202: Andrew Mefferd on Hoophouse and Greenhouse growing.
Improving crop production through the smart use of protected structures.
Andrew spent seven years in the research department at Johnny’s Selected Seeds, traveling around the world to consult with researchers and farmers on the best practices in greenhouse growing. He put what he learned to use on his own farm in Maine. He is now the editor and publisher of Growing for Market magazine.
Prior to starting his own farm, he worked on farms in six states across the US. Andrew also works as a consultant on the topics covered in his book The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower's Handbook Organic Vegetable Production using protected culture another great book published by Chelsea Green.
In this podcast: Getting excited about agriculture in protected structures is the topic of discussion for Greg and his guest Andrew Medferd today. With a journey that took him across the United States, Andrew learned a lot about different types and sizes of farms. He explains how he used that experience to improve his skills why he hopes others can learn from it as well.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/onedropfarm for more information, photos and links on this podcast and to hear from our other great guests.
201: Jake Mace on Gardening with Seeds
Chat with an expert on gardening
Jake Mace started his garden in 2011 with a peach tree, fig tree, pomegranate tree, and kumquat tree to save money on his food budget. Today, it’s a luscious green food forest. In Episode 001, we interviewed Jake about his urban farm, learned some of his best tips and tricks, how to avoid his failures, and became inspired by his mission to live a life that’s compassionate with a a zero- to positive-sum impact on the earth, particularly through his commitment to a vegan lifestyle.
He also teaches Martial Arts, Fitness, Tai Chi, Yoga, Gardening, and Golf to people from around The World via his successful YouTube channel and Online Schools at JakeMace.com. Outside of teaching, Jake’s real passion is as an advocate for the environment, animals, and people. Jake has been a Vegan Vegetarian for nearly 16 years and believes in preserving The Earth, it’s resources, and it’s living inhabitants so that future generations can enjoy them as he has! Jake Studied Mandarin Chinese while attending ASU and Duke Universities. Currently Jake lives with his wife Pamela and their many adopted animals on their edible urban homestead in Tempe.
200: Josh Trought on Community-Scale Permaculture Farming
Appreciating the wonders of a community farm with a resilient lifestyle.
Born to two service-oriented medical professionals, he spent most of his upbringing in the fields and forests of North Carolina which at the time was transitioning from a rural agricultural economy into a service based economy. The sprawl and destruction of the traditional culture lost in the transition process left him with an undeniable distrust of growth and consumerism.
So, he graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in Environmental Conservation, and after college he spent the summer as an intern for the Solar Energy International’s renewable energy and construction school. He’s spent time abroad in Spain during college, and traveled through South America. And in 1997, he moved full time to what is now known as D Acres where he has specialized in forestry, construction, and farming.
Currently he is a member of the Artistic Roots Co-op in Plymouth and serves as Treasurer of the Pemi-Baker Solid Waste District. He also participates in local government as the Dorchester Town Moderator overseeing elections and facilitating the annual Town Meeting. The fate of humanity preoccupies his thoughts.
In This Podcast: Greg talks with Josh, a member of a permaculture farm community near Plymouth, NH, and learns about living a resilient lifestyle from someone who is living a truly community-oriented and sustainable farming lifestyle.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/dacres for more information, photos and links on this podcast and to hear from our other great guests.
199: Kanin Routson on Apple Tree Diversity
Studying the genetics of an iconic and incredibly wide-ranging fruit.
Kanin, has devoted his life to heritage apple tree diversity. In the pursuit of apple knowledge, Kanin has researched apple varieties from historic homesteads across Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah.
During this research, he documented 34 known apple varieties and 110 unique trees of unknown origin. He has collected and propagated unique varieties of heritage trees from numerous small homestead orchards in Northern Arizona, as well as Capital Reef National Park and the historic Philmont Scout Ranch and Chase Ranch in New Mexico. This research and further research on wild apple genetic diversity led Kanin to complete a Master’s degree at Northern Arizona University and a Ph. D at the University of Arizona.
In This Podcast: Greg was super excited to talk to Kanin and talk about the history of Apple Trees and find out why there is so much diversity in this very popular fruit tree. Kanin’s interest in apple orchards started young and prompted him to pursue his PhD to study this fruit tree even further. Find out why and what he is doing now with all that research!!
