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Is it best that our food is Local and Organic or Big and Conventional? Our view is “Both, and..” We don’t come to the table with a bias, except that good farming like good food comes in all shapes and sizes. Farm to Table Talk explores issues and the growing interest in the story of how and where the food on our tables is produced, processed and marketed. The host, Rodger Wasson is a food and agriculture veteran. Although he was the first of his family to leave the grain and livestock farm a ...
 
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Nutrient density, biodynamic and regenerative are terms of relevance to the health of our planet, our soil, our food and ourselves. It’s tricky learning the connections but Dr. Christopher Daugherty ties it all together. “Biodynamic is the art and aspect” of the essential principles of food. Nutrient density is the “level of nutrients per unit” of …
 
Now is not the new normal. Consumers were forced to change their shopping and dining food practices by the pandemic. As they return to stores and restaurants, they need to be the Hero of their lives. From farmers to restaurants and food markets, helping consumers realize their need to be the Hero from these troubled times, is job One. Suzy Badaracc…
 
Many people wish they could farm and new farmers are needed. Sounds like a match. It is a well established fact that the average age of farmers is around the age that people are thinking of retirement. So who will be farming in the future, beyond just those who are fortunate enough to be born in to a sustainable family farm? The Center for Land Bas…
 
Families are spending more time cooking at home and local meat provides a better and more affordable alternative. According to Johnathan Hladk the Policy Director for the Center for Rural Affairs, local meat lockers simply do not have the space or equipment to keep up, leaving family farms in the growing direct sales industry without a crucial part…
 
New technologies will play an important role in the future of farming for every size, shape, climate and geographic location. The ideas are popping up fast and increasingly affordable for the full spectrum of global farming systems. Francesco Arlia is the founder and CEO of one of these emerging pioneers, Harvest Harmonics. With dime-sized micro-tr…
 
Climate smart agriculture will make a difference to farmers, citizens and life on earth. Karen Ross, the Secretary of Food And Agriculture for the California Department of Agriculture is on the front line of meeting the climate challenge as chief administrator of food and agriculture programs for the 5th largest economy in the World. Secretary Ross…
 
Clubhouse is a drop-in audio chat network that now includes conversations about the food system, on Farm To Table Talk. The Center for Good Food Purchasing uses the power of procurement to create a transparent and equitable food system that prioritizes the health and well-being of people, animals, and the environment. Paula Daniels is the Co-founde…
 
It’s become popular to bash livestock production and meat consumption for extreme green house gas emissions. What if the data is wrong? In the UK where carbon neutral agriculture is to be accomplished by 2050, new research has found that the ‘carbon’ case against pig farming is not right. The study conducted by the Institute for Global Food Securit…
 
The Nobel Prize Committee has just recognized the scientists who discovered CRISPR—genetic scissors that are a tool for rewriting the code of life and potentially a tool in limiting global warming. New science, technology and a range of farming systems from conventional to agroecology, regenerative and organic have roles to play. Science writer And…
 
Do omnivores face a dilemma as Michael Pollan famously proposed in his popular book over a decade ago or is the dilemma a delusion? Farmer Blake Hurst who just completed 10 years as President of the Missouri Farm Bureau has practiced what he’s preached about farmer’s need to communicate. A dozen years ago when the Omnivore’s Dilemma brought global …
 
COVID-19 has exacerbated food insecurity and laid bare systemic inequalities that contribute to hunger. One in six Americans—54 million—are food insecure, with the largest increases seen in communities of color. For a country that wastes 30-40 percent of its food supply, how can we understand this rate of food insecurity? Katie Martin is Executive …
 
It might be appealing to imagine all food going straight from 'Old McDonald's Farm" to our tables, but it's not realistic. Because of seasons, climates, soils, water (quality and availabilty) research and grower education, most harvested crops need to be cleaned, cooked, canned, frozen or dried to move on up the food chain to tables around the worl…
 
A lot of people want to farm and some farmers want to change the way they farm. Emily Newman is helping those folks in her role as Program Manager for Rodale Institute's Organic Crop Consulting Service. They provide one-on-one mentorship and assistance to farmers looking to transition to organic. Consultants meet farmers where they are—each plan is…
 
Sisters JoBeth Evans and Maggie Davidson have been farming since they were old enough to feed the cows but just recently (officially) went in business with their parents to form Williams Angus Beef. The girls grew up, graduated from college, got jobs, married farmers, had two kids each and are now reconnecting with their parents. They are practicin…
 
Food fraud and political tensions have heavily impacted Australian farmers exporting products to international markets. Traceability and provenance are essential to fighting food fraud and opening new export markets for farmers, producers, processors and consumers who deserve to know they’re getting exactly what they purchased. Fourth generation Bl…
 
