Mon, 14 November 2016
Episode 136: Beth and Shawn Dougherty have been farming together for over thirty years and practice grass-based homesteading in Eastern Ohio. In this interview, Shawn and Beth explain how they use intensive pasture management on a small scale to increase soil fertility, regenerate land, and grow delicious, nutrient-dense food.
When the Dougherty's first spotted the place that was to become their home, they weren't impressed. It was "in worse than bad shape" and had been deemed not suitable for agriculture by the state of Ohio. Using grass-based farming, they regenerated this neglected piece of land into a thriving independent homestead where they now grow 90% of their food.
In this interview, the Dougherty's explain how to harness the power of the sun into grazing ruminants, how to choose the right animal for your property, (hint, let the land tell you), and the joys and challenges of homesteading with animals. They also talk the detrimental effects that "animal-free" agriculture has had on the world.
Shawn and Beth wanted to farm like their great grandparents did and often asked themselves, "How can this be more beautiful and appropriate?" By working with Nature and in partnership with farm animals, they discovered that contrary to modern agriculture (which depletes soil fertility), land farmed properly becomes more capable of supporting the life on it and grows in fertility, biodiversity, and health.
You can find the Dougherty's new book, The Independent Farmstead- Growing Soil, Biodiversity, and Nutrient Dense Food with Grassfed Animals and Intensive Pasture Management, online at Chelsea Green Publishing and at local bookstores.
Sun, 25 September 2016
Episode 135: Starhawk is an internally renowned activist, feminist, writer, and Permaculture Designer and Teacher. Founder of the Earth Activist Training, Starhawk travels the globe teaching about Permaculture Design, Social Permaculture, and Earth-based spirituality.
In this interview, Starhawk talks about how Permaculture changed her life, how to design beneficial relationships, and why she feels that there is no more vital work we can do than to heal our damaged earth.
We learn about the regenerative land management practices that she is doing on her land in Sonoma, CA and why she feels that "trees and veggies are the easy part of Permaculture." We talk about Social Permaculture and the many challenges of working in groups, cultural diversity and sensitivity, group cooperation examples in Nature, and how Permaculture ethics and principles can help us navigate the murky waters of working with others.
To hear the interview I did with Starhawk in 2010, click here.
Sat, 3 September 2016
Episode 134: Have you ever wanted to grow a cornucopia of organic fruit at home? In this episode, Permaculture and Ecological Designer Michael Judd teaches us how to plant a food forest in easy to follow steps. Michael recommends a "patch method" for starting your food forest, shares his recipes for sheet mulching, and talks about how to incorporate existing trees into your new food forest. Michael covers guilds (a selected group of plants that form a small ecosystem to support trees) and talks about the plants he loves to incorporate into food forests including: Comfrey, Strawberry, Lead Plant, Yarrow, Wild Blue Indigo, and many others. Michael shares his favorite Uncommon Fruits and "Edible Landscaping All Stars" which include: Hardy Kiwi, Gooseberry, Juneberry, Goumi, Autumn Olive, Paw Paw, Che Fruit, Elderberry, and Currants.
You can taste some of Michael's uncommon fruit at his 1st Annual Paw Paw Festival on September 17th, 2016 at Long Creek Homestead. The Fest is a celebration of North America's largest (and many say most delicious) fruit.
Fri, 19 August 2016
Episode 133: Is it time to turn your lawn into a biodiverse meadow? In this interview with John Greenlee, we learn about the many benefits of meadow gardens. An expert in grass ecology and sustainable design, John is the author of the books The American Meadow Garden and The Encyclopedia of Ornamental Grasses.
John Greenlee says meadows are the "places you want to be, sunny, soft, and human-friendly" and are an excellent replacement for the typical turf lawn.
In this interview, John asks a fundamental question, "Are we just decorating the planet or are we creating habitat?" He outlines how he readies land for planting a meadow, inorganic and organic methods of soil preparation, what grasses work where, plant driven design, and why meadow lawns are a boon to the ecosystem.
John also talks about different types of meadows and how to add an edible component to meadows including Heirloom Grains, Berries, and Root Herbs like Salsify.