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/azcider for more information, photos and links on this podcast and to hear from our other great guests.
198: Constantin Bisanz on sourcing healthy food.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle through real food options.
Health enthusiast, avid athlete and Austrian entrepreneur Constantin founded ALOHA in January 2014 with a mission to help others live healthier, happier lives. Along with his team, Constantin creates real food products made from simple, pure, sustainably-sourced ingredients, offering accessible solutions for everyone to maintain a healthy lifestyle. His inspiration for founding ALOHA came from studying Ayuryedic medicine in India—a holistic approach to health and wellness centered on the balance of mind, body and spirit—combined with his belief that nutrition is the foundation to overall wellness. This philosophy, fueled by his frustration with weak regulation, conflicting messages and lack of quality products and information in the food and health industries, laid the groundwork for ALOHA.
In this podcast: A health enthusiast and entrepreneur Constantin Bisanz shares his story with Greg about getting the inspiration to start a health food company because he was struggling to find healthy food options. His active lifestyle gave him a need for good food, while at the same time challenged him to get access to real food options and with his background, he was ready to make a positive solution viable for other health conscious people.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/aloha for more information, photos and links on this podcast and to hear from our other great guests.
197: Perrine Herve-Gruyer on Miraculous Abundance.
Learning self-sufficient farming from scratch on an organic farm in France.
Perrine has worked as an international lawyer and head of the legal department of a major company in Asia, and has volunteered with the High Commissioner for Refugees. When she turned thirty, Perrine radically changed lanes, and began taking courses in psychotherapy, specifically in relaxation therapy, publishing a book titled La Relaxation en Famille. Then with her husband, Charles, she created their Bec Hellouin Farm, inspired by permaculture principles. They both wrote "Miraculous Abundance" Published by Chelsea Green and lead experiments on their farm. In 2018, they will publish another book that is a summary of all the technics they use to grow food….
IN THIS PODCAST: Greg gets a chance to talk to Perrine, a delightful French organic farmer and permaculture enthusiast and hear how she transformed her life by ditching her career as a lawyer to start a self-sufficient, organic farm without any engines at all. Now she and her husband are examples to others on how to successfully farm the old-fashioned way.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/perrine for more information, photos and links on this podcast and our other great guests.
196: Josh Volk on Compact Farms.
Making the most from small farms for the best viability.
Josh is the author of Compact Farms by Storey Press in February 2017. He is the proprietor of Slow Hand Farm in Portland, Oregon, and has been working on and managing small farms around the country for the last 20 years, studying the systems that make them efficient. He travels in the United States and abroad, consulting with farmers and researchers, teaching farm apprentices and new farmers, presenting workshops at agricultural conferences, and writing articles for publications, including Growing for Market magazine.
Josh didn’t come from a farming background. He grew up on the edges of cities and his parents had vegetable gardens that he mostly ignored. When he went away to college and started cooking for himself, he became more interested in where his food came from and how to grow it. That interest grew, inspired by books on small-scale food production. There weren’t many writers on that topic then, and it wasn’t so long ago.
In this podcast: Josh talks with Greg to explain his concept of making small farms the most productive and his background really helps give him an edge for understanding and explaining this to our listeners.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/SlowHandFarms for more information, photos and links on this podcast and to our other great guests.
195: Cricket Aldridge on Suburban Homesteading.
Finding personal euphoria in your own backyard.
Cricket is natural homesteader. Growing up in rural Idaho with a garden, a horse, and lots of home canned food, she brings those sensibilities to her suburban home in Phoenix. Add a little dose of cottage garden flavor and permaculture tendencies, and you’ll see why her blog, GardenVariety.Life is a reflection of everything she does.
Cricket enjoys sharing skills that promote a meaningful and practical connection to our gardens and environment. Because so many residents of the metro Phoenix area are transplants like her, she finds that the area’s unique desert climate is often misunderstood and underestimated in terms of what is possible. That’s where the fun begins. Arizona is a burgeoning permaculture haven with homesteading written all over it, and there is nothing Cricket enjoys more than encouraging others to jump in and give it a try.
In this podcast: Fellow permaculturist and gardener Cricket Aldridge joins Greg in the studio to talk about her urban farm and how much she loves everything about it. She tells about some of her favorite aspects and what she’s able to grow or make from her harvests, from canning to mead making and many other things besides.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/cricket for more information, photos and links on this podcast and our other great guests.
