The Urban Farm Podcast with Greg Peterson

Welcome to The Urban Farm Podcast, your partner in the Grow Your Own Food revolution! This 3-day per week audio only podcast features special guests like Jason Mraz, Lisa Steele, and Kari Spencer as we discuss the art and value of growing food in urban areas. We'll explore topics such as urban beekeeping and chicken farming, permaculture, successful composting, monetizing your farm, and much more! Each episode will bring you tips and tricks on how to overcome common challenges, opportunities to learn from the experience of people just like you, and plenty of resources to ensure you're informed, equipped, and empowered to participate more mindfully in your local food system... and to have a great time doing it!
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The Urban Farm Podcast with Greg Peterson



All Episodes
Now displaying: November, 2016

Visit our podcast page here to find photos, links and more information on this podcast as well as each of our other guest interviews.

Nov 29, 2016

Melinda Adkins on Learning Homesteading Skills

Rekindling skills of past generations and sharing thrifty gardening tips

Melinda’s Urban Homesteader journey began as a child watching her mother and grandmother tend their gardens which instilled in her a love and appreciation for gardening.  After college she purchased a home in the city and secured employment with the local school district as well as a part-time Park Ranger.  The park had an 1880's working farm on the property which gave her the opportunity to visit and observe vintage skills. 

It was during her time as a Park Ranger that her love for the outdoors and living a simpler life really grew. She has a great love of nature, has earned a Wildlife Habitat Certification as a result.  Eventually, she began incorporating skills she learned from the farm staff into her own urban homestead. Somehow she finds time to watch documentaries in her spare time to continue her learning. Melinda is highly invested in helping her community and is the founder of 

IN THIS PODCAST: Greg talks to community homesteader Melinda who founded a community group to share tips and experiences while learning about homesteading. Melinda was a bit of a groundbreaker in her town with some unorthodox thinking, so in order to find others with similar preparedness and vintage skills interests she created an online group.  Her goal is to share gardening and preparedness information affordably.

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Nov 26, 2016

Jesse Sparks on Neighborhood Harvesting

Harvesting fruits and friends from your neighborhood community

Jesse is a sixth-generation Arizona native. His great-grandfather owned and operated a farm in Tempe, AZ, and Jesse’s mother’s side comes from farming heritage in Iowa, so he has been surrounded by gardens, fruit trees, and fresh produce his entire life. 

He and his wife had a townhouse where they started growing food by converting the lawn area in the back into a little 5ft square garden. Then, after moving and expanding to a larger area with more garden space, he noticed he physically felt better after eating home-grown produce. He travels a lot for work and is constantly on airplanes with recirculated air, but he credits having never come home with “travel crud” to his healthier, home-grown eating style.

Jesse lives in the Northwest valley of Phoenix Arizona with his wife Heather, their 2 sons, and is expecting twin daughters due early 2017.

IN THIS PODCAST: An inspiring young father Jesse shares his story with Greg about how he has started harvesting the unwanted fruit from his neighbor’s front yard and is developing a stronger community as well.  Jesse’s story is delightful, and uplifting as he and his young son collect fruit, make jellies, and bring the harvest back to share.  He shares how he started and it is not as hard as you might think. 

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Nov 24, 2016

Vanessa Simkins on Juicing Deliciously

Connecting healthy and flavorful juicing combinations for health and a good diet

Vanessa, is the founder of a website and newsletter serving up fresh, tested juicing advice for getting a hot body, glowing skin, and lifelong health through a straw. She is also the founder of Vanessa’s Juice Club and the author of the Juice Lover’s Big Book of Juices: 425 recipes for super nutritious and crazy delicious juices.

Her newsletters, products and site reach over a quarter-million readers each month – a veritable army, inspired to juice for better health.  A juicing trendsetter known for her inventive and tasty juice recipes, Vanessa has an undying thirst for connecting people back to what makes them healthy, one drink at a time.

IN THIS PODCAST: Greg finds many connections with Vanessa as she shares why she started juicing and why she runs her own business helping others learn about juicing. Vanessa tells about how she got started with her blog and her recipe book. She also tells about her love for mixing juices blends, and how she can serve up delicious drink combinations even from some normally challenging ingredient flavors.

