Acres U.S.A.: Tractor Time

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Tractor Time #58: Higher Standards for Cannabis

Monday Jul 19, 2021

On this episode we’re talking about bringing a higher standard to cannabis production. With the federal legalization of hemp and the continuing state-by-state rollout of recreational cannabis, the industry is just picking up steam in the U.S. A California-based nonprofit started by David Bronner is aiming to lead the way on setting regenerative and socially responsible standards that empower farmers and farm workers in a rapidly expanding agricultural sector. In this episode we’re joined by Andrew Black, the executive director of Sun+Earth Certified, a beyond-organic standard for cannabis and hemp, and Josh Gulliver, a regenerative hemp and herb farmer based in Oregon, to talk about the challenges and opportunities on the horizon for cannabis growers. This episode is particularly relevant right now, as three U.S. Senate Democrats have just presented a plan to end the federal prohibition on cannabis. This interview was recorded back in April, so that’s not part of the conversation, but what we do talk about is the increasing need for cannabis producers to lead the way on what it means to be truly regenerative. Right now we are at a crossroads. Does cannabis become just another commodity crop or can we use it as a vehicle to transform agriculture? In this episode, we go deep into Sun+Earth Certified standards and what that means for the future of cannabis. Sun+Earth, if you don’t already know, is the non-profit started by David Bronner, who is the head of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps as well as an outspoken cannabis activist. The non-profit has set ambitious standards for cannabis production that include earth care, human empowerment and community engagement. To find out more about Sun+Earth Certified go to sunandearth.org. If you’re interested in learning more about how Dr. Bronner’s is creating regenerative supply chains for its products go buy Honor Thy Label: Dr. Bronner’s Unconventional Journey to a Clean, Green, and Ethical Supply Chain. That book is available in the acresusa.com bookstore. Use the coupon code JULYPOD, that’s J-U-L-Y-P-O-D for 10 % off on all titles. 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 on acresusa.com, ecofarmingdaily.com, and don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly magazine.  

Tractor Time #53: Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps and Regenerative Supply Chains

Friday Mar 26, 2021

On this our 53rd episode we welcome the head of Special Operations at Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Gero Leson. He has a new book out called Honor Thy Label: Dr. Bronner’s Unconventional Journey to a Clean, Green, and Ethical Supply Chain. Gero is not officially a member of the Bronner family, but he has been instrumental in helping the company realize its ambitious vision for a company that’s both environmentally and socially responsible. They’re not just buying organic ingredients and calling it a day. They’re creating their own supply chains from scratch. Today, they work with over 5,000 farmers in places like India, Sri Lanka and Ghana, and those farmers are using regenerative organic practices as well as getting paid a fair price for what they produce.

Tractor Time Episode 48: Doug Fine, American Hemp Farmer

Friday Jan 15, 2021

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  

Tractor Time Episode 43: Rebecca Burgess on the Farm to Closet Movement

Saturday Jun 27, 2020

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.

Tractor Time Episode 33: Doug Fine, Author of Hemp Bound

Thursday Aug 15, 2019

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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