Organic and Sustainable Farming in the Southern US
Brennan Washington worked in information technology and gardened with his wife just for fun and relaxation. When they moved to Georgia, they produced so much food that they got involved with farmers markets and CSAs–and started seeing the problems as well as the strengths of these outlets. Washington now works with Southern SARE, where he goes all over the Southern US and the Caribbean, talking to farmers and sharing knowledge to promote sustainable and profitable agricultural practices, as well as cultural sensitivity and understanding.
He is co-owner of Phoenix Gardens along with his wife, Gwendolyn. He has served as a board member of Southern SARE, the sustainable research arm of the USDA, Georgia Organics, the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) and is the co-founder and farmer Board Chair of the Georgia Farmers Market Association. Check out his new podcast, The Sustainable Ag Rider.
0’53 starting in IT in New York and moving to agriculture in Georgia
2’08 transforming a small farmers market into a thriving one
3’00 techniques for building the farmers market
4’12 farmers markets in Georgia and how they’re doing
5’13 the problem of farmers markets being for upper income people
7’13 junk food subsidized, healthy food not
7’26 USDA programs for low-income consumers
8’09 Marker 8
9’07 “pinhooking” explained
9’52 “double-buck” programs
10’52 the limits of non-profits
11’15 consumers wanting more prepared foods at farmers markets
12’51 CSA (community supported agriculture) and its limitations
14’23 urban agriculture and its ups and downs
16’35 demand for different foods from new immigrant communities
19’01 are local food markets making a difference in people’s health
19’18 doctors presribing fresh food
20’53 the importance of “baselining” metrics
21’38 healthy food cooked in unhealthy ways
22’17 urban agriculture vs. gentrification
23’53 the soaring price of urban land in Atlanta
24’58 farmers’ land loss because of development and taxes
25’34 problems facing small and medium regenerative/organic farmers
26’04 getting younger farmers onto land
27’33 lack of housing
27’50 lack of broadband
28’18 farmers in the middle being squeezed out
28’47 lack of processing infrastructure
31’28 need for retail outlets for healthy food
32’24 barriers to building processing facilities
36’30 racism in agriculture then and now
38’17 cultural and language sensitivity
40’15 “heirs’ property”
43’40 seed saving
49’08 Native American seed story
51’02 the Sustainable Ag Rider podcast
Jesse Smith‘s work aims for the opposite of planned obsolescence—the goals at Jalama Canyon Ranch are resilience and perennial productivity, through restoration of ecosystems and a truly regenerative vision of agriculture.
Getting certified for grassfed meat can be challenging–but the American Grassfed Association supports producers in regenerative practices that are good for the earth, the farmer, and the eater.
Nicolette Hahn Niman was an environmental lawyer and vegetarian when she married a rancher—so she has a unique and broad-based perspective on agriculture. We discuss the new edition of her book, Defending Beef: The Ecological and Nutritional Case for Meat.
Native Americans used fire and other methods to cultivate food on the prairie. In the 20th century it was plowed under for endless rows of monocrops. Omar de Kok-Mercado is part of a team that is working to make prairie land ecologically–and economically–sustainable.
Beth Robinette grew up on a ranch but didn’t expect to stay there. But then she got so interested in food system and regenerative practices that now she’s ranching, developing new business models, and teaching the ropes to the next generation of ranchers.
Lucille Contreras calls buffalo her relatives. She’s a Lipan Apache and founder of the Texas Tribal Buffalo Project, which brings together food, culture, and language around this animal to reestablish its homeland.
Kristina Long is a ship captain and an artisanal kelp farmer in British Columbia. We talk about kelp ecosystems, food, and keeping sustainable practices in a growing market.
Mark Nelson and Starrlight Augustine talk about the lessons learned from the ambitious experiment of 30 years ago, in which eight people lived in a sealed space and grew all their own food–recycling water, air, and waste.
Rachael and James Stewart saw a lack of Black and Brown farmers and ranchers–and an opportunity to serve communities with unusual meat products. So they sold a classic car and started a ranch.
Author of fourteen books on food and pioneer in vegetarian cooking, she talks about her new memoir, An Onion in my Pocket, and her adventures during fifty years as a chef.
Joe Maxwell is a farmer and policy leader, and he knows that consumer demand is not enough to make the shift toward a healthy food system. He lays out the problems–and some ways forward.
Camas Davis had what she calls an “early onset midlife crisis” when she was around 30–and it led her to study butchering in France. But when she came home she found that the market for good, local meat needed to be cultivated.
Jovan Sage carries on traditions passed down from African and Indigenous ancestors, and is a healer on many levels–herbalist, “food alchemist,” farmer, chef, and community organizer.
Sanjay Rawal‘s new film, Gather, explores how Native Americans across the U.S. are rediscovering their food traditions–and building on them in the context of present-day realities.
LaKisha Odom of The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research is helping to fund the research behind healthy soil practices so that more farmers can make the transition to regenerative agriculture and long-term sustainability and resilience.
For millennia local and indigenous farmers have been producing healthy food worldwide. In less than a century that food system has been decimated, We talk to Dr. Vandana Shiva about restoring health, democracy, species, and local knowledge.