Down to Earth: The Planet to Plate Podcast

Down to Earth: The Planet to Plate Podcast

Down to Earth is a podcast about regenerative agriculture, and it’s for everyone who eats. We invite you to meet the people shaping a healthier food system—farmers, ranchers, scientists, land managers, writers, and many others. Designing a future that draws on both tradition and innovation, they’re on a mission to change the paradigm so that the food we eat is healthy and long-term sustainable—for families and growers, for wildlife and water, for climate and planet. downtoearthradio.com

Episodes

January 30, 2023 65 min

Liz Carlisle's new book, Healing Grounds: Climate, Justice, and the Deep Roots of Regenerative Farming, is a fascinating exploration of food, agriculture, and cultural traditions of the North American, Mesoamerican, African, and Asian diasporas that have survived against all odds in the United States. Despite brutal social and political oppression, these communities have preserved soil-friendly polyculture techniques and cultur...

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TomKat Ranch manager Mark Biaggi talks about dealing with winter floods, summer droughts, and degraded landscapes––and the process of continual experimentation that leads to dramatic regeneration of damaged land.

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December 15, 2022 110 min

66 million years ago an asteroid struck earth, causing the fifth mass extinction of species on earth. With the dinosaurs gone, new species proliferated all over the planet. Now we're in the sixth extinction––this time caused by people. But when did it start? And what happened on on this continent in particular? Dan Flores' new book, Wild New World: The Epic Story of Animals & People in America, explores the deep history...

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Brando Crespi has devoted decades to sustainable development as co-founder and Executive Chair at Pro Natura International and Global Biochar. His holistic approach to sustainable development could be called regenerative––instead of telling poor and exploited people what they should do, it's about recognizing and cultivating local leadership, helping them form a community vision for their future, providing the assistance necess...

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November 15, 2022 33 min

John D. Liu started his career as a journalist and cameraman, covering politics, economics, and culture. In 1995, he began documenting the Loess Plateau in China, a massive landscape that had been destroyed by poor agriculture practices over the course of centuries. He watched and filmed as the landscape––and the people––came back to vibrant life over decades, through an intensive process that involved soil science, engineering, hy...

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Gary Paul Nabhan, known by many as the "father of the local food movement," is a prolific author, scientist, and activist for a healthy and truly regenerative food system that respects the land and its plants and animals; the people grow food, process, and serve the food and their communities; and to all the rest of us who eat and want our food to nourish us. He's an ecumenical Franciscan brother whose service is devote...

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October 18, 2022 47 min

Coley Burgess grew up on a conventional farm, then studied mathematics and electrical engineering...and he brought his scientific rigor and curiosity to a 20-acre pecan farm that he and his family bought in southern New Mexico. The ground was bare and turned to mud––and then cracked, dry earth––after he irrigated. But a series of happy accidents, including the purchase of a milk cow for his daughter's digestive health, led to h...

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October 1, 2022 51 min

Professor Phillip Warsaw's work is all about the interconnectedness of the systems that keep our lives going––food, housing, transportation, health care. In his research in Milwaukee  he discovered that in Black and Latino neighborhoods housing was significantly more expensive if it was near grocery stores, but the same wasn't true in more affluent White neighborhoods. Why? And does this mean that better food access leads t...

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September 20, 2022 38 min

If you're a small or mid-size farmer, it's nearly impossible to compete against giant food conglomerates. But fairer policy could help smaller farms to prosper, provide healthy food and thriving communities, and keep more profits for food producers––rather than executives and stockholders. Sarah Carden is a policy advocate with Farm Action, a group working to democratize the food system in the U.S. She's also a vegetabl...

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September 6, 2022 63 min

Both big ag and small family farms have their problems...but what's the alternative? We talk with agricultural journalist Sarah Mock about the some possible models.

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August 23, 2022 35 min

Linda and Larry Faillace spent years at the University of Nottingham in England, where Linda became an expert in Mad Cow Disease (BSE). Upon return to the U.S., they imported sheep from Europe, with USDA approval, and began a cheese making business in Vermont, with their three children active participants in the enterprise. But a few years later, the USDA came after them, claiming that their sheep might carry BSE, and told them to ...

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Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-NM-3), a native of Las Vegas, NM, deeply understands the challenges and strengths of rural people in northern New Mexico. She's been working to bring money to those whose property and livelihoods have been damaged by the recent wildfires and floods, and to build resilience––heathy soil and water practices––to provide more fire, flood, and drought resistance in the future. But getting fede...

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July 26, 2022 53 min

Bees date back over 10,000 years on the American continent and are vital to the health of almost every bite of food we eat, but today they face threats from industrialization and habitat fragmentation. Melanie Kirby is a decades-long beekeeper, a scientist, a member of Tortugas Pueblo, and extension educator for the land-grant program at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. Her diverse background gives a perspective o...

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During Carol Ekarius's early years in Colorado, the Buffalo Creek Fire burned just under 12,000 acres — and at the time was considered a huge, catastrophic fire. Now fires in the west are consuming hundreds of thousands of acres, and doing inestimable damage to property, livelihoods, and ecosystems. A long-time farmer-rancher, Ekarius has been involved in fire management and mitigation and watershed restoration. She has written...

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June 28, 2022 47 min

We all know the term carbon "footprint." Well, Foodprint takes this idea and broadens it to apply to our food system; they explore how the foods we eat affect not only carbon emissions, but a whole range of things, like livestock and wildlife, soils and water, communities and human health. Foodprint is a project of the GRACE Communications Foundation, and in today's episode we talk to its director Jerusha Klemperer, who...

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Ryland Engelhart came from a family of vegans and vegetarians and knew early on that he wanted to devote his life to the health of the planet. Once he began to see that there is no food –– no life at all –– without the death of animals, he revised his perspective and at 35 ate his first hamburger. (It went well.) This perspective grew into a deeper understanding of the role of soil as the source of all life, and as the best answer ...

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May 24, 2022 52 min

Most of the American Midwest was once a vast savanna, an open grassland with abundant trees and wildlife. As the land was converted to agriculture many of the trees were lost, and with them went countless benefits to the landscape, to air and water, soil health, and wildlife. The practice of agroforestry allows farmers to return those benefits to their land –– and provides profit opportunities and increased carbon sequestration. We...

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May 10, 2022 48 min

In New Mexico and across the West wildfires are burning through wildlands, farms, ranches, and communities. Lesli Allison, executive director of the Western Landowners Alliance, has many years of experience in prescribed burn management—and like many New Mexcians she's directly affected by the fires. She helps us to understand how we got to  the volatile situation we're in, where "controlled" fires so easily go out ...

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April 25, 2022 48 min

Aria McLauchlan and Harley Cross, co-founders of Land Core, have been working for years on food and farming policy that promotes regenerative practices. In this podcast we talk about the Farm Bill––a trillion dollar piece of legislation which most people know little about, but which deeply affects all of our lives. It plays a huge role in how farming is done––and could help to make a shift toward regenerative practices and the many...

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April 12, 2022 61 min

Jessica Chiartas is a PhD soil bio-geochemist who's working to catalyze the transition from "conventional" to regenerative agriculture. She’s a postdoctoral researcher at the Innovation Institute for Food and Health at UC Davis and fellow with Food Shot Global, and is UC Davis partner for the California Farm Demonstration Network. She’s lead Soil Scientist at Kiss the Ground, and the founder of Soil Life Services and a ...

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