Ep. 85: Greg Horner, Greg Horner Consulting – Profiles in Land and Management Series ||

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As we contemplate a future where land management is an important part of addressing climate change (as the IPCC Report suggests), we can’t overlook the vast acres of US public lands.  These acres need to be resilient to the stresses of climate change, and we also have an opportunity to manage them in ways that increase their ability to store carbon.  By shifting our management of these lands to prioritize soil health, we can achieve multiple benefits for the climate, the water cycle, and biodiversity.
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Using adaptive grazing is one important strategy to increase the soil health of our public grasslands and rangelands. For episode 85 of Sourcing Matters, consultant Greg Horner discusses his recent work interviewing innovative public land managers across the US about their use of adaptive grazing as a tool to improve soil health, restore ecosystem function, and increase biodiversity.  While these agency staff are increasing soil health, they are also increasing soil carbon and making the land they manage more resilient to climate change.
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But wait, cows are bad for the climate, right?  And grazing is damaging to public lands? 

The current state of scientific knowledge suggests a more complex reality: while cattle in feedlots (where most beef comes from) have a high carbon footprint, well-managed cattle on pasture can be carbon-negative, sequestering more carbon in the soil than they produce in methane (White Oak Pastures Life Cycle Assessment – PDF). By accelerating soil health and soil-building efforts, adaptive grazing can be an important strategy for improving ecological outcomes on public and private lands.
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While grazing can absolutely damage public lands, it is not the cattle that are responsible but the human managers.  Like a hammer, grazing is a tool that can be used to tear things down or build them up.  With careful management, adaptive grazing can provide the disturbance that a landscape needs to function properly, recreating the historical impact of herds of wild grazers, stimulating grass growth, and providing a landscape that promotes a diversity of plants and animals.
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In partnership with TomKat Ranch, the McKnight Foundation and others, Greg created a series of profiles of public land managers who are redefining the value of grazing on public lands.  Instead of using continuous grazing, most of these managers are moving cattle frequently, providing intense impact in small areas and then moving on to new areas and letting the grass recover without being re-grazed.  These managers report multiple benefits, from better forage quality and quantity to an extended growing season, from increased bird or tiger salamander populations to reduced erosion and increased water infiltration.  These managers are building soil carbon for a variety of reasons, and their stories are an inspiration.

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TuneIn to our 40 minute discussion for a better understanding of our role in proper management of public lands for the future.
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@GregoryHorner

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Summary prepared by Greg Horner

 

 



Ep. 81: John Piotti, CEO & President of American Farmland Trust, Washington D.C. ||

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On episode 81 of Sourcing Matters we welcome John Piotti of American Farmland Trust.  American Farmland Trust (AFT) is an organization that works to protect and conserve farmland throughout the United States. Headquartered in Washington, D.C, – AFT is staffed and governed by farmers, policy experts, researchers and scientists.  With the call to action of “Join the Movement”, “Save a Family Farm”, and “Stay Informed” – American Farmland Trust seeks to engage diverse stakeholders in evaluating: What will happen to the nation’s food supply if we continue to wastefully develop our best farm & ranch land?
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By the late 1970s, Peggy Rockefeller, a passionate farmer and active philanthropist, had become frustrated that none of the major environmental or agricultural organizations were effectively applying the emerging tools of land conservation to agriculture. She pulled together a brain trust to explore what could be done. This first-of-its-kind analysis of how and why America was losing farmland had recently been completed by USDA and the President’s Council on Environmental Quality. The group recognized the serious threat posed by farmland loss and concluded that our nation needed a new kind of organization, one that stood at the intersection of agriculture and the environment. It would take a unique and highly innovative organization to operate effectively in this previously unexplored realm. But there was clearly a void that needed to be filled. They formally chartered American Farmland Trust in 1980.
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John Piotti joined American Farmland Trust as president and CEO in July 2016, bringing more than 25 years of executive management and public policy experience to the organization.  Prior, John served as president and CEO of Maine Farmland Trust for 10 years. Under his leadership, Maine Farmland Trust became an award-winning statewide nonprofit organization, helping over 500 Maine farms remain viable. Piotti has earned a reputation as a nonpartisan problem-solver; as a Statesman, an Eisenhower Fellow – and – as a leader in future food that has helped stabilize a regional dairy industry, and procure funding to protect working waterfronts & our natural lands. John holds three degrees from the MIT, in engineering, public policy, and management.
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TuneIn to our 50 minute conversation to hear more about how the practice of American Farmland Trust has now cast over 6,500,000 acres of farmland in the United States into perpetual conservation.  With John’s focus on conservation (regenerative) agriculture practice of these lands, and more  – AFT will remain a pillar in American farmland access, and its management for the foreseeable future.

