241: Jared Gulliford on Millennial Farmers
Starting a farm from scratch as an urban-raised millennial.
IN THIS PODCAST: Being young and not having any land or farming experience did not stop Jared Gulliford from developing a plan and a dream to have his own farm. He shares his story about how he came to the decision to pursue a living as a farmer, where he got his training and experience, and how he transformed his family’s properties into a farm. Then once he got there he had to change the soil and he did this using elbow grease and old-fashioned techniques so that he would not have to use chemicals because he cares about what he sells.
At the age of 25, Jared moved back to the land he grew up on to start a farm. Gardening since he was a teen, he became interested in agriculture while at University. Now, he is striving to produce food to share with, and nourish, his community while teaching others along the way.
Taking advantage of an opportunity when his sister and her family bought the land next to their parents, he’s attempting the multi-generational farm dream in the middle of suburbia. On degraded soil and with ten thousand dollars, he started from the ground up. Although Jared is the only farmer at this point, he hopes friends and family will join as the project becomes further established.
Despite start-up expenses, infrastructure needs, vehicle repairs, and everything else; he survived, and the inaugural year of Earth First Farm was a success. He has a ½ acre market garden, and homestead quantities of livestock then he plans for the farm to evolve from a working venture to a place for education and reconnecting with nature.
Jared is also the curator at Dr. Jim Duke's Green Farmacy Garden in Fulton, Maryland; a sanctuary with over 300 species of native and non-native medicinal herbs.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/MillennialFarmer for more information and links on this podcast and to find our other great guests.
240: Eve Sibley on Recording the Farm's Activities
Creating a history of the garden or farm to document what works best.
Eve is a creative who studied painting in school, but it was her passion for activism which led her into gardening and farming. In 2006, when she turned 30, she left New York City and moved to a farm to clarify where she wanted to focus her activism energy. She became interested in gardening as a solution to many of the world’s ails and immediately learned square foot gardening.
Eve has spent years setting up innovative gardens, mostly vertical, for different organizations in her travels through the USA, Costa Rica, and India. She came to believe internet technology could be utilized to help more people with their growing projects, and during her travels used her computer skills on attempts to find ways to connect and help gardeners around the world.
Through her gardening work, and by volunteering on various farms, Eve recently found a need for improved garden record-keeping and she set out to build an app for that. The FarmFollow app is available in app stores and this is the first real season it is in use.
In this podcast: We meet Eve Sibley who melded her determination to make a difference with a love of gardening to make an app that helps gardeners and farmers keep better records of their growing efforts. Eve explains how she got the idea to make an app for growers, and how to make use of the free online tool to keep track of the daily tasks that can make a difference in each year’s crop results.
244: Raymond Jess on Wicking Beds
Watering up in the garden, and using physics to maintain proper soil hydration.
In This Podcast: We hear from Ray Jess, a man who loves to learn, and is enthusiastically helping others get excited about wicking bed gardens. When he first saw a wicking bed at a fellow Master Gardener’s yard, he was intrigued and that started his deep research. From there he tinkered with an idea about how he could build one in his own yard, with a little improvement, of course. Now he has written an article for the Urban Farm and we hear the benefits of capillary action in his own words.
After retiring from two careers, the Air Force and teaching, he pursued his love of food by graduating from the Phoenix Art Institute with a certificate in Culinary Arts. The highlight of his culinary experience was working as a chef for the 2007 Super Bowl at the University of Phoenix Stadium. Natural extensions for this self-proclaimed foodie were the completion of his Master Gardner training and his Certificate in Permaculture Design.
A love of fresh foods and herbs kept him gardening for the last two decades. During a volunteer component of his Master Gardner training, Ray discovered wicking garden beds. A man of curiosity and a seeker of ways to do things more efficiently, he embarked on a research project leading him to the Father of Wicking Beds, Collin Austin. As a result of Ray’s research, his backyard garden has evolved from rows of crops in a plot of ground and raised beds, to grow-buckets and wicking beds. He is currently keeping his eyes open for the next great idea to perfect his garden, so he can keep giving his family, friends, and neighbors fresh produce.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/wickingbed for more information on this podcast and to find our other great guests.
