Episodes
Campbell Mercer owns 40ha outside Melbourne, Australia where he has set up a world class olive farm - producing award winning organic olive oil. Campbell uses a variety of fascinating agroforestry practices, from windbreaks to farm forestry and silvopastural systems. We have an in-depth conversation on small scale farm forestry, from design considerations to harvest and selling. We also discussed the Keyline cultivation pattern and its implications for tree planting, finishing off with the...
Published 05/03/22
My guest today is Carl Sheard who produces pigs in France. He has received EU funding for his project so we try and understand with him what kind of opportunity it offers farmers in Europe. He also shares some of the challenges he has encountered with deers and we assess together the potential for increasing the proportion of perennials in pigs’s diet.  **In Collaboration with Agromix** https://agromixproject.eu/ TABLE OF CONTENTS 1:38 Introduction 08:18 Design and technical support 10:22 EU...
Published 04/18/22
Andrew and Jill Stewart are owners and managers of Yan Yan Gurt West Farm in the Otway Ranges, Southern Victoria, Australia. For the past 30 years, they have taken regenerative agriculture extremely seriously in order to solve problems of soil salinisation, soil erosion, climate change and animal welfare. In order to do so they have planted 23kms of shelterbelts and riparian buffers, connected into a complex ecological mosaic to produce both ecosystem services and a huge variety of new...
Published 03/31/22
Fred Provenza is a researcher in behavioural ecology who has carried out fascinating research on the nutritional wisdom of animals, on their ability to select their diet and learn. We explore with him the practical implications of his research. He explains why a biodiverse landscape is crucial to animal health and what tools we have to favour such a foraging environment. We explore at length how to train animals either to avoid certains plants or to introduce new plants into their foraging...
Published 03/09/22
Federico San Bonifacio is the owner and farm manager of a 30ha farm in the plains of Verona, Northern Italy. For 12 years he has been engaging in an agroecological transition where trees and shrubs play a fundamental role. Breaking the monotony of the surrounding corn and soy plots, he has planted hedges in long strips to provide the ecosystem services that support his grain production. At the same time, Federico planted 5ha of polycyclic forestry, a forestry practice that balances economic...
Published 03/02/22
Today I talk with Kaitie Adams, she leads the Savanna Institute's Illinois Demonstration Farm program and helps build community through agroforestry education across the state and beyond. Kaitie and I explore together how they build relationships with different stakeholders to make agroforestry projects become a reality in the mid-west. We engage with themes such as cultural perceptions of agroforestry and the multiple ways the Savanna Institute is leveraging change. We also took the time to...
Published 01/31/22
Scott and Sandy Williams got involved in farming after acquiring 500 acres of productive land in Illinois, USA. After meeting the Savannah Institute, they were inspired to transition their land towards conservation agriculture, with a keen interest in agroforestry systems. This interviews delves into the 17 acre perennial polyculture project they planted 5 years ago, and explores how they collaborate with their farmer tenant to implement extensive silvopasture, windbreaks and riparian...
Published 01/16/22
Eric Toensmeir is the author of The Carbon Farming Solution among other great books on agroforestry and perennial crops. The first part of the interview is focused on understanding the carbon sequestration potential of agroforestry, focusing especially on silvopasture. We then move on to discussing the challenges we are faced with to shift towards a more perennial diet. Finally we explore with him the research on alley cropping he is carrying out on the behalf of Interlace Commons : where it...
Published 12/21/21
We have the pleasure of welcoming back Brett Chedzoy on the podcast. While last time we dedicated much of the conversation to transforming woods into a productive silvopasture, this time we focus on planting trees into pasture. We go into a lot of depth into the design of such plantations as well as their management implications. We conclude the interview by discussing his way of using coniferous plantations to shelter his herd from extreme winter storms and how that is saving him from...
Published 11/24/21
Francis Bucaille is a leader in the field of agronomy. Farmer, consultant, educator, author and owner of Gaiago, he has built a reputation nuancing some of the commonly held beliefs of regenerative agricultural practices. As a soil expert he talks about the key principles of agroecology, why fungi and lignin are so important, and how trees can help farmers improve their soil. This interview contributes to our ongoing investigation as to how trees can be an agronomic tool for farmers. Their...
Published 10/31/21
Dr Lindsay Whistance is a Livestock Researcher at the Organic Research Center in the UK. Through her extensive knowledge of silvopasture, she enables us to see agroforestry from the animal’s perspective. Trees can provide livestock with shelter, food, medicine and even encourage social interactions between animals. These benefits are not only important to provide livestock with a stimulating and pleasant environment but they also reduce sources of stress and increase the productivity of the...
Published 10/05/21
After many years of experimentation, Jaime Elizondo is scaling his leucaena silvopasture system in order to increase his stocking rate from 3 to 6 cattle units per hectare: doubling his profitability. This bold statement has been made by one of the most experienced regenerative graziers we know of, and shouldn't be taken lightly. Beyond improving his grass productivity and providing fodder for his cows, Jaime is planting trees for a multitude of benefits such as biodiversity, cattle wellbeing...