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@FARMLAND

 

 

 



 

Ep. 79: Shannon Algiere – farmer liaison manager, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture  – ft. co-host Jennifer Hashley, founder of New Market Farming project ||

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On episode 79 we welcome Shannon Algiere – farmer liaison manager at Stone Barns Center. Shannon has taught at Nature Centers, volunteered as a ranger for the Costa Rica National Park Service, managed a biodynamic greenhouse operation and helped develop a 60-member market farm in Connecticut.  Shannon first came to the Stone Barns Center in 2003 with her husband, Jack, and has played many roles on the farm, most recently flower and herb manager. Shannon now employs her extensive farming and mentorship experience to facilitate educational engagement, assisting in the design of a dynamic and impactful farm connection for visitors, aspiring farmers and students.

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Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture was developed by David Rockefeller and dedicated to the memory of his wife, Peggy Rockefeller. The Stone Barns Center’s mission is to demonstrate, teach and promote sustainable, community-based food production. Open to visitors of all ages but with an emphasis on K-12 education, the Center offers a unique experience: a chance to learn about farming firsthand on a real working farm within a 30-minute drive of New York City. Livestock, chickens, vegetables, gardens, greenhouses a learning facility and cultural center demonstrate to the public the advantages of local, community-based farming and environmentally sensitive agricultural practices.  The Center is also home to Blue Hill at Stone Barns, a four star restaurant that offers guests a taste of the farm and of the Hudson Valley.

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TuneIn to our 40 minute conversation to hear about the future of farming, its workforce, our connection with food and how we can all be a part moving forward.

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@StoneBarns

 



co-host:

Jennifer Hashley

  • Founder of Tufts New Entry Sustainable farming project 
  • Owner of Pete & Jen’s backyard birds
  • Evangelist | Activist| Innovator
  • Eisenhower Fellow 2016

@JHashley

Ep. 77: John Roulac, founder & Chief Hemp Officer at RE Botanicals.  Roulac is founder & former CEO of superfood and hemp industry leader – Nutiva  ||

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On episode 77 we welcome John Roulac – founder & Chief Hemp officers at RE Botanicals.  For the production of Fiber and CBD, the potential reach and Hemp’s total production footprint is vast.  So, is this the perfect opportunity to prove out the many values of regenerative agriculture for diverse stakeholders in broader markets?  John Roulac thinks so, and we sit down for a few to learn more about it.

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John Roulac started natural and superfoods brand Nutiva in 1999 because of his deeply held belief that it is his purpose to challenge the industrial food model and create a better food system to nourish people, communities, and our planet. Through his leadership, Nutiva has become one of the fastest-growing superfoods company in the world. Nutiva has been named one of Inc. Magazine’s fastest-growing private companies in America for seven years in a row – with sales topping $100mm in 2015.
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As you’ll hear in our 45 conversation the vast majority of USA grown hemp uses harsh chemical fertilizers, rotated with industrial GMO corn and soy and contributes to climate change and ocean die off. As John tells us – RE Botanicals is commitment to the highest quality, and insures you that the product you consume is pure and organic. They source differentiated products in a new world of Hemp production.  For your future CBD needs – might want to look under the hood a bit and determine for yourself why Sourcing Matters.

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TuneIn to hear what’s going on with the future production of hemp, and regenerative agriculture in the United States.

JohnRoulac

 

 



Ep. 74: Live recorded from Treefort music festival in Boise, Idaho – Chef & food system advocate Kris Komori, and farmer & seed propagator Beth Rasgorshek  ||

For Sourcing Matters episode 74 we join chef & food system advocate Kris Komori, and farmer and seed propagation Beth Rasgorshek for a conversation @ The Treefort music festival in Boise, ID – recorded in-front of a live audience.
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With three consecutive James Beard nods, Kris Komori is the rock star of Idaho’s chef world. A graduate of the College of Idaho, he sharpened his kitchen skills in Portland before moving to the Gem State. Komori’s creative, constantly changing menus drew fast admiration when State & Lemp opened in 2013. Most recently, he and his team have been developing a new concept and restaurant that will launch in downtown Boise soon.
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Beth Rasgorshek has worn many hats: journalist, pioneering CSA farmer, flour producer and now seed farmer. Today, Rasgorshek grows certified organic vegetable seeds on seven tillable acres at Canyon Bounty Farm in Mampa. She now raises and sells both small-seeded and big-seeded crops like green beans, dry beans, edamame, various flower seeds, watermelon, muskmelon, peppers, wheat, leeks and onion.

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We’re a lot more alike than different. That’s said about people from areas all over the world.  But, when it comes to farmers and food producers – the similarity and bond is unquestionable.  With the regenerative agriculture revolution we’re discovering that we have friends and like minded brethren on every corner of planet -and- increasingly everywhere in between.  TuneIn to hear about what’s going on in Idaho.  Learn how our problems with a common enemy could ultimately unite our diverse stakeholder for battle.


