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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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World leaders have committed to tackling global hunger, climate change and biodiversity loss at an historic UN Food Systems Summit. More than 150 countries made commitments to transform their food systems, while championing greater participation and equity, especially amongst farmers, women, youth and indigenous groups. What is this global food sys…
 
Everything is changing down on the farm, except for the laws. How do farmers and ranchers keep up while they diversify in to direct to consumer sales, wedding sites, field dinners, local meat processing, pesticide drift, agri-tourism, cottage food, food safety liability, NIMBY neighbors, run off, carbon credits, etc? The trusty local lawyer may not…
 
Call it what you will, the climate is weird and getting more dangerous. Still reactive blanket prescriptions for changing the world’s diets must take in to account that over 800,000 people are subsisting on incomes of $2 per day. In these areas the most serious threat is physical and cognitive stunting of up to 30% of the children due to poor diets…
 
The world can draw down all of our Carbon emissions if agriculture fully embraced regenerative agriculture. Soils must be regularly monitored by probing carbon levels because the more that is in the soil the less is in the atmosphere. These themes are promoted by the Chico Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems to reduce greenhou…
 
Global regenerative abundance is the goal and holistic management is the way to get there. It’s an abstract perspective at first, but when coached to this vision by the Savory Institute’s Global Network Coordinator, Abbey Smith we get the picture. The Savory Institute sets out to regenerate the world’s grasslands and in that journey regenerates far…
 
To cook, farm or eat in a different way requires taking that first step. On Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Ben Glassen has taken first steps in regeneratively raising animals and providing them to consumers who are taking their own first steps, reaping the benefits of regenerative livestock production. Ben’s approach includes leasing (or bor…
 
COVID-19 forced thousands of farmers, fishermen, butchers, and food suppliers to make incredible changes that they had never imagined. Fortunately, in the emerging food chain, suppliers of all sizes can compete in the digital world at the intersection of technology and food. Joseph Lee, Co-Founder and CPO of Freshline shares the story of how new ve…
 
What does Social Science have to do with our food system? Professor Silvia Secchi a Social Scientist at the Public Policy Center at the University of Iowa believes it has a key role to play as is clear by her favorite quote from T. W Shultz, “It is especially the social sciences -economics, sociology and political science -which, if prosecuted with…
 
If food insecure populations can’t make it to food markets, bring it to them. With this idea and a grant from the California Department of Agriculture for a Farmers Market Food Truck, this is a dream come true in West Sacramento. Sara Bernal is the program manager for the West Sacramento Urban Farm Program and now with a vehicle the size of a tradi…
 
Food waste presents its own serious crisis. As awareness has risen about the impact of climate change on our environment, we are learning the significant role that food waste plays. In America, 40% of the food supply, from farm to table, is wasted. This excess food ends up in landfills where it creates methane gas, a major contributor to the warmin…
 
Before he became the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson envisioned a country of 'citizen farmers' who would be engaged in government. Jefferson would have been pleased with citizens like Iowa farmer Francis Thicke and Vermont farmer Dave Chapman who climb off their tractors to Zoom with the Secretary of Agriculture about needed …
 
If more of us pledged our head to clearer thinking, our heart to greater loyalty, our hands to larger service and our health to better living it would be better for us, our clubs, our community, our country and our world. That's been the 4-H pledge for generations, although our "world" is a welcome additional beneficiary. 4-H is not just for farm k…
 
Louis Bromfield planted seeds of the food revolution and reminds us to "Never forget that agriculture is the oldest of the honorable professions and that always the good farmer is the fundamental citizen of any community, state or nation." We are reintroduced to the wisdom and vision of Louis Bromfield in the recently published book, "The Planter o…
 
On-farm agriculture operations have been excluded from federal labor law since 1935. California filled this gap by creating its own law in 1975, the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act (“ALRA”) that gave union organizers the right to physically access the farm property in order to solicit support for unionization. Growers challenged this re…
 
Will eating less meat save the planet? Some say so but science says no. of course if you're looking for a reason to eat less meat and tell others to do the same, climate change seems to add to your case. However, if you're looking to make real impact on the climate, transportation and construction are still much more important than agriculture. Dr.…
 
Except for the air we breathe, nothing is more important to life on earth than water. Humans can live up to 60 days without food but only a few days without water. So water is life and the worsening climate is severely impacting life as we know it. In California alone it is estimated that nearly a million acres of previously productive farmland wil…
 
Not all farmers are old.. Millennials are coming back to family farms and ranches in impressive numbers. After college and trying other adventures many are deciding that their passion and what seems best for their families is to be back in rural areas where they bring enthusiasm and a renewed commitment to grow livestock and crops in a way that is …
 
Connecting small farmers to new markets is a universal goal. In Fiji and Australia that is being accomplished due to the efforts of twin sisters, Lisa and Zoe Paisley who have co-founded Aggie Global. They moved to Fiji to start a business and address poverty in rural communities. Farmers struggled with selling their produce while the tourism secto…
 
Billions of pounds of produce are going to waste while millions of Americans are going hungry. Seeing food lines develop all over, some University students decided to do something to change that. They created the Farmlink Project to connect farmers to food banks, delivering millions of pounds of farm fresh produce that would otherwise be wasted to …
 
Consumers have never known more about nutrition and yet, have never been more overweight. For most Americans, maintaining a balanced diet is more difficult than doing their taxes. What are we doing wrong? Jack Bobo has been engaged with the food system from farm to table and is the author of a new book "Why Smart People Make Bad Food Choices". He i…
 
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…
 
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