Episodes
Published 01/11/22
#047:  Soil microbiologist Dr. Kris Nichols takes us below ground to explore the evolution of mycorrhizae, the role of "soil glue" glomalin, and the benefits of storing carbon in our crop lands to keep soils teeming with life while reducing the need for costly farm (or garden) amendments.  Dr. Kris Nichols is a well-known soil scientist and former USDA researcher, who has delivered over 250 speaking presentations, including a role in the soil movie Kiss The Ground. Kris grew up on a grain...
Published 01/11/22
#046:  As the host of Thriving Farmer Podcast, Michael Kilpatrick is filled with stories,  solutions, and advice for the tough challenges that small farmers face today. He's also filled with plenty of observations around the negative impact industrial practices are having on our land and animals, especially when amplified at scale, and the disappointment of seeing these techniques earning the organic seal.    Michael Kilpatrick is a farmer, consultant, speaker, and the host of the Thriving...
Published 01/04/22
#045:  Eric Sideman shares his deep knowledge of the organic movement, including the growing practices that align concerned eaters with the farmers who lovingly produce their food, and the missteps taken by the USDA that have put the whole beautiful arrangement at risk. Eric Sideman has been an organic farmer, advocate, policy expert, and teacher for decades. After joining the MOFGA staff, he became  Maine's "first organic extension agent," spreading his technical knowledge of organic...
Published 12/28/21
#044:  Alan Lewis of Natural Grocers shares some (pretty disturbing) insights about the effects consolidation in our distribution and supply chains are having on small farmers. Long gone are the days of your local food co-op unloading just-picked produce from the back of pickup truck! Here instead is more industrial food than ever, that's been engineered for delivery and storage with zero loss - and zero flavor. Alan Lewis is the VP of Government Affairs, Stakeholder Relations, and Organic...
Published 12/21/21
#043: Founder and chairperson of the Slow Money Institute Woody Tasch talks us through investing in our local communities, farms, and soil with great intention and patience. Woody promotes a grassroots approach through the formation of community groups that offer zero-percent loans to organic farms and food businesses actively stewarding living soil.  Woody Tasch is the author of SOIL: Notes Towards the Theory and Practice of Nurture Capital, Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money:...
Published 12/14/21
#042:  Anne Ross, the Cornucopia Institute's Director of  International Policy talks about being tasked with investigating organic grain fraud at the international level over recent years. Anne lays out how the system is designed to accommodate corruption, how fraudulent organic grain is used, and how real organic farmers suffer when it reaches the market. She also explains what consumers can do to try and avoid supporting these bad players. Anne Ross is Cornucopia's Director of ...
Published 12/07/21
#041: Ben Dobson of Stone House Farm in NY's Hudson Valley covers a lot of ground as he gives illustrative explanations of Earth's natural cycles and how they're complemented by organic farming. He makes a great case for expanding organic production in the US to meet our market demand instead of looking to imports.  Ben also takes on CAFOs, grain fraud, hydroponics, and the dire importance of the organic movement aligning with social justice and  land access efforts. Ben Dobson is the farm...
Published 11/30/21
#040: Real Organic farmer Jennifer Taylor has successfully mentored many farmers in the Southeast through her technical assistance work at Florida AMU. With a focus on improving quality of life for farm families and modeling the organic soil-building practices that she herself uses, she inspires others to embrace real organic farming. Jennifer's work as an advocate and activist, both nationally and internationally,  played a key role in inspiring the Real Organic Project to move forward in...
Published 11/23/21
#039: In the second half of our conversation with soil and climate scientist Water Jehne we get deep into the real costs  of producing industrial food, including the rise of both diseases and healthcare costs, and the overall decline of  nutrients available to eaters. Walter also speaks beautifully to the role healthy soil plays in supplying essential nutrients to our food while also preventing the uptake of toxins. Walter Jehne is a renowned soil microbiologist and climate scientist with...
Published 11/16/21
#038: Australian soil microbiologist and climate scientist Water Jehne makes a convincing case for shifting focus away from carbon emissions and towards restoring the water cycle in order to speed up planetary healing.  With the desertification of fertile lands on the rise over the past decade due to human activity, he argues that we are all in for cascading and escalating problems if we don't begin to build soil and restore hydrology. Walter Jehne is a renowned soil microbiologist and...
Published 11/09/21
#037: Former medical practitioner turned regenerative soil advocate Didi Pershouse shares her observations about water's role at the epicenter of the Climate Crisis, the trouble she sees with forecasting models, and her three "asks "of land managers who can participate in  staving off big, ecological trouble. Didi Pershouse is the founder of the Land and Leadership Initiative and the author of two books. The Ecology of Care: Medicine, Agriculture, Money, and the Quiet Power of Human and...
Published 11/02/21
#036: Nora Taleb of Germany's Naturland, the longest-running food label put forth and managed by a farmer association in the EU, shares insights and challenges around keeping farmers fairly paid, consumers well educated, and Big Ag out of the decision making process. To watch a video version of this podcast please visit: https://www.realorganicproject.org/nora-taleb-lessons-from-europes-add-on-food-labels-episode-thirty-six The Real Organic Podcast is hosted by Dave Chapman and Linley...
