Down to Earth: The Planet to Plate Podcast

Down to Earth: The Planet to Plate Podcast

Down to Earth is a podcast about hope. As climate change collides with our industrial food system, we focus not on doom but instead on people who are developing practical, innovative solutions. We invite you to meet farmers, ranchers, scientists, land managers, writers, and many others on a mission to create a world in which the food we eat is healthy—for us, for the land and water from which it springs, for the lives and livelihoods of the producers, and for the planet.

Episodes

May 5, 2021 46 min

Omar de Kok-Mercado Scientist with background in Agro-ecology, Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry, and he’s at Iowa State University working on a project that integrates prairie strips into row-crop agriculture. By working with farmers to plant strips of land—"prairie strips—with native prairie vegetation, he and his team are working to bring back healthy soil, wildlife, corridors, a healthy water cycle, and innumerable potenti...

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Beth Robinette is a fourth generation rancher in Eastern Washington State, where she and her family run a grassfed beef operation, the Lazy R Ranch, based on holistic management principles. She’s co-founder of LINC Foods (Local Inland Northwest Cooperative), a local food hub based in Spokane Washington; and she runs the New Cowgirl Camp, an intensive ranching retreat for women, and New Rancher Camp, which is for both men and women.

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Lucille Contreras discovered her Lipan Apache roots as a young adult. After working in IT for many years, she founded the Texas Tribal Buffalo Project as a way of bringing together the Lipan diaspora, cultivating healthy land and food, rescuing the language, and honoring the co-existence of people and buffalo on their native lands.

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March 16, 2021 38 min

Kristina Long is founder and CEO of Sea Forest, a kelp farming company in British Columbia, Canada. We talk about everything kelp--sustainable farming and harvesting, uses of kelp, the business model, and the community.

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Mark Nelson is an environmental engineer, author, and farmer at Synergia Ranch, in Santa Fe, NM. He's co-author of the book, Life Under Glass : Crucial lessons in planetary stewardship from Biosphere 2, and he's in a new documentary about Biosphere 2, Spaceship Earth.
Starrlight Augustine is a scientist manager of the organic farm at Synergia Ranch. We talk about the experience and lessons of Biosphere 2, and their methods ...

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February 16, 2021 38 min

Rachael and James Stewart were both personal trainers in Phoenix, Arizona, eating a high-protein diet. When the pandemic hit, they decided to make some big changes. Stu (James) sold a classic car and they bought some land in southeastern Arizona, where they are in the first phase of starting a ranch for goats, sheep, and heritage poultry--Southwest Black Ranchers.
Stu is African American, Rachael is Filipina-Mexican, and their chil...

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Deborah Madison put vegetarian gourmet cooking on the map—and yet she's not a vegetarian. She learned to cook at the San Francisco Zen Center and the restaurant Chez Panisse, and then co-founded Greens Restaurant in San Francisco in 1979. She’s a chef and is author of over a dozen books on food and cooking; her latest is a memoir called, An Onion in My Pocket: My Life with Vegetables.

 

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January 19, 2021 44 min

Joe Maxwell is President of the Family Farm Action Alliance, formerly a state legislator Lieutenant Governor of Missouri, and is retired from the Army National Guard. He's also a family farmer, and has witnessed the shift from a functional capitalism to one that favors large monopolies at the expense of farmers, consumers, and the earth itself. He knows—from multiple perspectives—that consumer demand alone is not enough to mak...

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January 5, 2021 39 min

Camas Davis is executive director of the Good Meat Project and founder of the
Portland Meat Collective. A decade ago, after she apprenticed as a butcher in southwestern France, she returned to her home in Oregon to find that there was a lack of education among consumers about meat—where it comes from, what parts of the animal they're eating, what's behind variations in flavor—and so she started the Portland Meat Collective,...

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Jovan Sage is a farmer, chef, community organizer, entrepreneur, herbalist, doula, and wellness coach. Drawing on the knowledge of her West African and Indigenous ancestors, she is deeply engaged in healing on many levels--the soil, the body, communities caught up in the global pandemic, race relations--through deeply reciprocal relationships with the land and one another.
Find out more about her work at Alchemist Jovan and Sage...

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December 1, 2020 27 min

Filmmaker Sanjay Rawal's new documentary, Gather, explores how Native Americans across the U.S. are rediscovering their food traditions--and building on them in the context of present-day realities. We meet a world-class chef who returned to his roots and opened a Native cuisine-based restaurant in an old gas station; a young Lakota woman from a buffalo ranch who is combining her love of science and of her own culture; and a gr...

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November 17, 2020 45 min

LaKisha Odom is Scientific Program Director (Soil Health) at The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. A non-profit organization funded by the Farm Bill, FFAR is helping to fund the scientific research behind healthy soil practices so that more farmers can make the transition to regenerative agriculture and long-term sustainability and resilience.

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November 3, 2020 63 min

Dr. Vandana Shiva is an environmental leader, scientist, and activist. Author of over 20 books, she’s founder and leader of Navdanya, a non-governmental organization and movement that promotes biodiversity, organic farming, the rights of farmers, and seed saving. Her latest book is, Reclaiming the Commons: Biodiversity, Indigenous Knowledge, and the Rights of Mother Earth, published by Synergetic Press.
She's delivering the key...

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October 20, 2020 50 min

Roberto Meza was a multi-media artist and MIT graduate student when he went encountered some health challenges. He found that eating healthy greens restored his health and spirit so powerfully that he started apprenticing with a farmer and then moved to Colorado to start Emerald Gardens, a greenhouse-based farm that delivers microgreens to customers in the Denver area—and which brings a focus to issues of food sovereignty, equity, ...

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October 6, 2020 42 min

A-Dae Romero Briones is director of the Native Agriculture and Food Systems initiative at First Nations Development Institute. We talk about programs across the country that are helping native people build healthier food systems and to strengthen the traditions that have kept these systems alive even during the most devastating periods of colonization.

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Zach Ducheneaux is a third generation family rancher on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, and he’s Executive Director Intertribal Agriculture Council. We spend the hour talking about how the current financing system for agriculture doesn't work for the people growing the food—especially in Indian country, where discrimination is still the norm—and how innovative new financing structures can provide a real alternative.
Zach ...

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Judith Schwartz is the author of several books, including Cows Save the Planet and Water in Plain Sight. Her new book, The Reindeer Chronicles: And Other Inspiring Stories of Working with Nature to Heal the Earth, is a riveting series of reports from all over the globe about people who are restoring landscapes and dealing with deeply entrenched conflicts that are exacerbated by their degraded ecosystems. She takes us to China, the ...

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The "Radical Center" concept says that food producers and conservationists have far more in common than not—and the Audubon Society's Conservation Ranching program is a prime example of this idea in action. Working in collaboration with prairie grassland ranchers, the Audubon Society is helping them to accommodate grassland birds, with the result that the land gets healthier, grazing animals benefit, and birds thrive. A...

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Vanessa García Polanco is from a farming family that emigrated to the US when she was a teenager. Now she works with the National Young Farmers Coalition advocating for policies that help young farmers, new farmers, and farmers of color--who are often ignored, as infrastructures tend to serve larger commodity producers--especially during the global pandemic.

 

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July 28, 2020 44 min

Jason Baldes is Tribal Buffalo Coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation. An Eastern Shoshone native, his people called themselves gweechoon deka, the Buffalo Eaters. But when the buffalo were killed by the US government, their way of life was badly damaged.
Now Baldes is helping to restore buffalo to native lands and public lands as wild animals, and in so doing engaging the people to restore their relationship to them--as ...

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