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.... Show More

Episodes

July 14, 2020 52 min

When the "green revolution" offered the promise of better agriculture through chemical-intensive farming, J.I. Rodale was skeptical. He started an organic farm and then an institute to study how farming could improve the land and human health.
Now the Rodale Institute is doing agriculture research not only in their home farm in Pennsylvania, but also at new research centers in Iowa, California, and Georgia. We talk to Rodal...

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Hopi farmers were practicing regenerative agriculture before it was named. Working with the soil, the weather, the water cycle, seeds, and cultural practices, they fed themselves in the dry land of northern Arizona for millennia. Now the industrial food system has challenged their way of living and farming. We talk to traditional Hopi farmer Dr. Michael Kotutwa Johnson; he's a research associate with the Native American Agricul...

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Cliven Bundy is a rancher who's refused for decades to pay his grazing fees for public lands. But where did his ideas about public lands come from? We talk to author Betsy Gaines Quammen about her new book, American Zion: Cliven Bundy, God and Public Lands in the West.

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Lake Powell and Lake Mead are two massive man-made lakes and they're reservoirs for water used all over the West--for agriculture, residences, industry, electricity, and wildlife. And they're running low on water--we're taking out more than they're being replenished. Brian Richter, president of Sustainable Waters, and author of the book, Chasing Water: A Guide for Moving from Scarcity to Sustainability, talks about ...

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May 11, 2020 39 min

The Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic has touched all parts of our lives--including the food system. While farms are considered essential businesses, farmers and farm workers are facing huge challenges, including getting food where it needs to go in a changing world, dealing with illness and unemployment, and much more. Rachel Armstrong is founder and executive director of Farm Commons, and she walks us through the many problems--and s...

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Gregory Horner is co-author of a series called, Profiles in Land and Management. He tells us about places all over the country where grazing is being used to improve land health--which may come as a surprise to many who have seen the land degradation caused by overgrazing. But when it's done properly, public agencies are seeing the return of native plants and wildlife--and they're saving money by letting animals do the work...

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Grant and Dawn Breitkreutz converted from "conventional" agriculture to a regenerative system involving holistic management of livestock, cover cropping, and soil-health techniques. Over the last fifteen years they have seen their farm thrive, their own health improve, and their land become more lush, resilient, and hospitable to wildlife. They tell their story, with its challenges and learning experiences.

 

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Stanley Crawford is a farmer—he's owner of El Bosque Garlic farm in Dixon, New Mexico. And he's a writer—he's author of more than a dozen books of fiction and non fiction. His latest book, The Garlic Papers: A Small Garlic Farm in the Age of Global Vampires, is a fascinating portrait of a quiet life on a small farm, and at the same time about the legal battles between small new Mexico garlic farmers and a gigantic Chine...

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March 16, 2020 55 min

Ronnie Cummins grew up in a toxic part of Texas so toxic that there are no longer enough classmates to have a high school reunion. He became a human rights activist, and then a food and farming activist. In his new book, Grassroots Rising: A Call to Action on Climate, Farming, Food, and a Green New Deal, he looks at how the food system contributes to climate disruption, and how that can be turned around so that food, health, climat...

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Kelsey Ducheneaux is natural resources director with the Intertribal Agriculture Council in Eagle Butte, SD--and she's a fourth generation regenerative beef cattle rancher. We talk about the strengths and traditions of native food producers, the many challenges of producing food in the current financial system, and the ways that agriculture can heal land and people.

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Brennan Washington worked in information technology and gardened with his wife just for fun and relaxation. When they moved to Georgia, they produced so much food that they got involved with farmers markets and CSAs--and started seeing the problems as well as the strengths of these outlets. Washington now works with Southern SARE, where he goes all over the Southern US and the Caribbean, talking to farmers and sharing knowledge to ...

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February 4, 2020 52 min

Darren Doherty is a farm planner in Australia who works worldwide, and he's founder of Regrarians, which promotes and teaches the principles of regenerative agriculture. We talk about the bush fires, the land management problems that contributed to their severity, the loss Aboriginal land management practices--and the opportunities that rise from the ashes.

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A wide-ranging conversation with Kevin Watt of TomKat Ranch in Pescadero, California, about the hazards of degenerative agriculture around the world, and the evolution toward new ways of thinking about productivity, healthy food, and not just surviving but thriving on a crowded planet. 

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January 6, 2020 45 min

Kate Zeigleris a geologist/hydrologist who works with farmers and ranchers in New Mexico and Colorado to provide scientific data about their wells and water table. We talk about the importance of not only data collection but also building trust and community decision-making for future sustainability on arid agricultural lands.

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December 22, 2019 34 min

African Americans in agriculture have endured generations of discrimination and deceit that have resulted in the loss of countless families' land and livelihoods. Attorney Jillian Hishaw helps farmers protect themselves, their families, and their property--through understanding the laws that affect them and doing smart long-term planning.

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December 10, 2019 54 min

According to Colorado hemp growers Ed Berg and Scott Perez, hemp is an extraordinary plant with many uses: It can feed people and animals, heal medical conditions, make cloth and rope, produce biodegradable plastics, sequester carbon, and remove toxins from soil. So what's in the way of its widespread use--and how can small producers survive when it becomes a major commodity crop?

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November 26, 2019 38 min

Paul Neubauer worked on his uncle's farm before he went to college, and developed a passion that led him to a life in agriculture. To build his skills he went through the Quivira Coalitions apprenticeship program, and now works for Vilicus Farms in Montana. He reflects on the challenges and rewards of working in agriculture, being both a mentor and a student, and the many kinds of skills——practical and personal——that it takes t...

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Diana Rodgers is a nutritionist and real food dietician. She’s the author of several books and is working on a new book and documentary film project, Sacred Cow. She hosts the Sustainable Dish podcast, and she lives and works on an organic farm in Massachusetts.

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Dr. Robert Fetsch grew up on a dairy farm in Texas, and saw first hand the stresses of rural life. He now works with farm and ranch families with disabilities and helps them manage their stress, anger, depression, and suicidal thinking. He is co-project director of the Colorado Agrability project, Professor in the College of Health and Human Sciences Department at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

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October 15, 2019 50 min

Nicole Mastersis an agro-ecologist and educator in regenerative agriculture. She's founder of Integrity Soils, and author of the new book, For the Love of Soil.

 

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