239: Pam Freeman on Chicken Raising Realities
Discussing the next level of raising your own chicks
In this podcast: Chicken expert and poultry advice columnist Pam Freeman shares some great tips on getting started with raising your own chicks. Her own adventure started with a little gift from the Easter Bunny, and now she helps others get comfortable with hens starting with the egg and raising chicks.
Pam is the editor of both the Backyard Poultry and Countryside magazines. After she received four Silver Laced Wyandotte chicks from the Easter Bunny, her flock quickly grew and Pam launched PamsBackyardChickens.com. In the years that followed, she hand-raised chicks, nursed chicks and chickens back to health, and experienced the entire lifecycle many times over.
Pam is also the resident "Ask the Expert" columnist for Backyard Poultry magazine and continues to write regular posts about chicken keeping and homesteading. In her spare time, Pam loves to hunt for antiques, bolster her life list as a life-long bird watcher, plus tend her herb and perennial gardens that are set up to encourage local wildlife such as bees, butterflies and birds. Her latest book is Backyard Chickens: Beyond the Basics.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/pamschickens for more information and to find our other great guests.
238: Mimi Arnold on Farm-to-Table, Resort Hotel Style
Building food and garden resources for an ocean-front, secluded ranch hotel.
In this podcast: We hear from Mimi Arnold, the gardener who is helping initiate a farm-to-table program at one of California’s beautiful coastal hotels. She explains how she has been working with the owners and the chef to help design and provide the resource gardens on the property. She is dedicated to preserving the environment and loves helping the Inn and its guests connect with nature as much as she can!
Mimi is a visual artist and garden designer. After receiving her bachelors in Fine Art at UCLA's School of Art and Architecture, her ongoing interest in botanicals and green spaces fully surfaced; thus, she merged her artistic background with her love in all that is green and headed into the garden design industry. For over two years, Mimi worked for two specialty gardening companies in San Francisco, and contributed to projects for Google and Restoration Hardware.
Currently, she is located on California's Mendocino coast where she works as the head ornamental & edible gardener for the Inn at Newport Ranch, as well as the ranch’s florist. Here, she is involved with developing a farm-to-table food service for the inn, botanical styling throughout the interior, and providing weekly fresh florals-whether grown on site or foraged from the 2,700 acres of redwood forest.
Food, flowers, and foliage, - the source matters; she’s doing her best to keep things local and maintain a mindful and sustainable practice.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/NewportRanch for more information,
237: Scottie Jones on Farm Stays
Experiencing farm life at the source, a few days at a time
In this podcast: Moving to a farm gave Scottie Jones and her husband a new chapter in her life. Yet that story changed completely when she decided to open her farm to guests and realized there was no association or group available to help organize farms as a vacation resource. She tells us about how she decided to fix this and how she made FarmStayUS happen.
Scottie is a woman of many talents. She has an MA in Medieval Archaeology Plus an MBA. She worked at Arizona State University for 11 years, was the Arizona franchisee for The Body Shop, and later Director of Retail and Host Services at The Phoenix Zoo.
Currently she is a sheep farmer at Leaping Lamb Farm in Oregon, a farm stay host, and the founder of FarmStay U.S. - a national travel site for farm and ranch vacations. Building on the success of her own farm stay, she has made it her mission, via FarmStayUS.com, to raise awareness of the 1000+ working farms and ranches in the U.S. that offer overnight accommodations. For travelers, it's about experiencing farm life at the source, not just at the farmer’s market.
Her feeling: it’s all about real food, real farmers, and living the lifestyle that built this nation - if only for a weekend.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/farmstay for more information on this podcast and to find our other great guests.
236: Roza Ferdowsmakan on Sourcing Food in the Digital Age.
Helping foodies find chefs, and chefs find local farms, all through their phones.
In this podcast: We are excited to share this conversation with Roza Ferdowsmakan, someone who cares about building up the local food economy as much as we do. Roza decided she could make a difference in her community by connecting foodies, culinary talents, and local farms through a specially design app. It is with her new app that she hopes to give people culinary awakenings like the one she had as a young teenager.
Roza wants to change the way people connect with food, with their communities, and with the earth. As a tech company founder, she has created a community-driven, farm-to-table mobile app called bites., set to be released in beta to the metro-Phoenix community in July.
bites. is a marketplace app for foodies of all socio-economic levels to connect with and reserve personal chef services offered by homemaker cooks, culinary students, and professional personal chefs. These participating chefs are encouraged to source ingredients from local farms.
