Archive for the 'Authors' Category

On this episode of the Tractor Time podcast, we're joined by Chris Smith, author of the James Beard Award-winning book, “The Whole Okra: A Seed to Stem Celebration.” Chris lives in Asheville, North Carolina, where he is the founder and executive director of The Utopia Seed Project.

 

It seems like a perfect time of year to talk about okra. And I have to say that okra is one of my favorite vegetables. I grew it back when I lived in Texas, and it is just a stunningly beautiful plant. It loves the heat. It’s drought tolerant. I loved serving it at dinner parties because people were always surprised it could be so good.

 

But, let’s face it. Okra is polarizing. There’s the slime, for one. At the grocery store, you find it in a can, which, no thank you.

 

But beyond all that, it turns out okra is a powerful vehicle for telling stories about genetic diversity, seed to stem eating and even the American slave trade. Chris weaves all that, and much more, into his book.

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Rebecca Burgess is the co-author of the new book Fibershed: Growing a Movement of Farmers, Fashion Activists, and Makers for a New Textile Economy. Her previous book was Harvesting Color: How to Find Plants and Make Natural Dyes.

If you listen to Tractor Time, then you likely care about where your food comes from and how it’s grown. But if you’re like us, clothing doesn’t always get the same consideration. We often talk about farm to table, but not farm to closet.

All of us buy clothing. We buy for comfort, for style, for status, for functionality. We have the brands we stick with. And, yes, sometimes we’ll spend a little extra for a garment made of something we feel virtuous about — an organic cotton t-shirt, maybe, or a pair of hemp slacks. But mainly, we look for things that look good, won’t wear out too quickly and protect us from the elements. But what is this often-opaque global supply chain of fast fashion really doing to our world and to us? What Rebecca describes in this interview and in her book is truly stunning and might just change the way you think about clothing forever.

As you listen to this interview, I suggest you do some laundry, or at least take a look in your closet. Are you as conscientious about your clothing as you are about your food?

In this conversation, Rebecca opens up her closet, somewhat literally, to us, and shines a bright light on a system that takes an enormous toll on our environment. She isn’t just exposing a broken system, however — she has a bold and hopeful vision for what a regenerative clothing system could look like. And it isn’t just about persuading big clothing brands to do the right thing. Her Fibershed movement is well underway, with more than 50 communities already participating.

Rebecca is the executive director of Fibershed. You can find out more about it at fibershed.org. Rebecca is also the chairwoman of the board for the Carbon Cycle Institute and a skilled weaver and maker of natural dyes.

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Doug Fine, an investigative journalist by trade, has emerged as a leading voice in the effort to bring hemp back as a major American crop. 

His writing has appeared in places like Washington Post, Wired and Outside Magazine. He’s travelled 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, which is about his attempt to wean himself off fossil fuel, and Too High To Fail: Cannabis and the New Green Economic Revolution.

His latest book is Hemp Bound: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the Next Agricultural Revolution.

And for Fine, those frontlines are found at Funky Butte Ranch, his 40-acre spread in southern New Mexico where he and his family grow hemp, tend a garden and raise a herd of mischievous goats.

Although Fine sees himself as a journalist first, he doesn’t shy away from speaking up for what he believes in. And what he believes is this: Hemp represents not just the next big money-maker in agriculture. It isn’t just about cashing in on the CBD craze. Instead, he believes it’s an opportunity to change the whole game — and maybe fight off the effects of climate change in the process.  

Fine will also be a featured speaker at Acres U.S.A.’s December Eco-Ag Conference & Trade Show in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  

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Hosted by Ben Trollinger / Editor, Acres U.S.A.

Hello and welcome to Tractor Time podcast, brought to you by Acres U.S.A., the Voice of Eco-Agriculture. I’m your host, Ben Trollinger, and as always, I want to say thank you to our sponsors, BCS America.

You’re probably heard of kamut (kah-moot), also known as khorasan wheat, also known as King Tut’s Wheat. It’s drought resistant and highly nutritious. It’s in organic breakfast cereals. It’s in pasta. People with gluten sensitivity can eat it. Artisan bakers drool over it.

It’s one of organic farming’s biggest success stories. It’s a story that’s rooted deep in history and it that might just show us the way forward.

I’m joined by Bob Quinn and Liz Carlisle, co-authors of Grain by Grain: A Quest to Revive Ancient Wheat, Rural Jobs, and Healthy Food.

The book details Quinn’s journey over the last several decades to turn his dryland farm in Big Sandy, Montana into a powerhouse of organic and regenerative agriculture. Through his multi-million dollar heirloom grain company, Kamut International, Quinn has managed to create a durable network of around 200 organic farmers.

Quinn was also instrumental in shaping the country’s first organic food standards back in the late 1990s. Before that, in the 1980s, he helped establish standards for his home state. 