194: Kate Miller on Bioregional Herbal Medicine.
Sourcing herbs and plants in the local ecosystems for health.
Kate is a bioregional community herbalist, medicinal herb grower, & Permaculture Design Teacher. She is both formally trained and self-taught in the field of Permaculture Design, with focus on Dry-land Herb Farming, Herbal Medicine, Mountain Ecology, & Ethical Wildcrafting Practices. And she is a Certified Herbalist from the Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism in Boulder.
Kate became interested in herbal medicine through years of dealing with chronic illness, including Lyme Disease, food allergies, & autoimmune issues. Together with her partners Dawne and Stephanie, she runs the bioregional & biodynamic focused herbal product company, Dynamic Roots High Altitude Herbals.
Kate is also a co-facilitator for the new Boulder Permaculture Design Course, Across the Divide, running one weekend a month from April through October all around the Front Range of Colorado. In the next year, Kate is opening Alpine Botanicals, an herbal apothecary, community herbal kitchen, & clinic in downtown Nederland, Colorado.
In this podcast: Greg interviews Kate Miller, an herbalist with a focus on healing her community. She tells how she found her calling in herbalism and becoming a partner in an herbal product company and she explains why ethical harvesting of herbs is so important.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/dynamicroots for more information, photos and links on this podcast and to hear from our other great guests.
193: Chat With An Expert - Bill McDorman
Bill McDorman is Executive Director of Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance, Ketchum, Idaho. He got his start in the bio-regional seed movement while in college in 1979 when he helped start Garden City Seeds. In 1984, Bill started Seeds Trust/High Altitude Gardens, a mail-order seed company he ran successfully until it sold in 2013. He authored the book, Basic Seed Saving, in 1994. In 2010, he and his wife Belle Starr created Seed School, a nationally recognized week-long training. He served as Executive Director of Native Seeds Search from 2011 to 2014. Bill is a passionate and knowledgeable presenter who inspires his audiences to learn to save their own seeds.
This is the first in a handful of special interviews in our chat with an interview series. Bill joins us to share what is happening right now in the Southwest region with seed saving, including the upcoming Seed Summit and other seed events in the region. Bill shares a few insights and a couple interesting stories about some unique and really cool seeds.
192: Gene Baur on Protecting Farm Animals.
Making choices to help defend animals in industrial agriculture.
Gene is co‑founder and president of Farm Sanctuary, a national non-profit organization working to end cruelty to farm animals and change the way society views and treats farm animals. Hailed as “the conscience of the food movement” by TIME magazine and recently selected by Oprah Winfrey to join her Super Soul 100 dream team of “100 awakened leaders who are using their voices and talent to elevate humanity,” he was a pioneer in undercover investigations and instrumental in passing the first U.S. laws to ban inhumane factory farming practices.
He has traveled extensively, campaigning to raise awareness about the abuses of animal agriculture and our cheap food system. Gene is the author of two national bestselling books: Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds about Animals and Food, and Living the Farm Sanctuary Life: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Mindfully, Living Longer, and Feeling Better Every Day.
Gene has a master’s degree in agricultural economics from Cornell University, and is a faculty member at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Vegan since 1985, he’s recently started competing in marathons and triathlons, including an Ironman, to demonstrate the benefits of plant-based eating.
In this podcast: The co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, Gene Baur, tells Greg about his life as a vegan and triathlete as well as what prompted him to create a safe facility for rescued farm animals. He has many helpful tips for those who are wanting to try the meatless lifestyle and diet, and he shares some insight on how to work with those you disagree with.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/farmsanctuary for more information, photos and links on this podcast and to hear our other great guests.
191: Petra Page-Mann on Certified Organic Seeds.
Selecting bio-regionally adapted seeds and pursuing seed transparency.
Raised in the Finger Lakes of New York, Petra spent over a decade traveling the world studying agriculture before returning to her hometown to start her own farm, Fruition Seeds, in 2012. She has worked for one of the smallest seed companies in the world & also one of the largest. She passionately grows, breeds, saves, shares & eats the seeds of certified organic, regionally adapted vegetables, flowers & herbs. If she’s not farming she is singing, on her bike, hunting mushrooms or sharing a feast with a friend.