Published 09/15/21
Ben Raskin is Head of Horticulture and Agroforestry at the Soil Association. He is also working at Eastbrook Farm in the UK, where he is overseeing the implementation of various agroforestry systems over the last few years, mainly focused on silvopasture. Ben gives us some detailed feedback on these first years on the farm : the design of the different fields, what species they have chosen and why, as well as how they approached weed control and tree protection from livestock. Ben is...
Published 08/27/21
Francisco Alves manages 700ha of montado, a traditional agroforestry system of Southern Europe, with herds of cattle, goats, sheep and the famous Alentejo pig. His experience at Herdade Sao Luis exposes us to the future of recently planted silvopastural systems. We discuss important topics such as how mature trees interact with pasture, the optimum tree quantity per hectare, how they contribute to his animals' health and growth, as well as the key management constraints. On top of this,...
Published 08/08/21
We have an extremely practical conversation with Tom Wahl, co-founder of the Red Fern Farm, convincing us he has developed a very functional and economic system. The team there has chosen a variety of rustic crops that need little care, are high in demand, and picked by the customers themselves. Planted on fantastic soil for growing trees and you have a system where all Tom and his team need to do is 'mow the grass'. In the interview we focused on chestnuts, his main crop, looking at why the...
Published 07/19/21
Farms are an expression of a climate, soil and farmer's potential. All need to be considered in order to create holistically functional systems. Reaching this depth is a complex task, but thanks to the work of innovators like Darren Doherty we have tools and techniques that help us make smarter decisions. This episode deals with the big picture: the patterns, the behaviours and the context that are vital to any farmer and his 'whole under management'. Too often, planning is not given enough...
Published 07/12/21
We have a discussion with Fabien Balaguer, director of L'association Française d’Agroforesterie (AFAF) where Fabien provides an overview of where agroforestry is at today in France. This is a great episode to understand the methodology l’AFAF is using to scale agroforestry but also to understand the specific challenges that come with that mission. For example on-field technical expertise is a much greater limiting factor than access to funding. The conversation focuses on some strategic...
Published 06/25/21
There are many claims that agroforestry can benefit ecosystem services and biodiversity. Delving into the nuance of this subject, we start our journey with Tom Staton, PhD student at Reading University, who has been conducting research in the UK at some of the farms who's farm managers we have interviewed on the show. Tom has been measuring insect populations (of predators, pollinators and pests) in silvoarable vs arable systems. To our pleasure, this conversation helps us understand the pros...
Published 06/13/21
Matteo Mazzola from Iside Farm, Koen van Seijen from Investing in The Regenerative Agriculture podcast and your host Dimitri (founder of Mazi Farm) sat down to answer one of the most prominent questions we received whilst reaching out to you: how to get started farming. Matteo and Dimitri have both been through the process of creating a farm and educating themselves in agroecology, whilst Koen has been engaged in the financial side of regenerative agriculture. We talk about training, the...
Published 05/20/21
We have a conversation with Oliver Hanke from 12Tree finance to understand what scaling agroforestry looks like. With 160 million $ already invested in 12 projects, 12Tree is bringing large investors into agroforestry. We spend some time going into some detail on their largest project in Guatemala to understand its implementation. We understand who is investing in agroforestry at that scale and their motivations for doing so. We also discuss the balance between agronomic innovation and...
Published 05/10/21
One of the pillars of agroforestry is the production of timber as a product of farmers. Rowan has been working for the past 30 years as an academic and farmer, developing a unique approach to agroforestry. He explains the importance of timber on farms, firstly as a key tool for conservation and sustainability objectives, and only secondly as a valid source of capital gain and financial return for a farm. Realistically speaking, why and how should farmers integrate trees? What should they...
Published 04/20/21
Garrett Miller has an unconventional path into agriculture, starting his farm at 22 and growing it into an extremely diverse enterprise since then. From cider production and a cider house, to strawberries and agrotourism, we were extremely interested in asking him questions about how he manages his business. Diversity is an inherent part of agroforestry systems, so understanding how farms manage a variety of productions is key. We then zoom in on how he integrates turkeys and apple trees,...
Published 04/01/21
In our previous interviews with Iain Tolhurst (#10) and David Wolfe (#6), both mentioned the research undertook by the Organic Research Center on their farms. We really wanted to go one step further and understand what came out of these research projets. The result is a great interview with Sally Westaway and Jo Smith where we discuss interactions between crops and trees, the productivity of agroforestry and the results of their trials on wood chips. Sally and Jo do a great job at bringing...
Published 03/07/21
One of the key questions we are trying to answer is 'in what contexts does agroforestry work, or doesn't'. Dan started intercropping grains between his pecans before he knew it was called agroforestry, because it made sense to him at the time. The first part of the interview focuses on the business strategy of the farm. Whilst providing many tips and fascinating info, you'll also understand the context in which the agroforestry system sets itself. You will be able to understand the details of...
Published 02/21/21