Down to Earth is a podcast about hope. As climate change collides with our industrial food system, we focus not on doom but instead on people who are developing practical, innovative solutions. We invite you to meet farmers, ranchers, scientists, land managers, writers, and many others on a mission to create a world in which the food we eat is healthy—for us, for the land and water from which it springs, for the lives and livelihoods of the producers, and for the planet.
Jillian Hishaw works with farmers to protect themselves, their families, and their land–legally and financially. Attorney and food systems strategist, she provides free or low-cost services, particularly to African American farmers.
Episode 56 -Hemp: Growing into the future
The hemp plant is amazingly versatile and resilient, and it can be used to produce innumerable healthy products and services. So why was it made illegal, and what does the future hold? We talk to hemp farmers Ed Berg and Scott Perez.
Episode 55 – Paul Neubauer – From apprentice to foreman—building a career in farming
What does it take to be an apprentice on a farm or ranch? What does it take to mentor the apprentices? Paul Neubauer knows both sides, and talks about learning–and teaching–both practical and personal skills on the land.
Episode 54 – Diana Rodgers – Red meat, where does it fit into a healthy diet/healthy planet?
Diana Rodgers is the author of several books and is working on a new book and documentary film project, Sacred Cow. She hosts the Sustainable Dish podcast, and she lives and works on an organic farm in Massachusetts.
Episode 53 – Robert Fetsch – How to deal with mental and physical challenges–on the farm and beyond
Dr. Robert Fetsch has for decades been helping farmers and ranchers deal with disabilities — from injuries brought on by hard work, to mental health problems like anxiety, depression, and anger.
Episode 52 – Nicole Masters – For the Love of Soil
Nicole Masters is an agro-ecologist and educator in regenerative agriculture. She’s founder of Integrity Soils, and author of the new book, For the Love of Soil.
Episode 51 – Meriwether Hardie: Making the Business Case for Regenerative Agriculture
The food business is beginning to realize that they’re unsustainable — but don’t really know how to transition. Bio-Logical Capital provides demonstrations and research that point to possible paths forward.
Episode 50 – Graeme Hand: How to regenerate land with livestock and still make a steady profit
Graeme Hand teaches Holistic Management, and how to restore grasslands with cattle–and his techniques might surprise you!
Episode 49 – Joel Benson Holistic Management: It’s Not Just for Land
Joel Benson applied his training in holistic management to his business, and then to the government of his small town where he was mayor for eight years. The results are inspiring — and remind us of the power of systems thinking.
Episode 48 -Rodrigo Sierra Corona, Conservation Cattle on the California Coast
While cows can be destructive, they can also be effective management tools for improving land health. We talk to Rodrigo Sierra Corona about his work to improve grasslands and preserve species at the Santa Lucia Conservancy.
Episode 47 – Kate Greenberg, Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture
A long-time Quivira Coalition leader and proponent of regenerative agriculture, Kate Greenberg is now the Commissioner of Agriculture for the state of Colorado. We talk about what it means to take a regenerative and “Radical Center” approach from her position in government.
Episode 46 – Richard Teague: the Science of Holistic Grazing
Richard Teague is Professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management at Texas A&M University. He shares with us his deep understanding of the science of holistic management, soil science, and the psychology of changing over to new practices and paradigms.
Episode 45 – Mountain and Prairie host Ed Roberson on innovative approaches to water in the West
Ed Roberson is conservation director at the Palmer Land Trust, and he’s host of the Mountain and Prairie podcast. We talk about some of the problems surrounding water in the West–and some new approaches to balancing urban and agricultural water needs.
Episode 44 – A regenerative farmer in Kenya
Emmanuel Karisa Baya was an orphan in rural Kenya by the time he was nine years old. His mother had taught him to farm, and after going into another profession, he was called to return to the land.
