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.