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Nov 22, 2016

Jim Loomis on Lifestyle Medicine

Connecting a plant-based diet and lifestyle to positive health benefits 

Jim Loomis Jr., M.D., M.B.A., received his medical degree from the University of Arkansas, where he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and graduated with honors.  He subsequently completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at Barnes Hospital/ Washington University in St. Louis, MO. and received an M.B.A. from the Olin School of Business at Washington University.

Jim is the medical director at the Barnard Medical Center in Washington DC.  He is board certified in internal medicine and has also completed the certification program in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell University.  Before coming to the Barnard Medical Center in Washington, DC, Jim practiced internal medicine and was the director of prevention and wellness at St. Luke’s Hospital in St. Louis.  Jim is on the clinical faculty of the department of internal medicine at Washington University School of Medicine and also serves on the board of directors of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.

When not practicing medicine, Jim enjoys reading history books, cooking, and teaching plant-based cooking classes. He also enjoys running, biking, and swimming, and has completed numerous half marathons, marathons, and triathlons.

IN THIS PODCAST:  Greg talks to a Doctor that he met a few months back.  Dr. Jim is fabulous at bringing the complexities of healthy eating to simple and memorable analogies. Transitioning from a standard American diet to a plant based one to improve health and vitality is something that Dr. Jim can talk about because he did just that.  He was one of the worst kind of patients because he already knew the side effects of the meds he was prescribed, and his search for a healthier lifestyle is now what he shares with others.

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Nov 19, 2016

Brandon Peterman on Natural Building

Constructing buildings and materials from locally sourced ingredients 

Brandon grew up in Southern California and went to University of Southern California Riverside.  Always feeling a connection to nature, he has been living on homesteads in the woods for the past four years and has been actively doing natural building for the past three years.  He has participated in the building of over two dozen natural structures from cottages to bread ovens, garden walls, to covered benches and other homestead based structures.

His goal is to create a fully functioning working farm with a gardening education program and a year-round school program.  After his own apprenticeship, Brandon joined Kirk Mobert at the Sundog School of Natural Building which is based on 50 acres in Gualala, California. The school offers classes and on a rotating basis and apprenticeships in natural building.

IN THIS PODCAST:  Greg gets to hear about a new topic on the podcast when he chats with Brandon who shares the basics about Natural Building.  A life-long lover of the outdoors, Brandon tells how he found what he had been looking for in a building process that has been around for many centuries. This process is one that embodies several permaculture principles and has many time-tested examples existing around the world. Brandon tells about this method and the school that offers apprentice positions.

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Nov 17, 2016

Andrew Millison on Scaling up Permaculture

Sharing a regenerative design system and the medicine our planet needs.

Andrew has been studying, teaching and practicing permaculture since he took his first design course in 1996. He began teaching permaculture design at the college level in 2001 and has been an instructor at Oregon State University in the Horticulture Department since 2009. Andrew currently teaches the Permaculture Design Course at OSU on campus and online.

Andrew first learned permaculture design in the drylands of Arizona, where he studied for his undergraduate and master's degrees at Prescott College focusing on rainwater harvesting, greywater systems and desert agriculture.

In recent years, his focus has been more on broad scale farm planning, permaculture housing developments and obtaining water rights. In 2015 he founded Permaculture Design International, a collaborative design firm that works on large-scale global projects. And, he runs a free Intro to Permaculture course that has had over 20,000 enrollments to date.

IN THIS PODCAST:  Andrew catches up with Greg and brings him up to speed on what he has done since they took a permaculture class together 20 years ago.  This is an inspiring and EPIC story of someone who was ready to take permaculture to the next level and beyond.  The ultimate part of this adventure is that there is room for others to join in an online aspect.

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Nov 15, 2016

Elena Ortiz on Nature Education for Adults

Making connections to nature through working in a college garden.