These farms, whether they identify themselves as urban, micro, organic, co-op, family-owned, or simply small farms are encouraged to participate and gain visibility by visiting the bites. website and creating a farm profile prior to the July 1st beta release date so that their profiles will be up and running when the app goes live.
Roza also just started a Phoenix area local meetup called "grassroots", intended to engage foodies, local culinary talent, local farms, and sustainability supporters in community events centered around sustainability and education, all part of the ethos behind the bites movement. Beyond "grassroots", she is working to co-organize and resurrect TEDx Phoenix for the local community.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/bites for more information on this podcast and to find our other great guests.
235: Colin Walker on Keys to Growing Nutrient-rich Food
Connecting important ecology-centered concepts for producing nutrient dense food.
IN THIS PODCAST: Previous guest Colin Walker goes further into ecology-centered concepts and describes the key points he has developed to focus on growing better foods. He has taken years of experience, research, and study and compiled it into six key focal points that will help any gardener or farmer produce healthier, more nutrient rich foods.
Colin grew up in a rural community near Auckland, New Zealand, and learned the basics of growing by helping his grandfather maintain a small flower market garden. Initially, he went to college to study economics, however after some course changes, he turned to interests a little closer to his roots. He got involved in and has had leadership roles in several areas of natural agriculture including establishing the Permaculture Institute of New Zealand, taking on advisory and advocacy roles for seed preservation with independent & government organizations, and even served as a national coordinator of a National Organic Advisory Programme.
Colin’s concentrations have been on permaculture, ecology centered design, seed preservation, conservation of traditional/heirloom food plants, garden education and most recently investigating (from an ecology perspective) the essential elements needed to guarantee that the food we grow is actually nutrient-rich.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/kiwikeys for more information and to hear from our other great guests.
234: Ruth & Grace Pepler on Agritourism
Experiencing life on the farm as a vacation destination
IN THIS PODCAST: We meet two very special ladies in the mother-daughter team with Ruth and Grace Pepler who are helping us understand the concepts of Agritourism and Guest Farms. Ruth is inspiring with her story of transforming their small homestead into a very active community building resource and agriculture education resource in the guise of something akin to a bed and breakfast vacation spot. Her daughter Grace is a delight as she shares her knowledge and passion of teaching kids of all backgrounds the joys of farm life
Ruth has been a registered nurse, private chef, and caterer, and has taught cooking classes, managed a farm, and homeschooled her daughter. She and her husband Thomas started their homestead near the Buffalo National River in Arkansas ten years ago. Shortly after moving there, they bought the adjoining property and opened Dogwood Hills Bed & Breakfast; Which they call a “guest farm” offering their guests a chance to experience life on the farm in a relaxing atmosphere.
At sixteen, and having grown up on the homestead, her daughter Grace has taken a lead role in the daily functioning, guest relations, and marketing of Dogwood Hills Guest Farm. She is a wonderful agri-tourism ambassador speaking about Dogwood Hills and how it functions, with everyone from the local & county 4H, county chambers, multiple tourism conferences and she even did a personal tour for the Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture.
Since opening they’ve added many more cows, goats and chickens, a fodder room of hydroponically grown barley, a “high tunnel” hoop house, a visitor friendly milking room, and they are currently adding a new certified kitchen. With a complete farm to table operation, Dogwood Hills Guest Farm helps people from all over the world experience life on a family-owned dairy farm.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/DogwoodHills for more information, photos and links on this podcast and to find our other great guests.
233: Colin Walker on Gardening with Ecology at its Heart
Focusing on a larger picture to understand how to effectively grow a good garden.
In this podcast: Part one of two with Colin Walker, a long-time gardener and educator from New Zealand, who helps explain a gardening concept that brings the world into focus while looking at the garden bed. The decades of experience and know-how are evident in this conversation about how an ecology-centered viewpoint is so important to successful gardening.
Colin grew up in a rural community near Auckland, New Zealand, learning the basics of growing by helping his grandfather maintain a small flower market garden. Much later, he helped to establish the Permaculture Institute of New Zealand. In the 1980s and 90s, he spent time in the US, Australia, Ireland, and England. Returning home, he learned about the principles of ecology-centered design from Dennis Scott, an innovative designer, landscape architect, and resource management consultant
Colin’s focus then turned to the conservation of traditional/heirloom food plants in New Zealand. He spent 16 years supporting local and national seed preservation initiatives by practical "growing out" hundreds of seed lines, managing research projects, running internship programmes, and taking on advisory and advocacy roles for this issue with independent & government organizations.