To learn more, visit John's website Greenlee and Associates. com
Sun, 24 July 2016
Episode 132: Can planting lentils be a radical act? Yes, if you live in a small conservative farming town in Montana, circa 1976. That was the year David Oien moved back to his family’s farm and planted a crop of lentils. This marked the beginning of the Lentil Underground, a group of farmers who created a new way of doing business both on the farm and in their community.
It wasn’t always easy. Planting lentils in a county known for wheat created waves and they weren’t amber waves of grain. But, what disapproving, wheat-loving onlookers didn’t know, was that the short, squat lentil plant is the “Robin Hood” of the plant world. A Nitrogen fixer, it creates fertilizer and increases soil health by sequestering Nitrogen out of the atmosphere and putting it in the soil in a plant available form. This fixing of Nitrogen is a valuable service to farmers and to plant and soil life.
In this interview with author, teacher, and lecturer Dr. Liz Carlisle, we learn what happened when a group of farmers shifted from industrial agriculture to a more ecological farming method. This transition from a “farming up” to a “farming down” model, with a goal of regenerating soil health, is the story of the Lentil Underground. It's also a story about community, agricultural policies, and our food system.
Dr. Liz Carlisle is the author of the book Lentil Underground. Liz is a Lecturer in Food Systems at the University of California, Berkeley and in the Thinking Matters program at Stanford University. She holds a Ph.D. in Geography, from UC Berkeley, and a B.A. from Harvard University.
You can buy lentils and other products from the farmers mentioned in this interview by visiting their company Timeless Food.
Fri, 8 July 2016
Episode 131: Dr. John Todd is a pioneer in the field of ecological design. The inventor of the Eco-Machine, John Todd works with nature to heal degraded waste sites often thought irreconcilably damaged. John Todd and his associates have worked on projects on five continents dealing with waterborne waste streams of both domestic sewage and industrial waste.
John believes that there are ways to heal our damaged earth and designs machines that work with nature to reduce the amount of nutrients and pollutants in water and manage and transform them into beneficial forms.
In this episode, John Todd tells us why he travels to the places most people don't like to go- polluted landfills, contaminated oil fields, and sewage plants. John talks about the first Eco-Machine he designed to mimic the genius of nature and how armed with a bucket and turkey baster, he filled it with life from over a dozen wild environments. When polluted water was poured into the machine, it moved through different tanks on a 10 day journey. The end result? Clean water.
John talks about his project at the Omega Institute where he designed an Eco-Machine that treats up to 52,000 gallons a day of wastewater. The Eco-Machine is located in a beautiful greenhouse that doubles as a classroom, event space, and yoga center!
John also talks about his latest project, designing and building a fleet of Ocean Arks. As the Arks travel through the sea or lake, they clean the water, while onboard, students learn about the ocean.
Sat, 18 June 2016
Episode 130: Permaculture teacher, poet, and author Patrick Jones talks about his family's epic journey, how they took Permaculture on the road, and some of Australia's indigenous plants.
In 2013, Meg Ulman and Patrick Jones embarked on a 14 month, 6,000 km journey by bike, cycling along Australia's East Coast from Daylesford to Cape York. Their travel companions were their sons, Woody and Zephyr, and their Jack Russell Terrier, Zero. Patrick and Meg wrote a book about their journey called The Art of Free Travel: A Frugal Family Adventure.
One of the goals of their four hundred day journey was to document some of the edible wild plants of Australia and to eat and enjoy free and foraged food along the way.
Patrick also talks about pre-1788 indigenous Aboriginal land tending and shares some of the history and science that demonstrates reciprocal agrarianism across Australia pre-contact.
Learn more about Patrick Jones and Meg Ulman by clicking here.
If you'd like a list of the Latin names of the many plants, insects, and mushrooms that Patrick talks about in this interview, visit the Sustainable World Radio blog by clicking here.
Fri, 6 May 2016
Episode 129: Fungi are absent from our awareness, but are everywhere around us. In this interview with Peter McCoy, author of the book, Radical Mycology, we learn about fungi and its influence and effect on all life.
Did you know that fungi are the "grand chemists of nature"? That fungi are more closely related to the animal kingdom than the plant kingdom? Or that fungi is a high protein functional food that boosts your immune system?