Elena has been teaching with the Phoenix College Biosciences Department in the Maricopa Community College System for eleven years. She has taught environmental biology and general biology for non-majors. Her newest class is Plants and Society, a basic botany course for non-majors.

As part of teaching this class, she brings her personal interest for gardening into the classroom. She says the garden is a great place to introduce, or reintroduce, students to nature and ecology. Elena has a PhD in Plant Biology from ASU, a Master of Science in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico, and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Her interests in ecology and gardening were both heavily influenced by her maternal grandfather who was a family doctor and gentleman farmer in Puerto Rico who retired on his farm. As a young girl, she would follow him around as he would spend the day working on projects, in his garden and orchid collection, or his farm. She credits him for most of the knowledge of the natural history of Puerto Rico that she still remembers today.

IN THIS PODCAST: Greg chats with an old college friend who is now teaching botany at Phoenix College. Elena shares what she is doing now and how she has brought her classrooms outdoors and into the garden.  She describes how she believes it is important to make a connection with nature right outside your door, and how some of her students are surprised how easy it is to grow things in the desert.  She also depicts how her students make the connections and take ownership of the garden enough that they want to stay working even after the class ends.

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Nov 12, 2016

Keri Fox on SPIN Farming

Starting a farming business in an urban area and making it work.

Keri grew up on an organic farm in a small Saskatchewan community when organic wasn’t cool or trendy. After feeling like an outcast, and perceiving her parents as “poor,” she decided to pursue a more profitable career.  After getting her electrician journeyperson license, she ran an electrical contracting business for 8 years and made good money doing this. However, she felt her business was contributing to the destruction of the planet.  Knowing she needed a change, and having recently been introduced to permaculture, she took a leap of faith and sold her business to search for a lifestyle that would help heal the planet.

Keri took a series of permaculture based workshops over the next couple of years and eventually found herself in a SPIN farming workshop. Having found what she was looking for, she immediately returned home with a “crazy idea” to farm in the city. The idea got around and she started her new business with veggies in 8 different yards in return for a weekly box of vegetables, and sold the rest at the local farmers market. Now, at the end of 5th growing season, she works 1/3 of an acre including 7 outdoor garden spaces, one hoop house style greenhouse and an indoor micro-green operation, offers a salad box subscription that delivers to 9 restaurants as well as the weekly farmers market.

IN THIS PODCAST: Greg talks to Keri, a former electrician who quit to be a farmer because it was better for the planet. She tells why she left her successful business to run a small plot farm, and how she has developed that into quite the impressive and sustainable venture.  She describes how she rides her bike from plot to plot, sells to restaurants and farmers markets, and has a salad box subscription.  Farming with little-to-no land of your own can work, and she proves it in her story.

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Nov 10, 2016

Lawrence Parkhill of the Veteran Farmers of America 

Helping our returning veterans heal through farming and agriculture.

Lawrence signed up for the infantry at age 16 when the towers fell, and left at age 18 to go to Camp Pendleton. He was deployed twice to Iraq with India Company, Third Battalion, First Marines.  Lawrence extended his contract by six months or so to deploy with the Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command (MARSOC) to Afghanistan. He has a total of five year’s active duty as a machine gunner and got out as E5 (sergeant) with two Purple Hearts, and a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with V device for valor. 

Lawrence is the President and Co-Founder of Veteran Farmers of America. He is also the National Maintenance Support Manager at Mission Produce in Oxnard where he lives.

IN THIS PODCAST: Greg is honored to talk to Sargent Lawrence Parkhill who shares his story of how he founded a new non-profit which is helping veterans reintegrate into non-combat life with jobs in agriculture. Veteran Farmers of America is working with returning servicemen and women to find internships and jobs in various aspects of the agriculture industry.

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Nov 8, 2016

Julian Awad on Backyard Riches and SPIN Farming

Taking a Small Plot and with Intensive Farming generate income.

Julian experienced entrepreneurship early at the age of 12 when he first started importing candy from Singapore to Malaysia where his family was living at the time. At 19 he started his first company in real estate. Since then, his interest for business and social responsibility has taken him from refugee trips in Sumatra, Indonesia to driving new innovative genetic risk assessments.