ABOUT TREEFORT: The Treefort Music Fest is a five-day, indie rock festival which is held at numerous venues throughout downtown Boise, Idaho in late March.  Treefort has been called “the west’s best SXSW alternative” and Boise’s preeminent artistic, cultural and musical happening which has “morphed from quirky music festival to consuming community event. It has also been characterized as a “music lover’s joyous mayhem” which showcases and amplifies the soul of Boise.



Ep. 73: Adam Kesselman, Executive Director & Board Member of the Center for Ecoliteracy; and Vince Caguin, Director of Nutrition Services & Warehousing @ Natomas Unified School District – Sacramento, CA ||

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On Sourcing Matters episode 73 we welcome Adam Kesselman, Executive Director & board member of the The Center for Ecoliteracy  -&- Vince Caguin, Director of Nutrition Services & Warehousing Natomas Unified School District in Sacramento CA.

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Kesselman’s programs encourage schools to teach and model education for sustainable living – beginning with a good diet.  The students that Adam and Vince work with have an opportunity to experience and understand how nature sustains life and how to live accordingly.  One such program – California Thursdays – now servers over 334 million school meals a year, which accounts for 33% of the school meals in California.  Every meal serves California-grown, for California kids – and of which has focus on food quality and integrity from the source.  Economists estimate that every dollar spent on local food can generate up to an additional $1.40 in spending, supporting local economies. So, built upon that – what’s it worth to any of us to provide our kids and our neighbor’s kids preventative healthcare and good consumption habits – things that tend to carry-on for a lifetime.
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In our 40 minute discussion we chat about the importance of regional production models, and how to own – our own – provenance.  We discuss that we’re not all California!  We learn of current initiatives that have seen success; with some home runs in there that could see continued Statewide growth, and capacity for a replicable model for other parts of the US.  We learn what keeps their current programs afloat, and what steps they’re taking to motivate diverse stakeholders to partake in these rewarding programs.
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Could the buying power of hundreds or thousands of neighborhood schools be pooled to encourage regional production capacity?   What’s the worth of purchase commitments from districtwide buyers?   California has demonstrated that you can guarantee supply of fresh, quality and clean food on a school’s budget – through supporting the growth of modern regional farming infrastructure.

 

TuneIn to hear how about the New School Food plan coming out of California.  The approach may very well help you and your region, where ever you live.



Ep. 71: Marc Oshima – CMO & co-founder of AeroFarms ||

On Sourcing Matters episode 71 we welcome Marc Oshima, co-founder & CMO of AeroFarms. An award-winning marketer and passionate about food, Oshima has led the marketing for major supermarket chains and specialty food retailers. With his B.A. from Columbia College and M.B.A. from Columbia Business School, Marc is also Board Co-Chair of Chefs Collaborative, a 25 year old non-profit improving our sustainable food systems, and a member of the United Fresh Produce Marketing & Merchandising Council.
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AeroFarms is a leading clean-technology champion, building and operating state-of-the art indoor vertical farms in major cities around the world. Helping set new culinary standards for freshness and flavor, AeroFarms has been recognized as a Global Cleantech 100, Inc.com’s Top 25 Disruptive Companies, Winner of the World Technology Award for Most Impactful Environmental Company, and Finalist for The Circular Awards of The World Economic Forum.
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It’s argued in Dickson Despommier’s book – ‘Vertical Farming – feeding the world in the 21st century’ that by 2050 – 80% of the world’s population with live in Urban environments.  So, why should we continue to ship our food from remote Rural environments that often use antiqued and wasteful techniques – which are increasingly susceptible to disruption and risk?  TuneIn to hear what one of the market leaders has to say about this future of food production – local, abroad and beyond.



Ep. 70: Elizabeth Whitlow – Executive Director of Regenerative Organic Alliance ||