Published 10/26/21
#035: Author, holistic orchardist, and fungal network devotee Michael Phillips shares his thoughts on promoting outrageous biodiversity to restore degraded lands and letting every part of nature play its intended role. To watch a video version of this podcast please visit: https://www.realorganicproject.org/michael-phillips-restoring-degraded-lands-with-outrageous-biodiversity-episode-thirty-five The Real Organic Podcast is hosted by Dave Chapman and Linley Dixon, engineered by Brandon...
Published 10/19/21
Bonus Episode with Paul Hawken: To celebrate the release of Paul's new book Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation (with forward by Jane Goodall and already a NYT best seller!), we're sharing a deep and profound conversation from late 2020 with Paul and our co-director, Dave Chapman. Paul Hawken is a best-selling author, climate activist, and entrepreneur with deep roots in the organic food movement. He was a founding member of OM (Organic Merchants) and the longtime...
Published 10/15/21
#034: Real Organic dairy farmer, soil scientist, and former National Organic Standards Board member Francis Thicke sheds light on how the USDA program has been lost to corporate influence.  He also shares enlightening and easy-to-follow explanations about the upsides of cows on grass. Francis Thicke owns and operates Radiance Dairy in Fairfield, Iowa with his wife Susan, which produces milk, cream, cheese, and yogurt on site . He has worked for the USDA as a soil scientist and has served on...
Published 10/12/21
#033: Labor historian and Dartmouth professor Annelise Orleck walks us through how our economy became filled with goods produced by invisible workers and the toll that reality has taken on our food system. She also speaks to the tremendous organizing power of the farm workers she interviewed while writing her book "We're All Fast Food Workers Now: The Global Uprising Against Poverty Wages." Annelise Orleck is a professor of history at Dartmouth College and the author of 5 books: Common Sense...
Published 10/05/21
#032: Organic and regenerative farmers often talk about the importance of beneficial soil microbes and the need for diversity of life below ground...but what about above ground? Karen Washington speaks to the need to diversify the farming community at our conferences and in our fields, making time to listen and learn from growers of all backgrounds. Karen Washington is a farmer, community activist, and lifetime resident of NYC. She is the co-founder of Rise and Root Farm, the Black Farmer...
Published 09/28/21
#031: Grazing animals display innate nutritional wisdom; they seek out grasses and plants that offer trace minerals, phytonutrients, and other nourishing components.  Scientist and author Fred Provenza explains what these animals know that we humans don't and how can we learn from them. Fred Provenza is professor emeritus of Behavioral Ecology in the Department of Wildland Resources at Utah University. He is the author of  Nourishment: What Animals Can Teach Us About Rediscovering Our...
Published 09/21/21
#030: NASA astrobiologist and author David Grinspoon views humanity in deep time, with plenty of sympathy for our role as caretakers without a set of instructions. He wonders whether we can develop enough self-awareness to see ourselves as a geological force capable of stopping the 6th Mass Extinction we're heading towards? David Grinspoon is an astrobiologist and senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute. He is an adjunct professor of Astrophysical and Planetary Science at the...
Published 09/14/21
#029: In our continued conversation with author, agricultural economist, and livestock expert Dr. John Ikerd, we delve more deeply into the challenges and opportunities facing our food system and how organic practices offer better solutions than industrial ones. John Ikerd is an agricultural economist, livestock expert, and Professor Emeritus and the University of Missouri. His books include: Crisis and Opportunity Sustainability in American Agriculture; Small Farms Are Real Farms;...
Published 09/06/21
#028: Agricultural economist John Ikerd walks us through the very intentional strategy of overproduction as a precursor to market takeover, as we've just seen with the organic milk glut and subsequent cancellation of contracts with close to 100 organic dairy farmers in the Northeast by Horizon/ Danone. He also explains why industrial farming, with its focus on profitability and efficiency, is in opposition to sustainable practices from the outset unlike small-scale family farming. John Ikerd...
Published 09/03/21
#027:  How many civilizations have collapsed due to extractive agricultural practices and soil degradation and how close is ours to reaching the same fate? Author and geologist David Montgomery talks us through the ultimate costs of taking our soils for granted and the difficulty of reversing course with modern technology.  Author and geologist David Montgomery is a professor of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington. He has written the books Dirt: The Erosion of...
Published 08/31/21
#026:  In  the second part of our interview with author, biologist, and gardener Anne Biklé, the conversation focuses on the human microbiome and the indirect yet irreplaceable role that soil microbes and plant exudates play in keeping humans healthy.  Anne Biklé is a biologist, environmental planner, and gardener who has worked in watershed restoration and public health. Along with her partner, David Montgomery, she co-authored the book The Hidden Half of Nature and is currently working on...
Published 08/27/21
#025:  Author, biologist and diehard organic gardener Anne Biklé takes us on a journey through the soil microbiome, introducing us to the fetching fungi and beneficial bacteria that deliver and exchange nutrients with the plants that make our food. Anne makes us  appreciate how this complex and mysterious system can't easily be replicated. Anne Biklé is a biologist, environmental planner, and gardener who has worked in watershed restoration and public health. Along with her partner, David...
Published 08/24/21