IN THIS PODCAST: Organic seed seller Petra Page-Mann chats with Greg about bio-regional adaptations in seeds, genetic purity in seeds, a special heatless habanero, and her seed company which is focused on organic seeds with genetic purity and transparency.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/fruitionseeds for more information, photos and links on this podcast and our other great guests
190: Grace Gershuny on The Organic Revolution.
Recollecting early food system activism.
Grace is widely known as an author, educator and organic consultant. In the 1990's she served on the staff of the USDA’s National Organic Program, where she helped write the regulations. She learned much of what she knows through her longtime involvement with the grassroots organic movement, where she organized conferences and educational events and developed an early organic certification program for the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA).
She currently teaches in the Green Mountain College online Masters in Sustainable Food Systems program and serves on the Board of the Institute for Social Ecology. She has a Masters in Extension Education from the University of Vermont, with a self-designed concentration in Ecological Agriculture.
Doing business as GAIA Service she works as an independent organic inspector. She also does consulting for private and non-profit clients on all aspects of organic certification, developing related standards and certification systems, and training programs. A reformed market gardener, Grace still grows her own veggies and chicken in Barnet, Vermont.
In this podcast: Greg is impressed when he gets a chance to talk with Grace who tells about being part of the early organic food movement and her part in writing the first standards for organic food regulation. Her story is important for anyone who is interested in being active in writing food policy for our legislators.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/grace for more information, photos and links on this podcast and to hear our other great guests.
189: Manuel Gonzalez on Innovation in Food and Ag.
Pitching food and agriculture related business ideas to potential investors.
Manuel is the North America Head of StartUp Innovation at Rabobank, where he leads the growth of their start-up platform build through FoodBytes! and new Accelerator, Terra. At the same time, he focuses on developing plans around how relationships with startup firms can benefit corporate clients. Manuel has been Head of the San Francisco Office of StartUp Innovation since 2012, where he led a process that greatly strengthened relationships with corporate clients in the Western Region of the US.
He joined Rabobank in 1996 as a project manager. In 2003, he was named Head of Credit, and a year later became Head of Credit and Legal. Manuel was appointed Deputy General Manager in 2007, and just a year later promoted to General Manager in 2008.
Under his leadership, the Mexico franchise significantly strengthened business performance, achieving considerable increases in revenue, cross-sell and net income. Manuel was instrumental in building a strong local investment banking team, and in fostering a high-performance culture focused on enhancing client relationships.
In this podcast: Manuel is someone who works to help people with food-and-ag related business ideas connect with investors and start the process towards funding those ideas. He tells Greg about the FoodBytes business pitch event that is focused on food and ag, as well as Terra and Rabobank with their focus on innovation in this business field. His take on how to deal with failure is something every person who runs or hopes to run their own business should hear.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/foodbytes for more information, photos and links on this podcast and to find interviews with our other great guests.
188: Megan Whatton on The Urban Habitat Network.
Mapping the habitats of wildlife around the world a section at a time.
Megan is the Urban Habitat Network Manager for The Nature Conservancy. She works with scientists, partners, private landowners, citizen scientists and volunteers to re-imagine their properties as habitat for the benefit of wildlife and people. Most recently she was the volunteer coordinator for the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute on the eMammal project to monitor mammal populations in the mid-Atlantic region. Megan has a M.S. Degree in Environmental Science and Policy from George Mason University and B.S. Degree from Ball State University.
In this podcast: Megan introduces Greg and his listeners to the Nature Conservancy and the Habitat Network Project. This project creates citizen scientists around the globe and is working to map the globe with their data to paint a picture of the wildlife in every part of the world. Megan explains how this project got started and how easy, fun and rewarding being a member of the network can be.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/HabitatNetwork to see our list of podcasts and to sign up for weekly updates.
187: Sherrie Pelsma on Macro Photography in the Garden.
Looking at garden wildlife from a whole new perspective.
Sherrie grew up on the rural Oregon Coast before moving to Portland to finish her degree. She has spent the last 10 years in Community Education, and runs a program where participants learn Do-It-Yourself skills to make homes safer and more energy efficient. As an environmentalist who loves macro photography, she took a special interest in pollinators and other insects which quickly blossomed into the love that drove the founding of the project Pollinator Parkways.