Episode 43 – Envisioning a post-carbon food system
Many assume that renewable energy will seamlessly replace fossil fuels. But what if that’s not the case? We talk to Dr. Jason Bradford, author of the new report, The Future is Rural: Food System Adaptations to the Great Simplification from the Post Carbon Institute.
Episode 42 – Incentivizing healthy soils through sensible policy
Healthy soil is a win-win for everyone, but converting from conventional to regenerative agriculture is a process that needs to be incentivized. Land Core is an organization that’s doing just that.
Episode 41 – Zombie Agriculture
Industrial agriculture looks like it’s alive, but often the soil is dead, animals are living in excruciating conditions, and the food looks good but is not as nutritious as food grown from living soils in humane circumstances.
Episode 40 – Farming While Black
That’s the name of Lean Penniman‘s new book, and it’s a profound and wide-ranging exploration of everything from the practical details of how to start a farm, to the rich history of African-heritage farming.
Episode 39 – Rounding up the evidence on Roundup
Carey Gillam is a veteran journalist, researcher and writer with more than 25 years experience in the news industry covering corporate America. Since 1998, Gillam's work has focused on digging into the big business of food and agriculture.
Episode 38 – The little rodent that could…
"In Eager, environmental journalist Ben Goldfarb reveals that our modern idea of what a healthy landscape looks like and how it functions is wrong, distorted by the fur trade that once trapped out millions of beavers from North America’s lakes and rivers."
Episode 37 – Regeneration in the rockies
Glenn Elzinga is a rancher on mostly public lands in the Idaho Rocky Mountains. He’s also a forester, and his wife is a botanist…and together they have developed a practice of cattle grazing called “inherding”.
Episode 36 – Reawakening our instincts for healthy eating
If we were left to our own devices with a large selection of healthy food choices, how would we choose? Would we make healthy choices? What about livestock, and wildlife?
Episode 35 – On Pasture Magazine: bringing science to the farm
We talk this week to On Pasture magazine founder Kathy Voth, whose mission is to make science accessible to people who need it–and to help keep them from being bamboozled by the latest agriculture fads.
Episode 34 -Why is so much topsoil disappearing, and how can we reverse the trend?
Research scientist David Johnson from New Mexico State University tells us. He’s a leading soil scientist, and he knows what we need to do to reverse soil loss patterns–and what the many benefits are to restoring healthy soil on farms and rangelands.
Episode 33 – Coyotes, hawks, and minks — just some of the wildlife living and thriving in Chicago
Gavin Van Horn‘s new book, The Way of Coyote: Shared Journeys of the Urban Wild, reflects on the relationship between the city and the land surrounding it — and how we can each play a role in rewilding and cultivating our corner of land, no matter how small.
Episode 32 – Think like a chicken: transforming the poultry industry
Reginaldo Haslett Marroquín‘s team observed chickens for a year before engineering a prototype for an efficient and humane poultry farm...
Episode 31 – Restoring Texas prairie land: From big ag to a prosperous family farm
Jonathan and Kaylyn Cobb found a healthier way of farming when they rejected industrial methods and embraced regenerative practices. They tell the story of restoring degraded land through trial and error–and a big paradigm shift.
Episode 30 – Bringing regenerative meat to the marketplace
What does it take for a retail brand to make a commitment to sourcing meat from ranchers who are regenerating the land? We talk to Gina Asoudegan, of Applegate Natural and Organic Meats, and Katie Forrest, cofounder of EPIC Provisions about how they work with producers.
Episode 29 – Money where your mouth is: Investing in a healthy food system
Why is it that so many investors want a healthy planet and a sustainable food system, but aren’t actually putting dollars into it? Rancher-investor-philanthropist Sallie Calhoun tells us — and offers a different model.
Episode 28 – Converting from industrial to regenerative agriculture: White Oak Pastures
Sixth-generation farmer Will Harris has led his farm back to its 19th century roots — and built on that to create a closed-loop, no-waste farm using regenerative practices and revitalizing their small Georgia town in the process.