In 2010, he returned to Northland to create a long-term home for him, his wife, and five sons. With six years of research and experimentation completed, investigating from an ecology perspective the essential elements needed (and how to practically work with them!) to guarantee that the food we grow is actually nutrient-rich, Colin’s ready to share results!
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/kiwi for more information and links on this podcast and to find our other great guests.
232: John Vespasian on Rational, Self-Reliant Living.
Learning lessons of resilience from history.
IN THIS PODCAST: We chat with John Vespasian about learning from the mistakes found in some of history’s interesting stories. Not satisfied with what he could find in most books at the time, John decided he could do a better job and set out to write a book that he would like to read. From there he has focused on researching history, learning new languages, and figuring out how certain cultures succeeded and how cultures failed to determine what should be done today to get the best results.
John is a personal development author of eight books about history and psychology, including his latest book "Thriving in difficult times: Twelve lessons from Ancient Greece to improve your life today." As a lover of history, he is continuously studying and making notes about what he learns and has found many examples in the past that he feels can help people today.
John has given many interviews around his research into what made the Greek society prosperous for 1,000 years, and what later became its downfall.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/rationalliving for more information, photos and links on this podcast and to hear from our other great guests.
231: Trent Lindsey on Converting to Plant Based Nutrition
Chronicling the transition to a vegan lifestyle and helping educate others.
In This Podcast: We hear from Trent Lindsey about what it was like to convert to a plant based diet or lifestyle. Choosing to go vegan can seem intimidating, however Trent is helping others understand by sharing this journey and opening up about the transition and what he has experienced as he and his family made the change
Trent is the founder of GoPlantBased.info: a website and blog on a mission to improve our world, one healthy person at a time. His blog educates his readers on the health benefits of a Plant Based Lifestyle. He is devoted to fighting against preventable dietary diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes, to name a few.
He and his family have enjoyed the benefits of a Plant Based Lifestyle since January, 2016. Since then, he has immersed himself in the teachings of the Mastering Raw Food Nutrition program led by Drs. Rick and Karin Dina. He enjoys sharing his journey to health with others and has a passion for educating omnivores, vegetarians and vegans alike on the basics of nutrition.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/goplantbased for more information and links.
230: Katie Hess on Blooming into Your Full Potential
Connecting with nature to empower the natural self.
In this Podcast: We are learning about a natural-medicine aspect of plant essences through this conversation with flower alchemist Katie Hess. This is a new way for us of connecting with nature, and leads us to understanding more about why we feel at home when we are in our gardens. Katie explains how flowers have such a significant effect on living beings and why working with nature’s gifts can improve our lives profoundly.
Katie is a flower alchemist and the founder of LOTUSWEI, one of the world’s leading floral apothecaries. After 15 years of independent research of flower and plant-based healing, her flower-powered community is thriving in over 15 countries. Her transformative elixirs having been featured in O, The Oprah Magazine, The New York Times and The LA Times among others.
A lifelong spiritual seeker, Katie has studied meditation and mindful-awareness techniques with several Tibetan Buddhist masters, including the Dalai Lama and the Kamapa, Tibet’s next generation leader.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/lotus for more information, photos and links
229: Barbara Pleasant on Gardening to fill your Pantry
Taking home-grown foods into food storage.
In this podcast: We meet Barbara Pleasant who helps expand our ideas for food storage beyond the simple basics. She also has tips for the new gardener and the ‘old hands’ that might give you some impetus to move a little dirt.
Barbara is an Award-winning writer having been covering organic gardening and self-sufficient living for more than 30 years. As contributing editor to Mother Earth News, her work has garnered multiple awards from the Garden Writers Association and the American Nursery and Landscape Association.
She has written books on topics ranging from compost to weeds, including Homegrown Pantry published by Storey Publishing, Starter Vegetable Gardens, The Complete Compost Gardening Guide, and The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual. Her columns and articles appear regularly in Mother Earth Living magazine, at GrowVeg.com and on other gardening websites. Barbara lives in Virginia, where she grows vegetables, herbs and fruits along with a few chickens, who all have names.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/homegrownpantry for more information and great links.