In this podcast: Greg gets a chance to talk with Sherrie about her garden photography. Sheri has been developing her skills with macro photography and loves to share the results with her projects and her community. Here she helps explains the basics of garden photography, and tells how looking through the camera lens has given her a whole new perspective on the tiny lifeforms around her.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/macro for more information, photos and links on this podcast and our other great guests.
186: Robin Kelson on Seed Saving-Resiliency.
Keeping the strength of genetic traits through community sharing of seeds.
Robin is the owner of the Good Seed Company - “heirloom seeds for common use,” a small heirloom vegetable, flower and herb seed company based in Whitefish, MT and dedicated to helping re-establish the community practice of selecting, saving and sharing seeds for common use.
The Good Seed Company envisions becoming a model for cultivating community-grown resilient seeds, seed savers and gardeners, and offers “workshops from soil to seed” under the trade name: “DIY:GROW”, including a one-year “seed steward” internship. DIY:GROW seeks to reduce the barrier to entry for anyone wanting to take control of their food.
A biochemist and attorney by training, Robin has spent over 30 years exploring human vitality, resiliency, and patterns in the natural world. In support of cultivating a sustainability perspective for our common future, she also offers "The Resiliency Dialogues", presentations for all audiences that introduce simple tools from nature for practicing resiliency in any context and to invite dialogue on this subject.
In this podcast: Greg talks to a former lawyer Robin Kelson who now runs The Good Seed Company. She shares her story about the unexpected transition in her life leading her to her work around seeds. One of the big events in her new life is an epic community event focused on seed saving and sharing. She also explains why the company is using seeds from backyard growers.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/goodseed for more information, photos and links on this podcast and to find our other great guest interviews.
185: Elaine Ingham on Life in the Soil.
Examining the biology of healthy soil to improve plant growth.
Dr. Elaine Ingham is the Founder, President and Director of Research for Soil Foodweb Inc., a business that grew out of her Oregon State University research program. Behind her user-friendly approach to soil lies a wealth of knowledge gained from years of research into the organisms which make up the soil food web. Her goal is to translate this knowledge into actions that ensure a healthy food web that promotes plant growth and reduces reliance on inorganic chemicals. Elaine also offers a pioneering vision for sustainable farming, improving our current soils to a healthier state, without damaging any other ecosystem.
In her spare time, Elaine publishes scientific papers, writes book chapters and gives talks at symposia around the world. Elaine and her husband Russ (who also has a Doctorate from Colorado State University in Zoology, emphasizing nematology,) live in Corvallis Oregon.
In this podcast: Greg talks with one of the foremost experts on soil health Dr. Elaine Ingham and learns a lot about the world of microbiological life in the soil. Her studies have been amazing and it is easy to see how being a student in one of her classes can be quite informative. She tells about how she became so focused on the microbiological life in the soil and educates us on the importance of those first few dozen inches of earth our food is grown in. This is a mini course of science in just one podcast.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/lifeinthesoil for more information, photos and links on this podcast and to learn from our other great guests
184: Michael Phillips on Holistic Orcharding.
Growing fruit trees by creating a healthy ecosystem.
Michael is known across the country for helping people grow healthy apples and understand the healing virtues of plant medicines. The “community orchard movement” he helped institute can be found at GrowOrganicApples.com and provides a full immersion into the holistic approach to orcharding. His farm, Lost Nation Orchard, is part of a diversified medicinal herb farm in northern New Hampshire. There, two acres of trees supply local families with many varieties of organic apples, and has a cider mill in the planning stages.
Michael is the author of The Apple Grower: A Guide for the Organic Orchardist, and The Holistic Orchard and co-author with his wife Nancy for The Herbalist’s Way: The Art and Practice of Healing with Plant Medicines. His newest book, Mycorrhizal Planet: How Symbiotic Fungi Work with Roots to Support Plant Health and Build Soil Fertility, will be available in March 2017. Michael was honored by Slow Food USA to receive the first Betsy Lydon Ark Award for his work promoting healthy ways to grow fruit.