It was while working with Google on marketing and advertising, that Julian realized the need for marketing agencies which focused on a Return On Investment or were performance oriented.  Eventually he formed JSA Interactive Inc. to meet the growing demand for his marketing and commercialization services.

Julian has over 15 years of professional experience in marketing, strategic planning, project management, and internet technologies. He also has 10 years of entrepreneurial experience in marketing companies, launching consumer focused internet startups, and financing small businesses. He states his greatest achievements are finding and marrying his wife/best friend and having his new son and twin daughters.

IN THIS PODCAST: Greg talks to Julian Awad of Backyard Riches, who breaks down some of the intricacies of turning a backyard plot into a profitable urban farm business.  As an entrepreneur who has figured out how to turn ideas into businesses, Julian describes the models that he offers to help urban farmers become successful in a sustainable way.  The method of Small Plot INtensive Farming is the new way of being a farmer – especially in urban areas.

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Nov 5, 2016

Forest started urban farming in 1969 in Berkeley, California. Through the People’s Park Movement, he was launched into gardening and got the basic training and motivation for becoming a seedman. 

He has been a full time, independent, professions seed provider since 1972 and has owned, led, or helped launch at least four seed companies, and founded the nonprofit Abundant Life Seed Foundation which produced and distributed up to 600 types of open-pollinated vegetable, herb and flower seeds

Since 1974 Forest has been giving workshops on seed saving and the importance of genetic diversity, and was the keynote speaker for the 2012 Northwest Permaculture Convergence and, also the Regenerations Seed and Plant Exchange in Hawaii.  Forest had a radio show for a couple of years with 30 minute interviews featuring a variety of people including many permaculturists.

IN THIS PODCAST: Greg is enthralled by the story telling of Forest who brings us along on the adventures of a seedman.  Forest felt the pull of his calling in the late 1960’s and has been actively gardening and harvesting seeds ever since. Moving through a few seed company projects over the years, he has also harvested skills, friends, experiences, and an appreciation for the importance of native seeds.  With so much experienced focused on the tiny seeds that are essential to all gardeners and farmers, Forest’s story connects with everyone in one way or another.  Listen in and harvest your own kernels to save.

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Nov 3, 2016

Matt is an experienced teacher, family guy, author, consultant, farmer, seed saver, plant breeder, musician, blogger, & permaculturist. He frequently speaks at conferences, colleges, schools, and events about permaculture and education.

Applying his years of working as a teacher writing curriculum from scratch using online classrooms, Matt has opened an online program to accompany his textbook series The Permaculture Student.

Focused on starting resilient small businesses and homesteads from scratch, students of all ages and families learn through weekly collections of videos, worksheets, coloring pages, projects, activities, & critical thinking with teacher's guides, recipes, plant focus, seed saving, & Q&A.

IN THIS PODCAST: Greg meets another permaculture enthusiast in Matt, who after a significant wake-up call regarding the health of his wife decided to pursue a healthier lifestyle for him and his family. This decision led him on the path to education and gardening which he combined with a new understanding of regenerative design to become an activist of permaculture education. Now he tells how he is bringing permaculture teachings to new areas and students.

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Nov 1, 2016

Saskia is a passionate gardener who believes everyone can grow some of their own food. She is trained in Permaculture, Environmental Science, and Regenerative Entrepreneurship. After turning a house in Anchorage, Alaska into an abundant urban homestead, she created a successful business teaching others how to garden. She recently turned her hands-on food gardening course into a curriculum and manual to help others teach gardening in their own communities. 

IN THIS PODCAST: Greg meets Saskia, a young woman who was motivated enough to transform her life and career to encompass the ideals of permaculture. However, she was not happy just making her own garden, Saskia has a goal of having everyone or every yard have the chance to garden. So as she started making the changes to a gardening lifestyle she was determined to find a way to make a living with this new mode of living.  She has done this partly by helping others become teachers of gardening in their own areas.  Here she explains how she is preparing her army of educators and how they can make a living teaching others how to garden.

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