Consumers, Restaurants, Supermarkets and Farmers are finding common ground on animal production and marketing animal products. Here it can be argued that "the egg came first." Josh Balk leads the Humane Society of the United States’ work in shifting the egg industry from predominantly cage production to cage-free housing instead. He’s successfully …
 
Scientific advances are credited (or blamed) for food system progress (or problems) depending on food philosophies and perspectives. Yet new knowledge that comes from new scientific findings can lead to more sustainable systems that reduce waste, limit production of green house gases and feed more hungry people world wide. Some of the necessary res…
 
From farms to citizens of the world of the world inflammation causes disease and makes health impossible. Global transformation will need recognition that farming is medicine for the health of all life and of earth itself. That's a theme for a KeyNote presentation at EcoFarm by Dr. Rupa Marya: physician, writer, musician, mother, farmer's wife and …
 
Every five years the US Government develops and publishes "Dietary Guidelines For Americans". The Guidelines for 2020 - 20225 have now been released by the two responsible agencies, USDA and HHS. New approaches have been taken to identify diet patterns for various life stages. The report follows the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines Committ…
 
"To make a living is not to make a killing. It's to have enough." says Wendell Berry in many ways, in scores of books over the years. As we consider the future of the world we need to reflect on the counsel of Wendell Berry who reminds us that the world will take care of us if we take care of it; knowing and loving it. If there was a poet laureate …
 
Covid pandemic demonstrated enormous problems in the food system with food being destroyed while people were going hungry. If we want to revitalize the food system and rural America we have to bring people back. And to do that we need to have work that people can do. @MarionNestle says it can be done and the new team taking shape at the USDA must t…
 
Some of the world's largest protests are taking place in support of farmers in India. Whether in Delhi, San Francisco or Paris people have gone to the streets to show solidarity with the small farmers in India who are losing essential government support. To generate global awareness of the farmers' fate, Sikhs in California have brought tractors, t…
 
When once again safe to travel through farm country, the bounty of the food system will be evident. So are the perils resulting from misdirected political power. Tom Philpott, author, podcaster and Mother Jones reporter wrote Perilous Bounty to draw attention to the promise and the peril of farm policy and practices that are often not good for farm…
 
Masked or not, face to face marketing can't be beat; because wherever you are in the food chain it is best to have direct contact with customers. Erin Sastre and Tyler Towne are literally doing that for Planters Peanuts as they drive a giant peanut thousands of miles back and forth across the country. On a bright Fall morning we find them in front …
 
The story of a place has to include the story of it's food: what was grown and what they ate. Taking that to heart, the owner Chef of Bulrush Restaurant in St. Louis, Rob Connoly, is finding a delicious way to share the story of a special place with special food traditions from the Ozarks. Rob is establishing the Ozark foodway by resurrecting ingre…
 
Climate change effects will go way beyond receding coasts and shrinking farm regions to to include the quality of air that plants need to produce nutritious foods. When carbon levels in the air increase, the nutrition from foods will decline by up to 30%, severely impacting human health. Dr. Kristie Ebi is the Founding Director of CHanGe, the Cente…
 
Well educated young women who could do anything are choosing to farm, and to lead. Equal gender opportunities do abound in agriculture, including the opportunity to give leadership to controversial issues like climate change. Krysten Mensonides and Lynne Wheeler both graduated from universities and had career choices before they decided farming was…
 
For better or worse there has been substantial deregulation happening in the US Capitol, now including genetic engineering (GMO/GE). Greg Jaffe is the Biotech Director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). They believe that GE products deemed safe through an independent science-based assessment have a place in our food system an…
 
Agriculture may be 10,000 years old but it's a new world. Farmers and Ranchers are facing the new challenges with new technologies and new philosophies, enpowering the big and the small. This comes at a time when consumer interest in how their food is produced has never been higher--a fact not missed by food manufacturers, retailers and chefs. Debo…
 
The North American food system has succeeded in producing an abundance of commodities at relatively low cost, but it is failing in other ways that matter. Showing how law and policy should make needed changes is the purpose of "the Blueprint for a National Food Strategy". This work in progress is a collaborative project between the Center for Agric…
 
Seasons are the rhythm of nature, naturally restricting the availability of fruits and vegetables. That is except when it's with a food such as tomatoes that are freshly preserved in diced, peeled or paste form to be part of the worlds most popular dishes. Although some food products are just processed when quality is declining, processing tomato v…
 
In every region farmers are finding ways to pivot from producing the same commodities that have always been produced on their land. New farmers are also finding new ways to get started that includes trying different crops. In southern California coffee is being successfully grown on land formerly growing avocados and lemons. Jay Ruskey planted a tr…
 
There is a growing need for informational bridges between farmers markets, farm workers, shoppers, and farmers of every size shape and situation. Troy Rice established Farm Brigge to fill that need and create local food ecosystems. Shoppers can go on line to find local farmers and farmers markets that have the food products they seek and the story …
 