IN THIS PODCAST: Greg has found an east coast twin when he talks to a fruit tree farmer named Michael Phillips who has been growing apple trees in New Hampshire with a care that works for the health of the trees and the ecosystem in which they live. Michael grows and sells fruit trees and he focuses a lot of offering tree growing education as well. He shares his main points of growing healthy fruit trees and explains why some of the steps are so beneficial to trees.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/herbsandapples to see our list of podcasts and to sign up for weekly updates.
183: Shawn Jadrnicek on The Bio-Integrated Farm.
Maximizing functions from landscape elements to save time, energy and money.
Shawn has nourished his interest in sustainability through work as an organic farmer, nursery grower, extension agent, arborist, and landscaper, and now as the manager of Clemson University’s Student Organic Farm. From his earliest permaculture experiments with no-till farming in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California to his highly functional bio-integrated designs in the Southeast, Shawn has learned how to cultivate food in a variety of climates and landscapes. He shares his creative solutions through teaching, consulting, design work and his book The Bio-Integrated Farm: A Revolutionary Permaculture Based System Using Greenhouses, Ponds, Compost Piles, Aquaponics, Chickens and More - Published by Chelsea Green.
IN THIS PODCAST: Greg meets Shawn who explains a key permaculture concept of having multiple functions from one element. Shawn tells how he has designed many projects focusing on elements that have at least seven functions each. With his experience, he has brought together several examples in his new book and so he shares some ideas in this interview.
182: Matthew Shepherd on Planting to Feed Bees.
Expanding the habitat of an essential pollinator through our garden choices.
Matthew’s career began in England where he established a successful community-based conservation program in Essex and helped to create Samfire Hoe, an award-winning nature park. He has also worked with local communities and government agencies in Kenya to improve the management of the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, on the coast north of Mombasa. He has created and maintained gardens that provide for insects and other wildlife everywhere he has lived, a passion that began when he learned gardening at his mother’s side.
Matthew’s introduction to pollinator conservation actually came two decades ago, on a sunny hillside in southern England, while working on a project to protect disappearing grasslands. He was manually using an artist’s paintbrush to transfer pollen between endangered orchids and realized there was obviously something missing in that ecosystem. Five years later, after marrying an American and moving to Oregon, Matthew was working for the Xerces Society at the vanguard of a new effort to protect pollinators.
In the past 15 years, he has collaborated with people from all walks of life to promote awareness about, and protection of, pollinator insects, especially native bees. Matthew is author of numerous articles and other publications, including Attracting Native Pollinators and Gardening for Butterflies. He is now the Society’s Communications Director, reducing the amount of time spent with pollinators, but increasing the time supporting the many other aspects of Xerces conservation work.
IN THIS PODCAST: Greg chats with Matthew Shepherd of the Xerces Society to learn more about their latest book titled 100 Plants to Feed the Bees, as well as some of the projects the Society has been working on. Matthew’s story of how he got to work for the Xerces Society is a little world tour and then he helps explain more about different bees and what they need.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/feedthebees for more information, photos and links on this podcast and to find links to our other great guests.
181: Quita Jackson on Thrifty Self Sufficiency.
Taking small steps to being green and making a difference.
Quita is one of the founders of GreenDesert.org. And while some would call her an urban farmer or a gardener, she prefers to consider herself spiritually connected to mother earth and her environment. She loves everything about nature! GreenDesert.org is all about showing people ways to be more self-sufficient, whether you’re gardening, making your own clothes, recycling, or making your own cleaning products… every little bit counts.
Quita is all about living the lifestyle…everything from maintaining a garden rich with herbs, vegetables and fruit, to raising chickens and tilapia, to using a water generator to make water from the humidity in the air, to collecting rainwater and The list goes on. She is quite passionate about this topic because she believes we are all in this together… and must recognize how our actions about the environment affects others. In addition, saving money is a huge priority for her and of course that’s a huge part of being green.
IN THIS PODCAST: Being green is all about having less of a negative impact on the planet and here Greg chats with Quita who has fully adopted a new lifestyle and loves helping others find their way into it as well. Quita tells how she got the courage to start gardening, and how that gave her confidence to try new ways to become self-sufficient even while living in a major city. Her encouraging attitude and caring nature helps as she spreads the word about little steps people can take in their own lives.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/blog/podcast/greendesert for more information, photos and links on this podcast and to sign up for emails about our other great guests.