Liz Carlisle is a lecturer in the School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences at Stanford University. Her first book, Lentil Underground, prominently features Bob Quinn’s work and also won the Montana Book Award and the Green Prize for Sustainable Literature. She’s a forager of regenerative agriculture wisdom — and also a recovering country and western singer.

1 hour, 4 minutes

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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.

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Good day, and welcome to Tractor Time podcast brought to you by Acres U.S.A., the voice of eco-agriculture. This is a special episode, our 28th in our series, that will feature a friend and guest to Acres U.S.A., Dr. Paul Dettloff. A special thanks to our series sponsors, BCS America and Albert Lea Seed, who make this all possible.

Dr. Paul Dettloff has spent 50 years in large animal veterinary practice, working with farmers all over the world to help them think differently. He was well ahead of his time pushing grass as cattle feed, and working with holistic, proven tools that operate completely independent of the technology booms happening today.

His new hardcover book, A Guide to Raising Animals Organically, has captured his work in a fascinating, comprehensive way. We were very proud to be Dr. Paul’s publisher of the book, which is available now.

We are also very proud that Dr. Paul will be talking at our conference in December in Minneapolis. He will be leading a full day Eco-Ag conference session on soil preparation for cattle, cattle feed systems and will allow folks to peek inside his vet bag. He'll add on a workshop too about A2A2 milk markets that should be very helpful for today's dairy farmer looking for diversification techniques.

The last time he talked was 2007, and we wanted to share that talk with our audience today. It’s a fascinating story Dr. Paul weaves around his career as a veterinarian, and how he discovered organic along the way, and helped champion the growth and rebirth of old veterinary tools so important to sustainable and organic farmers.

So, here’s Dr. Paul’s talk from 2007, titled “Enhancing Vet Tools.” It’s more than just a story about livestock. It’s a story about how we treat animals, and how those animals can feed our farming ecosystems.

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Good day and welcome to Tractor Time, brought to you by Acres USA, the Voice of Eco-Agriculture. I’m your host, Ryan Slabaugh, and it feels like a spring day here in Greeley, Colorado, where we are recording episode 27 on this 20th day of March in 2019.

It’s been a very interesting week in eco-agriculture, and while I don’t want to get too much into the news, it’s worth mentioning that we have a bunch of customers lose buildings to the heavy winds and flooding in the Midwest and out near our offices, we are following another Monsanto trial that decided the behemoth is responsible for informing its users about the potential risks, including cancer, and the European Union has decided to investigate both Monsanto and Exxon’s involvement in climate change denials.

So the pressure’s on. A lot of people I’ve talked to think a vacuum is coming, where Roundup will be replaced by something … and we know the toxic race is on, but we sure hope some farmers can find a way to use nutrient-based farming techniques on part of their land.

At least, that’s why we are here today. We are going to talk to Jodi Helmer, a journalist, gardener and author of six books, who with Island Press is releasing a new book, Protecting Pollinators (Island Press, available in the Acres U.S.A. bookstore.) We wanted to take this chance to talk bees and butterflies … and even long-nosed bats. We haven’t had an episode dedicated to this topic yet, so we needed one, as we know pollinators are one of the secret ingredients for growing food that we’ve neglected to include in a lot of our commercial agriculture systems. We’ll learn more about where we are with this today, how the protect the bees movement is doing, and what we can do with the land we own, rent and work at to help foster a better environment.

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Welcome to Tractor Time, brought to you by Acres U.S.A., the Voice of Eco_Agriculture. I’m your host Ryan Slabaugh, and lucky enough to be the GM/Publisher of Acres U.S.A., and very lucky enough to sit down and produce our 25th episode of Tractor Time. And thanks again to BCS America for being the sponsors of today’s program.

Today’s guest – I met Fred Provenza, professor emeritus in the Department of Wildland Resources at Utah State University, at our annual conference last December. We talked a bit about farming and soil, but in all honesty, we talked more about our common hobby of skiing and winter sports. When it came time to scheduling guests, I knew I needed Fred on the show so we could actually talk about our day jobs, and his lifetime of research into animal and human health.

So, today’s guest – Renowned animal behaviorist Fred Provenza has spent his academic career researching how animals respond to an intricately tuned system of flavor-feedback relationships. In other words, animals somehow instinctively seem to know what foods they need to stay alive and healthy. But what about us humans? Do we possess that same wisdom? He wrote about that in a new book from Chelsea Green called Nourishment: What Animals Can Teach Us About Rediscovering Our Nutritional Wisdom.

We’re going to get into that book, but more importantly, we’re going to use that book to talk about the larger health issues, and how our own bodies and own biology often can defy us – but they can also tell us exactly what we need to know. We’re doing to cover that and a lot more in this episode of Tractor Time, brought to you by Acres U.S.A. We recorded this interview on Wednesday, Jan. 23, via phone.

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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.  

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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.

 

 

 

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