-agriculture.

So, let’s get into the interview with our guest today: As a former senior correspondent for Reuters' international news service, and current research director for consumer group U.S. Right to Know, Carey Gillam's areas of expertise include biotech crop technology, agrichemicals and pesticide product development, and the environmental impacts of American food production. Gillam has been recognized as one of the top journalists in the country covering these issues.

A special thanks to our episode sponsor, BCS America.

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 »

Good day and welcome to Tractor Time podcast. I’m your host, Ryan Slabaugh, the GM of Acres U.S.A., and we are excited to bring you another fun hour of conversation about ecology, agriculture, smart farming, human health – and more.

I want to thank our listeners. We recently went over the 20,000th download as a podcast, which is exciting for us. The world of eco-growers is always larger than we anticipate, and to us, that means things are changing for the positive. We hear so much about degenerative agriculture and its toxic toll on our world, but there is a silver lining – you. The listeners who are fighting tradition and convention with smart growing tactics, by understanding the soil, are the solution, and slowly but surely, we are making progress. It’s important we all agree on that one. It’s not that we don’t have challenges, and that they are not large and complicated, but we do not that the base-level agreement we want to get to is that the Earth, and its complicated and resilient life forms, will tell us what we need to know to grow our food. But it does require us to listen.

Okay, the high horse is getting tired, but it’s true. Our listeners are the silver lining, and one of the brightest spots on that lining is our guest today.

Daniela Ibarra-Howell is a native Argentinian, an agronomist by profession, and has more than 25 years of ranching experience. In 2009, she helped start The Savory Institute, headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, and became its CEO in 2011. Since then, she’s served on initiatives as wide as the UN Global Impact study, among a number of other roundtables and think tanks for healthy food and healthy agriculture. They are just too many to name.

Daniela will be a big part of Acres USA in the next couple months, a fact that we are very grateful for. She will be speaking at our annual conference in Louisville, Kentucky, Dec. 4-7, and keynoting an evening there. She will be featured in the November issue of our magazine, with an interview with Chris Walters. And, of course, we’re proud to have Daniela Howell on the Tractor Time podcast today.

Learn more about the Savory Institute at https://www.savory.global/.

Learn more about Acres U.S.A. at www.acresusa.com, or read our free, helpful content at www.ecofarmingdaily.com. You can find this contest on both sites, or for free in the Apple Podcast store.

Read Full Post »

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App