180: Brian Smith on Biochar.
Enhancing your soils through an ancient, carbon-sequestering, process.
Brian is a systems engineer and project manager living in north Phoenix. For the past 30 years, he has worked for GE, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Honeywell on software for flight control systems in commercial and military aircraft. Recently, he became an entrepreneur and started a small software development company. To balance his high-tech career, he has enjoyed more simple hobbies like making beer, woodworking, and organic gardening.
During the Great Recession, he purchased a foreclosed property that had been neglected and abused for many years and he has spent the last 8 years renovating both the indoors and outdoors. After removing 5 layers of different landscaping stone that previous owners had covered the yard with, he spread several inches of arborist wood chips over the dirt to reduce water loss and increase soil fertility. In the backyard he converted a broken-down diving pool into a private aquifer by filling it with rock and gravel, connecting a pump to the drain pipe and covering it with topsoil. He now has several fruit trees and a vegie garden growing on top of 3000 or 4000 gallons of secure rainwater.
IN THIS PODCAST: Greg talks to Brian, a transplant to Arizona who needed to improve his gardening results and found out about biochar. Brian explains the process that was used over 2000 years ago, to transform burned wood into a long lasting organic super buffet with nutrients galore. He tells how he was so interested in the results that he took his research to the point that he can now make his own biochar in his backyard.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/biochar for more information, photos and links on this podcast and to hear our other great guests
179: Penn Parmenter on Passive Solar Greenhouses.
Designing greenhouses using the natural laws of nature as allies and resources.
Since 1992 Penn and her husband Cord have been growing food just above the 8,000 feet level in the Wet Mountains of South Central Colorado. With many years of research and development, they founded Smart Greenhouses LLC and Miss Penn’s Mountain Seeds in 2013,
Together they build smart greenhouses all over the Rocky Mountain West at even the highest elevations. Their greenhouses are 100% sustainable as they heat, cool and ventilate themselves without the use of fossil fuel. Penn and Cord are also co-instructors at the Denver Botanic Gardens teaching a slew of high-altitude growing classes there and around the region. Their very popular day-long Sustainable Greenhouse Design class is held on their 43-acre property and at the Denver Botanic Gardens.
IN THIS PODCAST: Greg connects again with Penn to talk about the greenhouse designs she and her husband create, sell and teach about. Penn tells how her husband Cord took passive solar concepts and implemented them into the first greenhouse they built from reclaimed and scrap materials, and how they have made many improvements over time. Their greenhouse once kept her precious tomatoes safe and growing during a week of temperatures 10 and 20 degrees below zero. High altitude growing was the impetus for their greenhouse designs, and Cord’s skills and need for perfection have created some results that would make any gardener rethink their calendars.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/greenhouse for more information, photos and links on this podcast and to find our other great guests.
178: Jayson Matthews on Solutions to Hunger.
Discussing food insecurity in urban communities and how to improve resilience against hunger.
Jayson is currently the Director of Ending Hunger for the Valley of the Sun United Way and has been with the organization since September 2014. Before joining the United Way, Jayson served as Executive Assistant to former Tempe Mayor Neil Guiliano, as the Assistant Director and Chief Program Officer of Tempe Community Council, and as the Chief Development Officer for United Food Bank.
Jayson earned a Bachelors of Arts in English Literature and Political Science from the University of Arizona in 1999 and a Masters in Public Administration from Arizona State University in 2003. He is also a graduate of Tempe Leadership, a trained facilitator specializing in nonprofit board development and community development, and recently became a Certified Poverty Coach.
He is a fierce advocate for human services and public service and demonstrates this through his volunteer work on various municipal boards, commissions, and nonprofit boards in Phoenix and Tempe. In his free time, he enjoys going on adventures with his dear wife and partner Emma and their adorable dog, Daisy.
IN THIS PODCAST: The complex and oft misunderstood situation of food insecurity and hunger are the discussion focus in Greg’s interview with Jayson Matthews. Jayson’s personal history growing up as the son of a young single mother gave him the empathy he needed to fill his role at the United Way. Jayson helps to explain many of the distinctions of hunger as well as how prevalent the reality is in the urban communities in America.
Go to www.urbanfarm.org/PhxUnitedWay for more information, photos and links on this podcast and to find our other great guests.