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On Sourcing Matters episode 70 we welcome Elizabeth Whitlow – Executive Director of the Regenerative Organic Alliance (ROA).   In early 2018, the ROA was formed as a non-profit cohort of organizations and businesses led by Rodale Institute, Patagonia, and Dr. Bronner’s.  These vested founders began the process of developing a Regenerative Organic Certification (ROC) – a unique, high-bar agricultural standard that leverages the foundation of USDA certified organic – and elevates it steps further.
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The goal of regenerative organic agriculture is to offer practical solutions to the world’s biggest social and ecological challenges. We’ve learned that we’re beyond the point of sustainability and we need to regenerate the soil and land that supports us, the animals that nourish us, and the farmers and workers that feed us.  This has developed into a call to action of the ROA and defined a path forward where we’re all part of the solution.
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In our 45 minute conversation we discuss the iterative approach that Elizabeth and her supporters are taking in rolling-out the ROC standards.  We learn how the industry can begin to better incentivize on-ramping of more producers and suppliers that will implement elevated production standards to source differentiated food for the benefit of human, animal and planetary health. We assess the roles of the different stakeholders, and how that all comes to fruition through the actions of consumers.  We discuss how these new high-bar standards relate to Soil Health, Animal Welfare & Social Fairness, and what that means for broader audiences of both farmers and eaters.
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Elizabeth Whitlow has dedicated her career in regenerative agriculture to further the impact of high-bar certifications. Prior to taking the helm at the ROA, in her most recent role as EarthClaims’ director of certification she oversaw a team working to provide private, third-party verification services for animal welfare, grass-fed claims, antibiotic-free and customized audits to support specific marketing claims. Prior to EarthClaims, Elizabeth was a fellow at the Leadership for a Sustainable Future. Elizabeth also spent 16 years with California Certified Organic Farmers in roles ranging from reviewer, senior inspector, and livestock specialist to inspection operations manager.

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TuneIn to hear what the future food system can actually turn into;
and who’ll be leading the charge.

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Ep. 67:  Secretary Dan Glickman – Executive Dir. of the Aspen Institute Congressional Program – former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture  ||

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On episode 67 of Sourcing Matters we’re joined by Secretary Dan Glickman.  Secretary Glickman is currently the Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Congressional Program – a nongovernmental, nonpartisan educational program for members of the United States Congress.  Dan Glickman served as the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from March 1995 until January 2001. Under his leadership, the Department administered farm and conservation programs; modernized food safety regulations; forged international trade agreements to expand U.S. markets; and improved its commitment to fairness and equality in civil rights.
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Prior to heading the USDA for President Clinton, Dan Glickman also served for 18 years in the U.S. House of Representatives representing the 4th Congressional District of Kansas. During that time, he was a member of the House Agriculture Committee, including six years as chairman of the subcommittee with jurisdiction over federal farm policy issues.
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Additionally, Sec. Glickman is the 6th member of the PEW commission on industrial farm animal production that we’ve profiled on Sourcing Matters.  The 2007 PEW commission report was a study of the Impact of Industrial (US) Farm Animal Production on issues of public health, environment, animal welfare and social justice.   It was a monumental series of reports that has established a new way forward for consumers and the industry to re-introduce values and ethics back into many of the proteins we eat.
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During our 40 minute conversation we also discuss Secretary Glickman’s 7 years as Chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).  His time spent as Director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and we chat about a few of the boards he sits on – including the Chicago Mercantile Exchange; Communities in Schools; Food Research and Action Center, National 4-H Council; and the Center for U.S. Global Engagement.

TuneIn to hear what this well rounded thought-leader has to say about our food, agriculture, policy and the current administration.  This one you don’t want miss.

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Ep. 65:  Dr. Molly Jahn – Prof. Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison – Dept. of Agronomy; the Nelson Institute; the Global Health Institute; and chairs the Scientific Advisory Council of Energy & Environment @ DOE Oak Ridge Labs  ||

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Dr. Molly Jahn is a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Department of Agronomy, the Nelson Institute, and the Global Health Institute, and chairs the Scientific Advisory Council of the Energy and Environmental Sciences Directorate at the US Department of Energy Oak Ridge National Laboratory.   Professor Jahn leads a global alliance of research organizations focused on building and testing modern knowledge systems for sustainability. An award-winning teacher and researcher, Jahn also consults globally for business, governments, philanthropic organizations and others.

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During our 45 minute conversation we gain Dr. Jahn’s perspective on what it’ll take to address climate change on a planet of 7.6 billion people. We also discuss how our current approach in producing food and using water are in fact one of the most pressing National security concerns. Dr. Jahn shares how the Government shutdown at the end of ’18 / early ’19 is impacting real science which so vital in dealing with climate issues in a timely fashion. And, how that science is now losing traction under current governance.

Dr. Molly Jahn has previously served as dean of the University of Wisconsin’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and Director of the Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station.  From 2009-10, she served as Deputy and Acting Under Secretary of Research, Education, and Economics at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Jahn has >100 peer-reviewed publications and >60 active commercial licenses.   She has numerous awards, fellowships and lectureships for her research, teaching and outreach.  In 2014, she was named the first Lilian Martin Fellow at the University of Oxford’s Martin School.  Her innovative approaches to inter-sector partnership, engagement with emerging institutions and integrated large projects focused on impact and technology transfer have been highlighted in a number of studies and books.  She has served on numerous boards and scientific advisory panels around the world including the US National Academies of Science Board on Agriculture & Resources, NASA’s Applied Sciences Advisory Council.

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It was an honor getting to speak with Dr. Molly Jahn about food, science, the climate and about the power of hope and potential.  TuneIn to hear more.

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UWMadisonCals