Peter McCoy shares with us some of his knowledge gleaned from years of working with fungi. We talk about how many plants need fungi to grow and thrive (including orchids), how to grow mushrooms at home, and "Survival of the Most Symbiotic."
Peter McCoy is the co-founder of Radical Mycology, a grassroots organization that educates about the importance of mushroom cultivation and mycoremediation. Peter is a writer, artist, mushroom cultivator, and educator.
Fri, 8 April 2016
Episode 128: Dr. Elaine Ingham of Soil Foodweb Inc. guides us on this podcast journey into the world of soil. The meeting place of atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere, soil contains vast numbers of species. Like most places where “edges” of different worlds meet, the soil is a dynamic interface. Fertile soil is alive with the biodiversity of a thriving forest; complex ecosystems connecting, growing, living, co-existing, and dying. In this episode we learn about the cast of creatures that comprise the Soil Food Web, including Bacteria, Fungi, Nematodes, Protozoa, and Arthropods and the many ecosystem services that they provide.
Elaine talks about how to take dirt- soil that has no life- and transform it into soil. She details techniques that you can do at home and on the farm to increase soil life, resulting in healthier plants, people, and planet. Are you trying to grow broccoli in a fungal- dominated soil? Why does your yard only grow weeds? What is living in your soil? Why is rototilling a bad idea if you are trying to increase soil health? What is the connection between healthy soil and climate change? Tune in to learn the answers to these questions and more from Soil Food Web expert Dr. Elaine Ingham.
For more information about Elaine visit her website.
Tue, 1 March 2016
Episode 127: How can we apply Permaculture ethics and principles to our lives and relationships? In this episode Delia Carroll and Rachel Kaplan, co-founders of 13 Moon CoLab, talk about Social Permaculture, designing your life for resiliency, and how tending to your inner landscape can lead to cultural repair.
The 13 Moon CoLab's Permaculture From the Inside Out Design Course is intended to grow Permaculture people and places. The 100+ hour course includes the traditional 72 Hour Permaculture curriculum, as well as somatics, place-making, community art, and ceremony. The 13 Moon CoLab teaches permaculture and somatics in the same course because they see both as practices of repair, with somatics tending to the inner landscape and permaculture tending to the outer.
Rachel and Delia are Permaculture teachers and designers. Rachel is the co-author of the book Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living. Delia is a past producer of the West Coast Women’s Permaculture Gatherings and the Northern California Permaculture Convergences.
Thu, 18 February 2016
Episode 126: Joseph Simcox is a botanical explorer, ethnobotanist, international lecturer, and expert in food plants from around the world. In this free-ranging conversation, Joseph talks about the potential that we have to transform the planet in positive ways, how we can become "Giant Enrichers", acting like the "new earthworms of the planet."
Joseph shares his knowledge about resilient plants and climate change, the agriculture industrial complex, and how we can re-integrate foodways from the past into our modern food system.
Of course, Joseph also talks about plants, including three that he is really excited about: Manroot, (Ipomoea leptophylla), Prairie Turnips (Pediomelum esculentum), and the Queen of the Night Cactus (Peniocereus greggii).
For more information about Joseph Simcox, click here.
Fri, 15 January 2016
Episode 125: In this interview with Irina Stoenescu we talk about the re-discovery of food traditions, how regional foods are going global, and how Millennials and their interest in food with a story is shaping our food system.
After the taste standardization of the fast food era, we are in the middle of a food revolution. We are living in a time where the story of food and its ingredients (the community growing or raising it, its nutritional benefits, and traditions), are as important as the food itself.
The revitalization of food traditions fuels culinary innovation and creativity. Chefs searching for “forgotten” ingredients and “ethnic” foods are merging tradition and innovation and sharing their discoveries with the world.
In this interview, Irina also talks in-depth about several Eurasian foods that she is excited about, including Arugula, Sea Buckthorn, and Cornelian Cherry.
Irina Stoenescu is a Food Researcher and Consultant whose work focuses on healthy food, trade and nutrition issues. Irina is dedicated to educational programs, focusing on the revival of food traditions, balanced nutrition, and sustainable food systems. Currently, Irina is working on a project to introduce Euarasian specialty foods to a larger audience.