If you’re not yet a believer that we can create a climate stable future, you probably will be a believer after listening to Josh Tickell. He and his wife Rebecca wrote the book and produced the most uplifting film to date about regenerative agriculture and what it means for farmers and consumers. Over a year ago I read his book “Kiss the Ground”, l…
 
For too many it is basically a no win situation if you're a farmer and so they ask "How can I get off this treadmill?" The dream of farming can become a nightmare in a broken system explains Ricardo Salvador, the Director of Food and Environment for the Union of Concerned Scientists. Farm choice has traditionally been either playing the low value, …
 
The fact that the food system lacks resilience is apparent from the devastating effects of COVID on meat packing plant employees. In a system that inspired Henry Ford's assembly plant, these dis-assembly plants have proven to be extremely dangerous for workers. First plants closed, farmers euthanized hogs, workers were home sick or laid off, then p…
 
For many it would be a dream come true if their family could be supported from an 80 acre farm instead of the more typical 2,000 acres commodity farm. In a recent article, Ricardo Salvador of the Union of Concerned Scientists says that dream may be becoming a reality: "We all could use some good news. Here is some. This is a story about breaking fr…
 
Can traditional MidWest commodity farms pivot to a more diverse system than just corn and soybeans? It's an important question as farmers and their customers pursue sustainable farming systems; and even more important when it is not possible to earn enough from the typical dependance on corn and soybean. Seven generations of Smith's have farmed abo…
 
We didn't pick 2020 as our time to step up, but 2020 picked us. Community leaders, restaurants and local farmers are stepping up to tackle the existential health, safety and economic crises of 2020. People are hungry, farmers marketing channels have been disrupted, restaurants were brought to the brink and government resources depleted yet communit…
 
Farming in Cities and Towns is not where you usually expect to run across the US Department of Agriculture. Well that’s beginning to change as the USDA’s Farm Service Agency is launching county committees to focus exclusively on urban agriculture. Richard Fordyce is enthusiastic about this new direction. He is a farmer from Missouri where he also w…
 
Covid has hastened the shift to online markets for every size and shape of farmers to connect with wholesale, retail or consumers around the corner or around the world. Local farmers who have been selling to farmers markets, CSA's, local stores or restaurants can now add their own online outlet. Even large scale commodity farmers can now branch out…
 
Some independent growers and processors have removed the need for the middle man. From raising and butchering their animals to processing and shipping the finished product to stores, they have control over their product quality and supply chain and embody the essence of the farm-to-plate movement. For over 70 years and four generations, the Diestel…
 
When a living legend passes after over a hundred years on Earth, it can truly be right to celebrate that life. That has never been truer than when that legend is Jack Woolf and his particular part of the Earth was the Central Valley of California.Jack Woolf started farming for others on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley after returning from W…
 
"At our grocery stores and dinner tables, even the most thoughtful consumers are overwhelmed by the number of considerations to weigh when choosing what to eat—especially when it comes to meat. Guided by the noble principle of least harm, many responsible citizens resolve the ethical, environmental and nutritional conundrum by quitting meat entirel…
 
What if you could build an online retail business around your favorite food. Matt Kollmorgen had that idea when, as many are experiencing today, his former employment ended. Since he loved honey from when he was a kid growing up and as a grown up it became important to provide his family with a healthy, nutrient rich alternative to sugar, he found …
 
There is good news for people who want to help people: To make a difference you don't have to fly to a challenged part of the country or the world; just roll up your sleeves and go to work in your community. That's what Cathryn Couch does through the Ceres Community Project that she started in the basement of her Church with some volunteer teens. T…
 
Farmers and ranchers should "be recognized for the the unique ways they enable the sustainable foods systems of the future and nourish our communities, natural resources, and planet". The US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) was created to accomplish that vision with a mission to co-create sustainable food systems, connecting farmers, ranchers …
 
It is not unusual to hear from folks who want farming to be a foundational part of their lives. They may have a job that requires a long commute to their office cubicle or they are living on a small farm and can't quite make a living, with out adding some off farm income. Matt Brechwald was one of those people before he made the jump to a small far…
 
Wild fires have been an annual occurrence for centuries, but the increasingly undeniable effects of climate change portends more fire disasters, more often. One natural step to deal with the threats is responsible grazing, in and around urban populations. Andree Soares, President of Star Creek Land Stewards is finding that once people get used to h…
 
Sheep and goats have a long tradition in California, a state that ranks #1 in lamb production and #2 in wool production. After years of decline from issues such as predation there has started to be encouraging increases in demand for lamb and public recognition for the important role of grazing for fire protection. Andree Soares of Star Creek Land …
 
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